An Independent candidate standing in the upcoming Selby & Ainsty by-election says he will use Artificial Intelligence to help him engage with voters.

Harrogate solicitor Andrew Gray has already used an AI system, known as Polis, for gathering and analysing what people want.

With the technology able to find consensus, he hopes its use will consign traditional politics to the dustbin of history.

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Andrew says British is in a strange place, with many eschewing traditional parties as there is so little to distinguish between them.

“Independent candidates are nothing new, but voters usually need to align their views with those of the candidate, but my approach is different,” he said.

Using the Polis AI system, he can gather, analyse and understand what large numbers of people want. This has been used overseas, but it would be a first for a UK election.

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Despite social media being polarising, Andrew says having used Polis throughout the UK, there is actually much consensus.

He said: “Although it is potentially only one seat, big changes could come from this. I am running Polis AI conversations in every town and village in this massive constituency, as well as a cross-constituency Polis conversation about national issues. All the data, which is anonymous, will be released.

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“If elected, I will vote in Parliament in accordance with the consensus of the constituency. On election, the conversations will continue, and I will vote in Parliament vote as per the changing desires of my electorate, which means that I can respond to change quickly.

“If mandated, I will vote for the Government, or against, or abstain. Therefore, by electing me, my constituents are getting more democracy, more power in their hands. Selby and Ainsty will be the country’s bellwether constituency.”

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The Polis AI system allows individuals to give their views on statements that are posed, but also to allow further statements and ideas to be put forward and then voted upon.

In Harrogate, Andrew says he used Polis AI on the topic of town centre redevelopment and default 20MPH speed limits. Both issues appear to polarise but consensus was found, though it was largely ignored by the council.

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The candidate has previously been involved with Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories and has run the non-profit Crowd Wisdom Project, which uses Polis AI, since 2021. He is a Non-Executive Director of an ethical algorithms campaign group.

Andrew added: “Although there is some history in my family in politics, I want to be seen as not so much a political candidate, but a candidate for positive change. There is so much that we agree upon: let’s start there. I’m optimistic. Our many problems are fixable.

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“Things simply can't stay as they are. Many of us are rolling our eyes at what is going on in Westminster. Traditional party politics need consigning to the dustbin of history.”

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