Robot’s mayoral race: AI candidate gets thousands of votes in Japanese city
A robot promising to be “fair and balanced” to all its constituents has picked up thousands of votes in a mayoral election in the Tama city area of Tokyo.
“Policies for the future” and a promise to lead the next generation were among the electoral pledges the artificially intelligent candidate, who went by the name Michihito Matsuda, said it would implement.
“Artificial intelligence will change Tama City,” Matsuda’s campaign slogan read and the claim clearly struck a chord with many residents as the robot garnered 4,000 votes in the race. However, Matsuda finished in third place in the election, which was comfortably won by the incumbent Hiroyuki Abe, NHK reports.
選挙ポスターです。#多摩市長選挙#聖蹟桜ケ丘#多摩市#AIpic.twitter.com/L0ueyYSs0o— 多摩市長選挙2018 AI 市長.候補 - 松田みちひと (@tama_ai_mayor) April 8, 2018
Matsuda was the face of the campaign but the human brains behind the operation were high powered Japanese businessmen Tetsuzo Matsumoto, the vice president of Softbank, and Norio Murakami, former Google Japan representative, Otaquest reports.
Despite these tech-savvy connections a robot identical to Matsuda’s is still available for purchase online and the candidate’s official website was pretty poorly designed and contained apparent coding errors.
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In a speech outlining its unorthodox political vision for Tama City Matsuda said: "Tama New Town was the most advanced city in Japan 40 years ago. As it stands, the ageing population will only continue to grow, prompting a need for change in the current administration. Let artificial intelligence determine policies by gathering city data and we can create clearly defined politics.”
The message wasn’t enough to secure the job on this occasion but perhaps the robot can reboot its campaign when the next election rolls around.
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