Earlier, campaigns were all about luck. It was either a hit or miss as campaigners may not always reach their ideas to the right audience. The introduction of technology did make campaigns and elections easier. However, campaigns added additional wrinkles as it brought in data collection and manipulation techniques. Conventional polling has evolved to AI-powered predictive modelling. Micro-targeting and social media targeting has taken electoral campaigns to the next level. They make use of algorithms to classify and target voters more precisely and schematically. This raises moral concerns as people believe it’s not true democracy when people are influenced for their votes.
Microtargeting: The Strongest Weapon
Social media channels differ in the type of microtargeting that they facilitate. Facebook allows campaigns to reach small communities and people. Campaigns can upload user profile spreadsheets and distribute their messages with clinical accuracy via its “custom audience” feature. They may also exploit a feature called “look alike” which uses customized lists to identify profiles that are prone to react in a predictable manner. Both presidential campaigns have been doing this, and this form of advertising is being tracked by several initiatives. During the US elections, users have been uniquely selected by their username from the list submitted to the Biden campaign.
Prevent Inadvertent Voting with Electronic Voting
Technology may play a vital role in developing a more open and diverse democratic framework. To do this, innovation pioneers need to branch out to core social validators and partners to forge alliances intended to strengthen democracy’s legitimacy. Check-in at the polling stations is starting to switch away from printing and compiling millions of pages of voting lists, to delivering poll books on smartphones or other portable devices. Smartphone apps tell electors the location of their polling stations. It’s become usual to upload unofficial results of the election to government websites on the night of the election. The electronic transmission of electoral results from the polling stations to the central office. In dozens of countries, the method of electronically transmitting election results from the polling stations to the Central Electoral Headquarters in order to get a fast, informal count on election nights is increasingly spreading.
Internet Voting: The New Normal
Some countries offer the choice of voting online from desktop computers to voters or to a subset of voters (such as military and foreign citizens). The main reasons for this radical shift is greater mobility and comfort for voters and increased voter participation. The use of technologies such as biometrics and online during the elections will streamline and enhance the voting process. However, it can also address issues such as electoral security questions. One of the advantages of online voting is to make the procedure more available to people with special needs and to accelerate the counting of votes.
How are Social Media Shaping Campaigns?
Social media has altered the voting landscape, encouraging both newcomers and incumbents to talk directly to their supporters about everything from politics to what they ate at dinner. Barack Obama was the very first presidential contender to use the platform that was then emerging in his 2008 campaign. Donald Trump took to Twitter almost regularly to articulate himself outside the limitation of mainstream media. Political newcomers will gain significant momentum with the use of social media networks, which cost almost little and are quickly tapped by anybody with an internet connection. This result is significant because it shows how social media will continue to level the playing field of politics, where funding and access are available. It also shows how social media helps balance the playing field of politics, where capital and access to traditional contact networks pose major obstacles to new candidates who rank lower in popularity.
Gauging Voter Sentiment through Social Media
There are alternate approaches to measure opinion. Some technology analysts believe that artificial intelligence, widely used by firms to gauge consumer opinion, could provide a greater view of the electorate. Some live polls encourage users to see how many other participants want in real time, and AI algorithms determine who is most confident in their forecasts on the basis of factors such as changes in response. The most optimistic responses have the biggest impact on the final consolidated response. Advanced Symbolics Inc. uses an algorithm to monitor and interpret election-related issues shared on popular social networking platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The corporation collects public statistics from the pages to include a snapshot of people representing the communities.
Using Data Mining to Reach Voters
With Big Data, data mining and artificial intelligence, major leaders have an advantage over those who prefer to rely only on conventional models for their elections. This edge is simply engaging with the voters through social networking sites, a vital medium. Data mining from social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter allows parties to consider the worries, problems and feelings that voters have about their candidates and how they can alleviate them. This data is used by Indian political parties to develop their strategies, efficiently attract supporters, hire volunteers, and strengthen their various platforms to reach out to voters at their doorstep using personalised social media messages and posts.
Could AI Save Democracy?
Here are a few ways in which AI can save democracy:
- Because AI can consider individual interests, it can allow voters to make better choices and by extension, improve turnout.
- AI would have the power to detect bribery and wrongdoing in the system immediately.
- With easier ways to detect graft, AI would pave the way for automated voting, provide more convenience and make it possible for a broader cross-section of society to participate.
- AI would make it possible for the electorate to “drill down” and get the truth straight on whatever decision they make. There will be no sugar-coating of results being presented to higher authorities.
- Done correctly, AI will increase the quality of decisions but will not diminish the position of the person.
- AI has the power to provide more autonomy to residents, allowing more problems to arise for citizen engagement and public decision-making.
- AI would have the power to cancel malicious campaigning, bias news, and slanted points.
- AI has the ability to decrease the expense of lobbying, minimise its dependence on donors, and reduce electoral benefits in the process.