Eduardo Albrecht

  • Associate Dean, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Associate Professor and Director, International Relations and Diplomacy

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Focus Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Conflict Resolution, AI Governance, Emerging Technologies, Democracy & Civil Society

Eduardo Albrecht is a political anthropologist with a history of work across government, non-profit, academic, and multilateral organizations. His research focuses on uses of artificial intelligence in state and international organization decision-making processes. He has served as visiting fellow at the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) and the International Peace Institute (IPI), and has worked for various national governments (Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom) and the World Bank leading research teams and gaining direct experience designing innovative AI-based governance tools.

His research has been presented at venues including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and numerous other organizations as well as dozens of academic conferences organized by leading political and social science associations.

Since receiving his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London in 2010 he has published a wide variety of academic papers, policy publications, and full-length monographs. His most recent publications with United Nations University's Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) look at how multilateral organizations may seek to strengthen their predictive capacity in ethical and inclusive ways.

His new book, Political Automation: An Introduction to AI in Governance and its Impact on Citizens (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2024) investigates uses of AI to produce public policy decisions in a range of geographic contexts and seeks to better theorize the changing role of citizens in the act of policy production. The book is the first to utilize an ethnographic framework to compare the impact of AI technology on changing state-citizen relations in the West, East, and Southern Hemisphere.

In the past he has researched political protest patterns in Southern Europe, conducted fieldwork among North Korean defectors in East Asia, and studied connections between online behavior and social unrest in Sub-Saharan Africa. His research is situated at the crossroads of political anthropology, digital humanities, and international studies.

SOAS, University of London 2010
Ph.D. Department of Anthropology and Sociology

SOAS, University of London 2001
M.A. Department of Anthropology and Sociology

John Cabot University, Rome 1999
B.A. Department of International Affairs

Dr Albrecht is involved in applied ethnographic work that uses AI software specifically designed to predict future instances of political unrest. This mixed methodology uses natural language processing and machine learning to collect large quantities of online language data, which is then modeled alongside other types of data, including satellite imagery and econometric indicators, to predict future instances of such phenomena as electoral violence, labor action, ethnic clashes, and violent extremism. Simultaneously, ethnographic fieldwork is conducted with the social groups involved to constantly revise the models and better understand events. The main argument is that by co-calibrating algorithmic analyses with ethnographic experience it is possible to considerably expand the field through what he has termed “prosthetic ethnography” and to achieve statistically relevant predictive and explanatory capacity.