Romania’s prime minister is using an AI adviser to tell him what people think

Nicolae Ciuca is using AI to find out what the Romanian people think  (Daniel Mihailescu / AFP via Getty Images)
Nicolae Ciuca is using AI to find out what the Romanian people think (Daniel Mihailescu / AFP via Getty Images)

Romania’s prime minister, Nicolae Ciuca, is using artificial intelligence to tell him what people are thinking in real-time.

Ciuca has introduced a new AI assistant called Ion to his team as his “new honorary adviser,” which has been described as “the first government adviser to use artificial intelligence”.

When launching the AI assistant, which was developed by Romanian researchers, Ion said: “Hi, you gave me life and my role is now to represent you, like a mirror.

“What should I know about Romania?”

Ion will use social media data and artificial intelligence to “capture opinions in society,” using the information it gathers to inform the government of the Romanian people’s “proposals and wishes”.

The public will be asked to share their opinions on subjects like “government activity, events of national importance, standard of living, sports and entertainment activities, health or food-related topics, energy and more”.

People in Romania will also be able to talk to Ion online, via a website and social media. The Romanian public will be able to interact with Ion at public events, where it will be represented with a mirror-like robot.

Ion won’t respond, however, but will share their contributions with the government.

Ion will do this by analysing the contributions and using this information to create reports, which will be passed on to government officials.

Ion’s website says that social media comments “provide strong clues about the degree of citizen satisfaction”.

The Romanian government’s website also says that “in the age of technology,” it should not only be private companies that represent “hubs of innovation and information management, but also public institutions.”

However, Kris Shrishak, a technology fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, told Politico that the technology should be used with caution.

He raised questions about how Ion will determine which information is important and how it will determine what constitutes a priority.