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  • Mal McCallion

Vote for AI!

In an almost inevitable turn of 2024 events, AIs are standing for election in the UK and the US.


Here, we’ve got AI Steve. He’s standing for election in Brighton Pavilion, the seat currently held by the retiring Green Party ex-Leader, Caroline Lucas.


AI Steve is the not-so-subtle brainchild of entrepreneur Steve Endacott, who just happens to have an AI business which has created the generative general election candidate. Human Steve is going to attend Parliament, if AI Steve is voted in, to operate on its behalf. He will follow-through on policies that have been created by constituents in a claimed 24/7 service for them by AI Steve.


AI Steve is not going to win – but, having got into international tech news via the respected Wired as well as domestic national papers, the marketing and PR are awesome.


Similarly, over in the States, a Wyoming ‘meat puppet’ (amazing phrase!) is going to do what he is told by an AI Mayor – assuming the good citizens of Cheyenne vote for said AI, which is called Virtual Integrated Citizen (or VIC for short). Its creator, also astonishingly called Vic, is battling Wyoming’s secretary of state, Chuck Gray, who says that an AI can’t be a candidate as it’s not a qualified elector. At the same time, OpenAI – upon whose ChatGPT-4o VIC is built – has ‘taken action’ to stop Vic (keep up) from using its tech for political campaigning. Vic says he’s going to use Meta’s open source Llama 3 instead.


Steve AI and VIC may be open gimmicks to generate publicity for their creators, but this transparency about the potential role of AI in politics and policy-making at the very least helps to shine a light on how it might be being used by politicians in private already. As many businesses have already concluded, AI saves a huge amount of time and money in day-to-day activities. If there’s one thing that public governance is renowned for, it’s bureaucracy and dull process. Hopefully we’ll find that AI can put our taxes to better and more efficient use going forwards.


No matter how much AI ends up doing behind the scenes, however, I don’t think we’ll see an elected AI in office just yet. The 'meat puppets' are going to continue to rule for a while yet ...

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