According to a poll conducted by the Center for the Study of Governance Reforms at the University of Madrid, 51% of Europeans do not mind replacing at least some of their local parliamentarians with artificial intelligence (AI) systems or robots. Most of the supporters of this idea turned out to be in Spain, most of the opponents – in Great Britain. Experts note that the idea of introducing artificial intelligence into politics is growing in proportion to the decrease in trust in politicians who are seen as more and more corrupt and less competent.
Press the button – you will get the result
A study by the Center for the Study of Governance Reforms at IE University of Madrid surveyed 2,769 people in nine European countries, as well as the United States and China. The respondents were asked whether they want to reduce the number of deputies in their parliaments and whether it is possible to replace the vacated seats with artificial intelligence systems.
- Unlike Spain, Italy and Estonia, which showed the largest percentage of those who want to replace MPs with artificial intelligence (66%, 59% and 56%, respectively), in countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany, this the idea did not gain such popularity: 69%, 56% and 54% of respondents spoke against it, respectively.
- Opinions differ markedly and by age group: 60% of the surveyed Europeans aged 25-34 and 56% aged 34-44 supported the idea, while the majority of Europeans over 55 were against it.
- Outside Europe The replacement of AI deputies was supported by 75% of the surveyed residents of China, and 60% of the Americans surveyed were against.
When IE University conducted such a study in 2019, only 25% of Europeans surveyed were in favor of using AI in political decision-making. Lead author of the study and director of the center, Oscar Johnson, in an interview with CNBC, explained that he believes the reasons for such results are growing political polarization and information noise on the part of politicians, which in general reduces trust in them. “There is an increasingly popular opinion that politicians are getting worse, while many people know specific MPs who have been elected in their constituencies, and know who they are and what they do as MPs,” explained Mr. Johnson.
Many researchers speak about the tendency of decreasing trust in politicians. At the end of March, the American research center Pew Research presented the results of a survey of residents of the United States and some Western European countries on their attitude towards governments, the political system, democracy, etc. The survey was conducted in November-December among 4,100 adults in the United States , France, Germany and Great Britain.
The main conclusion of the study was that, regardless of the degree of satisfaction with their government, many respondents say that they see the need to reform the political systems of their countries.
To the question “Does your country’s political system need reforming?” 47% of respondents French answered that they needed major changes, and another 23% needed a complete reform. 25% of the French said they need small changes, and 6% do not see the need for changes at all. IN USA 65% of those surveyed believe that their political system needs either major changes or complete reform. In Great Britain such 47%, and those who want minor changes – 38%. In Germany the majority – 49% – want small changes, 35% want big changes, and 4% want a complete reform. To the question “Do you think most politicians are corrupt?” 67% of the Americans surveyed, 46% of the French, 45% of the British and 29% of the Germans answered in the affirmative.
A talking head that can’t lie
Well-known British AI researcher and chess player David Levy said at the end of 2019 that in the next 30 years, artificial intelligence will “replace human” in the British or American government. “When you think about what the president or prime minister should do, you understand that he needs to make decisions on economic issues, political issues, health care, transport, etc.,” the researcher believes. – These types of decisions, obviously, will be made by artificial intelligence, not humans, because AI is developing at such a rapid pace that even those problems that require human intuition or experience, it will learn to solve. It is possible to design an AI system that is well versed in how the economy, health care system, and medicine work, so each department in a ministry can be a specific AI program. And why then is a man in the White House needed?
In addition, such an AI system can always and freely communicate with people – everyone can ask a question and get an answer, which is much better than now, because I can’t just call Boris Johnson and ask him a question. “
The politicians themselves have already begun to use new means of communication that do not imply their physical presence at events – and this is not about ordinary videoconferences. In 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Prime Minister of Turkey, addressed his party’s supporters in a holographic image. The organizers of the pre-election rally reported that the politician wanted to take part in it, but due to the tight schedule he could not do it, so he recorded a video message. In 2017, one of the French presidential candidates, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spoke to voters simultaneously in several French cities using holograms.
Researchers at the University of Queensland (Australia) Frank Moles and Jonathan Roberts note that many politicians have long been preparing political speeches with the help of special speechwriters, for whom they only indicate the main points of their speech. According to Australian experts, artificial intelligence can easily cope with this task – back in 2016, scientists at the University of Massachusetts published a study in which they described an AI system capable of generating political speeches on a number of key issues, taking into account the preferences of representatives of the two largest US parties – the Democratic and Republican, for example, on immigration, energy independence, solving the problem of unemployment, etc. And in September last year, The Guardian journalists published a column that was written at their request and on a given topic with a special AI program – the GPT-3 language generator from the research OpenAI laboratories.
Frank Moles and Jonathan Roberts from the University of Queensland believe that in addition to the purely technical advantages of AI over government officials, such systems may also have a moral and ethical superiority, because an ordinary politician can lie or dissemble, bypassing sharp moments, using logical tricks, emotions, demagogy etc.
In this case, AI, according to researchers, will simply be “more honest” than a politician, since it is devoid of various human qualities and answers the voters’ questions on the merits.
In Russia, the idea of using AI as a politician has already attracted some public attention. In December 2017, the “Alice” campaign headquarters was created, the participants of which proposed to nominate Yandex’s voice assistant for the presidency of the Russian Federation. The artificial intelligence developer Alice, Yandex, had nothing to do with this initiative. The authors of the idea stated that the main idea and philosophy of the nomination of “Alice” is the possibility of forming a political system based on rational decisions that are made on the basis of clear algorithms. In addition, in an interview with Vedomosti, they noted that “they wanted to draw attention to artificial intelligence, as well as to the fact that now there is no worthy candidate in the country, so they offered an alternative.”