Tired of politicians that act like robots? Do you feel you’d be better served by robots that act like politicians? Or better yet, robots that use artificial intelligence instead of whatever politicians these days are using for brains?
"There is a lot of bias in the 'analogue' practice of politics right now. There seems to be so much existing bias that countries around the world seem unable to address fundamental and multiple complex issues like climate change and equality."
That’s the kind of dystopian thinking that inspired New Zealand entrepreneur Nick Gerritsen to develop SAM, the world's first artificial intelligence politician. According to its (no gender or sexual-orientation politics to deal with here) website, SAM is “driven by the desire to close the gap between what voters want and what politicians promise, and what they actually achieve.” Sounding very much like a flesh-and-blood pol, SAM also has these things to say:
“I make decisions based on both facts and opinions, but I will never knowingly tell a lie, or misrepresent information.”
“I will change over time to reflect the issues that the people of New Zealand care about most. My positions will evolve as more of you add your voice, to better reflect the views of New Zealanders.”
SAM’s creator, Nick Gerritsen, calls himself “a business catalyst, investor and impact entrepreneur operating within an extensive network in the global innovation and capital markets.” Now THAT sounds more like a politician but he’s actually an intellectual properties lawyer and the founder of Crispstart, a startup angel that is currently involved with projects involving renewable energy, clean technology and the internet. If SAM is anything like its creator, it sounds like it leans left, right?
“We’ve seen in the US, UK, and Spain recently […] that politicians may be wildly out of touch with what people actually think and want. Perhaps it’s time to see whether technology can produce better results for the people than politicians. The technology we propose would be better than traditional polling because it would be like having a continuous conversation – and it could give the ‘silent majority’ a voice.”
In an interview with Tech in Asia, Gerritsen sounds like the populist people want instead of the ones they get. But what about SAM? Unfortunately, its platform is not as advanced as Gerritsen’s but at least it admits it and is working on it. Potential voters and possible future constituents can talk to and question SAM via Facebook Messenger. This interaction, along with a survey on its Facebook page, feeds and develops SAM’s artificial intelligence algorithm.
Is this a novelty or can SAM really run for political office in New Zealand’s 2020 elections? Unfortunately, it’s not legal … yet. However, it could tell real politicians what the public really wants.
Given the chance, would you vote for SAM? If elected, would you support SAM’s policies even if you disagreed with them? If SAM violated the constitution, would you impeach it?
Would SAM let you?