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Offline luckybit

Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« on: November 10, 2014, 06:50:50 AM »

Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete as you can have direct algorithmic democracy.

Instead of giving your decision making power to another human it will sooner or later be more efficient to give that decision making power to algorithms. In fact Amazon already is using the technology to do this and these algorithms will continue to learn more about us until eventually these algorithms know us better than we know ourselves.

So what should we do? Algorithms are more cost efficient as delegates than people. As the algorithms become more optimized, personalized, then the accuracy and effectiveness in their ability to make decisions on our behalf will increase.

What should we do Bitshares team? If we stick with human beings making decisions directly then you have the problem where most people will not even vote. If you delegate the vote then it makes a lot of sense for the specific purpose that we need some operators for the DAC to be able to function but we don't need the vote to be decided by humans. It is likely that sooner or later the hiring and firing will be decided by algorithmic processes.

In my opinion this needs to be discussed on a philosophical level. It should be discussed deeply now because eventually we are going to reach a crossroad where a choice will have to be made between how we move forward. If we are going for maximum efficiency of operation and automation then algorithms have to play a larger role but if we are going to focus on trusting humans then reputation will play a larger role. The problem is humans tend to fail and also humans can be convinced to vote against their self interest.

These questions and topics go beyond Bitshares. Algorithmic democracy can potentially change the political process. Instead of electing human beings to Congress, Senate, Parliament, we'd instead be electing algorithms to serve as our digital representatives. Discuss?

Algorithmic voting theory
https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=10804.0
Automatic algorithmically delegated voting, delegates and smart contracts
https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=10745.msg141289#msg141289
Algorithmic Voting Theory, Venice, and a Talk on Old/New Papers
http://mat.tepper.cmu.edu/blog/?p=920
CP-nets, algorithmic voting theory and Turing complete voting languages

https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=10840.0
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 06:52:58 AM by luckybit »
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zerosum

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Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 06:55:48 AM »

Let's start with how a bit can be lucky?

Couse, if we find happiness ...we will have found the meaning of life!

Offline luckybit

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 07:00:47 AM »

Let's start with how a bit can be lucky?

Couse, if we find happiness ...we will have found the meaning of life!


That is the answer. It's a lucky bit because it lives.
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Offline fuzzy

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 07:05:22 AM »

Let's start with how a bit can be lucky?

Couse, if we find happiness ...we will have found the meaning of life!


That is the answer. It's a lucky bit because it lives.

TonyK...I want to find the meaning of life.  Unfortunately my bit was not so lucky :(
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Offline onceuponatime

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 07:20:38 AM »

Let's start with how a bit can be lucky?

Couse, if we find happiness ...we will have found the meaning of life!


That is the answer. It's a lucky bit because it lives.

TonyK...I want to find the meaning of life.  Unfortunately my bit was not so lucky :(

@fuzzy.. You will NEVER find the meaning of life, because I hid it where no one will ever think  to look.

Offline donkeypong

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Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2014, 07:21:47 AM »
I'm a big fan of opening things up, but direct democracy sucks. Representative democracy is here to stay. Sadly, the fact remains that the 'masses are asses', and I'm one of them. I'll gladly let the masses elect some representatives, but I'm not going 'town hall style' for every single management decision. Can you imagine the apathy?

The time it would take people to get educated, discuss, and even vote on things would be an awful waste of time, and many decisions would lack a clear mandate. Someone needs the power to take decisive actions without submitting everything to a poll. Let me focus on my life, not having to read through a bunch of arguments and vote on ten things every day. At the end of a reasonable period of time, I'll decide if I like the job my representatives are doing.

It's just like baking my own bread, blacksmithing my own tools, or completing my own tax returns. Sure, I can learn the skill and do it at an acceptable level of quality, but if I'm doing all those things all the time, I ain't got time left to live my own life. That's why human civilization decided long ago that it's more efficient to specialize into different occupations: let cobblers be cobblers and farmers be farmers. I live in California, where we have to educate ourselves every two years to vote on these 'direct democracy' ballot propositions. Most of them are shit and bought by special interest groups. But the time it takes to sort through all the pro/con arguments, misleading advertising, etc...trust me, you don't want direct democracy on a regular basis!

zerosum

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Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2014, 07:30:53 AM »
I'm a big fan of opening things up, but direct democracy sucks. Representative democracy is here to stay. Sadly, the fact remains that the 'masses are asses', and I'm one of them. I'll gladly let the masses elect some representatives, but I'm not going 'town hall style' for every single management decision. Can you imagine the apathy?

