Ami Fields-Meyer, former Senior Policy Advisor at The White House: “Resilient Democracy in the Age of AI”

May 6, 2024Global Alliance for Digital Governance

Ami Fields-Meyer, former Senior Policy Advisor at The White House and the Chief of Staff of Dr. Alondra Nelson during her time leading the Office of Science and Technology Policy, gave an insightful presentation on AI and democratic governance at the BGF Conference “Governing the Future: AI, Democracy, and Humanity.” Focused on “Resilient Democracy in the Age of AI,” he discussed several key ideas that shed light on tensions between AI and current conceptions of democratic governance.

AI = Power: Fields-Meyer emphasized the transformative power of AI, highlighting its potential to reshape societal structures and dynamics, for good or ill. He underscored the notion that AI is not merely a tool but a form of power that can significantly influence various aspects of human life, including political processes.

Algorithmic Discrimination: One of the key concerns raised by Fields-Meyer was the issue of algorithmic discrimination. He delved into how AI systems, if not carefully designed and monitored, can perpetuate biases and discrimination, exacerbating societal inequalities. This topic drew attention to the ethical implications of AI deployment and the need for robust safeguards against discriminatory practices.

Incentives in Conflict: Fields-Meyer explored the inherent conflict between incentives driving AI development and the principles of democracy. He discussed how profit motives and technological advancement can sometimes be at odds with democratic values such as transparency, accountability, and fairness. This conflict highlighted the complexities of navigating AI governance within democratic frameworks.

AI as a Popular Political Issue: Lastly, Fields-Meyer touched upon the prominence of AI in contemporary public discourse. He observed how AI-related topics, including data privacy, surveillance, and automation, have become central themes in political debates worldwide. In fact, this broader societal recognition of AI demonstrates the urgency for AI governance. While these AI systems may be new, it is still within the willpower of society and government to steer its development toward a future that is ethical and fair for all.