This webinar in the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition's Scientific Collaborations with Human Rights Organizations webinar series, co-sponsored by the Coalition and the Movement Engaged Research Hub of the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University, examined the interplay between Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, surveillance practices, and global governance norms.
AI technology has extended the power of states to track citizens due to advances in biometric identification systems, social media monitoring, and predictive policing techniques. While entrenched autocracies are making eager use of these new capacities, more open political systems are also incorporating these tools, raising troubling questions about the impact on due process, free expression, and active citizenship. How will the growing availability of AI technologies impact democratic governance, fuel repressive practices, or undermine the rule of law? The answer depends on efforts by international organizations, national governments, civil society groups, and the wider global community to craft new norms around AI. What those norms look like and how they will shape existing practice and future innovation is hotly debated. Participants will come away with a better understanding about the stakes involved in these conversations and the ensuing policy implications.
Steven Feldstein is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program. His research focuses on technology and politics, U.S. foreign policy, international relations, and the global context for democracy and human rights. Feldstein is the author of The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology is Reshaping Power, Politics, and Resistance (2021), which is the recipient of the 2023 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He has published research on digital technology’s impact on war, the role of artificial intelligence is reshaping repression, the geopolitics of technology, China’s advancing digital authoritarianism, and new patterns of internet shutdowns. He released a global AI surveillance index to track the proliferation of advanced digital tools, and published a global inventory of commercial spyware and digital forensics. Previously, he was the holder of the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs and an associate professor at Boise State University. He has served in multiple foreign policy positions in the U.S. government. He was a deputy assistant secretary in the democracy, human rights, and labor bureau in the U.S. Department of State under President Obama. Prior to that role, he served as the director of policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and also worked as counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Chairmen Joseph Biden and John Kerry. He has authored numerous essays, articles, book chapters, policy reports, and commentary in major media outlets and policy journals. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Berkeley Law. He was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana.
John Dale (Moderator) is Director of Movement Engaged Research Hub, Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University and Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (GMU). His current research and book project explore how big data and digital technologies reshape the practices and politics of human rights, and understandings of humanity.
This webinar series is a project of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. The team organizer is Oliver Moles, Ph.D.
To view past webinars in this series, please visit Scientific Collaborations with Human Rights Organizations.