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How AI Will Change Democracy

| May 28, 2024

Artificial intelligence is coming for our democratic politics, from how politicians campaign to how the legal system functions.

This article is adapted from a keynote speech delivered at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on May 7, 2024.


I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to predict that artificial intelligence will affect every aspect of our society. Not by doing new things. But mostly by doing things that are already being done by humans, perfectly competently.

Replacing humans with AIs isn’t necessarily interesting. But when an AI takes over a human task, the task changes.

In particular, there are potential changes over four dimensions: Speed, scale, scope and sophistication. The problem with AIs trading stocks isn’t that they’re better than humans — it’s that they’re faster. But computers are better at chess and Go because they use more sophisticated strategies than humans. We’re worried about AI-controlled social media accounts because they operate on a superhuman scale.

It gets interesting when changes in degree can become changes in kind. High-speed trading is fundamentally different than regular human trading. AIs have invented fundamentally new strategies in the game of Go. Millions of AI-controlled social media accounts could fundamentally change the nature of propaganda.

It’s these sorts of changes and how AI will affect democracy that I want to talk about.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Schneier, Bruce.“How AI Will Change Democracy.” cyberscoop, May 28, 2024.

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