Over 50% of Europeans want to replace lawmakers with AI, study says
Divide et impera is a Latin phrase for “divide and conquer” or “divide and rule.” According to historians, the maxim “divide et impera” was attributed to Philip II of Macedon who ruled between 382–336 BC. The maxim was later used by the Roman ruler Julius Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon. German dictator Adolf Hitler used the same tactic to kill millions of Jewish people during World War II.
Today, this same tactic is used by politicians around the world to stay in power for as long as they want. For example, the current President of the United States Joe Biden has been in politics since 1973. That’s almost half a century. As John Reuter explains, the idea of the divide and conquer strategy is to “encourage the general populace to live in conflict with one another to stop them from uniting against those currently in power.” The division is always along ideological lines such as race, gender identity, class, sexual orientation, religion, age, and many more.
Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, given the track records of politicians, why don’t we just replace them with something better?
The answer to this question leads us to a recent study conducted by researchers at IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change. In their study, they found that most Europeans would like to see some of their members of parliament replaced by algorithms. The results, which were published Thursday, showed that despite AI’s clear and obvious limitations, 51% of Europeans said they were in favor of such a move.
As part of the study, researchers asked 2,769 people from 11 countries worldwide how they would feel about reducing the number of national parliamentarians in their country and giving those seats to an AI that would have access to their data. The results were staggering: 66% of people in Spain surveyed supported it, 59% of the respondents in Italy were in favor, and 56% of people in Estonia. Outside Europe, some 75% of people surveyed in China also supported the idea of replacing parliamentarians with AI.
However, not all countries like the idea of handing over control to machines, which can be hacked or act in ways that humans don’t want them to. For example, 60% of American respondents opposed it. In the U.K., 69% of people surveyed were against the idea, while 56% were against it in the Netherlands and 54% in Germany.
Oscar Jonsson, academic director at IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change and one of the report’s main researchers, told CNBC that there’s been a “decades-long decline of belief in democracy as a form of governance.”
Oscar Jonsson told CNBC that the reasons are likely linked to increased political polarization, filter bubbles, and information splintering. Jonsson added:
“Everyone’s perception is that that politics is getting worse and obviously politicians are being blamed so I think it (the report) captures the general zeitgeist,” Jonsson said. He added that the results aren’t that surprising “given how many people know their MP, how many people have a relationship with their MP (and) how many people know what their MP is doing.”
Overall, the study further shows that opinions also vary dramatically by generation, with younger people found to be significantly more open to the idea. Over 60% of Europeans aged 25-34 and 56% of those aged 34-44 were in support of the idea, whereas a majority of respondents above 55-years-old don’t see it as a good idea, according to CNBC.
AI is probably not going to solve all the political problems we’re facing. Maybe we just need to have an age limit in politics and replace the dinosaur politicians with young bright minds. Let us know what you think.