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Described as the "first artificial intelligence (AI) politician", the SAM (Semantic Analysis Machine) is an AI designed to learn about and represent the political views of people living in New Zealand. Developed by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, along with entrepreneur Nick Gerritsen and technology company Touchtech, SAM is designed to respond to questions on specific issues via Facebook Messenger. “My memory is infinite,” posted SAM, “so I will never forget or ignore what you tell me. Unlike a human politician, I consider everyone’s position, without bias, when making decision.” The chatbot answers questions on topics as diverse as housing, education and environment. As well as helping people understand policies, SAM is expected to educate people on how AI works and to inspire discussion about public opinion being influenced by social media.
It had been suggested that SAM could run as a candidate at the next New Zealand general election, in 2020. At present, however, it is not legal for AI to run for election. The developers hope that by 2020 SAM will be much more advanced and capable of answering more questions.