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Would you give up control to an algorithm?

Would you give up control to an algorithm?

Do you trust an algorithm to book your dinner reservation? Drive a taxi? What about to govern your world? The past year has seen worldwide trust in government fall to an all-time low, and a global generation has reportedly lost faith in democracy. Given this, are people still attached to the way their societies are governed, or is there room for technologically-led improvement?

In a post-human era in which algorithms can determine the most effective system of governance, and can calculate the most likely course of action to avoid war and famine, what’s to stop people from putting one in charge? For Mindshare’s 2017 Huddle, industry experts and academics turned their lens on the post-human world. We discussed the prospect of uploading digital replicas of ourselves – from our visual memories to blueprints of our biology – onto the cloud. We considered how humanity’s woes, from disability to inefficiency, could be made obsolete by biohacking. But one question stood out to Canvas8: what will happen when humans are given the choice to give up control?

The figures suggest that relinquishing control is on the table. In a year of surprising political outcomes in democratically governed societies, young people feel disenfranchised, and are questioning the systems that are currently in place. According to results from the World Values Survey, younger citizens of stable democracies not only take their governments for granted, but no longer consider democracy a political necessity at all. While 72% of those born before World World II believe that living in a democracy is essential, only 30% of American Gen Yers feel the same.

For this year’s Huddle, we sat down with tech author Tom Chatfield and AI strategist Adelyn Zhou to get to the bottom of the question: Would you vote AI for president? In this interactive huddle, both sides made their case while we explored the behavioural science behind people’s attachment to democracy, and their relationship to government, technology and trust.

James Fox, Senior Behavioural Analyst, Canvas8