AI tracks MPs who spend too much time on their smartphones

In Belgium, an artist expert in new technologies has developed a system based on artificial intelligence. The target? Use facial recognition to challenge MPs who seem distracted by their smartphones.

Identify MPs addicted to their smartphone

In France, citizens often denounce certain politicians for their repeated absences from the National Assembly. We also sometimes blame them for having a siesta there. Belgian artist Dries Depoorter tackled yet another flaw: inappropriate use of smartphones, this time in the Flemish Parliament. As shown a tweet published on July 5, 2021, he has developed an artificial intelligence system: The Flemish Scrollers that can translate into “the flamingos that scroll”. The condition “role” meaning “scroll” is also included in the French vocabulary.

It must be said that absent from the meeting or being there while spending some of your time on a device gives almost the same result in terms of attention to the debates. Dries Depoorter wanted to expose this phenomenon. Moreover, the system in question makes it possible to go further than just exposing the problem. Based on a facial recognition tool, The Flemish Scrollers gives the opportunity to directly call up MPs who are a little too fixated on their screen.

Caught in the act and exposed on the networks

Direct questioning of the deputies, here’s an idea! In fact, The Flemish Scrollers follow broadcasts of Parliament on YouTube. When the system locates and identifies a chosen one, a short video session is posted on Instagram and Twitter. The footage is then accompanied by a message that can make you laugh, addressing the MP directly and asking him to stay focused. Since the creation of the system, several delegates have thus been caught in the act, as evidenced by the section devoted to the project on Dries Depoorter’s official website. However, if the artist is not lacking in humor, the initiative got some criticism with our Belgian neighbours.

Some observers believe that no one really knows what MPs are doing on their smartphones. For example, maybe it’s a matter of responding to an urgent message whose interest would be greater? than that of the current debate. Why not. Yet we find Jan Jambon, former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Security and Interior Affairs, among the “victims” of the system. Two years ago, in the middle of a parliamentary debate, the elected official was caught playing the well-known game Angry Birds!