AI bot trolls politicians with how much time they're looking at phones

We've all had moments when we glanced at our phones during boring meetings. If you work on taxpayers' dime, artificial intelligence will be ready to summon you for gazing at the black mirror in your legislature while you should be legislating.This is what Dries Depoorter, a digital artist, did for his latest project "The Flemish Scrollers." His software uses facial recognition to identify politicians in Flemish Province of Belgium who are distracted from their phones during session. This project is almost two years in the making after Jan Jambon, Flemish Minister President, was publicly criticized for playing Angry Birds while he was discussing policy. (Really.Depoorter's system, which was launched Monday, monitors daily livestreams on YouTube of government meetings to determine how long someone has been staring at their phones while the meeting is in progress. The AI will post the clip to Instagram @TheFlemishScrollers and Twitter @FlemishScroller if it detects a distracted party member.The representative being accused will be identified and shamed using their social media handles. The bot politely asks them to "pls keep focused!"Depoorter's website states that if no session is in progress, the software can start analyzing and learning from archives of livestreams. It wasn't immediately clear if this meant that the software would routinely show evidence of past distraction. Depoorter didn't immediately respond to our request for comment.The Flemish Scrollers went live less than 24 hours ago. The program already identified four instances where politicians were distracted by their phones and has sparked conversation among its growing social media following.Some followers pointed out that the software's propensity to jump to conclusions can be problematic. We don't know what the politicians are up to, but there are times when important and useful work must be done immediately, even if it's on the same device everyone uses.Until AI software can read phones from legislators' shoulders, then we will have to trust that a bot can help politicians reduce their Angry Birds time.