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Artificial Intelligence and Politics

With both humans and artificial intelligence accurately predicting the election, we can't help but wonder about the future of AI and politics.

Art by Vincent Cacciotti

Many of us won’t be around when the time comes that artificial intelligence completely infiltrates the White House and runs our government. In the meantime, we are relying on artificial intelligence to predict the next President of the United States. With the increase in technology and social media constantly at our fingertips, it seems like the 2016 election is more in your face than ever, making the outcome all the more important, and instantaneous. 

Art by Vincent Cacciotti

While Hillary Clinton often was shown as the victor in many online polls, they haven’t proven as accurate as the results offered by computers. Most recently, an AI computer has predicted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. This computer has correctly predicted the last three elections, and this year, MogIA is predicting that Donald Trump will be the 44th president of the United States.

MogIA was developed by the Indian start-up Genic.ai. The technology is based on a character from “The Jungle Book,” Mowgli, who learns from the environment, just as MogAI does. The founder, Sanjiv Rai told CNBC, “While most algorithms suffer from programmers/developer's biases, MoglA aims at learning from her environment, developing her own rules at the policy layer and develop expert systems without discarding any data."

The AI computer uses 20 million data points pulled from engagement on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. MogIA found that Donald Trump passed Obama’s 2008 engagement numbers by 25 percent. Created in 2004, MogAI and is constantly getting smarter and evolving. The computer even accurately predicted the outcome of the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Rai went on to say, “If Trump loses, it will defy the data trend for the first time in the last 12 years since Internet engagement began in full earnest.”

However, just because MogAI has predicted the outcome doesn’t mean it will necessarily follow through. While Trump is getting more social engagement than Obama did in 2008, that does not mean that the people who are participating in this engagement are going to head to their local polls and pick Donald J. Trump on their ballot sheet. 

Art by Vincent Cacciotti

It doesn’t all have to be about technology though. Professor Allan Lichtman has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1984 when Ronald Reagan took the White House.

Lichtman has said that he uses a series of true/false statements to come up with his predictions. In his analysis to determine the outcome of the election, he weighed the impact of incumbency, scandals, charisma, and the state of the economy.

In an interview with the Post, Lichtman explained his process, “The keys are 13 true/false questions, where an answer of 'true' always favors the reelection of the party holding the White House, in this case the Democrats. And the keys are phrased to reflect the basic theory that elections are primarily judgments on the performance of the party holding the White House. And if six or more of the 13 keys are false — that is, they go against the party in power — they lose. If fewer than six are false, the party in power gets four more years."

Perhaps in the future, we will not depend on a privy professor or artificial intelligence to predict the future of our country. Rather, artificial intelligence will just choose the most viable candidate for us. We will hear the speeches, follow the campaigns, and tune in for the debates, but at the end of the election trail, could artificial intelligence, one day, be responsible for choosing the (distant) future leader of the United States? Would it use a similar model to that of Professor Lichtman to make the choice? Or would it be something else entirely?

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