Somewhere in Japan some time ago, there was an attempt at getting a robot elected as a mayor. While this was rather very interesting, there have as well been many non-humans that have contested in elections before, despite the fact that elections afford people the opportunity to select their leaders.
The very last two jobs that many of us would have thought possible for robots to take away from humans are religious works and politics. Interestingly enough, with Buddhist robots that are used in Japan for funeral rites, we have seen them encroach beyond the religious lines and now they have moved to political lines as the new campaign rooting for people to vote a robot for mayor in an election in Japan.
Named Michihito Matsuda, this artificial intelligence became the first in the history of mankind to have contested in any form of an election after it took part in the April 15, 2018 elections. This has been described as the future of politics and elections.
The robot which already has a twitter account had taken to the platform to announce its candidacy for the post of the mayor of the Japanese town of Tama in western Tokyo.
If you are wondering the gender of the robot, it seemed to be a woman, and it had made a lot of promises as regards good governance. That was according to Michihito Matsuda (a human) who sponsored the AI. He also assured that the first time that Artificial intelligence is coming into politics, it would ensure that there is balance and fairness.
The manner in which it promised to govern was to take wishes from the people and through that it will calculate and come up with the best plan of action. Hence if the people had voted the robot for mayor, it would gather data from them and design policies and other things about governance.
Unfortunately, the Robot lost the election by emerging third in the race which was won by the incumbent leader, Hiroyuki Abe who got close to 35,000 of the votes while the second candidate took almost 4500 votes leaving Michihito Matsuda with only 4000. Having lost the election, the robot has taken to the site created for it to thank people for their support and state that it only lost the election because it doesn’t have the power to win it.
Before Michihito Matsuda the robot lost the elections, its founder, Michihito Matsuda the human had also massively lost the previous elections and probably thought with the robot, victory would be easier.
Apart from this AI, there are other non-humans that have contested in elections before now:
1. Duke the Dog (Mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota)
This is a veteran politician who has been voted as much as 3 times as mayor of a town in Minnesota. The Dog which was only 9 years old when it was elected for the third time in a landslide victory in 2016 to retain its position as the mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota.
While commenting on his victory, residents of the town have said there was no one that contested against the Great Pyrenees following the achievements it was able to record as a mayor.
The first time that Duke the Dog got elected to office was in 2014, and since then, it had remained the mayor of the small town with a thousand people. People in the town paid a dollar each to vote, but they didn’t mind since the dog had a very high approval rating.
Duke has a deputy whose name is Steve Sorenson, who has assured that come August, you can bet on Duke to run for yet another term in office.
2. Brynneth Pawltro (Pitbull)- Mayor of Rabbit Hash
While it was easy for Duke the Dog to get elected with no opposition, it was not so much of an easy ride for Brynneth Pawltro who had had to run a campaign against other candidates in 2017 to get elected for the fourth time as the mayor of a town in Kentucky.
In the fiercely contested election in which Brynneth Pawltro had no problem winning, the 3-year-old pit bull ran against 4 other candidates; a cat, the chicken, a donkey and a little boy.
Although some may have a problem with the elections as one can vote as much as he wants for a charge of a dollar, it is something that has been established and accepted by all candidates in the race as well as the residents.
For now, no one has any idea whether or not Brynneth would want to contest in the next elections.
3. Stubbs (cat) – Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska
Stubbs was a very interesting cat that got elected as a mayor of a small Alaska town, Talkeetna which had less than a thousand people. It got elected in 1997 the same year it was born.
The cat was given up for adoption after its birth because it had no tail, but it soon won the hearts of the people who chose it as their leader. This is even as it was stated that before Stubbs, the town had no mayor.
In its time in office, the mayor had survived what may as well be described assassination attempts after it was attacked by a dog in 2013. The attack left the cat with a punctured lung and fractured sternum. Residents were able to raise over $3,000 to treat the mayor even as nothing more was heard of the suspect.
Stubbs remained in office until its death in 2017.
4. Macaco Tião (Chimpanzee) – Mayor of Rio De Janeiro
Sure, by the mere fact that it is a chimpanzee makes it different from other non-humans that have contested in election. What brought him to the limelight, was his temperament. It was a very angry fella that would throw mud and feces at people that came to see it including people like Marcello Alencar who was a governor of the state.
Named after the patron saint of Rio De Janeiro, Macaco Tião was named as one of the candidates in the elections of 1988 when a news magazine made a joke about it, saying to have its name in place of null votes.
Macaco pulled a lot of votes in the elections scoring 400,000 votes coming 3 in the election that featured 12 others.
When it finally died at the age of 34, the city was officially in mourning for 3 days and the flag was brought halfway down. Today, it the famous Chimp has a monument in Rio de Janeiro’s Zoo.
5. Pigasus (Pig for President of the United States)
Among non-humans that have contested in elections, Pigasus may probably the most interesting case, even though he didn’t get to stand in the elections. In the elections that produced Nixon as the president of the United States, the Youth International Party nominated the most unlikely candidate ever to run for the president of the United States in a theatrical politics, a pig by the name of Pigasus.
Yippies as members of the party referred to themselves were, bought the pig from a farmer and they brought it to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago where they announced its candidacy.
Unfortunately, Pigacious and the members of the party got arrested during the nomination and that became the end of the political journey of Pigasus.