By Anya Schiffrin, director of the Technology, Media and Communications specialization at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
When worries about online mis/disinformation became widespread after the 2016 U.S. election, there was hope that the tech giants would use artificial intelligence (AI) to fix the mess they created. The hope was that platforms could use AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to automatically block or downrank false. illegal or inflammatory content online without governments having to regulate.
More elections are being held than ever – but the number of questionable polls being held around the world is fuelling fears of a “global democratic recession”, whereby the will of the people is not reflected in the results being announced. Two countries with elections coming up in the next few days and months, where opposition parties or international bodies are worried the process will not be fair, are Kenya, which goes to the polls on August 8, and Brazil, which votes on October 2.