During the new coronavirus-COVID-19 pandemic, people are walking on Strandvagen in Stockholm on March 28, 2020. – Sweden, which has remained open to business with a softer approach to containing the COVID-19 spread than most of Europe, limited gatherings from 500 to 50 people on March 27, 2020.
LONDON – A study has shown that most Europeans would like to see some of their MEPs replaced by algorithms.
Researchers from the Center for Managing Change at IE University asked 2,769 people from 11 countries around the world how they would reduce the number of national parliamentarians in their country and give those seats to an AI that would have access to their data.
The results, released on Thursday, showed that despite the clear and obvious limitations of AI, 51% of Europeans were in favor of such a move.
Oscar Jonsson, academic director at IE University’s Center for Governance of Change and a key researcher on the report, told CNBC that belief in democracy as a form of government had declined for decades.
The reasons are likely related to increasing political polarization, filter bubbles, and information splinters, he said. “Everyone is of the opinion that politics is getting worse and obviously the politicians are being blamed. I think this (the report) captures the general zeitgeist,” Jonsson said. He added that the results are not that surprising “considering how many people know their MPs, how many people have a relationship with their MPs (and how many people know what their MPs do”).
The study found that the idea was particularly popular in Spain, where 66% of respondents supported it. In other countries, 59% of respondents in Italy were in favor and 56% of people in Estonia were in favor.
Not all countries like the idea of handing control over to machines that can be hacked or act in ways people don’t want them to. In the UK, 69% of respondents were against the idea, 56% in the Netherlands and 54% in Germany.
Outside Europe, 75% of people surveyed in China were in favor of replacing MPs with AI, while 60% of American respondents were against it.
Opinions also vary dramatically from generation to generation, with younger people being significantly more open to the idea. Over 60% of Europeans between the ages of 25 and 34 and 56% of Europeans between the ages of 34 and 44 were in favor of the idea, while the majority of those over 55 think it is not a good idea.