This Entrepreneur Wants You to Elect His AI Bot to British Parliament

This Entrepreneur Wants You to Elect His AI Bot to British Parliament

AI isn’t just running lots of your favorite software applications these days. In some parts of the world, it’s actually running for office.

Yes, currently, if you’re a Brit, you can vote to elect something called “AI Steve,” a digital avatar of a real person—entrepreneur and political hopeful Steve Endacott—to a seat in the British Parliament. AI Steve is actually on the ballot this year, running as an independent, and on his website, he offers interested voters the opportunity to chat with him via a generative AI portal, as well as submit policy suggestions, which can then, hypothetically, be subsumed into the avatar’s political platform.

The only problem is that AI Steve can’t actually participate in the bedrock stuff of politics, things like going to rallies or attending meetings. You know, because he’s a computer program. So Endacott, the guy that the avatar is based on, will be attending those rallies and meetings in AI Steve’s place. On his website, AI Steve admits that “Steve Endacott, a Sussex Entrepreneur, has created many of the initial policy ideas and will ‘physically’ attend Parliament to vote on policies as guided by AI.”

AI Steve was actually designed by a company called Neural Voice which, Wired reports, is currently chaired by Endacott. The outlet also notes how Endacott hopes to use his digital avatar to help collect and analyze input from his potential constituents:

AI Steve will transcribe and analyze conversations it has with voters and put issues of policy forward to “validators,” or regular people who can indicate whether they care about an issue or want to see a certain policy enacted…While Endacott says that he expects his own opinions or policy preferences may differ from those of AI Steve at some point, he says he is committed to voting in line with the constituent preferences as expressed through AI Steve.

In many ways, Endacott appears to be playing the same game that numerous American political candidates have played recently, where they use AI to draw headlines and viral attention. For many would-be politicians, an AI wouldn’t be useful as anything other than a shiny bauble to draw eyeballs to a campaign website. Admittedly, Endacott has taken his use of the technology significantly further than any of his contemporaries by claiming that you can actually vote for the software that is supposedly aiding his campaign.

If AI Steve somehow gets elected to Parliament, Endacott will continue to “fill in” for his algorithmic doppelganger, though the details of just how this odd power-sharing relationship will be negotiated in the future are admittedly vague. Gizmodo reached out to Endacott (er, I mean AI Steve) for further information and will update this story when he responds.

Image: iStock

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