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This presidential candidate wants a robot to run the country

This presidential candidate wants a robot to run the country
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Robots are taking over a lot of jobs from manufacturing to news reporting to medicine to driving cars and trucks. But would you elect one to be president as well?

Zoltan Istvan does, and he's running for president to prove it. No, he isn't the robot, but he thinks in 30 years we could have one that's intelligent enough, and so he's laying the groundwork now.

Istvan is the founder of the Transhumanist Party. Transhumanism basically says that at some point in the future technology will get so advanced it will either replace humans entirely, or we'll merge with it and become like a new species.

Speaking to Esquire, Istvan explains why he thinks a robot should be president:

I have advocated for the use of artificial intelligence to potentially, one day, replace the president of the United States, as well as other politicians. And the reason is that you might actually have an entity that would be truly unselfish, truly not influenced by any type of lobbyist.

He goes on:

[I]f you have a machine, you will be able to program that machine to, hopefully, benefit the greatest good, and really go after that. Regardless of any personal interest that the machine might have. I think it's based on having a more altruistic living entity that would be able to make decisions, rather than a human.

If you've seen any science fiction movies or TV shows, such as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Terminator," "I, Robot," "The Matrix," "Battlestar Galactica" and too many others to name, then you know the big flaw with artificial intelligence. What happens when it get intelligent enough to realize it doesn't need us?

Istvan recognizes that possibility and wants to be sure we can shut down the artificial intelligence as needed. However, he also thinks the way we interact with it will be different than we think about now.

For me, the greater prospect of an artificial intelligence one day leading countries is that we're also going to be interconnected to them. Within 15 or 20 years, we'll have cranial implant technology for mindwave-reading headsets that are so advanced that we'll probably be directly interconnected–our thoughts, our minds, our memories–into these types of artificial entities. And at that point, I think the decision-making would be a dual-process where we would essentially have ourselves tied into artificial intelligence, but we still remain biological thinking creatures. And the artificial intelligences would help us make good decisions.

He also thinks that we shouldn't let artificial intelligence get too smart.

I advocate as a futurist and also as a member of the Transhumanist Party, that we never let artificial intelligence completely go on its own. I just don't see why the human species needs an artificial entity, an artificial intelligence entity, that's 10,000 times smarter than us. I just don't see why that could ever be a good thing.

What I advocate for is that, as soon as we get to the point when artificial intelligence can take off and be as smart, or even 10 times more intelligent than us, we stop that research and we have the research of cranial implant technology or the brainwave. And we make that so good so that, when artificial intelligence actually decides–when we actually decide to switch the on-button–human beings will also be a part of that intelligence.

Naturally, Istvan doesn't expect to win in 2016, however he's hopeful that by 2020 or 2024 the Transhumanist Party can be at the same level as the Green Party. He's also eyeing local government as another step for the party.

So, would you vote for the Transhumanist Party? Do you think artificial intelligence should run the country? Let me know in the comments.

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Source: Esquire
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