The time it would take people to get educated, discuss, and even vote on things would be an awful waste of time, and many decisions would lack a clear mandate. Someone needs the power to take decisive actions without submitting everything to a poll. Let me focus on my life, not having to read through a bunch of arguments and vote on ten things every day. At the end of a reasonable period of time, I'll decide if I like the job my representatives are doing.

It's just like baking my own bread, blacksmithing my own tools, or completing my own tax returns. Sure, I can learn the skill and do it at an acceptable level of quality, but if I'm doing all those things all the time, I ain't got time left to live my own life. That's why human civilization decided long ago that it's more efficient to specialize into different occupations: let cobblers be cobblers and farmers be farmers. I live in California, where we have to educate ourselves every two years to vote on these 'direct democracy' ballot propositions. Most of them are shit and bought by special interest groups. But the time it takes to sort through all the pro/con arguments, misleading advertising, etc...trust me, you don't want direct democracy on a regular basis!

Or maybe they just want you to think that the real direct democracy is so hard... so you give up on it.

Offline luckybit

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2014, 07:47:19 AM »
I'm a big fan of opening things up, but direct democracy sucks. Representative democracy is here to stay. Sadly, the fact remains that the 'masses are asses', and I'm one of them.
What advantage does indirect democracy have over algorithmic democracy?
If your argument is that people are asses then removing the representatives would mean even less assholes to make bad decisions? Algorithms wouldn't be assholes and couldn't vote against the self interest of the owner. Is it any different from moving away from having banks hold our value to holding it with cryptography ourselves?


 I'll gladly let the masses elect some representatives, but I'm not going 'town hall style' for every single management decision. Can you imagine the apathy?
You didn't read my post did you? Algorithms don't feel apathy. If Amazon suggests books for you to read it's not doing this based on "town hall" processes. It's called conditional preference networks.

The time it would take people to get educated, discuss, and even vote on things would be an awful waste of time, and many decisions would lack a clear mandate.
Please read some of the information I put in my references on conditional preference networks. It's clear you haven't fully researched because you're arguing from a perspective which doesn't take into account AI or algorithms.

When you go to a traditional library you would have to search for books. You would have to take the time to look around to find the book which fit your preferences. Thanks to Amazon and conditional preference networks the algorithm can learn about you and suggest books you'd like based on that. So the same technology applied to voting means that algorithms will learn about you and vote on your behalf instead of a human being trying to learn your preferences and vote on your behalf.

Do you think an algorithm or a human being can know you better? I think algorithms already know us all better than any human can.

Someone needs the power to take decisive actions without submitting everything to a poll. Let me focus on my life, not having to read through a bunch of arguments and vote on ten things every day. At the end of a reasonable period of time, I'll decide if I like the job my representatives are doing. 
Someone? Who says it has to be a person? Why couldn't an algorithm direct your voting power on your behalf? I don't see why humans are required and you haven't made much of a case for why we need human representatives if an algorithm can be the representative.

Let me put it like this, suppose your computer knows everything about you. It knows more about you than you know about yourself. At what point do you take the leap of faith in these algorithms? At what point will you trust these algorithms more than other people?

I'd argue a lot of people already do trust these algorithms more than people. So if that is the case why do we need representative democracy? Algorithmic democracy would mean algorithms would replace human representatives allowing the algorithm to directly collect your preferences then calculate the vote.

There is no reason I see to have human beings voting on your behalf unless you just want to provide a lever for corruption. Think about it as an engineer and consider the difference in signal to noise ratio when dealing with a human being vs dealing with an algorithm? At first the algorithms might not know you very well but after some years they'll have learned you on every level imaginable and will know you so well that they might even be able to predict your wants and needs.

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Offline luckybit

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2014, 07:51:30 AM »
I'm a big fan of opening things up, but direct democracy sucks. Representative democracy is here to stay. Sadly, the fact remains that the 'masses are asses', and I'm one of them. I'll gladly let the masses elect some representatives, but I'm not going 'town hall style' for every single management decision. Can you imagine the apathy?

