Our Top Insights from Fall 2023

Explore our most popular research and commentary.

Whether it’s reflecting on how AI technologies and policies will impact democracy, examining global truth-telling and reconciliation efforts, or collecting unique datasets on nonviolent protests, our scholars are working at the forefront of some of the most consequential policy debates around the world today. At Ash, we’re always working to connect our scholarship to the world of practice.

We encourage you to take a look at these top research insights from our scholars below. Visit our website to stay up to date on the latest Ash research.

When Democracy Breaks: Studies in Democratic Erosion and Collapse, From Ancient Athens to the Present
Fallen columns with a moving arrow in the bottom right corner

By Archon Fung, David Moss, and Odd Arne Westad, available via open-access June 2023

In this book, the authors explore eleven episodes of democratic breakdown, ranging from ancient Athens to Weimar Germany to present-day Turkey, Russia, and Venezuela.

How AI Could Take Over Elections—And Undermine Democracy
Photo of "open AI" homepage with moving arrow in bottom right corner

By Archon Fung and Lawrence Lessig, July 2023

In an article for The Conversation, Ash Center Director Archon Fung and Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig introduce Clogger, a hypothetical political campaign in a black box.

Is democracy in decline? Kennedy School professors voice optimism and concerns
Photo of Archon, David Moss, and Scott Mainwaring with a play sign over it

Featuring Archon Fung, Pippa Norris, and Tarek Masoud, July 2023

From polarization to populism, democracy is facing off against formidable foes and we need big ideas to save it says expert panel.

Disclosure Dilemmas: AI Transparency is No Quick Fix
Photo of spines of books with a moving arrow in bottom right corner

By Mary Graham, August 2023

In a new essay, Mary Graham argues that transparency measures can help curtail AI-related risks but not overnight — transparency efforts require sustained, long-term engagement and effort.

5 ways that College Campuses Benefit from diversity, equity and inclusion programs
Photo of classroom chairs with a moving arrow in the bottom right corner

By Erica Licht, September 2023

In an article for The Conversation, Erica Licht shares five ways that DEI programs have made a difference at colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

An Aspirational Path for American Conservatism

Cover of the report with a moving arrow in the bottom right cornerBy Stephen Goldsmith and Ryan Streeter, September 2023

In this working paper, Stephen Goldsmith and Ryan Streeter argue that the Republican Party is philosophically adrift, and it has been for a while, which is not only bad for the Party’s political future but bad for the country and its democracy by depriving voters of meaningful choice in ideas.

The 2023 Slomoff Lectureship Delivered by Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Cover of the lecture with a moving arrow in the bottom right cornerBy Khalil Gibran Muhammad, October 2023

Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad delivered the 2023 Slomoff Lectureship at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he focused on his forthcoming study examining global justice, truth-telling, and healing work.

David Souter showed the Supreme Court how to free itself from politics
Photo of a Supreme Courthouse with a moving arrow in the bottom right corner

By Danielle Allen, November 2023

Danielle Allen’s op-ed on the Supreme Court acknowledges the importance of the Court’s code of ethics while also arguing for the implementation of term limits for the justices.

Ten Ways AI Will Change Democracy
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By Bruce Schneier, November 2023

In a new essay, Harvard Kennedy School’s Bruce Schneier goes beyond AI-generated disinformation to detail other novel ways in which AI might alter how democracy functions.

Mini-Public Selection: Ask What Randomness Can Do for You
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By Bailey Flanigan, Paul Gölz, Ariel Procaccia, November 2023

In this essay, the authors explore approaches for intentionally designing randomness to promote specific goals, such as increasing fairness, transparency, non-manipulability, and richness of representation in mini-publics.

Latest updates and data on Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian protests
Photo of charts of data on nonviolent action with moving arrow in bottom right corner

By Jay Ulfelder, November 2023

The Nonviolent Action Lab’s Crowd Counting Consortium shared their most recent data on pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protests held across the country since October 7th.

Advancing a People-First Economy
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Featuring Cornell William Brooks and Megan Minoka Hill, November 2023

This new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S), draws on insights from Harvard Kennedy School’s Cornell Brooks, Hauser Professor of the Practice of Nonprofit Organizations; and Megan Minoka Hill, Senior Director of the Project on Indigenous Governance and Development.