Subject: Digital technology

January 2024, Volume 35, Issue 1

The Real Dangers of Generative AI

Advanced AI faces twin perils: the collapse of democratic control over key state functions or the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the few. Avoiding these risks will require new ways of governing.

October 2022, Volume 33, Issue 4

The Mandarin in the Machine

Beijing is bent on deploying mass surveillance to eliminate threats to its rule. It is terrifying—and the latest example of its determination to remold society.

April 2022, Volume 33, Issue 2

China’s Tech-Enhanced Authoritarianism

The same technologies that are making traffic flow faster, cities run better, and ad-targeting more precise are also helping authoritarian governments to crush protests, hunt dissidents, and control their populations.

April 2021, Volume 32, Issue 2

Making the Internet Safe for Democracy

The outsized power of large internet platforms to amplify or silence certain voices poses a grave threat to democracy. Finding a reliable way to dilute that power offers the best possible solution.

Free

January 2020, Volume 31, Issue 1

30 Years of World Politics: What Has Changed?

Democracies are grappling with an era of transformation: Identity is increasingly replacing economics as the major axis of world politics. Technological change has deepened social fragmentation, and trust in institutions is falling. As our most basic assumptions come under question, can liberal democracy rebuild itself?

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

Media and Democracy: The Long View

Modern democracy was born in the era of print, and the press has been one of its essential institutions. With the decline of newspapers and the rise of new media, what are the implications for democracy?

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July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Liberation Technology

The Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of “liberation technology” enable citizens to express opinions, mobilize protests, and expand the horizons of freedom. Autocratic governments are also learning to master these technologies, however. Ultimately, the contest between democrats and autocrats will depend not just on technology, but on political organization and strategy.

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Online Activism

Read the full essay here. Online activism is an integral part of the broader landscape of citizen activism in contemporary China. It assumes a variety of forms, from cultural and social activism to cyber-nationalism and online petitions and protests. Technological development and social transformation provide the basic structural conditions. A fledgling civil society of online…

How to Dictator-Proof Your Money

Cash is king, even if you are an activist leading a democratic movement against some of the world’s worst dictators. That’s why Bitcoin has quickly become the currency of choice for dissidents working everywhere.

Why TikTok Is a Threat to Democracy

The popular Chinese-owned app is enabling Beijing to collect data on people nearly everywhere. Not only can such platforms track people’s preferences and whereabouts, but they give the Chinese government control over a powerful tool for shaping people’s worldview.