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The irony! Scientific American is holding forth on an algorithm that might solve “political paralysis”

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So let’s get this straight: After 175 years of an unstained record, they break with tradition and endorse a candidate for US prez — and then front this stuff?:

As faith in government hits historic lows, organizers in the U.K. are trying a new math-based approach to democracy. Would it work in the bitterly divided U.S? …

“If you believe an ideal democracy involves informed deliberation among a representative group of people, the current electoral system fails on both counts,” says Hennig, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He believes something called “citizens’ assemblies” offer a better way to elicit policies in line with people’s real interests—with a little help from an algorithm.

Hennig explains citizens’ assemblies using simple logic: society is made up of people who are young and old, rich and poor, and mostly in between, so decisions governing it should more directly involve a group proportionally representing these kinds of characteristics. But because many ordinary citizens may lack technical knowledge of the issues at hand, citizens’ assemblies invite these individuals to make decisions in a “deliberative environment”—in which they can consult experts to “reduce the effect of biases, misleading information and ignorance” when learning about a problem and assessing possible solutions, Hennig says. From there, these citizens collaboratively craft recommendations for policy makers to consider.

Julia Hotz, “Can an Algorithm Help Solve Political Paralysis?” at Scientific American

Why should we now believe that SciAm’s account of Brett Hennig’s “alternative democracy” ideas is presented to us for any reason other than to sell SciAm’s chosen political candidate for US prez?

The thing about sudden partisanship is that you can buy it but you can’t sell it. It’s almost like the folk at Scientific American don’t really get that.

See also:

See also: Scientific American breaks with 175-year tradition, endorses Joe Biden for US President. They can break with tradition in this way if they want, of course. But then they will no longer be able to say that their science is not tainted with (drenched in?) politics. Which is why, no matter what the crisis, no one did it in the past. The outcome, no matter who wins the U.S. election, will be reduced public trust in science. Scientific American could well find itself down there with “media” generally, in terms of public trust.

and

Rob Sheldon on Scientific American’s foray into politics, backing Joe Biden I was a devoted SciAm fan growing up. I collected other people’s old copies and had a collection going back to the 60’s. Then SciAm was bought out by some big publishing firm. And my favorite column, the Amateur Scientist by Forrest M. Mims III , was cancelled because Mims was a Christian.

3 Replies to “The irony! Scientific American is holding forth on an algorithm that might solve “political paralysis”

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    But because many ordinary citizens may lack technical knowledge of the issues at hand, citizens’ assemblies invite these individuals to make decisions in a “deliberative environment”—in which they can consult experts to “reduce the effect of biases, misleading information and ignorance” . . .

    Hilarious!

    So ordinary citizens can be “guided” by the Enlightened Elite. Har har!

    Besides elections are costly and people are hard to convince. Representation should be done by class and identity in a multicultural society . . . states are obsolete. We need representatives for every officially recognized racial minority, gender identity, age group, education level, and income level instead. Representatives would be chosen from a pool of highly qualified academics.

    Similarly, the legal system is so complicated . . . best eliminate juries in favor of legal experts.

    -Q

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Another item on sci websites shows this same jury-like assembly is already being used to form fake “public decisions” about the ethics of gene editing like CRISPR.

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/sip-wpa091420.php

    Intrinsically, this is a good idea. Juries work vastly better than legislatures or “elections”. Juries manage to reach a correct decision most of the time, even when the lawyers are trying to steer them toward the wrong decision.

    Extrinsically it’s utterly irrelevant. US/UK politicians are absolutely immune to all forms of feedback. Nothing influences their decisions except their own urgent psychopathic need to do infinite evil every minute of every day. So the FORM of decision-making mechanism is a null variable.

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    Well said! A major part of the problem is when politicians interpret their election as an affirmation of everything they ever though, said, or did and everything they ever will. Thus, they think they’ve been elected to rule rather than to represent.

    Big difference!

    -Q

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