Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : No Hallucination: AI Candidate on the Ballot for UK Election 

A man carries shopping bags as he walks through the town center of Bury, northwest England, on June 13, 2024. (AFP)
A man carries shopping bags as he walks through the town center of Bury, northwest England, on June 13, 2024. (AFP)
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No Hallucination: AI Candidate on the Ballot for UK Election 

A man carries shopping bags as he walks through the town center of Bury, northwest England, on June 13, 2024. (AFP)
A man carries shopping bags as he walks through the town center of Bury, northwest England, on June 13, 2024. (AFP)

When voters go to the polls in one English town next month, they will get the chance to elect what is being billed as the world's first AI lawmaker.

Businessman Steve Endacott is among hundreds of candidates standing to become a member of parliament at Britain's July 4 national election - except unlike the others, the face on his campaign leaflet is not the 59-year-old, but an AI generated avatar.

"We're launching a party, we're going to be recruiting more AI candidates across the country after this election, and we see this as the launch, building block for something big and something democratic," he told Reuters.

Endacott, whose Neural Voice company powers his AI alter ego, said his frustration with "standard politics" made him decide to run as an independent for the Brighton Pavilion constituency in the southern seaside town.

"AI Steve" - the name that will appear on ballot papers - engages real-time with locals on topics ranging from rights and housing to bin collection and immigration. It then puts forward policy ideas before asking for their suggestions.

"We're using AI in so many (areas), at work, social interactions, why don't we put it in politics?" said charity worker Eona Johnston, 23, after meeting "AI Steve" near Brighton’s famous pier. "It might change the way we live."

When asked about AI Steve, the Electoral Commission, the elections watchdog, said if he wins, Endacott would be the member of parliament (MP), not any AI version of him.

Most locals appeared reluctant to vote for an AI candidate just yet.

Jim Cheek, a 37-year-old accountant from Brighton, pointed out that an MP has to speak up for constituents in parliament.

"AI and politicians have one thing in common," another local resident, Andy Clawson, 42, said. "They can’t be trusted."



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Russian Cybersecurity Firm Kaspersky to Exit US

3D printed models of people working on computers and padlock are seen in front of a displayed Kaspersky logo in this picture illustration taken, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
3D printed models of people working on computers and padlock are seen in front of a displayed Kaspersky logo in this picture illustration taken, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
TT

Russian Cybersecurity Firm Kaspersky to Exit US

3D printed models of people working on computers and padlock are seen in front of a displayed Kaspersky logo in this picture illustration taken, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
3D printed models of people working on computers and padlock are seen in front of a displayed Kaspersky logo in this picture illustration taken, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

Russia's Kaspersky Labs will leave the United States, according to a pop-up seen by users on the anti-virus software maker's US website, nearly a month after the Biden administration announced plans to bar sales of the company in the country.

Last month, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced plans to bar the sale of anti-virus software made by Kaspersky in the country, citing security risks posed by Russia's influence on the cybersecurity company.

Kaspersky did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The government also slapped sanctions in June on Kaspersky's senior leadership, including the chief business development officer, chief operating officer, legal officer and corporate communications chief, citing cybersecurity risks.

CNN on Monday reported that Kaspersky Labs will "gradually wind down" its US operations and lay off US-based employees, starting July 20.

Kaspersky's US website did not allow consumers to purchase any products, citing "purchase is unavailable for US customers".

The new restrictions by the US government on inbound sales of Kaspersky software, which would bar downloads of software updates, resales and licensing of the product, will come into effect on Sept. 29.

New US business for Kaspersky are to be blocked 30 days after the restrictions were first announced on June 20.