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The Human Imperative: Power, Freedom and Democracy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


Title: The Human Imperative
Subtitle: Power, Freedom and Democracy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Subject Classification: Artificial Intelligence, Politics and Government, Technology
BIC Classification: UYQ, JP, TB
BISAC Classification: COM004000, POL063000, SOC063000
Binding: Hardback, Paperback, ebook, pp.602
Publication date: 31st July 2023
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-80441-195-7
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-80441-447-7
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-196-4

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This important new book is about power in the age of Artificial Intelligence. It looks at what the new technical powers that have accrued over the last decades mean for the freedom of people and for our democracies. AI must not be considered in isolation, but rather in a very specific context; the concentration of economic and digital-technological power that we see today. Analysis of the effects of AI requires that we take a holistic view of the business models of digital technologies, and of the power they exercise.

Technology, economic power, and political power are entering into ever closer symbiosis. Digital technologies and their corporate masters now know more than people know about themselves, or governments know about the world. These technologies accumulate more and more decision-making powers. Taken together this leads to a massive asymmetry of knowledge and power in the relationship between man and machine.

The classical models of action and decision-making in democratic societies are being gradually undermined by such developments. In a new way, the question of the control of technical power arises.

This is the first book to look in detail in a holistic way at the challenges of digital power and Artificial Intelligence to Democracy and Liberties, and to set out what can and needs to be done about these challenges in terms of engineering ethics, and democratic action of policy making and legislation.

Key audiences are scholars in media sciences, political sciences, computer sciences and engineering, law and philosophy as well as policy makers, corporate and civil society leaders and the educated public.

Adapted and updated from the original German language book “Prinzip Mensch – Macht, Freiheit und Demokratie im Zeitalter der Künstlichen Intelligenz“, published 2020 by Verlag J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. GmbH


Author: Professor Paul Nemitz is Principal Advisor in the European Commission, Brussels and Visiting Professor of Law at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium. He is the author of Constitutional democracy and technology in the age of artificial intelligence, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 2018. Matthias Pfeffer is a Philosopher and Journalist, based in Berlin, Germany


"Paul Nemitz and Matthias Pfeffer make an excellent analysis of the current and emerging ethical challenges that come along with society's digitization. Their insights are clear and constructive. A remarkable piece of work."

- Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Executive Director, Project Liberty Institute. Member of the Scientific Committee, Digital, Governance and Sovereignty Chair of the university of Sciences Po

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