The time it would take people to get educated, discuss, and even vote on things would be an awful waste of time, and many decisions would lack a clear mandate. Someone needs the power to take decisive actions without submitting everything to a poll. Let me focus on my life, not having to read through a bunch of arguments and vote on ten things every day. At the end of a reasonable period of time, I'll decide if I like the job my representatives are doing.

It's just like baking my own bread, blacksmithing my own tools, or completing my own tax returns. Sure, I can learn the skill and do it at an acceptable level of quality, but if I'm doing all those things all the time, I ain't got time left to live my own life. That's why human civilization decided long ago that it's more efficient to specialize into different occupations: let cobblers be cobblers and farmers be farmers. I live in California, where we have to educate ourselves every two years to vote on these 'direct democracy' ballot propositions. Most of them are shit and bought by special interest groups. But the time it takes to sort through all the pro/con arguments, misleading advertising, etc...trust me, you don't want direct democracy on a regular basis!

Or maybe they just want you to think that the real direct democracy is so hard... so you give up on it.

The problem with direct democracy is ignorant humans. The problem with representative democracy is corrupt humans. The problem with algorithmic democracy is flawed algorithms.

Flawed algorithms can be A/B tested until they become smarter, more efficient, and over time less flawed. The algorithmic democracy can learn our preferences, know us better than we know ourselves, predict our wants and needs, and direct our voting power to that. There would be no need for the beauty pageant crap we deal with in politics. The algorithms will get smarter over time until it is perfectly fit to each individual because learning conditional preference networks allow for that.

We have to reset whatever we thought was possible and look at what is possible with the technology of today or tomorrow. Direct democracy may not have been possible to do 100 years ago but it's trending in a way where not only will it be possible but possibly more efficient than representative democracy.

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Offline starspirit

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Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 08:48:34 AM »
I think the real world is too complex for a single answer to this, and it may be different approaches for different issues.
I would love algorithmic voting where issues are simple and rules are easy to formulate according to my preference. But many issues are just too complex for that.

On more complex issues I think there is a free playing ground that sits between direct democracy and indirect democracy. That is to delegate votes to others, including voting blocs, that are aligned with your own philosophies and interests, and perhaps are given the right to vote on your behalf on some issues within their expertise and not on others. You could use different blocs on different issues. And blocs themselves may delegate to yet larger blocs, with as many layers as is desired on any issue. Or an individual may decide to vote an issue directly themselves. The flow of your vote through the chain and the rationales could all be completely transparent, and alterable at any time by the individual, giving them ultimate control of their vote. Public algorithms or customised algorithms could be options within this mix, integrating your idea into a more open architecture. To me this would represent ultimate voting freedom and efficiency.

Offline luckybit

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2014, 09:42:24 AM »
I think the real world is too complex for a single answer to this, and it may be different approaches for different issues.
I would love algorithmic voting where issues are simple and rules are easy to formulate according to my preference. But many issues are just too complex for that.

On more complex issues I think there is a free playing ground that sits between direct democracy and indirect democracy. That is to delegate votes to others, including voting blocs, that are aligned with your own philosophies and interests, and perhaps are given the right to vote on your behalf on some issues within their expertise and not on others. You could use different blocs on different issues. And blocs themselves may delegate to yet larger blocs, with as many layers as is desired on any issue. Or an individual may decide to vote an issue directly themselves. The flow of your vote through the chain and the rationales could all be completely transparent, and alterable at any time by the individual, giving them ultimate control of their vote. Public algorithms or customised algorithms could be options within this mix, integrating your idea into a more open architecture. To me this would represent ultimate voting freedom and efficiency.

Isn't the point of relying on algorithms based on the fact that the world is too complex for the human brain to handle?

You cannot organize and process all the information on the Internet. You rely on Google to do that for you. So when it's time to vote now you're expected to process all the information in the world to make a political decision? What is the difference here?

In either case your brain will never be able to make a truly wise decision because without algorithms you'll never process most of the information required. So why not let algorithms understand your preferences and make your votes according to that?

