Sarah Kreps / AI-Mediated Communication, Legislative Responsiveness, and Trust in Democratic Institutions / 09.17.2021

Sarah Kreps is the John L. Wetherill Professor in the Department of Government, Adjunct Professor of Law, and the Director of the Cornell Tech Policy Lab at Cornell University. Her teaching and research focus on the intersection of international politics, technology, and national security. She has written five books, including, most recently, Social Media and International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Other books include Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy (2018), Drones: What Everyone Needs to Know (2016), Drone Warfare (2014) and Coalitions of Convenience: United States Military Interventions after the Cold War (Oxford 2011).

Talk: “AI-Mediated Communication, Legislative Responsiveness, and Trust in Democratic Institutions”

Abstract: A key pillar of democracy consists of representation–that elected officials listen to their constituents and advance their policy goals.  Representation faces two challenges.  One is that elected officials are overwhelmed with emails, making it difficult to perceive constituents’ policy preferences. Another is that malicious actors may be trying to disrupt the process of representation by manipulating public opinion. Enter Artificial Intelligence-Mediated Communication (AI-MC), in which a machine modifies, augments, or generates messages on behalf of a communicator.  AI-MC has the potential for both use and misuse in this context of democratic representation. Through a series of experiments, we show how AI-MC might be used to better connect with constituents, but also how it stands to be misused.

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