Artificial Intelligence and Democracy

How are AI based intervnetions recasting democracy in India?

Increasingly, applications of big data and machine learning are being used to manipulate public opinion, spread and amplify hate speech, and increase the surveillance capacities of states across the world. What is the impact of AI on democracy in India? This paper aims to map and identify some of the key issues of concern around AI and democracy.

What stands out within the Indian context is the rapid increase in mobile and internet connectivity over the past five years, leading to a vast increase in internet users in India from 65 million in 2014 to 580 million in 2019. Targeted political messaging as well as false political content is delivered to people and groups who have been segregated on the basis of demographic data, such as age, religion, caste, occupation, and party affiliation. The circulation of political communication and content is further amplified by the contextual hybridity of the media environment in India, which enables the permeation of online messaging into the offline world as well.

In particular, the paper explores three specific dimensions of state-society relations that are being transformed by AI applications -

  • strategies for political mobilisation,
  • delivery of public services, and
  • possibilities for citizen participation.

The impact of AI as a socio-technical system, therefore must take into account the structures and contexts in which they are embedded and what those might mean for democratic values and citizen participation



Initiative

AI & Society

Authors

Urvashi Aneja

Urvashi Aneja is Founding Director of Tandem Research. She works on the governance and sociology of emerging technology; southern partnerships for humanitarian and development assistance; and the power and politics of global civil society. Urvashi is also Associate Fellow at Chatham House and a columnist for the Indian Express. She has a PhD from the Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Oxford. Previously, she was Associate Professor of International Relations at the OP Jindal Global University and Research Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.

Angelina Chamuah

Angelina Chamuah is a Research Fellow at Tandem Research. Her current work is focused on understanding regulatory frameworks for emerging technologies in India.She is interested in studying the development of emerging technologies and the complex entanglements between technology and society. Her M.Phil. research is centered on human-machine interactions in the context of social robotics and engages with questions of design and agency in the building of affective relationalities between humans and social robots. She has an M.A and M.Phil. in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics and a B.A (H) in Sociology from Miranda House, New Delhi.

Abishek Reddy

Abishek Reddy K is a Research Fellow at Tandem Research. His current work is focused on the technological  trajectories and social effects of  Artificial Intelligence. He is interested in understanding the relationship between technology, society and behaviour, and how they shape each other. He has a MSc(Hons) in Biological Sciences and BE(Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technological Sciences, Pilani

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