#AI #democracy #algorithms
Those who claim, whether with fear or with hope, that algorithmic governance can control politics or the whole political process or that artificial intelligence is capable of taking charge of or wrecking democracy, recognize that this is not yet possible with our current technological capabilities but that it could come about in the future if we had better quality data or more powerful computational tools. Those who fear or desire this algorithmic suppression of democracy assume that something similar will be possible someday and that it is only a question of technological progress. If that were the case, no limits would be insurmountable on principle. I want to challenge that conception with a limit that is less normative than epistemological; there are things that artificial intelligence cannot do, because it is unable to do them, not because it should not do them, and this is particularly apparent in politics, which is a peculiar decision-making realm. Machines and people take decisions in a very different fashion. Human beings are particularly gifted at one type of situation and very clumsy in others. The part of politics that is, strictly speaking, political is where this contrast and our greatest aptitude are most apparent. If that is the case, as I believe, then the possibility that democracy will one day be taken over by artificial intelligence is, as a fear or as a desire, manifestly exaggerated. The corresponding counterpart to this is: if the fear that democracy could disappear at the hands of artificial intelligence is not realistic, then we should not expect exorbitant benefits from it either. For epistemic reasons that I will explain, it does not seem likely that artificial intelligence is capable of taking over political logic.