• Views November 4, 2016

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the agency.  

This election season has been one for the record books.

Headlines have been dominated by commentary from and about both candidates, but what if there had been a third candidate? No, I’m not referring to a third party, but to a third candidate. I’m talking about a robot. Yes, a robot. A supercomputer with mechanical parts whose software, through advances in AI and machine learning, would allow it to weigh decisions and make judgments based on historical data.

According to a recent national survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans already think robots and computers will “definitely” or “probably” do much of the work currently done by humans.

Between the increased capabilities of machines and the decreased aptitude of humans, would it be so wrong to give a robot a shot at holding office?

Need more convincing? Hear me out:

  • Robots can fact-check themselves

Candidates continue to show a thin grasp of the facts, making poorly sourced or inaccurate claims along the way.

  • Robots don’t have tax returns

Financial transparency has always been important to the American people. Unlike humans, a robot doesn’t have tax returns or a record.

  • Robots have great stamina

Robots can run on a host of energy sources, from electric motors to solar power.

  • Robots don’t have complicated wardrobes

Robots aren’t focused on fashion, and as such, are simply dressed up with metal finishings.

  • Robots don’t make excuses

Robots have access to facts, and that’s what they share. Excuses and opinion are beyond their scope. They make statements based on substantiated information.

At the current rate of investment and research on deep learning, we will soon be able to mimic the process of the human brain via sophisticated, multi-level, “deep” neural networks. And although it could be another 100 years before a life-size robot actually runs for office, the technology behind it will continue to make an impact on political processes.

Data mining companies around the world have analyzed public sentiment through the collective intelligence of writers and editors who decide what’s important to readers—and what isn’t.

I must admit that I would struggle to check the box marked “robot” in a voting booth, but, a century from now, if I’m still around, we may just be at the next frontier of politics and a robot may be our best bet.