NewsAI candidate Steve shakes up UK elections with voter-driven policies

AI candidate Steve shakes up UK elections with voter-driven policies

Virtual candidate in the elections to the British House of Commons
Virtual candidate in the elections to the British House of Commons
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16 June 2024 12:31, updated: 16 June 2024 13:33

A candidate created by artificial intelligence is running in the upcoming elections to the UK Parliament. Is this the path to real direct democracy?

The parliamentary elections to the House of Commons will be held in the United Kingdom on 4 July. Polls indicate that after 14 years in power, the Conservatives will lose to the opposition Labour Party. This is not the only change that could occur in these elections. They could also be the first in which a candidate created by artificial intelligence (AI) wins a mandate.

Steve AI, the first virtual candidate for the House of Commons

Behind Steve AI's avatar is Steve Endacott, an entrepreneur from southern England. However, he does not decide what policies the avatar can bring from the Brighton Pavilion constituency to the House of Commons. The residents of the area he is running determine Steve's political promises and voting behavior.

On the dedicated campaign website, AI Steve asks users if they want to join the team of "creators" who will help him in creating new policies. Potential voters do this by clicking the "Talk to AI Steve" option and then filling in personal information before interacting with the virtual avatar.

Supporters of Steve can also become reviewers of his proposals. The avatar asks them to "devote just a few minutes a week" to "act as a control mechanism to prevent silly policies." They can do this by assigning each policy suggestion posted on the site a rating from one to ten points. The interaction is available to people from the virtual candidate's constituency, verified on the website.

Steve AI will vote according to the wishes of the voters

Steve's election programme will include policies that receive more than 50% support. Most importantly, if he gets into Parliament, he will vote as the voters determine who can hold him accountable in real-time on the website Accepted proposals so far include improving the cycling infrastructure in the region, a four-day workweek, and increasing the number of places in the local prison to "firmly fight against crime."

In a post on LinkedIn, Steve Endacott wrote: "I am setting up my own party after growing disillusioned with how much the others are out of contact with the UK population." He emphasised that Steve AI is a project not just for AI enthusiasts: "You don’t have to know anything about AI as all you do is press a button to talk the character."

If Endacott is elected, he will be "physically" present in Parliament, where he will vote on policy based on direct feedback received through his AI platform.

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