Eduardo Albrecht
Political Anthropologist

My applied work uses AI software specifically designed to predict future political events. My theoretical work interrogates whether that is something we should be doing at all.

I am a senior fellow at the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), and teach at Mercy University, City University of New York (CUNY), and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).


Political Automation

In a forthcoming book, Political Automation: An Introduction to AI in Government and its Impact on Citizens (Oxford University Press), I explore expected effects of AI in government on state-citizen relations in the East, West, and Southern Hemisphere.

Governments increasingly use automated “bureaucratic bots” to produce decisions according to a set of programmed instructions. Government buildings, once staffed with hundreds of human office workers, will soon start to look (metaphorically) like the Tesla factory floor photographed here. As AI edges up the ladder of cognitive skills, increasingly complex policy-making functions will be taken over from human supervision, including on matters of national security and international peacekeeping.

Image credit: Nicholas Albrecht.


Prosthetic Ethnography

Prosthetic ethnography is a term I use to describe the process of co-calibrating algorithmic technologies with ethnographic experience. Doing so allows us to considerably expand the range of fieldwork and to achieve more interesting insights into the dynamics of political phenomena.

Specifically, I argue that by using software to collect and process large quantities of online language, satellite imagery, econometric, and political indicator data alongside ethnographic fieldwork among the social groups involved it is possible to find recurring patterns of human behavior and identify increased likelihood of future events.

Through this work I co-founded, and exited, two companies, Ethnographic Edge and Peloria Insights.


Articles published with abstracts and links to the full texts where available.



Information on conference and panel activity including presentations you can download where available.