Should we replace our lawmakers with robots? Should we vote for an artificial intelligence candidate over a human candidate? When these questions came across my path, I found them amusing. Then, I realised that there was so much to think about within these considerations that they deserved more attention.
Younger generations may be more supportive of replacing legislators and heads of state with artificial intelligence (AI), whereas older generations may be less so. Some young people believe that artificial intelligence will be less manipulative. After all, computers and AI technologies have yet to be taught to be argumentative.
Politicians and others in positions of public leadership are experts at dodging questions. They are good at twisting narratives to achieve predetermined objectives or benefits. The use of technology to shape public discourse, whether positive or negative, is not new and there are plenty of studies and literature indicating that artificial intelligence has been widely used to manipulate citizens in general election campaigns.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, used a hologram of himself to hold virtual rallies in multiple locations at the same time, each with a different message for a different group of people. In the 2008 Russian elections, there was a virtual presidential candidate named ‘Alice’. Another example of effective use of technology is Queen Elizabeth's hologram in the golden carriage for the Platinum Jubilee celebration.
The American writer Joshua Dave, who wrote the article ‘Let’s Elect an AI President’ published in May 2017, debated on the topic around rapid decision, proper and accountable responses to citizens’ needs, and the elimination of corruption from the political process. So, contextualising the political implications of automated structures and positive or negative results would influence state-society relations, but could also tilt towards governments exploring and exploiting automated structures for dominance. There is the possibility that society would sleep-walk into a state of alienation. Well, that already can happen with or without AI in any political system.
Based on data from users’ behaviours on social media, individuals create their unique communication and psycho-graphic profile on the Internet, showcasing their emotional triggers to different messages. Psychologists are compiling a large body of knowledge on human-computer interaction in order to assist machines in becoming more social and pleasant. As a result, the problem is how people use technology because those who develop AI software and technologies attach their beliefs, morals, and assumptions to AI models of function. The programming constraints, whether they are intentional or not, come from humans. There are algorithms, bots, trolls, and other types of predictive analytics that do a fantastic job of presenting data.
AI has been used to replace humans in many aspects of life, from assisted surgeries to self-driving cars, and research robots are being used in paralegal fields, surveillance, bomb squads, and so on. Police forces all over the world are using artificial intelligence to predict where crimes will occur and who will commit them. AI software can also collect biased information and produce questionable results.
Whether virtual politicians and lawmakers can do better in their jobs is open for debate. There are numerous and contradictory discussions about complex issues such as climate change, equality, human rights, fake news, and, sadly, the global decline in journalism. The use of AI in politics - and social media platforms- will not go away; rather, it will expand and be reframed for individual and group purposes. AI is too valuable to ignore; the deeper question is about its dangers and possibilities.
No nation would want or allow a non-human to be its leader – I guess. The technological and scientific breakthroughs since the initial research project on AI in 1956 have been remarkable. The future of technology combined with human psychology is still producing unimaginable possibilities.
The writer is a journalist, academic, researcher in media studies