Feb 24, 2020 - Technology

Tech experts say advances in digital technology will hurt democracy

Illustration of a tech fight

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Advances in digital technology are likely to erode trust and harm democracy around the world between now and 2030, according to a plurality of tech experts surveyed for a new Pew Research report.

Why it matters: Online misinformation is already causing a mix of actual harm and widespread fears, and advances like deepfakes are likely to intensify the challenges citizens face.

Details: Pew asked nearly 1,000 "technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists" what they thought the impact of various tech advances would be on society over the next decade.

  • 49% said the use of technology will mostly weaken core aspects of democracy and democratic representation.
  • 33% said technology will mostly strengthen core aspects of democracy and democratic representation.
  • 18% said there will be no significant change in the next decade.

Yes, but: Even many of those who didn't expect to see democracy being eroded had concerns.

  • "In addition to the plurality view among these experts that democracy will be weakened, a large majority of the entire set of respondents — including both the pessimists and the optimists — voiced concerns they believe should be addressed to keep democracy vibrant," Pew said.

Go deeper: The "ominous" decline of democracy around the world

Go deeper