Noam Yuchtman, 14 January 2022

The Chinese government isn't just a world leader in the use of AI for facial recognition, its orders are funding innovation in its domestic industry too. But what's good news for entrepreneurs may be bad news for political protest, Noam Yuchtman tells Tim Phillips.

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Beraja, M, Kao, A, Yang, D and Yuchtman, N. 2021. 'AI-tocracy'. CEPR

Martin Beraja, Andrew Kao, David Yang, Noam Yuchtman, 17 December 2021

The growth of artificial intelligence technology brings the potential of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’, but also poses challenges for democratic institutions. This column analyses the mutually reinforcing relationship between AI innovation and the political control objectives of autocrats. In the context of facial recognition AI in China, it shows that episodes of local political unrest lead to higher public procurement of AI technologies. Furthermore, these technologies are shown to mitigate the potential for exogenous shocks to trigger unrest, while also boosting broader software innovation in affected regions. 

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