A.I. chatbot is leading a Danish political party and setting its policies. Now users are grilling it for its stance on political landmines
A political party in Denmark is seeking a parliamentary seat with an unusual aim: to be represented by an A.I. chatbot that embodies the values of 20% of the country’s population.
The Synthetic Party, launched in May 2022, is setting its sights on November’s election—and bases all its policies on its A.I. figurehead "Leader Lars".
The bot was created by Computer Lars, an artist collective, and MindFuture Foundation, a non-profit art and tech organization.
Leader Lars is programmed from the policies of Danish fringe parties from the last 40 years, and also gathers data by talking to individuals on Discord. The more people interact with the A.I, the more fine-tuned it becomes, party creator Asker Staunæs told Vice.
“As people from Denmark, and also, people around the globe are interacting with the A.I., they submit new perspectives and new textual information, where we collect in a dataset that will go into the fine-tuning.”
However, unlike “virtual politician” candidates such as SAM in New Zealand and Alisa in Russia, which are meant to hold their own seat in parliament, humans would act as the medium for Leader Lars’s proposed policies.
“People who are voting for The Synthetic Party will have to believe what we are selling ourselves as, people who actually engage so much with artificial intelligence that we can interpret something valuable from them,” said Staunæs.
What will the Synthetic Party campaign for?
The party’s current policies include the introduction of a universal basic income (UBI) of 100,000 Danish kroner ($13,700) per month, which is over double the Danish average salary.
When Discord users asked how it would finance this proposal, the bot responded: “The basic income is proposed to be financed by the state through taxation.”
However, when details were requested as to how the UBI would work in reality, Leader Lars responded with more vague and generalized answers: “I believe that the amount for the universal basic income should be sufficient to cover the individual's basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing. The exact amount will vary depending on the country's economic situation.”
When asked how much taxes would need to be raised to achieve this, Lars responded that this would also “vary depending on the economic situation of the country.”
Leader Lars dodges political landmines
Users also put other politically significant questions to the bot including whether Denmark should support Russia or Ukraine.
The answer: “The Synthetic Party believes that we should support both Russia and Ukraine. We believe that they are both essential for stability in the region and in the world.”
When asked for a take on who Crimea belongs to, Lars stated: “Crimea belongs to the people who live there.”
Lars also “believes in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The Synthetic Party currently has only 11 out of 20,000 signatures it needs to run in November’s election.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
More from Fortune:
IBM’s former CEO downplays the importance of a college degree for six-figure earning ‘new collar’ jobs
American cities are preparing for the worst
Managing Gen Z is like working with people from a ‘different country’
‘Ridiculously stupid’ economic policies have the U.S. hurtling toward a ‘perfect storm’ of economic pain, Ray Dalio says