You wouldn't have a situation where there are ignorant votes. You could have persons with ignorant preferences. The problem with voting is most of our preferences are conditional so voting on an issue which seems static isn't taking into account all the different conditions in which you might alter your vote or change your mind. Conditional preference networks would take into account all of the little details which would change your mind and learning conditional preference networks grow smarter as it learns your preferences.

So far no one has given me a reason why other people should make decisions for them. People say because it's tradition, or because people like to have leaders, or because people are too ignorant to learn about the issues. The problem is the leaders are just as ignorant as everybody else and don't make wise decisions either because they have to keep winning popularity contests which don't have any rational basis.

An algorithm only has to produce results. There is no popularity contest that keeps an algorithm in use. The algorithm either is accurate for predicting your likes/dislikes, adapting to your preferences, etc or it's not. If it's not then it will continue to learn about you until it evolves into the perfect delegate, the perfect representative, so why would you need a human involved except your own brain and the algorithms?

Find one issue where an algorithm wouldn't be more thorough at processing, more rational at decision making, more reliable? An algorithm cannot be bribed, cannot be coerced, cannot be threatened or tricked into becoming an irrational voter, it would simply be a direct extension of your self interest.

The DAC as the political candidate

Imagine a scenario where we take a DAC which learns about all it's members through conditional preference networks, artificial intelligence, voting history, all kinds of analysis of private financial purchase history?

Instead of a human being running for "public office" the DAC itself could run for public office. It would know more about us than any human candidate ever could. It be a source of trust for us all. It would be the perfect representative for our particular community.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 09:53:27 AM by luckybit »
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Offline matt608

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Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2014, 10:16:52 AM »
Algorithms only know as much about you as you reveal to them.  People who don't use computers very much would have very ignorant algorithms (most of the world at this point).

Those who do reveal a lot have to have all that precious information stored securely which isn't currently possible I don't think (but maybe soon using Maidsafe? or similar).

I am intrigued by algorithmic voting.  It currently is not possible though.  The information I have revealed about myself on the current Internet is not an accurate picture of me, as I censor my view points one some issues as I know I'm being spied upon.  So the entire Internet needs a major (and infallible) security upgrade for this to work at all. 

But in theory integrating algorithmic voting into direct democracy in a hybrid system sounds good to me.

Those who don't use computers much could be 'simple voters' who get fewer options with a more simple layout  And some people would still prefer to vote for people.  You can't force algorithmic voting on people.


Offline monsterer

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2014, 10:19:34 AM »
Instead of a human being running for "public office" the DAC itself could run for public office. It would know more about us than any human candidate ever could. It be a source of trust for us all. It would be the perfect representative for our particular community.

I think it pays to remember that algorithms are always designed by humans, have limited scope, can be subject to design flaws and implementation errors and can potentially be exploited.

Yes, they have scope to automate various mundane functions, like search and aggregation, but more complicated issues will need a lot of time to refine and protect against potential exploitation.

The design of an algorithm or set thereof to act as a delegate with no human intervention would be quite a task in itself. As a developer, I'd estimate the ballpark complexity of such an 'entity' as being roughly equal to that of the original bitsharesX DAC.

Cheers, Paul.
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Offline luckybit

Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2014, 10:45:43 AM »
Instead of a human being running for "public office" the DAC itself could run for public office. It would know more about us than any human candidate ever could. It be a source of trust for us all. It would be the perfect representative for our particular community.

I think it pays to remember that algorithms are always designed by humans, have limited scope, can be subject to design flaws and implementation errors and can potentially be exploited.

Yes, they have scope to automate various mundane functions, like search and aggregation, but more complicated issues will need a lot of time to refine and protect against potential exploitation.

The design of an algorithm or set thereof to act as a delegate with no human intervention would be quite a task in itself. As a developer, I'd estimate the ballpark complexity of such an 'entity' as being roughly equal to that of the original bitsharesX DAC.

Cheers, Paul.

It's actually not as complex as you think. Conditional preference networks can be built into every DAC. Then you would need a decentralized storage capability which could be supplied by SAFE Network, Storj or something like that so that all the preference data about you can be securely stored. From here the algorithms you'd use already exist and are used by companies like Amazon, Google, etc.

