The Politus Project will assess the commercial viability of proprietary natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technology for AI-based data-driven fair social policymaking. Fair social policy refers to public welfare programs designed and assigned to citizens based on material need, as opposed to discretionary allocations on the basis of citizens’ political characteristics and behaviour. The project will verify the innovation potential of the novel computational social science and policy-related methods from the PI’s ERC-funded Emerging Welfare Project (emw.ku.edu.tr).
To deliver the technical and commercial proof of concept, the PI will establish the Politus Analytics Company, which will offer an AI-based data platform and fair data-driven policymaking consultancy services to two main client personas: political parties and municipalities. The ERC PoC project will focus on Turkey and its resources will be used to implement a proof-of-concept study with the Municipality of Kadıköy – the central district of the Asian side of Istanbul and with the main opposition political party of Turkey (Republican People’s Party – CHP). The project will also develop pathways for scaling up through (i) internationalization and (ii) extending into corporate clients.
The Politus Project will address two interconnected problems of opposition political parties and municipalities in Turkey and other emerging market economies inside and outside of Europe regarding social policy making: (1) populist governments gain political advantage by abusing public social policies with the aid of big data, which undermines the capacity of opposition parties and municipalities to develop competitive electoral strategies. (2) These big data sources are not available to non-governmental stakeholders, including opposition parties and municipalities, indicating a government-led information gap, which opposition parties and municipalities cannot fill with traditional survey polling methods.