Poster for Political Uses for AI in Canada presentation info


The Pol Comm Tech Lab presents, in collaboration with the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society

There is a long tradition of political campaigns making use of technology to find supporters, strategically communicate their messages and win votes. From keeping track of information about potential voters while door knocking to social listening across Internet platforms, political campaigns collect and use data in important ways. As machine learning and artificial intelligence are advancing and becoming more accessible, we should expect political parties, civil society groups, and other political actors to start experimenting with these tools. In fact, they already have.

From deep fakes to detecting disinformation or harassment to voting predictions and sentiment analysis, AI-enabled technologies are playing an increasing role in democratic election processes.

A recently released report by PhD student Michelle Bartleman and Dr. Elizabeth Dubois, The Political Uses of AI in Canada aim to spark discussion and reflection on the ways AI has been and could be integrated into different phases of the election cycle. The report reviews political uses of AI and related technologies in Canada offering examples of a variety of specific cases. Critical challenges are outlined which help point toward next steps, building from the insights of five contributing scholars: Dr. Samantha Bradshaw, Dr. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Suzie Dunn, Dr. Fenwick McKelvey, Dr. Wendy H. Wong.  

Based on the findings of this Pol Comm Tech Lab’s report, Dr. Dubois will join Laura Tribe for a conversation about key cases highlighting specific uses of AI in the Canadian political context. This includes creating synthetic content, using AI-driven tools to analyze social media posts, polling and predicting elections, targeted political advertising, and more. This list is not exhaustive, and indeed, many applications of AI take place behind the closed doors of corporations, in the strategic war rooms of election campaigns, or are intentionally obscured making it harder to identify. The speakers will also reflect on the critical challenges and next steps for policy makers, tech companies, academics and the wider public.

This report and event are made possible with the support of the Scotiabank Fund for the AI and Society Initiative and University of Ottawa Research Chair in Politics, Communication and Technology.

Elizabeth Dubois portrait

About the Speaker

Elizabeth Dubois

Dr. Elizabeth Dubois is the University Research Chair in Politics, Communication and Technology and an Associate Professor in Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa where she runs the Pol Comm Tech Lab and is a Faculty member at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. Her work examines political uses of digital media including media manipulation, citizen engagement, and artificial intelligence. 

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About the Speaker

Laura Tribe

Laura Tribe is a Senior Technology Policy Fellow at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa. She is one of Canada’s leading digital policy advocates, and strongest voices representing the public interest in regulatory and policy spaces, most recently as the Executive Director of OpenMedia

If you require accommodation, please contact the event host as soon as possible.
Date and time
Jan 31, 2023
12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Format and location
The event will be recorded, and photos may be taken.
General public
This is a free event, open to everyone. However, registration is required.