A top scientist warned that democracy is in danger of becoming a popularity contest that could see reality TV star Kim Kardashian elected as president.
Speaking at the 11th Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) in Singapore, British-Dutch physicist Sir Andre Geim said he believes that if the current trend continues, it will have a negative impact on society as a whole.
"You’ll find out the next president [of the United States] in 10 or 20 years could be Kim Kardashian because she has more followers than anyone else on the internet. We are moving into that kind of democracy in which people start voting by how many likes they have," he said.
You’ll find out the next president in 10 or 20 years could be Kim Kardashian because she has more followers than anyone else on the internet. We are moving into that kind of democracy in which people start voting by how many likes they have.
This year’s GYSS held lectures and panel discussions covering the fields of politics, science and technology.
Organised by the National Research Foundation from 17 to 20 January, topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), ethics of funding, inequality, advancements in science and politicians misconstruing truth were discussed.
The Summit was launched by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Chairman of the National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF), Mr Heng Swee Keat.
More than 350 participants attend sessions held on-site at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, and over 1,400 attended the conference virtually.
Young researchers from 29 countries across five continents engaged in open dialogues with some of the top minds around the world including recipients of the Nobel Prize, Fields Medal, Millennium Technology Prize, and Turing Award.
The rise of AI and working with technology
Referencing a book on AI, The Age of AI: And Our Human Future, Ambassador-at-Large with the Singapore Foreign Ministry Chan Heng Chee expressed her concern over how AI and technology could potentially overtake humans.
"The machine can make decisions for you in a war, even before the person thinks of pressing a button. That is extremely alarming," says Chan. She warns of the implications of generative AI on war.
As reported by The Economist, the rise of AI enabled weapons have the potential to upset the balance of global power in what is termed as an "artificial-intelligence-enabled warfare". This could foresee an even greater power struggle in politics.
Still, Chen elaborates on the added value to society when scientists and social scientists work hand in hand with technology, instead of against it.
Fake news and future diplomacy
Credibility of information and the spread of fake news was also a hot debate.
Panel speakers referenced American politician, George Santos, who is currently under investigation by federal, state, county and Brazilian authorities. Santos fabricated his biography as well as eviction and personal debt cases.
It’s bothersome that truth is now being degraded in many societies.
These false claims include personal information such as his ancestry, education, employment, charity work, property ownership, and claims of victimhood in crimes.
"It’s bothersome that truth is now being degraded in many societies," claims Chan.
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