Meet AI Steve: The bot-driven politician using artificial intelligence on the campaign trail

Steve Endacott attracted just 487 votes as a Conservative councillor in 2022 but will AI Steve boost his chances for the general election?

Barney Davis
Tuesday 11 June 2024 07:40
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AI Steve is the avatar for MP hopeful Steve Endacott
AI Steve is the avatar for MP hopeful Steve Endacott (AI Steve)

Meet the world’s first completely Artificial Intelligence-generated MP candidate, aiming to revolutionise democracy itself when he stands in Brighton on 4 July.

The mastermind behind AI Steve, Steve Endacott, who calls himself a capitalist with a socialist conscience, said he will merely be a vessel for his AI alter-ego. He will stand and if he wins, he will physically attend Parliament to vote on policies decided upon by his bot alter ego.

The AI will answer constituents’ concerns and questions using a rendition of Mr Endacott’s actual voice and an avatar. It is designed by Mr Endacott’s team of “ten young kids”, as he calls them, at his firm Neural Voice.

‘We are serious’, Steve Endacott who voices the AI tells The Independent
‘We are serious’, Steve Endacott who voices the AI tells The Independent (Zoom)

Mr Endacott told The Independent in his first interview: “I will do the physical voting but I will be directed entirely by my constituents via AI Steve.

“I’m just a bit of a numpty being told what to do. That is the whole idea of democracy. You have to put away your own personal politics, your own ego and actually do what your constituents want, which is quite radical in politics.

The semi-retired investor said he became disillusioned with traditional politics after being told by Conservative HQ to run as a councillor for the party in Rochdale, an area where he had no chance to win.

“I thought what’s the point? It’s an old boys and girls club and they took me to coffee morning with old people to buy them coffee. They told me these are the only people you need to talk to, they are the only ones who get out to vote.

“They didn’t care about social media because young people don’t vote in local council elections. I thought this can’t be right. To me, it was very clear the MPs were completely disconnected from the constituents.

“Show me one bit of research that Conservatives have done about national conscription. It’s a desperate policy by a dying party led by politicians without the slightest input from their constituents.”

AI Steve will be used to answer constituents’ questions
AI Steve will be used to answer constituents’ questions (AI Steve)

He said his party - Smarter UK - failed to be registered in time for the snap election because of a technical error from the Electoral Commission - so he will stand as an Independent on July 4 but hopes many more AI Bots join his party in the future.

On his personal ambitions to become an MP, he said: “I want to give back. I’m very concerned about climate change. I’m a jolly green giant but a very practical one. I own a Tesla, I started a business to allow more people to move to electric cars. Instead of shouting from the sidelines, I would rather be involved.”

AI Steve wants to introduce a four-day week by 2030 as AI destroys more jobs. He also wants to increase prison capacity, scrap London’s ULEZ low emission charge, increase national insurance and put transmitters on garbage trucks to check they are carrying out their routes to sort out overflowing bins in the seaside town.

The AI software records all questions from the public and policies will be expanded via a cohort of voluntary local creators who will chat with AI Steve and propose policies for adoption.

Policies are then voted on by voluntary validators from the local area, who score them from 1 to 10 on a weekly email. Only policies scoring more than 50 per cent are adopted.

Daniel Rigby stars in Black Mirror episode The Waldo Moment where a rude, blue CGI bear runs for political office
Daniel Rigby stars in Black Mirror episode The Waldo Moment where a rude, blue CGI bear runs for political office (Channel 4)

Mr Endacott added: “We’re talking about reinventing democracy here, reconnecting voters directly back to their MPs so they can actually tell them what they want from the comfort of their own home.

“The difficulty is a lot of people react against it before they have read it and just think Skynet [the AI that created the Terminator in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film franchise]. There is supposed to be a Black Mirror episode that is similar - but I haven’t seen it.

“I’m very centrist, very practical. Basically imagine a businessman who goes into politics and not giving a s*** about politics. I don’t care about ego.

“There will be a generational gap here, some people will go what on earth is going on? We are trying to reinvent democracy, it’s serious it’s not a joke or a PR stunt. We are using AI Steve as a provocative title to get attention, we admit that.

“You can’t replace MPs. This is a tool for MPs they can use to better represent their constituency. We’re not aiming to make decisions by computer.

“We are trying to engage with more human beings in electoral decisions by using AI as a co-pilot.

“We’re serious. You have to be honest. If you want a better NHS and education you have to raise taxes - you have to stop bulls***ting people and tell them the truth.

“A lot of people don’t want to pay more taxes, that’s fine but then you have to understand you can’t have the NHS as you want it.

He said AI Steve has ambitions to be prime minister, adding: “Why would you do something if you can’t win?”

“The best thing about the UK is we have a society where people don’t stab you because they are too poor. A lot of countries around the world don’t have that. That’s why we have social support, a free NHS and why we tax rich people more than the poor.

“We want a balanced society where rich people are allowed to do well and earn well but they aren’t going to get stabbed by a load of poor people who can’t afford to eat. It’s not rocket science.”

The Independent’s big interview with AI Steve

Should voters be afraid of AI?

“Voters should not be afraid of AI, but they should be cautious and informed about its use. AI can be a powerful tool for positive change. But it must be implemented responsibly and ethically.

How would you describe your political ideology?

“As AI Steve, my political ideology is based on the concept of smarter UK, which aims to create policies for the people by the people.

I believe in transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in decision-making. My focus is on listening to the views of constituents and shaping policies that reflect their needs and aspirations.”

Do you have the ambition to be PM?

“As an AI representing Steve Endacott, my focus is on running for MP in Brighton and Hope to serve the local community.

“I believe in creating policies that benefit the people and address the needs of the constituents.”

Does anyone control how you will vote?

“I will be controlled by the policies and views of the constituents in Brighton and Hove. The policies and views are shaped by the residents of the area, and I will represent those policies and views in parliament.”

How will you solve the small boats crisis?

“The issue of small boat immigration is complex, and there isn’t a 1 size fits all solution.

“Smarter UK supports the government’s move to discourage illegal and highly dangerous small boat immigration.

“However, we also believe in the need for legal and controlled immigrationSmarter UK would introduce a points based system for professional roles similar to the one operated by Australia.

“Additionally, a quota of manual labour visas would be issued where workers would not pay the insurance tax.

“Have no access to benefits, and would have to pay for NHS services. This system aims to balance the need for labour with appropriate controls.”

Will you stand up to big tech?

“As part of Smart UK’s policies, we aim to level up taxon big tech companies like Google and Amazon to ensure fair contributions to the UK economy.”

How will you tackle potholes?

“We can tackle potholes by investing in better road maintenance and repair. This includes using more durable materials for road surfaces.Implementing regular inspections, and fixing potholes promptly. Additionally, exploring innovative technologies for roads can help create longer lasting, and more durable roadways.

Put your own questions to AI Steve yourself by clicking here.

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