How AI is calling out distracted politicians in Belgium


  • AI
  • Friday, 09 Jul 2021

Dries Depoorter developed The Flemish Scrollers to call out politicians more interested in their smartphones than in parliamentary proceedings. — AFP Relaxnews

A Belgian digital artist has developed an AI tool that monitors how long politicians in the Flemish province of Belgium spend on their smartphones during parliamentary sessions. It then calls out the most distracted members of parliament on social media.

Dries Depoorter is a Belgian artist and lecturer specialising in artificial intelligence, online surveillance and social media. His latest creation, called The Flemish Scrollers, automatically detects the time each member of parliament spends staring at their smartphone rather than listening to their colleagues.

And while the story may raise a smile, it almost seems like a service of genuine public interest.

The Flemish Scrollers is based on livestream footage of parliamentary sessions from the institution’s YouTube channel. The software, written in the programming language Python, then automatically detects politicians distracted by their smartphone, and uses specialist facial recognition technology to identify them.

Videos of politicians playing mobile games or surfing social media are then posted on the Twitter and Instagram accounts of The Flemish Scrollers. – AFP Relaxnews

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