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Why Technology Favors Tyranny

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Why Technology Favors Tyranny

The Atlantic,

5 min read
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Disruptive technologies could end democracy’s edge as the most successful governance model. 

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In the long history of humankind, the emergence of democratic governments may just be a “blip,” writes best-selling Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari in an excerpt from his latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. New information technology might tip the balance back in favor of more autocratic regimes. getAbstract recommends Harari’s disturbing and thought-provoking thesis to anyone who favors democracy over autocracy. 


Even in mature democracies, an increasing number of voters are supporting populist and authoritarian alternatives to liberal democracy. Today’s disruptive technologies are one reason why people are becoming disillusioned with a political and economic system that used to promise ever-growing prosperity and individual empowerment. Rapid advances in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) are making ordinary people feel increasingly irrelevant. In 2017, Google’s AlphaZero – which wasn’t human-programmed, but used machine-learning techniques to teach itself chess in just four hours – defeated world computer chess champion Stockfish...

About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari is a historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the best-selling author of Sapiens.

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