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Gregg Shields (M)
Glasgow, UK
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    Neo-Democracy
    The political system with which we are currently presented is based on antiquated problems. The main notion of a Democracy is that the people choose how the country is run, however, the problem with this ideal had always been that of representation.

    It has always been a problem to accurately represent the collective views of the people, as there are so many people, and so many different and conflicting views.

    To solve the problem of the sheer number of people, the idea of representatives came about; an elected individual who would represent the collective views of a few thousand people within a constituency.

    These several hundred representatives would then join together in a parliament, and debate on the specifics of how to run the country. This is the current established system which is apparently the best possible way of representing what several million people want collectively. The very reason that this system arose is because it was simply impossible for every citizen to contribute their view, and have that heard.

    In order to solve the problem of the many different and conflicting views of the people, political parties were established, effectively dividing the myriad of options into 2 or 3 established, general viewpoints, attempting to cover every view which they could. And the very reason that this system arose was because it was impossible for every opinion to be considered for every issue that a country encountered.

    However, these problems no longer exist. Technology has made it possible for every person to express their view, and have it considered. The ubiquity of the Internet has allowed everyone to make their voice heard.

    And yet, every established democracy in the world still has a system which is built around a problem which no longer exists.

    It is no longer impossible for every person to be able to vote on every issue, it is no longer impossible for the viewpoint of every person to be considered in every issue.

    And yet, as technology continues to progress, politics stagnates, using very much the same system of representation that it has done for the past 100 years.

    The pure notion of democracy is that there is no division between the Government and the People, so why does this division exist? The only justifications for it to be the case have long since ceased to exist.

    Current politics is a static system trying to work in a dynamic world.

    When your voice consists of a cross in a box, once every 5 years, it is a sign that what you think is not being heard.

    When there are riots in the street, and outcry over policy, it is a sign that the people are not being accurately represented.

    When the opinions of the few in charge are at odds with the opinions of the many, you do not have democracy.

    We never choose our own countries policy; we never choose its actions, its words.

    We choose a group of people, who are under no obligation to hold up to their promises, and who’s only key to power is to distract the people with speeches and rallies, with propaganda and jokes, all to get your cross in their box, so that they can obtain free reign over all policy for another 5 years.

    What we have is not democracy, what we have is a society of Us and Them. Once the group has your vote, and no longer has to perform, your country is in their hands, and they won’t care what you want until voting time comes again.

    Nothing you think is ever represented, you are forced to wedge your perspective into a category, and you are then forced to trust the ambassadors of that category to act in your interest, which they have absolutely no obligation to do.

    Democracy is an old notion, an ambition of true representation, held back by old limitations.

    This century calls for a new system, a Neo-Democracy, where every person has the opportunity to vote on every policy, every decision that a country needs to make.

    The internet has solved the problems that held back the original Democracy; we are now comfortably capable of making the Government and the People synonymous.

    Your representative would be yourself; your established viewpoint would be your own. Every situation could be independently considered, and not processed through a cookie cutter viewpoint.

    Such a system would realise a much purer method of representation than the current systems.

    Politics and Technology need to work together, rather than be opposed, if any kind of social progress wants to be realised in the 21st Century.

    Thu, Dec 9, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: Democracy
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    BenRayfield     Thu, Dec 9, 2010  Permanent link
    You're right about the illusion of democracy and the many flaws in how governments work, but I don't think you understand the bigger problem.

    Theoretically if we were going to create a real democracy where everything could be voted on through technology, theres still the question of what kind of voting system. There are many possibilities.

    You could require a 90% vote to create laws/policies/etc and let people take back their votes to get rid of the same if the total votes ever fall below 80%. You could choose different numbers than 90% and 80%. You could allow people to give their votes to others to be used later. Theres a lot of possible voting systems, which are really just systems for people to agree on things as a group. In general, voting is a category of game which is usually not thought of as a game because it has important effects, but technically voting is a category of game.

    If you really think voting through technology should be the way groups of people agree on things, then whatever voting system you're thinking about would be a good way to find a better voting system. Really, you should do this. Build a voting game however you think voting should be done. Then have a vote on how to improve the voting game, implement the changes in a simulation of the game (inside the game), and when some fraction of the voters are convinced its a better system, use it as the new voting game, and continue making improvements.

    If you don't think this will work, then you don't really believe what you wrote in the first post. I think such a game would diverge into a similar non-democracy like real governments and then destroy itself. People will vote to give themself and their friends more power in the system, or to give their enemies less, and whoever has a little more power (which has to happen randomly a little) will set a divergent chain of events in motion.

    You can make it illegal to change the way voting is done, which appears to be an obvious solution, but it doesn't work, because the way things are decided always changes and is simply called something other than voting, something like "national security" or "creating new money at the Federal Reserve". Those things are more powerful than voting, and they continue to change. There is no option to not change the voting system again and again....

    I hope you find the solution to the voting-about-voting paradox, because if we don't solve it, the real governments will destroy us all in World War 3, because they are as predictable as a game where you vote about voting about voting...

    There is a solution because a single brain finds a way to agree with most of its parts, but what you wrote in the first post only describes your desire to play the game and hasn't started toward any kind of strategy. I'll be doing experiments with these kinds of games (and other areas of research) in http://sourceforge.net/projects/humanainet  (Human AI Net) starting some time in the next few years. Maybe you'd like to help build a democracy algorithm and play the game?
    Schmuck     Fri, Dec 10, 2010  Permanent link
    You have some excellent points, and I particularly like the idea of a completely dynamic system where even how the system itself works is alterable.

