• Oct. 4, 2019, 9:41 p.m.

    Okay so I've been told this could possibly be too political, so please advise and I will adjust accordingly.

    It's been said that technology can change humanity for the better, but it's also true that it makes certain lifestyles and organizations harder to maintain. For example, your sense of community used to be entirely defined by the area where you live. As we got into cities, people could go to certain clubs or societies to talk about their own interests. But can ideas like democracy, or even society itself survive the advances that we are going through and probably going to see in the future?

    Nowadays we can almost entirely burrow into our own rabbit role and still find others who agree with us. Eventually, I wonder if (I think this has been hinted at a bit), but maybe an episode on the fragmentation of society due to everyone finding their own #tribe, increasing labels, increasing ability to find exactly what you want to hear, the effect that can have on a democracy, if democracy can even survive it, how A.I. could mediate that somehow, or make it worse. And a single person can have many many non-overlapping circles and represent vastly different sets of values. Do you only get one vote despite being a different person in different realms of VR? The news you hear, the science you believe, the culture you are apart of is all determined by those things more and more as we become more and more digital natives. It could be a form of apocalypse happen at a very slow rate where we eventually are totally alone in our own post-scarcity-maintained virtual worlds, with no affiliation for or even ability to vote. Can democracy survive the digital transformation we're undergoing?

    It doesn't need to be political if no one is talking about specific parties or today's issues more than that they are trends or results of technologies. And there is much speculation that can be made about how future technologies (such as neuralink) could actually increase our unity as a society, since we could transfer feelings, dreams, and views to each other freely (aka tech ways of breaking echo chamber issues).

  • Oct. 12, 2019, 3:13 p.m.

    Democracy often gets treated as a luxury by science fiction and fantasy.

    Star Trek's 'Patterns of Force' asserted that when a planet was in chaos, the high efficiency of a Nazi-like regime pulled it together.
    Walking Dead promotes the idea that while nonviolent compromise is all well and good, you really need a strong man to survive when the going gets tough.

    I disagree with all of this. I don't think democracy is just nicer than autocracy, it's also stronger and more efficient.

    (Healthy) democracies tend to win at science, and in turn at all of the things science empowers: weaponry, food, economics, medicine, exploration.
    Autocracies prioritize the personal wealth of their leaders and tend to drive their economies into a ditch, lose at wars, and stifle useful ideas.

    I see dictatorship as a single-CPU machine. All major decisions are bottlenecked at the top and adaptation is slow.

    A healthy democracy on the other hand is more like a massively parallel system. Done right it engages the collective brain power of all its members in decision making and evolves more quickly.

    Most modern democracies are only babies in this evolution; we use our collective decision making powers sparingly, just during elections, to appoint temporary 'kings' retro-fitted onto a feudal hierarchy. The standard excuse for this is that taking a referendum on every decision would be slow.

    But technology may change things here. Imagine a world where brain-machine IO allows citizens to project raw images from their minds rather than words, increasing bandwidth of communication a thousand fold (if a picture is worth 1000 words. ;) ) Then imagine if millions of direct-from-mind decisions could be pooled planet-wide in enough detail to say, design a star ship, or refine a fusion battery, or decode a SETI signal. (The FUN Borg: angryflower.com/349.html)

    I would agree that the core danger to democracy today is the disintegration of communities of people.
    Once we are all isolated from each other by overwork and fear, our whole concept of the world comes only from electronic media, which are heavily gamed by centralized power and money. Voting is just the motor function of our body politic. Without verifiable sensory systems to relay what is really happening we will, as a civilization, walk blindly off a cliff.

    So I don't think democracy is obsolete any more than efficiency and survival itself are obsolete. Our fragmentation is not 'the new normal'; it is a step toward collapse.

  • Oct. 12, 2019, 11:11 p.m.

    The problem with Democracies is that they'll let anyone vote. I think passing a minimal knowledge test on an issue or an election should be required. But, good luck with that.

  • Moderator
    Oct. 13, 2019, 5:18 a.m.

    Anyone? No. There are many countries out there in the world that preclude individuals within their borders from voting based a variety of legal grounds. The very fact that you need to be a registered voter in addition to being a certain age already makes those systems selective democracies. This theme is further diluted when you consider delegative democratic systems, wherein an average citizen's vote is worth less than his elected representative. Yes, "anybody" who forfills the above criteria can vote, but that is the point of a democracy - to represent the citizenry of a particular group (in this case, adults) whose majority vote will elect either a leader or perhaps a law.

  • Oct. 13, 2019, 12:04 p.m.

    How about just requiring the candidates to pass a minimal knowledge test?

    "I want to be President of Freedonia!"

    "Great, first pass Presidenting 101 with a B+ or better, then you can hit the campaign trail."

  • Oct. 13, 2019, 2:46 p.m.

    Good point on on the limiting criteria already in place for most current democracies. But, again it would be beneficial to the process as a whole (moreso to the outcome of better decisions) to further require minimum knowledge of an issue to vote on it. Elected representatives should be the first required to do so.

  • Moderator
    Oct. 14, 2019, 6:46 a.m.

    Sad, but true XD.

    Yes, more knowledge of the system along with other prerequisites would certainly further the notion of responsible citizens voting in a system they believe in. Then again, applying more filters on the voting process could lead to self-serving legal bodies pushing for only a select group of individuals having the right to vote, thus defeating the point of a democracy. Not saying that will happen, of course, but it's a slippery slope. Still, there are many ways our democracies could be improved in a good way.

  • Oct. 22, 2019, 6:05 a.m.

    This book discusses what a future democracy could look like.