It’s only a matter of time before artificial intelligence takes over the political system. I remember when I was a teenager reading a science fiction story about a future black president who was able to campaign in every household simultaneously by using specially programmed, surrogate holograms that actually spent time with each family answering their questions and giving them inspiring speeches about his policies, while sitting around their kitchen tables.
Although this may seem far-fetched, our last presidential election, where various candidates used computer algorithms on different social media to connect with those they scientifically targeted as their followers or sympathizers, is just the beginning toward reaching the heights of artificial intelligence run campaigns, similar to those I read about in the science fiction short stories decades ago.
Created to Duplicate the Candidate
Imagine first: programming a particular avatar, which is created to duplicate the candidate in looks, mannerisms and personality, then programming it with every possible and conceivable question that would or could be asked by a potential voter, friendly or unfriendly. Make it an app, which millions will download and open in a few seconds.
The answers the AI surrogate candidate spouts out to potential voters would be carefully crafted not unlike what politicians do today. The questions, or course, wouldn’t be directly answered, but they would be finessed to the point of satisfying the average, potential voter, with a special emphasis on giving a voter much of what he or she wanted to hear, reinforcing their own prejudices. This way, a candidate could interact with literally millions of people simultaneously giving each his or her personal attention and hopefully getting their individual approval.
This kind of app-driven, AI surrogate campaign would be a perfect fit in a world full of attention-span deficient millenniums, who spend 90% of their time looking down at their phones. Not only that, the candidate’s artificial intelligence avatar would be available 24/7. After each engagement, the avatar would then provide a link for the potential voter to register online to vote, along with the address of the closest voting poll, including their hours. And of course, a call to action!
These types of pitches are already being made by politicians in a more primitive way by offering online position papers and links to voter registration sites and local voting polls. Just imagine what a fully equipped, AI, hologram candidate could do in today’s world of instant gratification, online streaming and masses of under educated, politically naïve voters.
Impossible to be Outlawed of Stopped
Of course, you could expect that those on the losing side of any political election will cry foul and try to have such methods outlawed for the other side. But this will be almost impossible to police. Hackers and various nonaffiliated groups that are back secretly by different political parties and foreign countries could easily set up high-rated sites where the hologram AI candidates could even conceivably debate each other. Think about it: isn’t that basically what is happening now in the real world? None of the candidates actually debate one another. All they do in a controlled, preset environment is simply state and restate their carefully crafted policy statements over and over again. There’s a real possibility that the AI candidates might even be more candid and more fun to watch. A perfectly new bread-and-circuses treat for all of us!
So, all of the feigned horror being displayed by various political groups about the use of social media trolls and fake news to influence an election is but the stuff that crocodile tears are made of. To me, this is just the beginning of a new era of politics in the United States and the world, where computer algorithms, social media, fake news and people with hidden agendas dominate our elections. I wish it weren’t so, but I’m waiting for someone to prove to me it is otherwise. We will be touching on this subject from time to time, especially as we move closer to the raging mad political season.
© 2018 Chet Dembeck