• Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Better a robot than a politician? For 51% of Europeans, yes

Byeditorial

May 27, 2021

Over 2700 people from 11 countries around the world participated in a Spanish research conducted by the IE University Center for the Governance of Change. The question was: would you agree to reduce the number of parliamentarians by giving part of the seats to an artificial intelligence that has access to all the data available to legislate? The results show that, despite all the limitations of AI, 51% of Europeans surveyed would be in favor of such a move. Death of democracy? Perhaps, or perhaps rather a crisis of confidence and a need for univocal security. According to the researchers who analyzed the results, the growing polarization of politics, the aggregation around divisive arguments, the not too subtle manipulation of information by the parties – widespread and increasingly evident phenomena – have helped to push the answers towards this. result. It is interesting to see how the percentages vary from country to country, mirroring the relationship between citizen and politics rather than between citizen and technology (although, obviously, the most enthusiastic about the possible change are in the under 45 age group). And if in Italy 59% of the interviewees are in favor, in Spain 66%, 56 in Estonia and even 75% in China. In the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, the no. Symptom not so much of distrust towards artificial intelligences, as of a better health of the representative system, or at least of its perception. “The report captures the spirit of the times” commented the director of the study Oscar Jonsson “everyone’s perception is that politics is getting worse, and is further away from the citizens. The results are not surprising, considering that practically no one has any kind of direct relationship with their political representatives anymore ”. So, one wonders, why not entrust part of the choices to an algorithmic and impartial intelligence, which can quickly analyze all the data and make the best possible decision? Of course, always with due precautions. On the other hand, it is a scenario that is particularly loved and analyzed by classical science fiction. Writer Isaac Asimov’s first two laws of robotics laid the foundation for human-artificial intelligence interactions in reality as well. Law zero reads: “A robot cannot harm humanity, nor can it allow humanity to receive harm due to its failure to intervene”, and to this the first law acts as a corollary: “A robot cannot harm humanity. harm to a human being, nor can it allow a human being to receive harm due to its failure to intervene (as long as this does not conflict with the Zero Law) “. These are laws from the 1940s, and even if there is no lack of attempts to update them, we must always start from there. We have seen the limits with self-driving cars, which still have not solved the dilemma of whether to protect passengers on board or the other humans they encounter on their path in the event of a risk of collision. our production systems and within our companies and they will be even more so tomorrow. Perhaps they will steal our work, but we will be happy to let us steal it, and also allow ourselves to expropriate the weight of complex choices. And as hypothesized by Heinlein in The Moon is a Strict Teacher, computers left to themselves, or updated and expanded without too much attention, could become sentient beings capable of political thought, like artificial intelligence Mike who, fed on all the terrestrial political and economic doctrine, he is the leader and spokesman of the victorious revolt of the lunatics against the despots left on Earth.

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