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Romania enlists AI assistant as advisor

By Agence France-Presse Published Mar 04, 2023 9:59 am

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca presented his "new honorary adviser" on March 1—an artificial intelligence assistant named "ION" which he hailed as the first of its kind.

Developed by Romanian researchers, ION's main task will be to scan social networks to inform the government "in real time of Romanians' proposals and wishes," Ciuca said.

The liberal minister said the latest member of his entourage—a mirror-like structure with beeping interface—marked "an international first," describing ION 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.

ION "will use technology and artificial intelligence to capture opinions in society" using "data publicly available on social networks," according to a government document detailing the project.

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

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

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