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‘Darker side’ of AI beginning to emerge, warns rapporteur

Artificial Intelligence has started showing society its darker side, as it can be used to “manipulate or distort reality”, Deborah Bergamini (Italy, EPP/CD), PACE rapporteur on the need for democratic governance of AI, has warned.

Speaking at a meeting of the OECD’s Global Parliamentary Network in Paris, Ms Bergamini made clear that democracy is being directly affected by rapid developments in new technologies, citing as examples new electoral processes and the online micro-targeting of electors. Best practice in this area needed to be established quickly, she said, adding that a swift response was essential if this evolving problem was to be solved.

At the same time, she highlighted the importance of enhanced dialogue between international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the OECD. She welcomed the efforts made by governments to tackle the issue, but warned that politicians sometimes find it difficult to understand the complexities of the issue, and to act accordingly. Governments and organisations needed to speak in an open and united way about the different roles they can play.

AI development represented “the fourth industrial revolution”, she concluded, but human intervention needed to remain an important part of the process, since without it there could be neither democracy nor justice.