Safeguarding Democracy in an Era of AI and Digital Disinformation: A Conversation with Maria Ressa


Location: Smith Ballroom, Morris Inn and Livestream (View on map )

A headshot of Maria Ressa. She wears a black turtleneck and black blazer, and is smiling at the camera.

Featuring: Maria Ressa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Co-Founder and CEO of Rappler; Distinguished Policy Fellow, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame

Moderator: Andrés Mejía Acosta, Kuster Family Associate Dean for Policy and Practice and Associate Professor, Political Economy of Development, Keough School of Global Affairs

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In this lecture and the conversation that follows, Maria Ressa will explore key challenges facing international information ecosystems and global democracy. She will discuss the possibility of developing artificial intelligence (AI) that respects truth and dissent, instead of enabling insidious manipulation for profit, and offer strategies for resisting the threat of AI-powered surveillance, persuasion, and control.

Drawing on her personal experiences fighting online disinformation and facing the weaponization of the law against journalists, Ressa illustrates the ways technology companies play a role in distorting truth and fraying our fragile democratic systems. Ressa provides an urgent call to action to harness technology for good, before irreparable damage is done.

A reception and book signing will follow the conversation.

About Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, the top digital only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. As Rappler’s CEO, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail ten times to stay free.

Ressa was recently appointed a distinguished policy fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs.

In October 2021, she was one of two journalists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace." In 2022, she was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to the Leadership Panel of the Internet Governance Forum and serves as its Vice-Chair.

She is an inaugural Carnegie Distinguished Fellow at Columbia University’s newly launched Institute of Global Politics, where she leads projects related to artificial intelligence and democracy. In July 2024, she will join the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs as a professor of professional practice.

Ressa authored Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook. Her most recent book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator, was released in November 2022 and has been translated into 20 languages.

This event is co-sponsored by the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Event Livestream