Denmark has a new political party led by an AI chatbot

By Alma Fabiani

Published Oct 18, 2022 at 12:30 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Of all the problems that artificial intelligence (AI) has been harnessed to solve, the complex and oftentimes messy terrain of human political affairs is one that has always been considered to go beyond its scope of application. That is, up until now…

Founded in May 2022 by the art collective Computer Lars and the non-profit art-technology organisation MindFuture Foundation, let me introduce you to Denmark’s new AI-led political party, the Synthetic Party.

Its artificially intelligent representative, known as Leader Lars, is programmed on the policies of Danish fringe parties since 1970 and is meant to represent the values of the 20 per cent of Danes who did not vote in the previous 2019 election.

Aiming to be the “last new party” in the country, the Synthetic Party is breaking ground by deriving its policies entirely using its AI chatbot. In the past, we’ve seen similar technology being leveraged in more ‘trivial’ contexts such as helping users practice their sexting skills or chatting with Kpop fans by pretending to be their favourite idols.

Meanwhile, Leader Lars is hoping to stand in Denmark’s next general election in 2023. For Asker Bryld Staunaes, one of the founding members of the Computer Lars collective, the Synthetic Party represents “the political vision of the common person.”

The motivation is to “take AI into the human realm of debate and discourse,” Bryld Staunaes told TRT World. He further noted that, prior to the Synthetic Party, there has been no way to concretely address humans and AI within a democratic context.

But there’s more to the party than Leader Lars. Individuals wishing to learn more about the controversial party’s vision can interact with the Synthetic Party’s AI on Discord via chatbots. There, they can meet the figurehead Leader Lars as well as the party secretary Computer Lars, and even the chatbot incarnation of all the party’s members.

“Computer Lars curates the Discord server to educate people on how to use the AI as a means of political exploration,” Bryld Staunaes explained. “It can tell us quite a lot about the political vision and discourse of normal people.”

“On Discord, we have this political development that primarily focuses on making the AI responsible and accountable for the power it already exercises,” he continued. “It tries to widen the imaginary on how we can work together in a better way.”

It’s no surprise why the Synthetic Party—one of over 230 ‘micro-parties’ created in Denmark over the years—seems worrying and even scary to some citizens. With more and more occurrences depicting AI in a negative light across countless aspects of our lives, it makes sense that a non-human entity having a say in a country’s politics is seen as a cause for concern by many.

And yet, Bryld Staunaes believes it is a challenge that can ultimately be overcome. It might surprise you to hear that the Synthetic Party isn’t the first time AI has been used in the political realm. In 2018, an AI candidate stood for mayoral elections in Japan. That same year, a Russian chatbot called Alisa ran against Vladimir Putin in the 2018 presidential elections. Then in 2020, Sam, a virtual politician, stood for the elections in New Zealand.

That being said, all of these cases were limited to digital avatars of a politician—the Synthetic Party attempts to go further in examining how AI can function in a political system.

Whether the party gains a footing with the public to actually be included in next year’s poll remains unclear. In Denmark, a party needs 20,182 signatures to stand in the parliamentary election—official data highlighted by TRT World shows that the Synthetic Party has just four at the moment.

However, if it does happen to win a parliamentary seat, the party has announced that it will use its mandate to appoint a representative in charge of ensuring a link between AI and the debates organised in parliament.

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

Inside Just Stop Oil training sessions where new recruits are taught how to deal with angry drivers 

By Charlie Sawyer

Taylor Swift impersonator pranks fans with bodyguards and instantly regrets it

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Watch viral video of Jackie Chan sharing a wholesome moment with his daughter slammed online for being fake for this heartbreaking reason

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

The Biden approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A masterclass in American avoidance

By Charlie Sawyer

Either I’m delulu or Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones are finally dating

By Mason Berlinka

Heartstopper star Kit Connor says he is more secure in his bisexuality despite being forced to come out online

By Abby Amoakuh

Jenna Ortega exits Scream franchise following firing of Melissa Barrera over Palestine comments

By Charlie Sawyer

Theatre Camp review: A love letter to kids who loved Glee, The Tonys, and all things camp

By Jennifer Raymont

5 must-have products from Youth To The People, Miley Cyrus and Kit Connor’s favourite skincare brand

By Priya Raj

Fast fashion factories: Why are brands like Oh Polly and SHEIN pretending to be honest now?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

6 things you need to know about the Maui wildfires and how to help

By Jennifer Raymont

Costume designers for And Just Like That… season two reveal $3 million wardrobe budget

By Louis Shankar

From his Daily Mail column to mayoral election rumours, we haven’t seen the last of Boris Johnson

By Charlie Sawyer

Joe Jonas allegedly launches smear campaign against Sophie Turner amid divorce

By Bianca Borissova

What is the Skibidi toilet trend? Unpacking the gen Alpha meme making gen Z feel old

By Charlie Sawyer

Watch hundreds of people dressed as dogs gather for Berlin event

By Mason Berlinka

What is PragerU? Unpacking the dangerous right-wing media publisher that is infiltrating schools in Florida 

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Polish TV show faces backlash over white performer in blackface impersonating Kendrick Lamar

By Emma O'Regan-Reidy

Dry brushing: Gwyneth Paltrow’s obsessed with it but does it actually offer any benefits?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Shell’s latest ad campaign banned for greenwashing and misleading claims