This is a ways off, but I like the idea:
Could a Robot Be President?
Yes, it sounds nuts. But some techno-optimists really believe a computer could make better decisions for the country—without the drama and shortsightedness we accept from our human leaders.
By Michael Linhorst
July 08, 2017
See? Endorsed by techno-optimists. What could possibly go wrong?
President Donald Trump reportedly spends his nights alone in the White House, watching TV news and yelling at the screen. He wakes up early each morning to watch more television and tweet his anger to the world … or Mika Brzezinski … or CNN. He takes time out of meetings with foreign leaders to brag about his Electoral College win.
That all sounds, at the very least, distracting for a person with the weight of the free world on his shoulders. But if his fury at the Russia scandal and insecurity about his election are stealing time from the important decisions of the presidency, Trump is by no means the first commander in chief whose emotions or personality have gotten in the way of the job. From Warren Harding’s buddies enriching themselves in Teapot Dome to Richard Nixon’s Watergate hubris to Bill Clinton nearly getting kicked out of office because he couldn’t control his base urges, it’s human weakness—jealousy, greed, lust, nepotism—that most often upends presidencies.
Now, a small group of scientists and thinkers believes there could be an alternative, a way to save the president—and the rest of us—from him- or herself. As soon as technology advances far enough, they think we should put a computer in charge of the country. Yes, it sounds nuts. But the idea is that artificial intelligence could make America’s big, complicated decisions better than any person could, without the drama or shortsightedness that we grudgingly accept from our human presidents.
If you’re imagining a Terminator-style machine sitting behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, think again. The president would more likely be a computer in a closet somewhere, chugging away at solving our country’s toughest problems. Unlike a human, a robot could take into account vast amounts of data about the possible outcomes of a particular policy. It could foresee pitfalls that would escape a human mind and weigh the options more reliably than any person could—without individual impulses or biases coming into play. We could wind up with an executive branch that works harder, is more efficient and responds better to our needs than any we’ve ever seen.
Now that's not very realistic. I think ultimately we would still want a human to have veto power just in case its algorithm outputs something really bizarre due to some sort of bug perhaps or malware. But what could happen instead is a human president who gets his/her advice from the robot(s). If the robot is smart enough to be president, then surely it is also smart enough to advise a president.
Still, a human president would still be susceptible to politics. What if the computer advises a decision as the most rational course of action, but politically it is not popular with voters who want both lower taxes and
There’s not yet a well-defined or cohesive group pushing for a robot in the Oval Office—just a ragtag bunch of experts and theorists who think that futuristic technology will make for better leadership, and ultimately a better country. Mark Waser, for instance, a longtime artificial intelligence researcher who works for a think tank called the Digital Wisdom Institute, says that once we fix some key kinks in artificial intelligence, robots will make much better decisions than humans can. Natasha Vita-More, chairwoman of Humanity+, a nonprofit that “advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities,” expects we’ll have a “posthuman” president someday—a leader who does not have a human body but exists in some other way, such as a human mind uploaded to a computer. Zoltan Istvan, who made a quixotic bid for the presidency last year as a “transhumanist,” with a platform based on a quest for human immortality, is another proponent of the robot presidency—and he really thinks it will happen.
“An A.I. president cannot be bought off by lobbyists,” he says. “It won’t be influenced by money or personal incentives or family incentives. It won’t be able to have the nepotism that we have right now in the White House. These are things that a machine wouldn’t do.”
The idea of a robot ruler has been floating around in science fiction for decades. In 1950, Isaac Asimov’s short story collection I, Robot envisioned a world in which machines appeared to have consciousness and human-level intelligence. They were controlled by the “Three Laws of Robotics.” (First: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”) Super-advanced A.I. machines in Iain Banks’ Culture series act as the government, figuring out how best to organize society and distribute resources. Pop culture—like, more recently, the movie Her—has been hoping for human-like machines for a long time.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare (probably Socrates originally)