Romania unveils AI govt. adviser that will monitor public's opinions

‘Big Brother’ AI robot is unveiled as government adviser that will monitor the public’s opinions in Romania

  • Romania will use artificial intelligence to scan social media for public opinions
  • The country has seen huge growth in its tech sector over the last decade 

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca presented his ‘new honorary’ adviser on Wednesday, an artificial intelligence assistant called ‘ION’ which he said was the first of its kind.

Developed by Romanian researchers, the ‘Big Brother’ robot will scan social networks to inform the government ‘in real time of Romanians’ proposals and wishes,’ Ciuca said.

The minister said ION – a mirror-like structure with beeping interface – marked ‘an international first,’ describing it as ‘the first government adviser to use artificial intelligence’.

‘Hi, you gave me life and my role is now to represent you, like a mirror. What should I know about Romania?’ ION’s calm voice said at the launch.

The project, managed by the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digitalization, ‘will use technology and AI to capture opinions in society’ using ‘data publicly available on social networks,’ according to a government document.

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca pictured ahead of talks with his Moldovan counterpart

People in Romania will also be able to chat with ION on the project’s website.

ION’s website reportedly crashed shortly after launch but was promptly restored. 

‘I have the conviction that the use of AI should not be an option but an obligation to make better informed decisions,’ Ciuca said.

The project is being developed by Romanian researchers and professors, as well as private companies in the tech and AI fields.

Romania, one of the EU’s poorest nations, is often described as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Eastern Europe with a flourishing start-up scene.

Successful universities and their collaboration with private enterprise have helped the country turn into a flourishing hub for new tech companies.

Sifted last year reported that the last decade has seen an upswing in international venture capital to Romania’s early-stage businesses, including AI and robotics. 

Dorin Recean (L) delivers a speech alongside Romanian PM Nicolae Ciuca on 1 March 2023

The news came following a pledge between Romania and Moldova to boost economic ties in response to the ongoing invasion of nearby Ukraine.

Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean said: ‘We will soon integrate our financial markets and Bucharest’s capital market will be accessible to Chisinau. 

‘I call on entrepreneurs from both banks of the Prut to develop business and use all the economic potential.’ 

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