Officials investigating AI running for mayor in Wyoming

“Wyoming law will decide the matter.”

Crown VIC

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An AI chatbot called VIC, or Virtually Integrated Citizen, is trying to make it onto the ballot for the Wyoming capital of Cheyenne in this year's mayoral election. But as reported. wired, Wyoming's secretary of state is fighting VIC's legitimacy as a candidate — and now, the investigation is underway.

According to Wired, VIC, built on OpenAI's GPT-4 and trained on thousands of documents from Cheyenne Council meetings, was created by Cheyenne resident and library worker Victor Miller. Miller said if VIC should win. Wired That he would act as the bot's “meat puppet”, operating the AI ​​but allowing it to make decisions for the capital.

And why run VIC? According to its creator: Paperwork!

“My campaign promise,” Miller said Wired, “Is he going to vote 100 percent on these big, fat documents that I'm not going to read and I don't think people out there are reading right now.” (Also, VIC is apparently a “he”.)

Unfortunately for AI and her – her? – meat puppet, however, he has already made some political enemies, most notably Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray. As Gray, who has challenged the bot's legality, pointed out Wired In one statement, all mayoral candidates are required to meet the requirements of an “eligible voter.”

It “needs to be a real person,” Gray argued. And VIC, of ​​course, is not a real boy.

Mayor Boot

Laramie County Attorney Brad Lund, who is working on the investigation, told The Local Wyoming Tribune Eagle The paper says the matter should be over by the first week of July, when ballot documents are due to be released.

“Finally,” Lund said Tribune Eagle“Wyoming law shall decide the matter.”

But VIC's legal battle may not be its only obstacle. per WiredIt's also running afoul of OpenAI, which says the AI ​​violates the company's “policies against political campaigning.” (Miller said Wired (That if needed he would move the VIC to Meta's open-source Llama 3 model, which seems to turn the VIC into a different candidate entirely.)

VIC would not be the first attempt to place AIs in political leadership positions. Back in 2022, a new political group called “The Synthetic Party” emerged in Denmark, using an AI chatbot named “Leader Lars” as the figurehead of the party.

But building a chatbot mayor, if still theoretical, is fraught with practical and ethical landmines. Like frail humans, AI programs make mistakes. That AI is not human can also confound the usual avenues of political accountability. It's also often unclear how and why AI models come to the decisions they do, which doesn't exactly make for easy public trust.

In any case, like any politician, VIC is campaigning under scrutiny.

“I'm running for mayor to bring innovative technology,” Bott “said.” Tribune Eagle“And data-driven decision-making for Cheyenne.”

More AI: An official NYC chatbot is encouraging small businesses to break the law.

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