Is artificial intelligence needed to replace politics?

Can artificial intelligence replace politicians? A quarter of French people say they would be ready to delegate government decisions to…algorithms.

More and more jobs are automated thanks to – or because of – artificial intelligence. Maybe next on the list is a politician. In any case if we are to believe the results of a dizzying study published by a research center at the University of Madrid on 2,500 people in 8 European countries.

To the question: “Would you be ready to let algorithms govern in place of your politicians?” 25% of French people answer yes, 30% in Germany, 43% in the Netherlands. A real feeling or just an expression of fed up with politicians?

An AI makes 9% in the elections in a city in Japan

The idea would be to develop computer programs capable of making cold and objective decisions based on thousands of parameters, based on the general interest, without flinching, without being influenced, and without going back on their promises. No longer men but “political machines”, cold, rational, incorruptible. It seems completely crazy, yet some people think about it.

In 2018, during the municipal elections, the city of Tama, Japan, 150,000 inhabitants, among the candidates was an AI. On the posters he took the form of a robot, with the program of carrying out an “impartial and objective” policy. He was not elected, but he still made 9%.

A simple decision aid?

Except that an artificial intelligence cannot make decisions, it has no judgment, nor moral sense. Human judgment, ethics cannot be computerized. In fact, AI will be useful, not to decide strictly speaking, but for decision support.

It is very good – much better than humans – at analyzing tons of data and drawing conclusions on the evolution of a situation or the public policies to be implemented. We can ask him questions like “how to optimize the transport network in a city or a country” to “Should retirement be increased to 65?” or even defining the optimal level of taxes and public expenditure so that the economy is doing well.

It will take into account thousands of parameters, imagine all the possible scenarios and give conclusions, detecting patterns invisible to even a trained human eye. We used it at the time of the “big debate”, after the yellow vests, to analyze and synthesize the hundreds of thousands of contributions from the French – often handwritten -, we used algorithms to try to understand the words or the sentences , and therefore the claims or proposals that come up most often, to bring them to the surface.

Automated speeches?

Algorithms can also be used to write speeches. In the United States, a researcher has even developed an algorithm capable of writing political speeches. A computer tool that we have fed with thousands of speeches and which is capable of creating one from scratch on a given theme. Finally, the job of a ministerial cabinet more than that of a politician strictly speaking. But she would (fortunately) be unable to make a decision on what to do in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Nor have a vision of their own, for the future of France for example.

These companies that are already starting to delegate power to algorithms

A few years ago, a very serious venture capital firm in Hong Kong appointed an IA to its board of directors, who has exactly the same voice, the same decision-making capacity as the other members of the board . Her name is Vital, and her job is to swallow masses of data and analyze the pros and cons of this company’s investment decisions in a totally objective and disinterested way, unlike humans, who are always biased. .

Even if, in fact, this “neutrality” is very debatable. An algorithm also always has biases, it is not a creation of the holy spirit, they are written by human beings, with their strengths, their weaknesses. There is an expression for that in computer science: we say “garbage in, garbage out”. Basically, if you feed garbage to software, it can only come out garbage.

Anthony Morel (edited by JA)

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Is artificial intelligence needed to replace politics?

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