Tama City is the first city in Japan – and probably the world – to witness an "AI candidate" join the fray for its mayoral election. The really strange part is that this is the second time this has taken place in this very same city.
The actual mayoral candidate is the very human Michito Matsuda. After all, the laws of Japan very sensibly do not allow artificial intelligence or robots to run for important positions in the government, no matter how capable they are. But Matsuda has promised to follow the decisions made by the AI-driven robot avatar on whose behalf he is running. He claimed he would rely on this artificial intelligence to run Tama City as efficiently as possible. (Related: Japanese researchers create mind-reading A.I. that can transcribe a person’s thoughts.)
The AI candidate is running under the slogan "Artificial intelligence will change Tama city." As seen on campaign posters, the silver-skinned gynoid sticks out like a sore thumb among its suit-wearing human competition.
It is, however, restricted to using the same techniques as its human opponents. So it sends out campaign trucks– which have human drivers instead of being driver-less vehicles – that hawk its political platform and promises via loudspeakers.
Matsuda runs his Twitter account in character as the AI candidate. He claims that this will be the first time an artificial intelligence will participate in an election, and adds that the robot will deliver fair and effective leadership to Tama City.
According to Express, if elected as mayor, the AI will supposedly study petitions that have been forwarded to the city council. It would reportedly calculate the advantages and disadvantages of a petition, as well as provide hard statistics on their effect. Furthermore, it also promised to listen to the feedback and suggestions of Tama City residents so that it could come upon the most effective way of implementing them. Last but not least, it is supposed to be able to devise a compromise between feuding residents.
Japanese social media is divided about Matsuda's campaign. There are those who make fun of the AI candidate as a mere stunt, and they point out that the human is the one getting elected as mayor. Others are willing to give the idea of an AI mayor a shot, though.
This is not Matsuda's first rodeo at using artificial intelligence and robotics to promote his run for the mayoral office. He tried much the same campaign in 2014, but lost to a human opponent. However, every vote in his favor shows the willingness of the Japanese people to accept an actual AI in their government.
Find out how actual AI are hijacking important parts of our society at Robots.news.