Are parliamentarians focused on debates in the various assemblies? Here is the answer with this AI which calculates the time they spend on their phone during the sessions of the parliament of the Flemish province of the Kingdom of Belgium.
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The pictures of elected officials who doze off or sleep in the middle of a session in thehemicycle are universally known. Since the arrival of smartphones, we sometimes see them staring for a long time on the screen of their smartphone. It certainly happens to everyone to take aeye on his mobile during meetings, sometimes boring or not – and this is not necessarily polite – but when it comes to elected officials supposed to burn in the marble laws, it is a little more embarrassing.
To show, and perhaps denounce, the time that some politicians can spend in front of their smartphones in the middle of a parliamentary session, the Belgian artist Dries Depoorter combined facial recognition with artificial intelligence. With an action, baptized The Flemish Scrollers, which could be translated by “Flemings scrolling the screen”, the algorithms scan live on YouTube the sessions of the government of the Flemish province of the Belgian kingdom.
When AI monitors parliamentarians
If the AI detects an elected official who seems distracted by his smartphone, it will identify him, extract the sequence and republish it on Instagram @TheFlemishScrollers and Twitter @FlemishScroller. As a bonus, the representative of the people will be “tagged” at the risk of becoming the bête noire of social networks. To crown this denunciation, he or she will automatically receive a small message via her social media accounts, asking her to focus on the chats.
And when there is no session, the AI trains from the archives of previous sessions. Since the establishment of this system, four politicians from the Flemish province have already been identified as spending a lot of time on their mobile during a parliamentary session. It remains to be seen whether they were handling urgent matters related to their mandate or whether they were indulging in entertainment. On this last point, a politician Flemish caused a scandal at the end of 2019 in Belgium, while he was playing Angry Birds during parliamentary debates.
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