Image from Decoding Digital Authoritarianism program

Decoding Digital Authoritarianism

On May 19th, STPL co-sponsored a white paper and a one-day convening on the topic of ‘Decoding Digital Authoritarianism’. Digital authoritarianism has become a major global concern and a pressing issue in democratic societies. ‘Decoding Digital Authoritarianism’ reacts to this challenge as a collaborative project in partnership with STPL, the Berggruen Institute, UCLA’s Institute for Technology, Law & Policy (ITLP), and the Canadian government (Global Affairs Canada). The event included key stakeholders from academia, government, civil society, the arts, and industry to speak to emerging areas of interest in digital technology and political governance – from generative AI to blockchain – while mapping current and future challenges across technologies, actor types, and mechanisms of action. We asked what digital authoritarianism means, what empirical factors drive it, and how we can develop a new community of interdisciplinary thinkers around it that allows for a more global and better inclusive conversation to address the various ways that it might manifest in societies. This exciting project is being led by 2022-23 USC Berggruen Fellow, Ziyaad Bhorat, and involves a number of USC’s faculty with expertise on these issues including STPL faculty affiliate Mike Ananny who contributed a section of the white paper on “An Infrastructural Approach to Digital Authoritarianism.” You can read the full white paper here.