A Belgian artist who creates works about surveillance, privacy and social media is harnessing the power of AI to monitor politicians in his latest work.
Dries Depoorter launched 'The Flemish Scrollers' this week, which automatically tags Belgian politicians when they use their phones in parliament.
Every meeting of the Flemish government is live-streamed on a YouTube channel and when each starts the software searches for phones, trying to identify distracted politicians, Depoorter wrote.
"This is done with the help of AI and face recognition. The video of the distracted politician are (sic) then posted to a Twitter and Instagram account with the politician tagged," he added.
The bot asks them to "pls stay focused!".
And while there may be some who just enjoy some old-fashioned naming and shaming of politicians, The Next Web's Thomas Macaulay speculates the true aim is more powerful.
"I'm loathe to defend negligent politicians, but this project gives me the creeps - and I suspect that’s the whole point," Macaulay wrote.
"That could be how 'the Flemish Scrollers' makes its most powerful impact: raising awareness of AI surveillance creep - and the need to curb it. When the lawmakers become the targets, they may be more eager to regulate the weapons."
This isn't the first time Flemish politicians' use of mobile phones in parliament has made headlines.
In 2019 Flemish Minister-President was caught playing Angry Birds on his phone during a debate about government policy, drawing disdain from opposition parties.
"Hopefully Jambon did not put the budget together with a computer game,” said Mieke Schauvliege of the Flemish Green Party at the time.
Deeporter previously created Die With Me, a group chat app that you can only use when you have less than five percent battery on your phone.