As Artificial Intelligence advances, its applications and purposes will naturally expand. It is possible that at some point in the future, AI is integrated into political systems around the globe in a crucial and important way. There are a wide variety of avenues for this integration – it can go essentially as far as advancements in Artificial Intelligence can go. From its current role in computer algorithms designed to profile and target certain voters based on their internet activity, to more advanced political operative work, to automation in the public sector, all the way  up to actual decision making in the government. The possibilities for the future roles of AI in political systems are theoretically limitless, although at this juncture pivotal roles in government seem like a very distant speculation.

The Future of Political CampAIgns

One of the most clear ways that AI will play a continuing role in political systems is through its use as a campaign tool. Political campaigns have already been known to use computer algorithms to pinpoint specific voters and segments of the population to target with different forms of advertisements tailored specifically for them. The most well known forms of this come from analytics groups that analyzed the online behavior of Facebook users and then targeted them with specially tailored and timed ads designed to pique their interest. This is a clear example of AI already having practical implementations in the political system.

It is still the very early days of AI playing any sort of role in a political system, but it is likely that we will see its role in political campaigns continue to expand as analytics firms and political groups continue to push the boundaries of what artificial intelligence is capable of doing in the political campaign sphere. As time and technology advance, the possibilities of further applications for AI in political campaigns will naturally continue to grow. While it is currently just one of many tools on a political operative’s belt, it would not be surprising if it takes on a much more significant role as the technology and the capabilities of artificial intelligence continue to advance.

As the technology behind AI advances, it is likely that political groups will invest even more of their funds into computer programs that can further pinpoint groups of voters that can maximize their voting totals. Much like political groups invested heavily into tools like opinion polling and television ads as the technology and methodology behind those options improved, they are also set to make large investments into artificial intelligence programs as the technology improves. As political groups venture down this path, it will be interesting to see how they integrate AI into their operations and just how big of a role they give to AI. There are a wide variety of possibilities for this, which could lead to AI having a very important role in political campaigns. If AI is heavily integrated into political groups and campaigns, then that means those groups will be making more investments into AI programs and tech workers than can run and maintain AI systems, in much the same way that political groups and campaigns invest in polls and pollsters.

AI could put public sector jobs at risk

Beyond its use in political campaigns, the actual uses of AI in government range from completing various bureaucratic tasks that are able to be automated, to actual political roles. AI may be able to automate various public sector jobs from sanitation to public transport to data entry. Deloitte released an article discussing this exact possibility and attempted to quantify the actual money and time savings this could provide to the public sector. It is likely that automation can provide many benefits to the public sector, but the question is if it will be allowed to. Although AI may be a cheaper and more efficient choice in the long run, there will probably not be too many politicians that want to be directly tied to automating jobs, which this would undoubtedly do. It is a tough position to be in, as the government may benefit from this sort of automation but a large number of public sector employees could be put out of work because of this. However, the savings in time and money that AI could provide in this sort of role could also provide new opportunities and job fields simply because it could change so much of the way that the public sector is run.

Looking even further into the future, it is possible that AI is one day given an impactful and legitimate decision making role in the government. While this currently seems like distant speculation from a sci-fi novel, it may one day be a reality. As artificial intelligence continues to advance and its role in politics and bureaucratic work continues to increase in stature, things could eventually lead to a future where AI is directly advising politicians or making serious political decisions.

Ultimately, the role of AI in politics and government can only get bigger. In the near future we are likely to see an increased role for AI in a tool for political organizations and campaigns, much like how polling agencies or canvassers are used today. Going a bit further into the future, we may see large scale automation of the public sector. This one is certainly further away, but if it were to happen, it would radically change the job market at large. Finally, in the distant future we could see AI in actual decision making roles in the government, although this prediction is so far into the future that it is very hard to set anything in stone. Overall, it is clear that AI will continue to involve itself further and further into the political system, but the exact scope of its involvement is purely speculation at this point.

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