    I think the notion of giving other people your vote to use would cause problems, however, as it would mean that the view of an individual would not always be represented, which would leave it wide open to corruption.

    Rather than have a set of issues that the people vote on, why not make what the issues are be alterable by the people as well?

    Anybody could start a new topic or issue, and the more views or promotions it received, the more prominent it would become. People could present their own written solution to any given problem, and the more promotions that received, the more prominent that would become. If people agreed with the issue in parts, but wished to modify it to fit their own view, they could create a synapse to the idea, from which people could promote or create further synapses.

    From there, consensus could be drawn by whichever idea becomes the most promoted.

    This framework would mean that not only would solutions be democratically decided on, what the actual issues are would be as well.

    Rather than having just a simple vote, the user is free to put forward their own unique solution, meaning that everyone has a real voice when it comes to addressing issues.

    Ideas are emergent from co-operation, and so further and further refining of ideas from synapses would create a truly democratic system of decisions.

    The people decide what the issues are, the people decide how to tackle those issues, and all of this would be constructed in a manner that would completely facilitate the freedom of expression of every individual.

    I have a lot of ideas on the matter, and I am very much aiming to start working on a prototype piece of software to have this functionality in the near future.

    I'd be very interested in working with you on these kinds of projects, so please keep me posted as to how your experiments will be progressing.
    BenRayfield     Sat, Dec 11, 2010  Permanent link
    The theoretical government you described sounds a lot like the internet, as it is today, with the requirement that whatever proposals the most popular websites say should become laws. Websites that get more views get more links to them and ideas related to them.

    How is the internet different from the voting process you're describing?

    How would your theoretical government distribute power evenly to everyone while rich businesses advertise to increase the views of their websites and therefore their political power in your system? If you ban advertising in your variation of the internet (your theoretical government), then advertising of the same ideas would be done on the normal internet which would have mostly the same effect on your new internet-like government. How will your system avoid buying votes the same way website views are bought?

    There is a logic problem thats much smaller than the problems we're talking about in this thread, but it has enough variety and strategy and similarity to the bigger problems that a solution to it could be modified a little and reused to solve the bigger problems. It takes no money and not much computer resources to experiment with it. It only needs some programming and some people to play the resulting game. The ways the game is played changes the game, and what the game becomes, if it does not destroy itself in the process (and have to be loaded from backup to start over), is the solution.

    I had started building a text-based game to experiment with self-modifying governments and voting systems etc, and I'm sure the main idea of the experiments will work, but when I got into actually building it and writing the details, I found its difficulty (in my opinion) was somewhere around the difficulty of the 7 Millennium Prize Problems http://claymath.org/millennium  which each have a million dollar prize for solving them. Of course the only prize for solving this is the possibility of organizing society better.

    The game starts like a chatroom. Each player has a name and password and can say whatever they want, until more rules are added by the players. Text is the only thing in the game. New rules can be created by writing certain text. Rules can be anything definable in the text by certain rules that are like a simple programming language. The game starts only with a few rules to define that simple language which lets the players create rules. Most rules will be requirements about what players can say (as text) and requirments about the text that defines other rules. There will be rules about rules, and rules about rules about rules... This is supposed to let the players build their own text-based games inside the game, form groups of players and/or rules, form ways to keep certain text secret from other parts of the game, and form businesses, governments, and other organizations based on all this text and rules and interactions of players. Its a game where the players can make rules to censor the other players or buy freedom from such rules, all defined by whatever rules the players created earlier in that part of the game. The game will be called "Free Speech Just Pay Shipping", which refers to the pattern of advertisements calling things "free" and then requiring money for the "shipping" of the "free" thing, which contradicts the definition of "free". "Free Speech" is about freedom, not price, but the way society is becoming, your freedom to say or write what you want can be taken away and sold back to you or absolutely censored without the option to buy your freedom. In this text-based game, the only way to win is for everyone to get their freedom of speech simultaneously, which was lost in the first part of the game when the players created rules to control each other. Therefore the game must start with some problem for them to solve together, so it is not already solved when it starts. That problem is the hardest thing to figure out about how to build the game.

    I had written about that game I'm still thinking about in a very abstract way, in the following thread, but I need to rewrite that thread because I wrote it in a very confusing way:http://spacecollective.org/BenRayfield/6053/Free-Speech-Just-Pay-Shipping

    It may be easier to solve when I connect it to the AI system I wrote about above in this thread, since the players could use that to define the rules of the game while they play it.
    gamma     Sun, Dec 12, 2010  Permanent link
    Well, I don't get it, except that the English is great this time.

    Aren't the people supposed to be stupid? They don't know how to run the country and don't want to know. The school is obligatory and the work too - can you imagine?? The internet is a noisy environment that can inform and favors intelligence, I suppose. Can it create work groups so that I can work what I like?
    BenRayfield     Wed, Dec 15, 2010  Permanent link
    Humans evolved to interact in small groups like 50 people. When they started interacting in bigger groups, like businesses and countries, they used the same strategies they used for small groups, and it resulted in hierarchies and things that only adapt when they become 1 of the worst 10 things most people are thinking about. The problem with that is theres a lot more than 10 things a country does. Theres thousands or millions. The problem is not stupidity. The problem is hierarchies and other strategies that evolved instead of being designed by thinking. The solution is simple: Think of new strategies instead of using the strategies evolved from monkeys.
     
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