Will AI End Democracy?

Over the past few years, Silicon Valley has steadily released a raft of computer programs with capabilities that seem ripped from the pages of science fiction. In the new issue of the Journal of Democracy, we bring together leading thinkers and experts to explore the challenges that artificial intelligence poses, and how democratic institutions can be marshaled to help meet those challenges.

Symposium: Artificial Intelligence and Democracy

Editors’ Introduction

AI and Catastrophic Risk
AI with superhuman abilities could emerge within the next few years, and there is currently no guarantee that we will be able to control them. We must act now to protect democracy, human rights, and our very existence.
By Yoshua Bengio

How AI Threatens Democracy
Generative AI can flood the media, internet, and even personal correspondence with misinformation—sowing confusion for voters and government officials alike. If we fail to act, mounting mistrust will polarize our societies and tear at our institutions.
By Sarah Kreps, Doug Kriner

The Danger of Runaway AI
Science fiction may soon become reality with the advent of AI systems that can independently pursue their own objectives. Guardrails are needed now to save us from the worst outcomes.
By Tom Davidson

The Authoritarian Data Problem
AI is destined to become another stage for geopolitical conflict. In this contest, autocracies have the advantage, as they vacuum up valuable data from democracies, while democracies inevitably incorporate data tainted by repression.
By Eddie Yang, Margaret E. Roberts

AI’s Economic Peril
AI will transform work and entire economies. The potential benefits also bring a dire risk of rising inequality and job losses. But the worst outcomes can still be avoided.
By Stephanie A. Bell, Anton Korinek

Reimagining Democracy for AI
Advances in AI are rapidly disrupting the foundations of democracy and the international order. We must reinvent our democratic infrastructure to ensure our ability to govern in a dramatically different technological world.
By Aviv Ovadya

Read as part of the Journal of Democracy’s just-released October 2023 issue, available for free on Project MUSE through October 30.

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