ANTITRUST AND PRIVACY CONCERNS are two of the most high-profile topics on the tech policy agenda. Checks and balances to counteract the power of companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook are under consideration in Congress, though a polarized political environment is a hindrance. But a domestic approach to tech policy will be insufficient, as the users of the large American tech companies are predominantly outside the United States.
POPULAR CULTURE HAS ENVISIONED SOCIETIES of intelligent machines for generations, with Alan Turing notably foreseeing the need for a test to distinguish machines from humans in 1950. Now, advances in artificial intelligence that promise to make creating convincing fake multimedia content like video, images, or audio relatively easy for many. Unfortunately, this will include sophisticated bots with supercharged self-improvement abilities that are capable of generating more dynamic fakes than anything seen before.
VOTERS ARE BEING INUNDATED WITH POLITICAL ADVERTISING on social media and online platforms during the 2020 election season. Campaigns, PACs and third parties have added new tools and tactics for gathering data on voters and targeting them with advertising, and now they can pinpoint niches of potential voters on social media in ways unknown in prior election cycles.
AS WE APPROACH THE 2020 ELECTION IN THE UNITED STATES, content moderation on social media platforms is taking center stage. From speech issues on Facebook and Twitter to YouTube videos and TikTok brigands, the current election season is being reshaped by curation concerns about what’s allowed online, what’s not, upranking and downranking, and who’s deciding.
THE EMERGENCE OF A DIGITAL SPHERE where public debate takes place raises profound questions about the connection between online information and polarization, echo chambers, and filter bubbles. Does the information ecosystem created by social media companies support the conditions necessary for a healthy democracy? Is it different from other media? These are particularly urgent questions as the United States approaches a contentious 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic.
THE 2020 ELECTION IN THE UNITED STATES will take place on November 3 in the midst of a global pandemic, economic downturn, social unrest, political polarization, and a sudden shift in the balance of power in the U.S Supreme Court. On top of these issues, the technological layer impacting the public debate, as well as the electoral process itself, may well determine the election outcome.