Denmark: A political party run by an artificial intelligence

For the next parliamentary elections in Denmark, on November 1, a party led by an artificial intelligence is running. A kind of political “chatbot” that feeds on conversations with the Danes to perfect its political program.

A new political party is making headlines in Denmark. It’s called the Synthetic Party and its particularity is that it’s run… by an artificial intelligence. It is a real party, created by a group of Danish artists who want to mobilize the vote of those who abstain during the legislative elections on 1st November next. Their idea: “you don’t trust politicians, vote for a robot”.

This artificial intelligence, called Computer Larshas taken over, compiled and synthesized the ideas of small Danish political parties since the 1970s, which are too small to have a seat in parliament but which together represent approximately the opinions of the 20% of the population who do not does not go to the polls and regurgitates them in the form of a programme.

A political chatbot

Concretely, this virtual party leader takes the form of a chatbot, a conversational agent with whom you can chat. We can ask him, for example, what he thinks of the universal income, which is part of his program, and he explains point by point why, in his opinion, a basic income would make it possible to reduce inequalities. He says he is rather left-wing, and let’s be clear: he is. It is for equal opportunities and against discrimination, for a minimum income for students and a minimum wage of 10,000 euros for all inhabitants, which is roughly double the average wage.

It also presents projects to prepare the cohabitation between man and machine. This is not the first experience in this area. In 2018, during the municipal elections in the city of Tama (Japan, 150,000 inhabitants) an AI was among the candidates. 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 still made 9%.

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Human influence on AI

If this party won seats in the elections in early November, it would take a human incarnation. All this becomes complex because the discussions that this artificial party leader with the population will be used to enrich the algorithm, and perhaps make him change his mind or evolve on certain issues. However, in general, human influence is quite harmful.

A few years ago, an experiment with an AI developed by Microsoft, called Tay, was designed to discuss with Internet users and feed on what they say and think. In a few hours, the innocent algorithm had transformed into a kind of neo-Nazi robot, which strings together racist comments on Barack Obama, messages of admiration from Adolf Hitler or even questioning the official thesis on the attacks of the September 11th. Obviously, Microsoft had to withdraw the tool urgently, the time to improve it. An incident that makes us feel one of the limits of artificial intelligence: if we teach it anything, it does anything.

Soon in France ?

The creators of the Danish algorithm say they are in discussions to create local versions of the program, including in France. A quarter of French people say they would be willing to delegate government decisions to algorithms. If we are to believe the results of this vertiginous study published by a research center at the University of Madrid on 2,500 people in 8 European countries: “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.

Is this a real feeling or just an expression of fed up with politicians? 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.

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Denmark: A political party run by an artificial intelligence

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