Copyright AI Steve

Most of the time, discussions about generative AI and elections usually conjure up worries about disinformation, deepfakes, discord and disruptions. However, in one district in the UK, generative AI means a new kind of candidate running for a MP seat in the House of Commons.

The candidate is AI Steve, a generative AI-created online avatar that is running to represent the citizens of the Brighton Pavilion area of Brighton and Hove, a city on the southern coast of England. He will appear on the ballot beside other flesh-and-blood candidates.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Steve Endacott, AI Steve comes with a host of policy stances, from cutting university fees by half and increasing affordable housing to instituting green policies, having four-day work weeks, and supporting diversity.

If elected next month, he will be represented in person in the House of Commons by Endacott, who will attend the sessions, make speeches, and cast all the votes in accordance with what constituents tell AI Steve.

A Candidate for the 21st Century

The idea of creating a generative AI candidate may sound like a joke, but Endacott is serious about it. In a post on LinkedIn, the chairman of the AI company Neural Voices the move is a reaction to what he has seen in British politics. He decided to create a new political party, SmarterUK, though because of timing snafu he was unable to sign up AI Steve under the new banner. Instead, AI Steve will run as an independent.

“I am setting up my own party after growing disillusioned with how much the others are out of contact with the UK population, and I will try to use technology to connect directly with the views of my constituents,” Endacott wrote. “The party and the candidate aim to bring politics into the 21st century, using AI to be more efficient, more effective and more available than conventional politicians.”

He said the AI chatbot will be a better and more responsive candidate, available 24 hours a day, every day for voters who want to communicate with him via his SmarterUK campaign website. SmarterUK is recruiting local residents as “creators” – who will talk about current policies and help create new ones – and “validators” who will score the policies, giving each one a ranking from one to 10. AI Steve is a believer in majority rule: Only policies that get more than 50% of validators’ support will make it to the SmarterUK platform.

Only those getting more than half the votes will be adopted by the party.

More Responsive to Constituents

Endacott added that “MPs’ offices spend so much time answering emails about bins and dog poo, and staff turnover means that insights about constituents’ worries and ideas are lost. AI Steve solves this by bringing the best of business technology into the heart of politics.”

Generative AI technology and the strategy behind AI Steve will be a differentiator, giving local voters the best chance for their views to heard and acted upon, he wrote.

The technology behind AI Steve belongs to Neural Voices, which builds personalized voice assistants for organizations using a voice-to-text generative AI technology that the company says provided human-like voices. Some examples on the company’s website include voices that sound like they’re from people who are scared or are whispering, delivering a television newscast, or running through guided meditation. There also is an app for children.

According to Endacott, AI Steve can respond to questions in 0.36 seconds – “making him as fast as humans and much faster than most politicians.”

Creators and Validators

The strategy group for SmarterUK set up AI Steve’s initial policies, but they’ll grow as more creators talk with the large language model (LLM)-based avatar and proposed policies that could be adopted. The conversations are transcribed and placed within a party database of ideas that – through the support of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot – are molded into workable policies.

Validators then vote on the policies. And AI Steve will understand those policies and what is going on in the House of Commons and the country, according to Neural Voices CEO Jeremy Smith.

“How many times have we seen flustered MPs without the necessary facts at their fingertips?” Smith said in a statement. “It’s still to be proven whether AI STEVE is smarter than most MPs, but I can guarantee he has a better grasp of all the facts.”

Endacott and those behind AI Steve and SmarterUK also expect him to be free of scandal.

“He is not allowed to swear, cannot inappropriately touch aides, drink, or send the contact details of other MPs to strangers to avoid being catfished,” the chairman wrote.