On November 3, two oppositional forces went head to head and the results were…divisive. With commentators and pundits still reeling from the poor performance of US election pollsters, it seems fitting to ask — can AI (ultimately) solve a problem like election prediction?

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At least this time around, the answer seems to be no, not really. But not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

Here’s how it went wrong according to Venturebeat:

Firms like KCore Analytics, Expert.AI, and Advanced Symbolics claim algorithms can capture a more expansive picture of election dynamics because they draw on signals like tweets and Facebook messages…KCore Analytics predicted from social media posts that Biden would have a strong advantage — about 8 or 9 points — in terms of the popular vote but a small lead when it came to the electoral college. Italy-based Expert.AI, which found that Biden ranked higher on social media in terms of sentiment, put the Democratic candidate slightly ahead of Trump (50.2% to 47.3%). On the other hand, Advanced Symbolics’ Polly system, which was developed by scientists at the University of Ottawa, was wildly off with projections that showed Biden nabbing 372 electoral college votes compared with Trump’s 166, thanks to anticipated wins in Florida, Texas, and Ohio — all states that went to Trump. …


Fiona J McEvoy

Tech ethics researcher. Founder of YouTheData.com. Tech issues for non-tech audiences. @YouTheData @FionaJMcEvoy

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