Winston is an intelligent robot designed to assist our politicians. It would be able to chat with voters, take the pulse of a crowd, and connect with multiple smartphone apps to structure what voters want and how candidates can perform better for their constituents.
On Friday the 13th, I assisted at a conference held at CBC Radio-Canada in Montreal titled ‘Regards sur l’innovation’. In one of the discussion Jean-René Dufort and Yoshua Bengio exchanged on the possibility of using artificial intelligence to remove politicians from the decision making process (See video at 37:50). Although this was said half jokingly it made me think about the subject of politics, humans and AI.
To be elected to the House of Commons, you must spend hundreds of hours attending events, making small talk with a tiny fraction of voters—and yet this process does not guarantee that you will be able to adequately measure the opinions of each your electors for any given political subject. How could we use artificial intelligence right now to improve our current political system?
How It Works
A robot (or a cloud based software) like Winston would create a digital link between each political candidate and all the voters of his (or her) political riding. The interface to connect with your ‘Winston’ would be available on any mobile device or computer. In short, we would all have a direct line with our representative at the parliament.
Each day, Winston would suggest policy issues that you could comment on, debate, and vote on. The distribution of votes would be displayed by constituency, gender, age, and other criteria. Obviously, everyone who has access to Winston would need to be on the official voter’s list and the identity of each user would be verified.
Winston’s interface would let you vote on political subjects; view the percentage of votes; follow the development of public opinion; suggest new issues; add comments or feedback; register to official events; visualize budgets per ministry; propose changes; access expert opinions, reports, and videos, etc.
The political candidate would be able to see real-time voting statistics; public opinion on current affairs; respond to voters or groups; justify or explain his choices or actions; seek out the views of constituents on upcoming issues, and in general interact more directly with constituents.
What It’s Used For
I think robots (or artificial intelligence) like Winston would make a difference because each political candidate would get real-time information on voters’ opinions to concentrate his (or her) energies on representing them rather than trying to seduce them.
The transparency of the system would allow people to better understand their elected representative’s choices backed by verified statistics, not individual opinions.
Our democracy must continue to evolve and adapt to change. This communication tool Robot or purely software) would help us, in my humble opinion, to improve the efficiency of our political systems.
The Industrial Designer
I would like to thank CBC Radio-Canada for their inspiring conference. I would mostly like to thank Martin Rico for creating the images of the Winston concept. Martin lives near Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Design at the University of Buenos Aires and now works as a Freelance Industrial Designer. Martin also designed the Tsven research space station and the Iris logistic train / drone combination.