Throughout the twentieth century, genocide became a frequent occurrence with millions massacred. This has continued into the twentieth-first century, where perpetrators engage in the intentional mass killing of particular groups in society. Such events are not sudden occurrences but take place under particular circumstances developed over time.

To help recognize the evolution of genocidal processes and prevent future tragedies, American scholar Gregory H. Stanton developed the theory of “ten stages of genocide,” which describe the different stages leading up to a genocide. The stages are as follows: (1) classification; (2) symbolization; (3) discrimination; (4) dehumanization; (5) organization; (6) polarization; (7) preparation; (8) persecution; (9) extermination; and (10) denial. This process is not necessarily linear, and stages may occur in parallel to each other.

The authors of the article attempt to demonstrate the role that artificial intelligence (AI) can play throughout that process in terms of how it can exacerbate the situation or prevent its escalation. In particular, AI in relation to (1) the media and (2) surveillance is discussed given that both appear to be the most common features within the ten stages. While there are of course other AI tools that may be employed throughout the genocidal process, they will not be the focus of the paper. The paper merely attempts to introduce its readers to and raise awareness of the ten stages of genocide, providing a detailed overview of said stages, in addition to how AI vis-à-vis the media and surveillance may play a role in the process.

The article is the third piece in the series of reflections, prepared by the group of interns of the Budapest Centre, which aims to illustrate the role of AI in fighting mass atrocities. The authors hope that the document will also contribute to the research planned by the Budapest Centre within the Initiative “Multipolar Task Force.”

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