Replace Politics with an AI: Yay or Nay?

by | Jan 24, 2022

Considering the subject matter of AI and government, this thought may go on for a long time. Well, at least 600 words—the going rate for a piece of content on the Internet that shall be deemed “search engine optimized” and “worthy” of human eyes. Which is to say, the machine thinks you would like to read it.

This 600-word threshold…somebody or somebodies at Google (or wherever) thought it was a good idea, so they programmed an AI to handle the sorting of search results accordingly.

Programming an AI seems to be working well for serving up relevant info to information seekers on the Internet, so why not program an AI to sort out our politics?

OK, OK, I know what you’re going to say—every one of you. No, I’m not advocating for the robots to take over.

But maybe we could give them government jobs! Specifically, those jobs currently held by human lawmakers. Yes, all of them. Every single one. Even the school board.

Let’s maybe just do a full and complete digital transformation of government!

If Robocop were an AI, would it be a just AI?

If Robocop were an AI, would he be a just AI?

Laugh with me here a second. What if we replaced our lawmakers with an AI that you might find in such benevolent cyberbeings as Lt. Commander Data, Robocop, C-3PO, or Kitt from Knight Rider. Combined. Or something like that.

Definitely not Hal 9000 or The Borg or any robot or AI conceived and/or manufactured by any company called SkyNet.

Now, we, the humans, would still set our metrics for success. We’ll just program them into the AI.  Stay with me…

We could adjust those goal metrics to fit local cultures and preferences. But there should also be some global non-negotiables, which should be universally agreeable: maximize access for everyone to food, water, shelter, clean air, and sleep. Yes sleep. Without it, we zombie out.

C3P0 may be a good model AI for governing.

C3P0 may be a good model AI for governing.

Maybe we even take it a step further beyond the basic needs and include the entirety of Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs, which start with the aforementioned basics on the bottom of the pyramid and also include safety, belonging and love needs, esteem needs, cognitive needs, aesthetic needs, and self-actualization, which all lead to “transcendence”…I know, starting to derail a bit.

If we could program an AI to achieve those outcomes by pulling the levers of government for us, humans could just sit back and say “yay” or “nay”…like good little citizens!

I’m willing to bet we would agree on most of the important things. Maybe. We couldn’t do much worse, right?

Kitt from Knight Rider was an AI that seemed to be raised right. Kitt for President?

Kitt from Knight Rider was an AI that seemed to be raised right. Kitt for President?

We have (or soon will have) these kinds of tools available to us. Perhaps soon, we’ll collectively develop trust in their ability to help us figure out how to clean up the incredible messes that politics, as well as a demanding state of commerce, have created across the globe.

Consider the possibilities here. We’ve already seen the massive difference that comparatively feeble AI and machine learning can make in streamlining business processes and information management for companies. Obviously, the two challenges are very different. But just as a rowboat can cross a small pond, you need a bigger and more powerful vessel to make it across the ocean.

AI is very much the same way. We’re only now getting pretty good at manufacturing “rowboats.” Progress is quickening though. We’ll start with restaurants and long-haul trucking and see how it goes.

Will your organization be positioned to function in a digital-first future? Will you personally? Will we globally? All are exciting questions to ponder as the march of digital transformation continues forward.