Humans as a species have proven that they cannot properly govern themselves or the Earth. The United States is rife with political battles, income inequality, and a shockingly inferior welfare state. Globally, entire empires have fallen due to political struggles. And even now, leaders of countries oppress their populous. The founding fathers signed the Constitution “in Order to form a more perfect Union,” as the famous saying goes. In that same spirit, we as people should look toward a new form of government that more accurately represents the people: a government run by computers.
A primary problem of humans self-governing is that they are limited in their ability to accurately represent their constituents. There are more Democrats in this country than Republicans (and many more independents than either), but the legislative and executive branch are dominated by Republicans, and, after the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court will be majority conservative. The make-up of the government does not reflect the political affiliation of the United States, and members of Congress will make decisions with which the majority of Americans disagree. For instance, the majority of the voters want the Affordable Care Act to remain, but the government is busy repealing it. This is one of many problems of representation.
American politicians, unlike those in Europe, are given incredible amounts of autonomy. Bernie Sanders ran as a Democrat for president, but his positions fail to align with the Democratic platform. Even if Republicans decide that Tea Party members should not be considered Republicans, they are powerless to expel the these members from the Republican Party. This means that party platforms are extremely malleable and have no enforcement behind them. Additionally, constituents may be forced to choose the lesser of two evils and vote for one candidate only because the other option represents them worse.
The problem of autonomy creates a sinister dilemma of special interests. When politicians are not forced to follow the party platform, special interest groups needle their way into politics and encourage politicians to act against the best interest of the people. Cory Booker voted against a provision that would allow Americans to purchase prescription drugs from Canada. Theoretically, this should have been supported by everybody because it forces drug companies to be competitive and allows sick people to get medication without going into debt. Booker, however, voted against the provision on the grounds that there are no ways to ensure that drugs from Canada are safe. His reasoning proves laughable for two reasons: he voted against a bill that would strengthen the FDA’s ability to ensure drug safety, and the pharmaceutical industry is Booker’s biggest campaign contributor.
Finally, politicians are unable to make policy decisions that may be necessary but unpopular. Republicans like to expand military defense spending while Democrats want to expand social welfare programs. But both of these goals cannot be achieved without raising taxes, which has not been a popular idea. Politicians are so nervous about raising taxes that the United States continues to operate in a deficit.
Instead of maintaining the American tradition of government, we should look to improve government based on the societal advances made in the 226 years since the ratification of the Constitution. Computers will govern the future.
Amazon can guess a person’s preferences based on similar buying habits of other customers. Pandora predicts what music a person enjoys based on their likes and dislikes. Why can’t a computer algorithm calculate the population’s policy preferences?
Instead of voting for people and personalities, voters could go to the ballot and fill out a survey on their particular policy preferences. From that survey, a computer algorithm could sort voters into different categories and craft legislation based the specific policy preferences of the population. Instead of a slew of potentially unrepresentative politicians, Americans could be led by a computer program, and they could elect a single human to lead the executive branch.
Computers are immune to the outside influences with which humans contend. The policy decisions an algorithm would make could accurately reflect the desires of the people because every person who votes would be represented in the algorithm, and a single human would not represent millions of constituents. Lobbyists wouldn’t have sway in a computer’s decision making process either. Finally, a computer is not concerned with reelections, and thus would not be concerned with making unpopular decisions like raising taxes to implement popular spending programs.
Political turmoil is the result of humans contending with complex political issues. And humans are notoriously awful at running governments. Devoid of personality, computers avoid the pitfalls of human-led governments. Now is the time to look beyond the antiquated concepts on which the constitution was founded and form a new government based on rationality, accuracy, and computer algorithms.