By: Shimon Brathwaite
June 7, 2021
Artificial Intelligence Voting
By: Shimon Brathwaite
June 7, 2021
Artificial Intelligence is one of the growing areas of technology that's expected to change how we do many things. Many people are looking at the impact of AI on Cybersecurity, but one major area that people are trying to improve is how people select their politicians. Artificial intelligence is meant to solve a problem associated with people's lack of awareness around potential candidates. For example, in India, there are more than 8,039 candidates from 650 different parties. It's very unlikely that these candidates have equal access to the resources needed to reach potential voters and express who they are and why they deserve to be elected. It's in situations like this that artificial intelligence algorithms can provide value to the election process.
How Does Artificial Intelligence Voting Work?
Here is how this solution would work in a real-life scenario. Voters would go to a provider that they trust and enter information relating to their political agenda. For example, this can be immigration, prison reform, racial issues, etc., and based on the information provider. Voters would be given information on potential candidates that align with their stances. This way instead of voters defaulting to voting for the candidates they see on TV the most or because of emotional reasons. They are designed to match voters with their ideal candidate.
This could revolutionize the way that candidates are elected. Up until this point, the candidates with the most money to market themselves almost always won. If you ever watched the US elections, you see that it pretty much comes down to democrat vs. republican every year, but this sort of model would help move things more towards a meritocracy. Suppose solutions like this take into account their history of the candidates. In that case, e.g., volunteer work, the type of bills they support, projects they funded, candidates can begin to be judged based on their whole body of work rather than just what they say during their election campaigns, and they would be more visible than ever before.
One example of a company that has started taking action on this is the startup iSideWith.com, which covers local, national, and 2020 presidential elections. Their tool was originally uploaded to Facebook in 2011, and over 1 million people took the quiz within the first six months. As of September 2019, the tool has attracted over 52 million users, showing interest in a solution like this.
Another example of this is ThinkTank, which matched EU citizens with suitable candidates during their parliament elections. Doru Frantescu, director of Vote Watch Europe, had this to say on the voting process "Most choices we make are based on anything else but logical reasons, mostly emotional ones – how a person speaks, or how a person dresses," says Frantescu. "We built this so people can make informed choices based on logical reasons. We are trying to bridge the gap using technology to help citizens make informed choices."
Potential Flaws of Artificial Intelligence Voting
This type of approach isn't without its flaws. One big issue is that with all algorithms, your ability to predict whether the candidate is a good fit is based on the information used to build the algorithm. The service provider's ability to gather all relevant and accurate information is going to determine whether the matches made are accurate or not. Also, past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Even if someone did all the right things leading up to the candidacy, that doesn't mean that they will be a good president. If you consider that a solution like this may cause people to be overconfident because the candidate's past aligns well with their value system. Also, there is the fact that if these platforms become popular, if there is any barrier of entry for a candidate to get their information on these platforms, it can effectively prevent those candidates from reaching the voters that rely heavily on these platforms.
I think this innovation in the voter process is overall a good idea. I think the more relevant information we can get on candidates, the better it is to select our politicians. Right now, many potentially qualified candidates can not even have their voices heard because they don't have the resources to market themselves as other well-funded candidates can. Solutions like this may help to even the odds and move the election process more towards a meritocracy than a popularity contest. For more on artificial intelligence voting, you can read a full article here. If you're interested in learning artificial intelligence yourself, check out this course on AI and machine learning.