The political imaginary of National AI Strategies

Paper by Guy Paltieli: “In the past few years, several democratic governments have published their National AI Strategies (NASs). These documents outline how AI technology should be implemented in the public sector and explain the policies that will ensure the ethical use of personal data. In this article, I examine these documents as political texts and reconstruct the political imaginary that underlies them. I argue that these documents intervene in contemporary democratic politics by suggesting that AI can help democracies overcome some of the challenges they are facing. To achieve this, NASs use different kinds of imaginaries—democratic, sociotechnical and data—that help citizens envision how a future AI democracy might look like. As part of this collective effort, a new kind of relationship between citizens and governments is formed. Citizens are seen as autonomous data subjects, but at the same time, they are expected to share their personal data for the common good. As a result, I argue, a new kind of political imaginary is developed in these documents. One that maintains a human-centric approach while championing a vision of collective sovereignty over data. This kind of political imaginary can become useful in understanding the roles of citizens and governments in this technological age….(More)”.