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Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang discusses AI and democracy in New York

Tang discusses pros and cons of AI, admits public needs greater vigilance toward cybersecurity

Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang appears at Concordia Summit. (CNA photo)

Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang appears at Concordia Summit. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang (唐鳳) delivered a speech about "Digital Democracy in the Age of AI" at the Concordia Summit in New York on Tuesday (Sept 19).

Tang’s 10-minute speech discussed how unscrupulous groups have harvested personal information and violated privacy laws, even using AI and deepfake tactics to further autocratic goals. Tang, however, believes there’s "another side of the coin" as technology can also be used to revitalize the bandwidth of democracy and promote more diversity and collaboration, per UDN.

Tang also discussed Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations (U.N.), calling for the group to immediately abandon "narrow and outdated political considerations" and for all nations to begin working together to change the world for collective benefit.

"I firmly believe that we must not sacrifice at any point the principles of participation, progress, and security. After all, no democracy is an island, and Taiwan is no exception."

Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang discusses AI and democracy in New York
MODA Minister Audrey Tang delivers speech in New York. (CNA photo)

In response to the development of AI, Tand said Taiwan has strengthened the use of Polis (an AI-powered survey platform). It has also become a partner in the Collective Intelligence Project (CIP) for developing new governance models and has participated in the Alignment Assemblies to build consensus on AI needs and risks.

Tang said Taiwan’s Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) has also proactively invited private and public groups to come together to brainstorm the potential benefits and social risks brought by AI. Special attention has been paid to protecting freedom, democracy, and human rights for future generations.

Following the speech, Tang accepted an interview with the Central News Agency (CNA) noting that Taiwan will hold a presidential election in January next year, and the international community is particularly concerned about whether China will utilize new technologies to influence the election.

Tang said that after a visit by former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August 2022, a number of official Taiwan websites were temporarily paralyzed, along with other examples of tampering, a direct example of cross-border cyber attacks.

To combat such threats, the National Institute of Cyber Security (NICS) worked in real time to prevent false information from affecting more people. Ultimately, Tang conceded cybersecurity experts will need to work in partnership with the public to prevent such false information from affecting the public.

"We cannot solely rely on professional cyber security personnel, as it's also very important for the public to raise their own awareness of cyber security."