The Future Of Voting Could Be A Dystopian Nightmare

Enjoy the craziness of election season while you can: In the future, computers could become so adept at molding your behavior that you won’t really choose who you vote for anymore.

At least, that’s what one robotics expert at Carnegie Mellon University fears.

Professor Illah Nourbakhsh recently appeared on a panel called “Life in 2025″ during a conference at MIT. He expressed concern that today’s germs of artificial intelligence technology could evolve into a full-blown disease that infects our political system.

Nourbakhsh envisioned a future where politicians control voters based on their data — the information they create when posting online, using a smartphone and so on. And he said this scenario might be little more than two election cycles away.

“What does it mean when the winner of the political system has the best machine learning?” Nourbakhsh asked at the conference.

Machine learning exists all around us today. Basically, the term refers to a program’s ability to study data, recognize patterns and then make predictions based on that data. Facebook, for example, uses machine learning to determine what you think is interesting and serve you similar content. You should never forget that anything you post online — be it a link, status or photograph — is really just data for an algorithm to read and learn from.

It leads you to question whether we still have free will.
Illah Nourbakhsh, Carnegie Mellon University

Nourbakhsh fears that this type of machine learning could soon become so advanced that politicians will be able to tap into programs that perfectly understand voters. Those programs, which Nourbakhsh said will likely be available only to the richest groups at first, could help shape how voters behave, based on what those people have done in the past.

In a sense, you could think of it like subliminal —> Read More