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Can Democracy Survive the Polycrisis?

Around the world, people increasingly live with the sense that too much is happening, too fast. Chief among the sources of this growing angst are the rise of artificial intelligence, climate change, and Russia's war in Ukraine – each of which demands urgent attention from policymakers and political leaders.

NEW YORK – We are living in troubled times. Too much is happening too fast. People are confused. The Columbia University economic historian Adam Tooze has, indeed, popularized a word for it. He calls it a “polycrisis.”

The polycrisis has many sources. In my opinion the main source of the polycrisis afflicting the world today is artificial intelligence. Climate change comes second, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine qualifies as the third. The list is much longer but I’ll focus on these three. That should help reduce the confusion.

Artificial Intelligence

AI shocked the world when Microsoft made ChatGPT freely available to the public through an associated company called OpenAI. That was in November 2022. ChatGPT posed an existential threat to Google’s business model. Google went into overdrive to release a competing product as soon as possible.