The "Positive Disruption: AI Revolution" has accelerated
The Lighthouse extracts 10 relevant facts of the exceptional golden knowledge (GK) article How an “AI-tocracy” emerges. The article discusses the potential for AI to lead to the emergence of an "AI-tocracy," a society in which AI systems have a significant amount of power and influence.
- Fact 1. In China, the use of AI-driven facial recognition helps the regime repress dissent while enhancing the technology, researchers report.
- Fact 2. Many scholars, analysts, and other observers have suggested that resistance to innovation is an Achilles’ heel of authoritarian regimes.
- Fact 3. MIT economist Martin Beraja is co-author of a new research paper showing that China’s increased investments in AI-driven facial-recognition technology both help the regime repress dissent and may drive the technology forward, a mutually reinforcing condition the paper’s authors call an “AI-Tocracy.”
- Fact 4. In China, the research finds, the government has increasingly deployed AI-driven facial-recognition technology to surpress dissent; has been successful at limiting protest; and in the process, has spurred the development of better AI-based facial-recognition tools and other forms of software.
- Fact 5. “This is an excellent and important paper that improves our understanding of the interaction between technology, economic success, and political power,” says Avi Goldfarb, the Rotman Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare and a professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
- Fact 6. “The paper documents a positive feedback loop between the use of AI facial-recognition technology to monitor suppress local unrest in China and the development and training of AI models. This paper is pioneering research in AI and political economy. As AI diffuses, I expect this research area to grow in importance.”
- Fact 7. “What we found is that in regions of China where there is more unrest, that leads to greater government procurement of facial-recognition AI, subsequently, by local government units such as municipal police departments,” says MIT economist Martin Beraja.
- Fact 8. What follows, as the paper notes, is that “AI innovation entrenches the regime, and the regime’s investment in AI for political control stimulates further frontier innovation.”
- Fact 9. The scholars call this state of affairs an “AI-tocracy,” describing the connected cycle in which increased deployment of the AI-driven technology quells dissent while also boosting the country’s innovation capacity.
- Fact 10. The open-access paper, also called “AI-tocracy,” appears in the August issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics. The co-authors are Beraja, who is the Pentti Kouri Career Development Associate Professor of Economics at MIT; Andrew Kao, a doctoral candidate in economics at Harvard University; David Yang, a professor of economics at Harvard; and Noam Yuchtman, a professor of management at the London School of Economics.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Peter Dizikes is the social sciences, business, and humanities writer at the MIT News Office.
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- The "Positive Disruption: AI Revolution" has accelerated
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