Meet the AI Candidate: A Glimpse into the Future of Politics in the UK

Vittoria Elliott

As the United Kingdom heads toward its elections next month, the country is seeing its first instance of a new kind of politician: an AI candidate. AI Steve, an avatar of real-life Steven Endacott, a Brighton-based businessman, is running for Parliament as an Independent.

Voters will be able to cast their ballots for AI Steve, as well as ask policy positions or raise issues of their own. AI Steve will then incorporate suggestions and requests into its platform.

Endacott will be the in-person representative attending meetings and parliamentary sessions on behalf of AI Steve. He says that he sees AI Steve as a way to allow for a more direct form of democracy. “We are actually, I think, reinventing politics using AI as a technology base, as a copilot, not to replace politicians but to really connect them into their audience, their constituency,” says Endacott.

Currently, AI Steve is incorrectly named as Steve AI on the ballot, a mistake Endacott is seeking to rectify.

AI Steve was developed by Neural Voice, a company specializing in AI voices, where Endacott serves as chairman. Jeremy Smith, a cofounder of the company, mentioned that AI Steve is capable of engaging in as many as 10,000 simultaneous conversations. He emphasized the importance of creating a unique database of information and methods to integrate customer data.

The concept of AI Steve originated from Endacott’s frustrations with the political process, which he entered to advocate for environmental and other crucial issues. “I’m very concerned about the environment. We need significant governmental changes to effectively combat climate change,” he stated. “The only solution is to shift from external discussions to internal actions, actively altering policies.” Endacott expressed that previous attempts to run for office were stymied by party politics focused more on securing safe seats rather than addressing actual public concerns.

According to Endacott, AI Steve aims to transform this dynamic. It is designed to transcribe and analyze voter interactions and identify key policy issues, which are then relayed to “validators”—ordinary individuals who can affirm their interest in these issues or support for specific policy proposals.

Endacott reveals his intention to interact with commuters at the Brighton train station, which is roughly an hour from London, urging them to participate in brief policy surveys during their commutes to aid in a new initiative.

“The setup of having validators to review these policies to ensure they’re sensible, and to direct voting in Parliament is something I believe is necessary,” Endacott comments.

Although AI Steve has been operational for just a short time, Endacott and Smith note that the major concerns raised by the public involve the conflict in Palestine and domestic matters such as garbage disposal.

Endacot acknowledges the possibility that his personal policy preferences might occasionally diverge from those suggested by AI Steve, yet he commits to adhering to the preferences voiced through AI Steve.

“Surely in a democracy, it’s what your constituents want,” he says. “I know that it sounds so obvious, that a politician should be told what to do by his constituents. And if he doesn’t like it, tough luck. Get out of the job.”

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