The rise of the poli-bots

With Hollywood actors and writers striking over AI, and many of our favourite TV shows and movies consigned to the cutting room shelf for now, I wanted to draw your attention, dear reader, to the truly serious implications of this – the role of AI in politics.

For those of you who have not been keeping up on the latest scientific literature, this was all foreseen by the writer Michael Crichton in Westworld, his searing firsthand account of how robots replaced cowboys in the American west. Yes, it’s been going on for years, but as long as it was only cowboys, no one cared.

Now AI has come for the creatives who previously had the monopoly on smiling, crying and running away from rampaging dinosaurs, and it’s potentially worse for the politicians who, hitherto, were the only ones capable of delivering their trademark smile, wave and a soundbite.

For these oppressed Hollywood wage slaves, forced to struggle on a mere $20 million per movie, it was enough to drive them out of their e-Limousines and onto the picket line. What will it take to make politicians follow them?

They need to act fast because in a secret laboratory deep below Conservative Campaign Headquarters, boffins have been working on a series of political AIs, or poli-bots, for years. Like Apple and Samsung with their pocket devices, they have successfully managed to roll out a new model on average every 12 months or so.

iPol 1, codenamed ‘the Maybot’, was a promising device, able to deal with cognitive dissonance and paddle two canoes at one time – at least for a while. As an early model, it showed great promise in its ability to mindlessly regurgitate party slogans, but unfortunately the sincerity circuit was quite buggy with the result that the delivery was judged to be wooden and spasmodic.

iPol 2, codename ‘Chaos’, was an attempt to emulate our great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, but unfortunately it displayed only a talent for pompous speeches and flashing the V-sign at anyone who stood in its way. Wildly successful at cosplay, three-word soundbites (at least one of which had to be Latin) and driving heavy equipment through styrofoam walls, it was crippled by insufficient memory, an undeveloped morality circuit and inability to perform even basic office tasks.

iPol 3, originally codenamed ‘A New Hope’ but later changed to ‘Rogue One’, was a lesson in the dangers of the unchecked power of AIs and their potential to subvert the intentions of their masters. After struggling for 45 days to get close enough to press the off switch on the back of its neck, developers resolved to install a remote kill circuit in all future models. The less said about it the better.

iPol 4, codenamed ‘Blancmange’, is the pinnacle of CCHQ design. Conceptually a return to the beloved Maybot – who isn’t sentimental about their first device? – it is fluent in all the important political languages including Non-Dom, Fatcat and Media Mogul.

Press the alt-right key, and it drops into subvocal frequencies only detectable by select groups of voters – you know who you are…

A more compact model than the previous generations of iPol, Blancmange has built in GPS for improved navigation in the political wilderness and the fringes of acceptable political debate. For £3,300, you can have lunch with Blancmange and listen for yourself.

CCHQ boffins are quite excited by what they have achieved with Blancmange and have started rolling out new ones.

iPol 4.1, codenamed ‘H’, is also inspired by the Maybot but with added flexibility and ambiguity. Drawing heavily on the design aesthetics of the Madame Tussauds android development labs, H avoids open flames but can be slotted into a number of varied tasks including deconstructing a health service, deconstructing an economy and deconstructing voters’ will to live. It has the added bonus of being completely loyal and programmed not to ask questions.

With the Conservative Party meeting for its annual trade show in Manchester (how many travelled by train, one wonders), we wait with bated breath to see if CCHQ will unveil iPol 5 or keep it under wraps for another year.

Or, indeed, will the party decide to revert to an earlier model? From a party whose unofficial motto appears to be ‘move fast and break things’ – adopted from their tech bro heroes in Silicon Valley – a radical step like this would be in keeping with recent performance.

* Tom Reeve is a Liberal Democrat councillor in Kingston upon Thames

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Humour and Op-eds.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Nick Hopkinson
    An important article which members should take seriously....
  • Leekliberal
    @nigel hunter: Hear hear!...
  • James Fowler
    Simon R has it right, as does James Moore. A Corbyn-lite slab of radicals' pet interventionist, illiberal policies won't turn the polling dial a millimetre. The...
  • Denis Loretto
    ....agenda. Buried within these motions is lots of good stuff but when is it publicised? We need to cut these down to crisp statements of the points that really...
  • Richard
    ... tell me aint so. How could one party be in favour of legalising sales of cannabis and at the same time banning sales of tobacco. Surely consistency would re...