Several private sector companies have brought Artificial Intelligence systems to join the management board of the company. The time is right to replace a parliament member with AI.

Deep Learning, an approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a long history dating back to the 1940s. It has grown to become more popular now than ever thanks to the amount of data available.

Data is the underlying reason why machine learning works. That’s why we see the big five data holders (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM) developing it most prominently. It is no surprise that Google is leading this pack with its mission to index the world’s information, essentially organizing it to be fed it into their Deep Learning models.

AI technology can be the solution to bring back meaningful debates and argumentation

With the ever-growing amount of data, companies are starting to understand that human capacity has its limit regarding analyzing all of the data points for making the right decisions. This is why companies like Deep Knowledge and Tieto have brought AI to join their management boards. Addition to the perfect capacity to handle data, they keep emotions out of their business decisions — a treat that could be useful in politics.

Estonia — the perfect playing ground for government AI

Like Google, Estonia has been indexing its public and private sector data using its data exchange layer X-Road. With a working collaboration with Finland through the Trust Federation platform, the two countries are actively exchanging their data, opening up even more information. This is a perfect starting point for a machine intelligent algorithm to start learning from.

Estonian e-Cabinet. Image Credit: Covere-Cabinet

Whether it is about healthcare, traffic information or crime statistics, AI systems could help us mitigate many of the societal problems.

There would be no need for a separate R&D department or different systems for different industries. Today the AI research is not fragmented between industries but rather focused on one general approach that could solve many different problems from speech recognition and language processing to motion planning and everything in between.

For example, the Google image recognition and language processing software both use the same model for training.

Addition to the available data, Estonia is also working on a legislative framework to give robots and AIs their own legal entity besides physical persons and companies. This would significantly ease the future developments in AI, robotics, and technology.

“In this case, AI would be a separate legal entity with both rights and responsibilities. It would be similar to a company but would not necessarily have any humans involved.” Marten Kaevats, National Digital advisor of Estonia

AI, member of the Parliament

Having the needed infrastructure in place it would make sense to bring AI to the public use — for example giving it a seat in the Parliament. AI can make rational decisions based on real-time data from the current state of affairs. While politicians often make biased decisions motivated by securing their political position and power, AI can be fully rational and transparent making the best decisions for the country and its citizens.

AI can also be restricted to give a vote only if it has enough data, staying neutral when it is not able to establish a confident decision.

Having just one seat (out of 101 in Estonia) in the parliament is a rather symbolic one having no significant executive power. But its indirect effects could be much more compelling— the decisions made by the AI could spark discussions among public and politicians bringing in invaluable rational point of view. Voters could compare the decisions of the politicians with the ones made by the AI and question the integrity of their representatives. This would make self-motivated negative decisions much harder to make.

With a central effort on developing the models needed for training the AI using the existing powerful open source libraries like the Google Tensorflow (that is already powerful enough to build a self-driving car for 700$) and easy access to the data, we could soon see state-developed AI systems — a government AI.

In a world of increasing nationalism, extremism and polarisation, AI technology can be the solution to bring back the meaningful debates and argumentation. Just like most of the private sector industries have been transformed by technology, it is time to transform the politics.

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