A democratic approach to global AI safety

A democratic approach to global AI safety

This policy brief discusses where risks to democracy from AI are emerging, what a democratic response to AI governance and safety looks like and the role of parliaments worldwide in enabling this response. It outlines how the democratic governance community can help plot a course of action to ensure that democracy is protected in the face of rapid AI advancements.
Illustration of people emerging from screens

The need for democratic responses to the transformative impact of AI grows stronger.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers the potential to enhance democratic systems by improving access to government, streamlining decision-making and fostering new means of public participation.

However, threats such as AI-driven disinformation, increased surveillance, biased and discriminatory outcomes, and concentrations of power pose challenges to the security and stability of democratic structures and institutions.

The current and near-term risks from AI should compel democratic leaders to incorporate the safety of democratic systems in the discussion around AI safety.

As well as discussing technical measures to progress towards safe AI, we need to focus on building political and societal resilience to the disruption that AI will bring. 

This policy brief outlines how AI might impact democracy and offers recommendations for actions parliaments can take as well as the role of democracy support.

Use the menu on the left hand side or navigate to the next page to read the brief. The paper is also available to download as a PDF document.

Recommendations in brief

Rights, acknowledgements, and disclaimer

The publication “A Democratic Approach to Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety” has been written by Alex Read, WFD Associate Expert. It was published in November 2023. The author appreciates the peer review comments received from WFD senior staff: Anthony Smith (CEO), Graeme Ramshaw, Franklin De Vrieze, Tanja Holstein, Alex Scales, Szelim Simandi, Stephanie Le Lievre, Chris Lane and WFD Associate Expert Ben Graham.

This policy paper has been published by Westminster Foundation for Democracy and is protected by applicable UK and international laws. This work cannot be copied, shared, translated, or adapted – in full or in part – without permission from Westminster Foundation for Democracy. All rights reserved.

The views expressed in the paper are those of the author, and not necessarily those of or endorsed by WFD, the institutions mentioned in the paper, nor the UK Government.