Feb 24, 2020 - Technology

Tech experts say advances in digital technology will hurt democracy

Ina Fried, author of Login

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

America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,945,737— Total deaths: 365,368 — Total recoveries — 2,515,675Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,747,087 — Total deaths: 102,836 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  4. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  5. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.