The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University have brought together top experts in technology and election administration as contributors to their new essay series AI and Democracy. Each piece looks at ways that generative AI can help democracy or harm it, with a focus on next year’s presidential election.
Today’s installment, “Artificial Intelligence, Participatory Democracy and Responsive Government” by Douglas Kriner, Mekela Panditharatne, and Daniel I. Weiner examines the potential impact of AI on public feedback to policymakers. The authors highlight how new AI tools could be used to mimic constituent emails, submissions to public comment periods, and other communications from the public to their representatives.
“Our world is undergoing a seismic shift due to AI, and that includes our democracy. We need to know more about how AI might change the democratic process so we can minimize the risks and maximize the benefits,” said Lawrence Norden, senior director of the Brennan Center’s Elections & Government Program. “This series allows leading experts in technology and democracy to explore AI’s impact on voting and governing and inform the way forward.”
AI and Democracy will cover political advertising and fundraising, election administration, voter suppression, election information (and disinformation), and more. Contributors will include Catherine Tucker, Sloan distinguished professor of management and a professor of marketing at MIT Sloan; Edgardo Cortés, election security adviser at the Brennan Center and former Commissioner of Elections in Virginia, and additional experts. CSET contributors include Josh Goldstein, CyberAI research fellow; Mia Hoffmann, assessment research fellow; Drew Lohn, CyberAI senior fellow; and Heather Frase, assessment senior fellow.
“The signing of President Biden’s Executive Order on AI and the UK’s AI Summit this week point to the perceived urgency for governing AI. Elected leaders are increasingly aware of the potentially pivotal impact of new AI tools. Our hope is that this essay series will provide context and offer policy recommendations that can push forward the national discourse and safeguard our elections,” said John Bansemer, director of CSET’s CyberAI program.
The first piece in AI and Democracy — “AI and Election Security” by Norden and Gowri Ramachandran — delves into the effects that AI could have on election offices and election system vendors. Norden and Ramachandran recommend ways for the private sector, government, and the media to mitigate these threats and build confidence in elections.
Forthcoming essays in the series will appear on the Brennan Center for Justice website.