The Road to Digital Unfreedom: How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping Repression

Issue Date January 2019
Volume 30
Issue 1
Page Numbers 40-52
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Around the world, artificial-intelligence (AI) systems are showing their potential for abetting repressive regimes and upending the relationship between citizen and state, thereby accelerating a global resurgence of authoritarianism. China is driving the proliferation of AI technology to authoritarian and illiberal regimes, an approach that has become a key component of Chinese geopolitical strategy. The significance of this technology for authoritarians around the globe, as well as for their democratic opponents, is growing ever clearer. To counter not only the spread of high-tech repression abroad, but also potential abuses at home, policy makers in democratic states must think seriously about how to mitigate harm and to shape better practices.