Democracy and AI:

Nathan E. Sanders and Bruce Schneier ask the question “Does ChatGPT Hijack Democracy?” (actually they answer the question with “How ChatGPT Hijacks Democracy“). They argue that ChatGPT threatens to upend how we generate everyday communications, having the potential to replace humans in the democratic process through the use of text-generation programs, automated comments, and public relations campaigns.

While it’s true, they state, that social media platforms have made attempts to remove fake accounts, this is nothing compared to what ChatGPT could do. It could strategically target key legislators and influencers to exploit weak points in the policymaking system, and could be used to target legislators across multiple policies and jurisdictions. While it could be beneficial to those without access to experienced lobbyists, it is likely that the biggest and most powerful institutions will use it most successfully as it requires money and insiders to execute the best strategies.

“ChatGPT could automatically compose comments submitted in regulatory processes. It could write letters to the editor for publication in local newspapers. It could comment on news articles, blog entries and social media posts millions of times every day. It could mimic the work that the Russian Internet Research Agency did in its attempt to influence our 2016 elections, but without the agency’s reported multimillion-dollar budget and hundreds of employees.”

These are legitimate concerns, and it is not immediately clear how to put safeguards in place to prevent it.