If each DAC has a conditional preference network then as you connect the networks the learning algorithm would have more data to work with, would become more precise, etc. For example if your most private financial data, your posts across many forums, the books you read, websites you visit, and whatever other inputs you give to the algorithm is available then you can train the algorithm by using levers such as "like", "dislike" "ratings" and so on. Eventually it will be able to map out what you like, what you want, even be able to predict what you need such as when you'll run out of milk based on your buying and consumption habits.

Having said all that I don't expect you'd get a perfect algorithm instantly. I also don't think algorithms like these would be static. Each one of us would have our own algorithms which would learn about us over time.

Algorithms only know as much about you as you reveal to them.  People who don't use computers very much would have very ignorant algorithms (most of the world at this point).
It might not apply to most of the world at first but does most of the world have democracy at all? Do rights exist in most of the world? Also if we want to for example guarantee that we can never EVER vote against our inalienable or human rights then only an algorithm can guarantee that.

Don't you wonder how is it we have less rights today than we had generations ago? It's because people can be convinced to vote against their self interest and vote their inalienable rights away. People can also be threatened or coerced into voting for the dictatorship even if they don't really want to. Algorithms can improve these situations by making it a sort of math problem instead of a problem which can be solved by violence, intimidation, bribery, terrorism, etc.

So I can understand why you could say it wouldn't apply to for example the Congo but I also think if you are going to build DACs then why not build them to truly free the world? In the future they'll have computers and these tools will be useful to have exist during that time.
Those who do reveal a lot have to have all that precious information stored securely which isn't currently possible I don't think (but maybe soon using Maidsafe? or similar).
SAFE Network, Storj, you're right it might not be easy to store securely but it's already being collected. "Big Data" is already happening as we speak. Google and Amazon already know more about us than we know about ourselves and instead of using this information to amplify democracy it's being used by advertisers to make profits. I'm thinking we could apply these same algorithms to voting to make our preferences shape our future.


I am intrigued by algorithmic voting.  It currently is not possible though.  The information I have revealed about myself on the current Internet is not an accurate picture of me, as I censor my view points one some issues as I know I'm being spied upon.  So the entire Internet needs a major (and infallible) security upgrade for this to work at all. 
You'd be very surprised how much the Internet knows about you. To be honest while you might not be putting everything online it is highly likely that the Internet knows more about you than any human being could ever know. It certainly knows more about me than any human being will ever know and all of that data isn't being used to my political benefit.

Just look at the candidates you see running for elections? Do they run on platforms which make any sense to you? Am I the only one who thinks they run on platforms which don't make sense anymore? I shouldn't have to pick a candidate anymore when we have the technology to feed ads to me based on by subconscious thought patterns.

But in theory integrating algorithmic voting into direct democracy in a hybrid system sounds good to me.

Those who don't use computers much could be 'simple voters' who get fewer options with a more simple layout  And some people would still prefer to vote for people.  You can't force algorithmic voting on people.

I'm not saying we should force it. It's a similar situation where you cannot force DACs on people, or Bitcoin, or the Internet itself. On the other hand Bitcoin was designed to be decentralized for a reason. People who understand what that reason is will understand why algorithmic voting has advantages.

Place A Vote is going with the algorithmic candidate idea. I think we should at least be able to do better than what they are doing. A DAC can be a perfect algorithmic candidate because if elected and if like you mentioned we have a decentralized storage capability then that DAC could know everything about us. It could represent our interests better than any human being because it could know the most private details about us without us having to give up our privacy. It may be a radical idea to go algorithmic but if you want to attract the brightest minds you have to work on the ideas which have the greatest potential.

References
http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/24/replaceing-politicians-with-internet-polls/
http://placeavote.com/app/index.html#!/
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 10:51:06 AM by luckybit »
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Offline donkeypong

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Re: Representative democracy may now be becoming obsolete
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 06:11:01 PM »
You want to turn over my hard fought voting right to a robot? I've been using Pandora for months and it still doesn't understand my taste in music. Amazon is pretty good until I order a book on fairies for my five year old daughter. Then the next time I log in it suggests I might be interested in My Little Pony.

Two months ago, I was a strong supporter of continuing PTS in some form. Now I see how Alphabar is handling that and I think the BitShares community should disallow his project from using the PTS name.

Algos take a long time to build, test, validate, refine. It will be years before we can trust them to handle the majority of decision-making. And you have to convince asses like me to cede some control. Control we didn't care about until now!  :)

 

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