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POLITICS

Could next party in Danish parliament be led by AI?

A new political party in Denmark whose policies are derived entirely from artificial intelligence (AI) hopes to stand in the country's next general election in June 2023.

Could next party in Danish parliament be led by AI?
A computer screen with a close-up on the Synthetic Party's AI-driven chatbot. A new political party in Denmark whose policies are derived entirely from artificial intelligence hopes to stand in the next general election. Photo: James BROOKS / AFP

Launched in late May by the artists’ collective Computer Lars, the Synthetic Party wants to reach out to the around 15 percent of Danes who did not exercise their right to vote in the previous election in 2019.

The party believes they did not vote because none of the traditional parties appealed to them. 

By analysing all of Denmark’s fringe parties’ written publications since 1970, the Synthetic Party’s AI has devised a programme that it believes represents “the political visions of the everyday person”, one of the members of the collective, Asker Bryld Staunaes, told AFP.

The party “takes its departure in an analysis of optimising the voting system in Denmark”, he said.

It is also a tongue-in-cheek response to the hundreds of small parties created over the years, some based more on mocking or criticising society than actual political policy.

Denmark currently has 230 such micro-parties, including the Synthetic Party.

“It’s a way to mimic and simulate the political process throughout but in a direct confrontation of the apparatus of lawmaking and political enforcement and organisation rights”, Bryld Staunaes said.

Among the party’s proposals is the introduction of a universal basic income of 100,000 kroner a month — more than double the average Danish salary.

The party also backs the addition of an 18th UN sustainable development goal that would allow “humans and algorithms to coexist more directly than now”, Bryld Staunaes said.

It remains to be seen if the party has enough support to stand in the 2023 vote — it needs 20,182 signatures to do so and currently has just four, according to official election data.

But if it does manage to win a seat in parliament, it plans to use its mandate to link AI to the work being done by members of the assembly.

“The idea… is to take this huge political and economic force (algorithms)… to try to inscribe it into the traditional political system,” Bryld Staunaes said.

Currently, “we have no way of actually addressing humans and AI within a democratic setting”, he added.

People can interact directly with the party’s AI on messaging platform Discord via chatbots.

The party plans to hold its first election rally “for a human audience” in September.

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POLITICS

Denmark’s Social Democrats in worst opinion poll since 2015

Amid criticism over the government’s plan to abolish the Great Prayer Day holiday, Denmark’s biggest party the Social Democrats has received its worst opinion poll result for eight years.

Denmark’s Social Democrats in worst opinion poll since 2015

The poll, publish on Monday by institute Voxmeter on behalf of news wire Ritzau, places the Social Democrats on 22.8 points. That is some 4.7 points less than the party’s vote share at the election on November 1st.

The Social Democrats took 50 of parliament’s 179 seats at the election, making them comfortably the largest party in parliament. That number would be cut to 40 seats with Monday’s poll numbers.

The opinion poll result is meanwhile the lowest the party has had since January 2015, when it was in government under former leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

The poll carries a statistic uncertainty level of 2.6 percent.

The two other parties in the coalition government, the centrist Moderates and centre-right Liberal (Venstre) party, also suffer in the poll but to a lesser degree.

The Liberals have 11.5 percent or 20 seats according to the poll, with the Moderates at 8 percent or 14 seats.

The three parties have a combined 89 seats in parliament, but the poll would reduce them to 74 seats and mean they would no longer have the basis for a majority government.

A key challenge for the government currently is its unpopular plan to abolish the Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag) public holiday, in a move it says will enable increased spending in defence to meet Nato targets ahead of the current schedule.

The policy has met with criticism from trade unionsthe church and opposition parties, while the military itself has also distanced itself from the plan.

READ ALSO: Danish economists say abolition of Great Prayer Day is ‘not necessary’

As of Monday, a petition against scrapping the holiday had been signed just under 450,000 times.

A demonstration against the government’s bill to abolish the holiday is planned to take place next Sunday in Copenhagen.

While the government has seen poll numbers suffer, opposition parties have made headway.

The centre-left Socialist People’s Party (SF) is now at 13.5 percent after going into opposition after the election. That makes SF the second-largest party in Denmark according to the poll.

Libertarian party Liberal Alliance moves up to 10.6 percent, almost 3 points more than its election result.

The far-right Nye Borgerlige party falls to 2.5 percent following an internal power struggle.

The poll is based on responses from 1004 representative voters aged 18 or over.

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