UNU, the Swarm AI, Weighs in on Trump’s First Priority

Like many Republicans, Marsha Blackburn (Tenn) is a staunch opponent of Obamacare. But, earlier this week, when she Tweeted out a poll asking whether or not they supported its repeal, she discovered her followers might not be as quick to toss out Obama’s Affordable Care Act as she might have hoped. In fact, of the nearly 8,000 responses to the poll, 84% were not in favor of repealing Obamacare.

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Twitter has spoken on Obamacare. What would an AI have to say?

To find out, researchers at Unanimous AI posed Blackburn’s question to a Swarm A.I. composed of 50 American citizens of voting age. Every member was asked to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 7, with a 1 being “extremely conservative” and a 7 being “extremely liberal”, and the average score was a 4.35, which is close to the national average. The group would work together as a Artificial Swarm Intelligence, a “brain of brains” that can express itself as a singular unified entity, in order to answer a series of questions about Obamacare and the early stages of Trump’s presidency.

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As you can see, the swarm’s response very closely mirrors the results of Blackburn’s poll, and subsequent responses leave little doubt that the swarm believes that majority of Americans do not favor repeal. But there are two key differences between the swarm’s answers and the Twitter poll’s. First, this insight was generated in the span of just a few seconds. And, the Swarm A.I. was able to produce the result with just 50 voters, leveraging its ability to amplify the insights of human participants.

The GOP strategy for Obamacare is informally known as “repeal and delay,” in reference to the immediate plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act when Trump takes the Oval Office, and simultaneously delay the repeal’s effective date so that they have time to put forward a replacement. But, there is skepticism about the wisdom of such a plan, and the Swarm seems to share in the uncertainty of whether the GOP truly even intends to carry it out. 

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For those most closely affected by Obamacare, the key question is one of timing: even if the GOP intends only to change Obamacare, when will those changes take place? President-elect Trump’s outspoken nature has led many to believe he will kick the door down on January 17th, throwing all notions of “checks and balances” out with Obama’s artwork. But, in a response that will surely bring relief to those who would lose their healthcare if Obamacare were struck down ( and disappointment to the ACA’s biggest critics ), the Swarm believes that any changes are still two years out or more.

What’s more, the Swarm AI warns that there might be a significant backlash if the GOP were to repeal drastically change Obamacare, putting the odds at 60% or more in a two-step process. With that in mind, it’s important to consider the political ramifications of changing Obamacare. To that end, the last question for the Swarm asked the group to identify what impact, if any, the proposed changes would have on the Republican party.

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Given that the GOP already enjoys control of the House and the Senate, and that Trump will take office in the coming weeks, any move that would result in their losing that rare level of political authority would be a severe misstep, especially if the Swarm AI is correct in saying that such a mistake would be an unforced error.

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