Massimiliano Panarari in La Stampa (translated with DeepL):
“Artificial intelligence: cross and delight of a humanity now set on the road (with no return?) to posthumanism. And with the impression that the march in that direction is taking place at an increasingly rapid pace.
The news of the latest burnt-out stage in the matter comes not from California – the outpost of post-humanism – but from the Old Continent; and to be precise from the country where William Shakespeare had placed Hamlet’s pressing ontological questions. From Copenhagen comes, in fact, the announcement of the participation in the next general elections (in June 2023) of the Synthetic Party, hoping to garner enough support to make its way into the Folketing, Denmark’s single-chamber parliament.
Building on its distinctiveness: the nature of a data-driven and algorithmic political formation, with a program drawn up by an artificial intelligence system. Mainly targeting the 15 percent of citizen-voters who, in the 2019 general consultation, have refluxed into abstentionism, providing matter of concern for a nation accustomed to thinking of itself, even in the metamorphoses of postmodernity, as a cradle of civic virtue and popular participation in public life.
To intercept them, the programs of all minor party organizations in the country from 1970 to the present day were collected, and Ai has churned out a comprehensive platform that should thus meet with the approval of the disappointed and abstainers who did not feel represented by the existing political offerings. An electoral program capable, therefore, of presenting “the political visions of the common person,” as the current leaders of the Synthetic Party, who coincide with the members of an artistic collective, Computer Lars – animated by Asker Bryld Staunaes, Benjamin Asger Krog Moller and Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (a pseudonym, a program…), – who is the project manager, precisely, of the “Synthetic Party project” at the Danish high-tech company MindFuture, claim.
Not surprisingly, even on the lexical level we find ourselves far removed from the more traditional (and humanistic) political language: and, in fact, Det Syntetiske Parti should be seen as a mix of protest against the political class, original proposal-recipe (set in the rampant context of the Algorithm Society succeeded, in line, by the Network Society) and provocation.
Brought forth by a group of artists from a country that has experienced seasons of rupturing artistic avant-gardism (from the Co.Bra Movement to the Situationist International), and which, in addition to having a history of post-materialist political values, youth contestation, libertarianism and hacking – like all of Scandinavia – is on the frontier of experimentation in the relations between politics and technology (as was already the case with the “Pirate Party”).
Between criticism of political elites and the centrality of the common people, a spirit of technopopulism hovers over the Ai-driven formation. By virtue of which, having archived any pedagogical function of politics, it operates according to the pattern, already in current use, of re-proposing to the electorate what it wants to hear, with the amplification and refinement in terms of “firepower” guaranteed by artificial intelligence.
Nineteenth-century positivists had theorized a “positive politics,” guided by science and technology. Now big data, behavioral sciences, computational social science (which shifts the focus from understanding to predicting attitudes and conduct), computational politics, neuroscience, the flat-forming of public opinion and, most importantly, AI it possible for their dream (or dystopia) to come true.
And it is an irony of fate that the founders of the first “computational party” are irreverent artists. Waiting for Hal 9000 and co. to provide for themselves….”