AI candidate running for Parliament in the U.K. says AI can humanize politics


An artificial intelligence candidate is on the ballot for the United Kingdom’s general election next month.

“AI Steve,” represented by Sussex businessman Steve Endacott, will appear on the ballot alongside non-AI candidates running to represent constituents in the Brighton Pavilion area of Brighton and Hove, a city on England’s southern coast.

“AI Steve is the AI co-pilot,” Endacott said in an interview. “I’m the real politician going into Parliament, but I’m controlled by my co-pilot.”

Endacott is the chairman of Neural Voice, a company that creates personalized voice assistants for businesses in the form of an AI avatar. Neural Voice’s technology is behind AI Steve, one of the seven characters the company created to showcase its technology.

He said the idea is to use AI to create a politician who is always around to talk with constituents and who can take their views into consideration.

People can ask AI Steve questions or share their opinions on Endacott’s policies on its website, during which a large language model will give answers in voice and text based on a database of information about his party’s policies.

If he doesn’t have a policy for a particular issue raised, the AI will conduct some internet research before engaging the voter and pushing them to suggest a policy.

AI Steve, which is open to the public to try, told NBC News in response to a question about its stance on Brexit: “As a democracy, the UK voted to leave, and it’s my responsibility to implement and optimize this decision regardless of my personal views on the matter.”

“Do you have any thoughts on how Brexit should be managed in the future?” it added.

Ai Steve conversation
A screenshot of a conversation between an NBC News journalist and AI Steve.ai-steve.co.uk

Endacott said he is also seeking thousands of whom he calls “validators,” or people he is targeting because he believes they represent the common man — in particular Brighton locals who have a long daily commute.

“We’re asking them once a week to score our policies from 1 to 10. And if a policy gets more than 50%, it gets passed. And that’s the official party policy,” he said, adding, “Every single policy, I will say that my decision is my voters’ decision. And I’m connected to my voters at any time on a weekly basis via electronic means.”

In 2022, Endacott unsuccessfully ran in a local election under the Conservative Party. He received less than 500 votes. This time, the unusual nature of his candidacy stirred some conversation on X over the weekend, when news of AI Steve’s launch leaked online and prompted around 1,000 calls to the AI proxy in one night.

Voters’ top issues so far, according to those calls, were (in order of importance): Concerns about the safety of Palestinians, trash bins, bicycle lanes, immigration and abortion. Endacott noted that having an AI representative enables him to respond, in a sense, to thousands of potential constituents a day.

“I don’t have to go knock on their door, get them out of bed when they don’t want to talk to me,” Endacott said. He said that was “the old form of politics,” whereas people can now choose to contact AI Steve on their own volition and at their convenience.

Endacott describes himself as a “centralist” who aligns most closely, but not quite, with the Green Party. His own party, Smarter U.K., was not registered in time for this year’s election.

He said he is not using the AI avatar to propel his own business interests, as he says he holds less than a 10% share in Neural River, the platform behind AI Steve. His primary motivation, he said, is to push the government to enact changes to cut carbon emissions — whether that means running for office or, “worst case,” becoming a political influencer. 

If elected, AI Steve would be the first AI legislator to make it into public office — but he’s not the first to experiment with leveraging the emerging technology in elections. In Wyoming, a Cheyenne mayoral candidate reportedly says he would use an AI bot to make decisions for him. And two years ago, a political party in Denmark was founded on an AI-derived platform.

Though the concept of an AI politician may seem silly to some and disturbing to others, Endacott said he wants to make clear that his platform is “not a joke.” He rejects the premise that the AI is replacing a human politician — instead insisting that the aim is to bring “more humans” into politics.

“​​It’s not AI taking over the world. It’s AI being used as a technical way of connecting to our constituents and reinventing democracy by saying, ‘You don’t just vote for somebody every four years; you actually control the vote on an ongoing basis,’” he said. “Which is very, very radical in the U.K. Probably even more radical in America.”



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