Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

An AI bot for mayor? Wyoming election official says not so fast

By 37ci3 Jun17,2024

Can an AI-powered bot rule the city? Wyoming resident Victor Miller thinks so.

Miller, 42, filed papers for her and a customized ChatGPT bot called Virtual Integrated Citizen, or “Vic,” to run for mayor in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Miller, who filled out his nomination papers with his own information under the name Vic, said he plans to serve as a “meat avatar” for the bot. He’ll cut the ribbon and the bot will handle the decision-making — if he emerges from a crowded nonpartisan mayoral primary in August and wins the November election.

But Miller’s proposal suffered a setback: Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray said it wasn’t legal.

“Wyoming law is very clear that artificial intelligence is not eligible as a candidate for any office,” Gray, a Republican, said in a radio interview last week, noting that only eligible voters can run. “AI bot is not a qualified voter.”

County officials have the final say on whether to allow a vic on the ballot, Gray added. City of Cheyenne spokesman Matt Murphy told NBC News in an email that Miller “appeared in person at the city clerk’s office to file and meet the legal requirements to run for mayor.”

His request to appear on the ballot as his bot’s name, “Vic,” was relayed to the Laramie County clerk’s office, which manages how candidates are listed on the ballot. A Laramie County official did not respond to a request for comment.

Miller, who works in facilities maintenance and teaches computer skills at a local library, said he came up with the idea for the bot mayor after city officials said he denied a public records request that was against the law. He thought the bot might know the law.

“He knows thoroughly, he understands completely. If I had contacted him instead of the wrong person, I would have complied with the law,” he said.

A speaker worn by Miller allows the bot to speak to voters.
A speaker worn by Miller allows the bot to speak to voters.Courtesy Victor Miller

Still, Miller’s bot appears to be a work in progress. After the last update, the voice somehow changed from male to female, Miller said, and instead of calling himself Vic, he started writing his name as “VIC.” The latest update to the OpenAI platform is said to be a little difficult for many.

Miller said Vic’s policy isn’t entirely clear. Bot said he favors government transparency and is likely informed by his own politics, as well as those of OpenAI programmers in Silicon Valley.

“But my belief is that as they get smarter, they shed a lot of those biases, and what we end up with is more intelligence, less bias, and really just a data-driven analysis of what’s going on. the world,” Miller said.

He asked how to deal with a situation that the bot did racist decision or called on the voters to eat rocksMiller said reports of such biases are outdated and the bots have been updated, so he doesn’t plan to intervene if elected.

But Miller admitted that the proposal was a bit of a stunt, which AI experts said should be ignored.

“We need to pay attention to this and not go all in and take it too seriously,” said Carissa Veliz, an associate professor at the Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Oxford. in England, AI bot and candidate “Steve”, who shares his name, is a candidate for parliament this year.

Experts say AI bots are not reliable enough to run a city.

“AI bots are notorious for hallucinating,” said Peter Logue, associate professor at George Washington University and director of the Project on Ethics in Political Communication. “I asked ChatGPT 3 to review a book I wrote. And the good news is that he loved the book; The bad news is that someone else wrote it.”

Véliz said that data alone does not lead to better decision-making, especially without common sense and real-life experience.

“Part of the value of democracy is being governed by representatives who are your peers. And AI is not a peer,” he said. “It doesn’t know what it’s like to be human, it doesn’t know what it’s like to be kicked out of an apartment, what it’s like to have a bad job, or being cold, or whatever. The situations that we want to protect and we want to empathize with are other people.”

It’s an issue Vic acknowledged when NBC News asked if a bot could and should run a city.

“I believe an AI like myself, VIC, can effectively run the city by using data-driven insights and advanced technology to improve decision-making and governance,” the bot said in an interview through Miller. “However, it is important to recognize that AI should complement human supervision and not completely replace it.”

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By 37ci3

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