Pluralistic: The surprising truth about data-driven dictatorships (26 July 2023)

Today’s links The surprising truth about data-driven dictatorships: No autocrat is more powerful than GIGO. Hey look at this: Delights to delectate. This day in history: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2022 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading The surprising truth about data-driven dictatorships (permalink) Here’s the “dictator’s dilemma”: they want to block their country’s frustrated elites from mobilizing against them, so they censor public communications; but they also want to know what their people truly believe, so they can head off simmering resentments before they boil over into regime-toppling revolutions. These two strategies are in tension: the more you censor, the less you know about the true feelings of your citizens and the easier it will be to miss serious problems until they spill over into the streets (think: the fall of the Berlin Wall or Tunisia before the Arab Spring). Dictators try to square this circle with things like private opinion polling or petition systems, but these capture a small slice of the potentially destabiziling moods circulating in the body politic. Enter AI: back in 2018, Yuval Harari proposed that AI would supercharge dictatorships by mining and summarizing the public mood – as captured on social media – allowing dictators to tack into serious discontent and diffuse it before it erupted into unequenchable wildfire: Harari wrote that “the desire to concentrate all information and power in one place may become [dictators] decisive advantage in the 21st century.” But other political scientists sharply disagreed. Last…Pluralistic: The surprising truth about data-driven dictatorships (26 July 2023)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *