AI & democracy, and the importance of asking the right questions

AI Ethics Journal 2 (1):2 (2021)
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Democracy is widely praised as a great achievement of humanity. However, in recent years there has been an increasing amount of concern that its functioning across the world may be eroding. In response, efforts to combat such change are emerging. Considering the pervasiveness of technology and its increasing capabilities, it is no surprise that there has been much focus on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to this end. Questions as to how AI can be best utilized to extend the reach of democracy to currently non-democratic countries, how the involvement in the democratic process of certain demographic groups (e.g. ethnic minorities, women, and young people) can be increased, etc. are frequent topics of discussion. In this article I would like not merely to question whether this is desirable but rather argue that we should be trying to envisage ways of using AI for the exact opposite purpose: that of replacing democratic systems with better alternatives.

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Ognjen Arandjelovic
University of St Andrews


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