Innovations in digital technology (DT) — particularly artificial intelligence (AI) — have been transforming economies and societies world-wide, leading to governance quandaries and political debates. AI is unusual for a transformative technology, in that many, perhaps all leaders and ordinary citizens alike come to it with preconceptions derived from fiction and popular understanding, which makes it unusually easy for policy to be deflected from a scientific basis. Meanwhile, the transformations for the information age not only create new problems, but throw new light on the existing issues and indeed natures of governments. This course explores economic, power and societal transformations and corresponding policy challenges relating to AI and DT, highlighting active areas of political debate and policy research. Integrating perspectives from both natural and social sciences, this course examines the impact of AI on individuals, corporations, societies and governments, as well as current attempts to address these. We explore the use of data, algorithms and robotics in corporations and governments; issues of ethics, fairness, transparency and accountability raised by such techniques; balances and interactions between regulation and innovation, as well as privacy and oversight; the effects of AI on human rights, human security and economic well-being; the increasing oppressive capabilities of state- and non-state actors; and the challenges of coordinating government responses to transnational entities. We consider both the politics and the efficacy of public and private strategies of regulation, exploring some of the current efforts of both governments and corporations at local, national, and transnational levels.
This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.