For the most part, technology has proven useful in human history. In the past, its disruptive effects were largely the stuff of science fiction novels and movies. Fast forward to the 21st century, and humans are experiencing first-hand some of the negative effects of technological advancement, from the spread of misinformation and disinformation to the unauthorized use of art by artificial intelligence (AI) and on to AI surveillance that governments might employ to track—and help prosecute—women who seek abortions.
This year, the Bulletin featured many excellent pieces on a wide variety of disruptive technologies. Here are four that represent some of the major events and concerns of 2022.
Some two-thirds of Republicans and one-third of Americans suspect fraud in the 2020 Presidential elections. Other conspiracy theories that threaten public life and health have similarly achieved a following and will continue to pose a problem in the future. In this piece, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alan C. Miller assesses the public’s susceptibility to misinformation and disinformation—amplified in the digital age—and what needs to be done to correct course.
For years, humans have debated about privacy and usage rights implicated when artificial intelligence programs create images and questioned whether machines will lead to the demise of visual art. In a special three-part package for the Bulletin, experts from a variety of artistic and technical disciplines weighed in on the ethical, economic, and artistic implications of art created by intelligent machines.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in June has activists and civil liberties groups concerned about the possibility that state governments and their law enforcement agencies might use modern surveillance technologies to criminalize accessing abortion information and services. Examining a report by The New York-based privacy group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), this piece, originally published prior to the Court’s ruling, looks at the digital threats facing women.
In addition to the on the ground war, the Russian invasion of Ukraine brought with it another battle—propaganda. By partnering with China, Russia focused on convincing new audiences that the United States is responsible for the crisis in the Ukraine. Using social media influencers and spam services and partnering with media organizations, among other tactics, Russia has been successful in promoting these ideas to former Western colonies and nations that are part of what’s considered the Global South and keeping them on its side. This piece examines whether the Russian Chinese propaganda machine works and if it transforms people’s opinions or just highlights their biases.
The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent nonprofit organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.