Here’s how politics in America works: The Donkeys (Democratic National Committee or DNC) and Elephants (Republican National Committee or RNC) have carefully constructed two purely hypothetical and illusory public facades for us to either identify with or reject. Usually we identify with one and reject the other. To help us make up our minds at election times like this, the two parties spend many millions of dollars trying to tear holes in each other’s gigantic gas bags. After the elections the winners set about doing whatever they want by totally disregarding all the expensive rhetoric that brought them to victory.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
Bear with me. What follows may strike you at first as ludicrous and non-sensical, but I guarantee there is a kernel of usefulness that we can harvest and take with us. It all starts with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and admittedly these early examples are quite silly.
There are already virtual politicians. New Zealand has one called Sam, and Russia has Alisa. They are AI-powered bots that voters “talk” to. They are not serious candidates. They are anthropomorphic representations of actual politicians.
The Danish have gone New Zealand and Russia one better. They have founded a political party, called the Synthetic Party, that centers around an AI chatbot named Lars. Lars has been created by the MindFuture Foundation, and Lars is different from the tongue in cheek politicians mentioned above in one very important respect. Lars has political opinions that are data driven.
The Synthetic Party has programmed Lars on the policies gleaned from Danish fringe parties since 1970. In other words, Lars, if elected, would represent a largely under-represented dataset of Danish people who have been politically motivated enough to have political opinions but not rich or powerful enough to get elected.
Sure, the term fringe tells us all we need to know. Lars would represent the nutcase unelectables, but isn’t that what true Democracy is all about?
I did ask you to bear with me, so here goes: Imagine with me a second, third, or fourth generation of Lars, Lars 2.0. Lars 2.0 could be programmed to amalgamate our best opinions and thoughts about constructive, efficient, and effective governance. Lars 2.0 would use crowd sourcing of opinions to create a much more complete picture of Representation, a capital D Democracy if you will. This could be very much better than the fake system of Representation we suffer from today.
For one thing, we wouldn’t have to argue any more.