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Home » A Bold Idea to Replace Politicians: César Hidalgo (Transcript)

A Bold Idea to Replace Politicians: César Hidalgo (Transcript)

César Hidalgo

César A. Hidalgo is a Chilean physicist, author, and entrepreneur. He is an Associate Professor at MIT and the director of the Collective Learning group at The MIT Media Lab.

In this provocative talk, César outlines a bold idea to bypass politicians by empowering citizens to create personalized AI representatives that participate directly in democratic decisions.

TRANSCRIPT:

Is it just me, or are there other people here that are a little bit disappointed with democracy?

So let’s look at a few numbers. If we look across the world, the median turnout in presidential elections over the last 30 years has been just 67%.

Now, if we go to Europe and we look at people that participated in EU parliamentary elections, the median turnout in those elections is just 42%.

Now let’s go to New York, and let’s see how many people voted in the last election for mayor. We will find that only 24% of people showed up to vote. What that means is that, if “Friends” was still running, Joey and maybe Phoebe would have shown up to vote. And you cannot blame them because people are tired of politicians.

And people are tired of other people using the data that they have generated to communicate with their friends and family, to target political propaganda at them. But the thing about this is that this is not new.

Nowadays, people use likes to target propaganda at you before they use your zip code or your gender or your age, because the idea of targeting people with propaganda for political purposes is as old as politics. And the reason why that idea is there is because democracy has a basic vulnerability. This is the idea of a representative.

In principle, democracy is the ability of people to exert power. But in practice, we have to delegate that power to a representative that can exert that power for us. That representative is a bottleneck, or a weak spot. It is the place that you want to target if you want to attack democracy because you can capture democracy by either capturing that representative or capturing the way that people choose it.

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