Romania’s prime minister has hired the world’s first AI government adviser. What will it do?


In a world first, Romania’s prime minister unveiled a new honorary government adviser that will be joining his team – run entirely on artificial intelligence (AI).

The AI is called Ion and consists of a mirror-like surface that displays text as well as at times a male or female face that responds in a calm voice.

“Hi, you gave me life and my role is now to represent you, like a mirror,” Ion’s voice said at the launch. “What should I know about Romania?”

The AI-powered adviser was developed by researchers to quickly analyse the opinions of Romanian citizens on key issues and policies. People will be able to chat with Ion on the project’s website.

The AI will also search social media to figure out what topics people are talking about and to carry out sentiment analysis to glean whether there is positive or negative reaction to a certain event, for example.

But how exactly is this Ion assistant going to help the Romanian government?

“I don’t expect that the prime minister will always do what Ion will say but it is more like a suggestion, it’s more like getting the pulse in real-time,” said Nicu Sebe, the research coordinator behind Ion and professor of computer science at the University of Trento.

“Another important aspect is that with this type of system, we hope to reach out to a large segment of the Romanian population,” he told Euronews.