SCIENCE

How artificial intelligence must help Chilean politicians make better decisions

SANTIAGO – Artificial intelligence now plays an important role for decision makers in Chile, thanks to the development of Data Chile, a platform for analyzing trends and changes in the country.

The platform was designed by Chilean professor Cesar Hidalgo, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. Hidalgo’s platform gathers and analyzes public data, with the aim of helping inform policy decisions, civil society programs and business opportunities in the private sector. Data Chile uses Big Data to create interactive visual reports of the country’s most important development topics, such as population, income, education level and economic strength.

A graduate of Santiago’s Universidad Católica de Chile, Professor Hidalgo also completed a doctorate in Physics at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. He currently heads a research lab at MIT, and launched Data Chile in January 2018.  Professor Hidalgo argues that artificial intelligence, a developing interest in Chile’s society and economy, can be used in the creation of laws and policies.

According to Hidalgo, advances in artificial intelligence will allow programs to analyze the standpoints of citizens on different subjects to become advisers for the government. Hidalgo explained his concept of “Artificial Democracy” at a TED Talk in New York City in April, in which he encouraged listeners to imagine the possibilities of introducing artificial intelligence to government. “Democracy has a very bad user interface,” Hidalgo told the audience, “if you can improve the user interface, you might be able to use it more.”

The concept of “Artificial Democracy” imagines a future in which each citizen has a “personalized senator,” an artificial intelligence that learns habits, personality and preferences, and represents a vote any time a law or piece of legislation is being decided.

Hidalgo’s name is not unfamiliar in Chile. In 2015 he was named one of “50 people who might change the world,” by Wired Magazine, as he also created a social media app called Shout, designed to help users expand their professional networks through collaboration online.

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