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British voters faced a crowded field of 13 candidates in a special election for a Parliament seat. One, independent Andrew Gray, used artificial intelligence to come up with campaign promises that he says reflect what residents want.
Gray, who says he has no policies of his own, crowdsourced constituents’ sentiments and used machine learning to come up with his political manifesto. He calls the technology a faster and fairer way for politicians to widely reflect the views of the people they represent.
“We can interact with our constituents in a whole new way,” Gray said. “It doesn’t change necessarily the role of the representative. It just means that we kind of know what’s going on much more quickly and we can represent them more fairly.”
Gray’s policies, developed with the use of Pol.is software, included a call for higher taxes, a radical overhaul of the state-funded National Health Service and closer ties with the European Union, which Britain left three and half years ago.
Gray says Pol.is “isn’t ChatGPT,” one of the new generative AI systems that have dazzled users with the ability to produce text, images and video mimicking human work. “It’s just slightly more sophisticated polling than what is already happening.”
Gray uses Pol.is to canvass residents on local issues through his website. People can comment on a topic, such as internet speeds. Other users can click “agree,” “disagree” or “pass/unsure.” They can’t respond directly but can post their own comments.
As the conversation builds, Pol.is uses machine learning in real time to group the statements, mapping them out to show where there are gaps between viewpoints as well as areas of agreement, which ideally can encourage consensus.
With the election expected to be hard-fought between the main U.K. parties, Gray was realistic about his chances. But if he had been elected, Gray would have used the technology to take his district’s temperature “on a weekly basis.”
Keegan McBride, an expert on digital transformation and government at the Oxford Internet Institute who has worked with Pol.is, said the technology is useful for building consensus but works better when more users are involved.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.