Boycott the Bots: Local Government Surveillance AI Boycott Campaign
A low-cost, high-impact campaign to awaken local governments to the existential risk of pervasive surveillance AI.
Updated July 6, 2023
The “Boycott the Bots” campaign harnesses the power of distressed citizens to expose the increasing threat of surveillance AI and its existential risk. We will boycott all smart devices, surveillance gadgets and systems that local governments rely upon to abet AI’s omnipresence. By striking at the heart of AI’s influence - data, we aim to show these governments our firm stance against unregulated AI and inspire a public debate.
Boycott the Bots is a widely inclusive, affordable, and practical campaign that capitalizes on the power of collective action to influence local government policy and shift public opinion. Our target is any product or service that enables local governments to collect and analyze data on its citizens through AI systems. These include smart TVs, home assistants, surveillance cameras, social media platforms, and more. By boycotting these devices and platforms, we aim to starve the AI systems of the fuel they need most - data.
Theory for Why This Campaign Will Create Change
Our campaign leans heavily on the principles of civil disobedience and collective impact. By refusing to participate in a system that threatens our autonomy and freedom, we are asserting our power as citizens. This principle has been demonstrated in numerous historical protests such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, where African Americans refused to use the public transit system to protest racial segregation.
Sample Viral Social Media Post from the Campaign
“Don’t let AI decide your future. Refuse to be watched. Refuse to be just data. Join us in our stand against the unchecked AI surveillance by local governments. #BoycottTheBots”
Sample Press Release Announcing Campaign to Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The unrestrained growth of surveillance AI presents a looming existential risk. Pervasive surveillance, paired with AI’s insatiable appetite for data, has created a tech leviathan. To combat this, we announce the launch of our ‘Boycott the Bots’ campaign, an action-oriented movement aimed at starving these AI systems of their lifeblood - data. We call upon every citizen to refuse to be a mere data point in the vast digital cosmos.
Story Written in the First Person Perspective
I wake up to a world that watches my every move, a world where my freedoms are silently stolen by unseen eyes. I can no longer ignore the existential threat that surveillance AI has become. This is why I’ve joined the ‘Boycott the Bots’ campaign. I refuse to be a willing participant in a system that values data over humanity.
How Will Opponents to This Campaign Try to Stop It
Opponents, mainly tech companies and local governments benefiting from AI surveillance, will try to discredit our cause, arguing the necessity of AI for safety and convenience. They may also attempt to undermine our concerns by promising vague regulations.
How Should Activists Respond to Opponent’s Attempts to Stop It
We must respond with facts, highlighting credible studies and reports showcasing the risks of unregulated AI. We must also leverage our collective strength and continue to effectively boycott surveillance products and services until meaningful legislative changes are enacted.
What Are the Steps Necessary to Launch the Campaign
The campaign will begin with an awareness-raising phase through social media and local community discussions. Next, we will organize a day of massive boycott, where all participants will turn off their smart devices. These steps will be followed by regular updates on the progress of the campaign, further calls to action, and a continuous education campaign to keep the public engaged. It’s time to show that we are more than data, we are humans who value our freedom.