The long-feared AI takeover has reached our houses of democracy. A robot named Michihito Matsuda is running for mayor in Tokyo’s Tama City. Its slogan is “Artificial Intelligence Will Change Tama City” and if victorious Matsuda would be the world’s first robot mayor.
Robot Mayor? We know what you are thinking. Haven’t the movies warned us about this? To be fair, the AI’s platform isn’t horrible.
Robot Mayor Using AI to Make Decisions
As robot mayor, Michihito Matsuda claims that he would offer “fair and balanced opportunities” for everyone. Using statistics, the AI would analyze ideas and petitions brought in front of the city council. It wouldn’t just be about the raw numbers though, the robot would also talk to citizens to see how they feel about a certain proposal. Taking all of this information in, the robot would look at the overall positive and negative effects on the populace and come to a decision.
There hasn’t been any mention yet of world domination or making humans his servants. In fact, the robot’s policies intend for Artificial Intelligence to benefit citizen’s lives by using it to improve things like transit, healthcare, and learning. Matsuda feels that AI could especially benefit some of the elder residents who might be the ones most apprehensive about voting for a robot.
Vote for a Robot?
Like a normal election, Michihito Matsuda has been actively campaigning by putting signs on buildings and buses around the city. So far he has been keeping the election clean and hasn’t released any ads smearing his human opponents.
One hitch though. In Japan, a robot isn’t allowed to run for office so citizens will technically be voting for its human creator also named Michihito Matsuda. The robot already has some powerful friends as the campaign is being financed by Tetsuo Matsumoto, vice president of global software provider SoftBank, and former Google Japan employee Norio Murakami.
One would think that people would quickly reject the idea of having a robot mayor, but the reaction has been pretty positive. The general consensus being “well he can’t do worse than the humans we have in there now”.