“HE KNOWS NOTHING, AND THINKS HE KNOWS EVERYTHING”. George Bernard Shaw, in his work Major Barbara, described the essence of some of our feelings towards politicians. In an increasingly digitalized world, politicians fear data and the almost magical answers derived from complex algorithms and monstrous machines that require only some human interpretation. If we can already develop an understanding from the numbers giving us an almost precise answer to some of our problems – do we really need that “human touch”? Do we need a fancily dressed gentlemen or gentlewoman acting as a middleman to those answers? It’s a debate that will continue as we progress towards an AI-driven future . . . but to what extent? Are politics the next area that will be replaced by AI? If replacement will ever occur, we first need acceptance; a gradual acceptance of the idea of “AI politicians” is already happening in Sweden with a new report, being fully released in September, suggesting that one million Swedes are positive to the idea. . . Are you?
Today was the last day of the intense annual political gathering known as “Almedalen Week” where a plethora of events related to politics occur; speeches, debates, seminars and more in a small park on the island of Gotland. It is usually known for controversy surrounding the fringe political groups that arrive to make their presence felt with the media highlighting debates about why or why not the radicals should be allowed to take part. The week, fortunately, hosts a number of interesting talks that can give another perspective to issues facing Sweden and our planet. Evolvera tuned in to watch a live stream associated with the group of IT-related companies known as Sigma AB – it was titled Are Swedes open to AI politicians and robot police? The presentation was based on Sigma’s The Tomorrow Report, partnered with Sifo, which will be fully released in September with the findings in more detail, but they have already released some sensational statistics that should leave one to think about. The survey shows, among other things, that 1 million Swedes can imagine having AI-based politicians and that every fifth Swedish person could potentially imagine having a robot police soon.
The background of the presentation laid out some interesting, yet alarming numbers that are facing Sweden in the coming years. 70 000 people are needed in Sweden in the field of IT by the year 2022 and they highlighted that as it stands – the workforce quotas are in danger of outsourcing, as well as a skewed interest amongst the genders in tech & IT – the male population shows a higher degree compared to females (as is the case throughout much of the West). Sigma also emphasized that much of the hi-tech associated with the future is already established in society and their methodology was based on the participants in the survey being aware of what we already have in the present. 2000 Swedes were questioned deeply regarding the areas of: digitalisation, education, e-health, AI, politics and the police. The latter three areas were in focus throughout the presentation and what was sensational were the findings about AI politicians and police in the sample group. Here are some of those results:
- 15% of respondents were positive about AI police.
- 20% of men could imagine AI police happening.
- 8% of women had the same attitude.
- 10% of Sweden’s population have a favourable outlook on AI politicians.
- 13% of men are positive to having a test-period of AI politicians.
- 8% of women could be open to AI-based political decisions.
Earlier this year, Futurism reported that a quarter of Europeans trust AI more than politicians, which was based on a Spanish report. We do acknowledge that the terminology about what an AI politician entails in their survey remains unclear, as we’ll have to wait until September for the full findings, but the premise about an AI politician evokes questions about politics being yet another area that is replaced by AI. Will future political unrest happen due to some humans being discontent with the algorithm of a certain AI politician that has a more “robotic bias”, making decisions that benefit our future AI overlords? Will we see the rise of an AI dictator that comes in at a time of an existential threat? If Europeans trust AI more than politicians, there should be an experimental phase where this could be tested. Perhaps, in a small village or community. The ideal AI politician has not been unveiled to the world and we are still lagging in that regard but the one million optimistic Swedes will have to wait until their idealized creation comes into fruition. Lastly, the idea of AI police, or even robots, have already been tested in California this year, it was dubbed the HP Robocop that could monitor and surveil public parks and city buildings.
Evolvera – always changing, always evolving . . .