LONDON – A study has found that most Europeans would like some of their MPs to be replaced by algorithms.
Researchers from IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change asked 2,769 people from 11 countries around the world how they would feel about reducing the number of national parliamentarians in their country and giving those seats to an AI that would have access to their data.
The results, released Thursday, showed that despite AI’s clear and obvious limitations, 51% of Europeans said they were in favor of such a measure.
Oscar Jonsson, academic director of IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change and one of the report’s lead researchers, told CNBC that there have been “decades of decline in the belief in democracy as a form of government.”
The reasons are likely related to increased political polarization, filter bubbles and information fragmentation, he said. “Everyone’s perception is that politics is getting worse and politicians are obviously being blamed, so I think (the report) captures the general spirit of the age,” Jonsson said. He added that the results are not so surprising “given the number of people who know their deputy, how many people have a relationship with their deputy (and) how many people know what their deputy is doing.”
The study found that the idea was particularly popular in Spain, where 66% of the people surveyed supported it. Elsewhere, 59% of respondents in Italy were in favor and 56% of people in Estonia.
Not all countries like the idea of handing over control to machines, which can be hacked or act in ways humans don’t want. In the UK, 69% of the people surveyed were against the idea, while 56% were against it in the Netherlands and 54% in Germany.
Outside of Europe, around 75% of respondents in China supported the idea of replacing MPs with AI, while 60% of American respondents opposed.
Opinions also vary dramatically by generation, with younger people being significantly more open to the idea. More than 60% of Europeans aged 25-34 and 56% of those aged 34-44 were in favor of the idea, while the majority of those surveyed over 55 did not see it as a good idea.