How AI could have saved our sanity in the US election

I’m not quite sure where you would have to live to have avoided the US elections this week. The trailer for it has been running for months, and the polls hyped a clear Democrat win. As we wait for the final count, with no Blue landslide in sight, there must be so many people scratching their heads, wondering why it is that political pollsters always seem to get it so wrong.

Mark Minevich’s article in Forbes takes a look at the issue, and starts by asking why do countries still use antiquated voting systems, which one of the candidates constantly insists is fraudulent, but only if the votes are going against him mind!

As he points out, Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers us the means to “make every election day going forward safe, efficient, and most importantly, secure.” It would remove the long lines of voters waiting to cast their vote, and no dependence on mail-in votes. Instead we would have instant results that are 100% accurate.

Several AI products are already available that could have been deployed, such as FiscalNote. Its AI platform is primarily use for policy insights. It could be leveraged, Minevich says,  “for voter education where a voter communicates the kinds of policy that will affect them and their families.”

With voter education also in mind, iSIdeWith is another AI tool that “gives citizens an opportunity to better educate themselves on which candidate more aligns with their personal views.” With citizens assaulted by so many news stories, and it being harder to separate the truth from disinformation, it is hard to know what to believe. This platform could assist with helping voters decide on what is fact and what aligns with the world they want to vote for.

Foreign interference has been a theme in the US news since the 2016 election. However, scholars at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University and New York University have developed an AI tool that “can predict when inflammatory social media posts are coming from foreign Internet trolls.” This is ideal for social media platforms seeking “to weed out and eliminate foreign trolls attempting to provide disinformation to potential voters,” as Minevich says.

And then there is the voting itself and the count: a slow process in the US. KCore uses AI to predict elections worldwide. It analyses “real-time social media to give a quicker and remarkably accurate method of predicting election trends.” This could be used to predict voter turnout, thus ensuring election officials are properly prepared, and the count is more efficient.

There are several other AI platforms available that are ready to be used in the election sphere. Minevich believes that if these tools were in place, we’d see much higher turnouts and more people engaged with the democratic process. Society and the state would benefit from better voter education that leads to greater engagement. Perhaps the USA will get its voting system right next time by using AI, although its pollsters will still probably provide them with false hope or a feeling of sinking depression in the run-up.

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