Digital know-how is taking part in a rising position in advancing political repression throughout the globe, a pattern that poses a risk to the world’s democracies, says a scholar who on Dec. 6 was named winner of the 2023 College of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Concepts Enhancing World Order.
Steven Feldstein, a senior fellow on the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace, earned the prize for concepts set forth in his guide, “The Rise of Digital Repression: How Expertise is Reshaping Energy, Politics and Resistance” revealed by Oxford College Press in 2021.
Feldstein examined how governments in China, Thailand, Ethiopia and the Philippines have used a variety of digital instruments equivalent to web shutdowns, disinformation campaigns, synthetic intelligence and even DNA assortment to repress their residents. For instance, authorities in Hong Kong used facial recognition to establish protest leaders and censorship instruments to maintain protest info from circulating.
“My objective was to find out how digital know-how will have an effect on the best way governments rule sooner or later,” he stated. “I discovered that as individuals come to rely extra on on-line communication, their leaders are realizing they will use the identical instruments—Fb, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok—to unfold propaganda, sow division and intimidate their critics.”
His findings have disturbing implications for democracies and civil society organizations worldwide, stated Rodger Payne, who directs the world order award.
“By skillful, thorough analysis and evaluation, Feldstein exhibits how democracies are backsliding and authoritarian governments have gotten revitalized by means of digital know-how,” Payne stated. “He additionally shares inventive concepts for democracies, civil society organizations and companies to mitigate that pattern.”
Feldstein, who works in Carnegie’s Democracy, Battle and Authorities Program, was a U.S. Division of State deputy assistant secretary within the Obama administration. A former affiliate professor at Boise State College, he additionally was coverage director on the U.S. Company for Worldwide Improvement. He has a legislation diploma from College of California-Berkeley and a bachelor of arts diploma from Princeton College.
Recipients of subsequent yr’s Grawemeyer Awards are being named this week pending formal approval by trustees. The annual, $100,000 prizes additionally honor seminal concepts in music, psychology, schooling and faith. Winners will go to Louisville within the spring to just accept their awards and provides free talks on their successful concepts.