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Our Digital Age and the Exercise and Contestation of Power

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Stephanie Diepeveen

Briefing/policy papers

Over the last 30 years, digital innovation has been met with vacillating opinions on whether technology is emancipatory or tends to benefit those with political and/or economic power. In the context of innovations in AI in the early 2020s, this brief tackles the question: In a digital age, what is new in who exercises power over whom? It focuses on the power of States in relation to both citizens and territory, and outlines four areas where fundamental changes are taking place in the exercise and contestation of power: (i) new State dependencies on tech firms; (ii) digitalisation of citizenship; (iii) the preoccupation with the potential for total surveillance; and (iv) new concerns and claims to territorial rule.