Dedomenocracy, my idea at least, is government of data, for data, by data. The focus is on gathering data clean of any interference by government, accomplished through punctuated libertarian type government. The default, or baseline, operation of government essentially is full liberty for the population, but with extensive (and intrusive) data collection. The population can trigger an authoritarian mode when there is a super-majority support for a declaration of urgency. When urgency exists, the government will exercise a predefined algorithm, with predefined objectives and priorities, to come up with some optimal policy that considers all data available at that moment. The government enforces the resulting policy with total authority, and likely brutal given that the impossible to comprehend rationale for the policy made by an algorithm considering countless dimensions and interdependencies of the defined objectives and priorities. The policies have a short life, expiring immediately after a specified time, in order to return to widely enjoyed liberty that generates the data that benefits the government for future crises.
Once a population is fully adapted to this form of government, there will be a different kind of incentive for behavior. People will be very reluctant to throw the urgency trigger because the resulting policies will be unpredictable in terms of how the policies will impact any particular person, and that impact will be severely imposed without any regard to the pain it is causing. On the other hand, the population will appreciate a benefit we do not have with democracies: a dedomenocracy approaches the crisis in a way that furthers the long-term goals and priorities set in less anxious times, while a democracy approaches the crisis base on the emotions and emotional maturity of the governor in office at the time.
In times of crisis, a democracy approaches a problem with attention to calming a sufficient majority so that they continue to support the office-holder. It is only during calm times that a democracy has an opportunity to pursue long range goals and priorities. In an increasingly complex and fragile world, such calm times never occur so a democracy devolves into a government of perpetual panic.
In contrast, a dedomenocracy only has influence on future events when some urgency activates its authority to impose some policy. The resulting policy is computed from some long-prior decided algorithm to optimize for the long-term objectives and priorities based on the information at the time. The resulting policy is very inconsiderate of the current concerns of the population, but the new authoritarian rule gives the population a distraction from what is alarming them. Again, I am a very different population than what we have today: such a population would be indoctrinated to have faith that the algorithm will very likely produce a future everyone will appreciate: taking advantage of the best opportunities while avoiding the worst case possible catastrophes.
In response to a crisis, the policies from a democracy and from a dedomenocracy are essentially indistinguishable. Both will produce arbitrary policies. The democracy’s policies are based on panic, while the dedomenocracy chooses to pursue some objective unrelated to the crisis. In both cases, the government authoritatively enforces the policies given the gravity of the crisis.
The recent history of COVID19 response provides an example of what a policy would look like. The policies include enforced mask wearing, social distancing, restrictions on large gatherings including things like entertainment and schools. The response is a demonstration of the government doing something in obedience to the public’s demand for action. A panic-driven democracy would justify the policies by a compelling explanation that these might help slow the spread, even if it contradicts actual science. Meanwhile, a more future-oriented dedomenocracy would justify the policies by an opportunity to recondition the population to accept a different type of economy: a great reset.
There is a lot of discussion about a great reset occurring now. Some suggest this will result in a new era of absolute identity tracking that includes a person’s social score that any one can check immediately. A social score would expand the concept of a person’s credit-worthiness to include judgements of his past behavior based on current norms. If this is occurring, it is coming from a secrete agenda shared among a very small and elite group. A dedomenocracy could be doing exactly the same thing with the same results. The difference is that the population would be aware of the agenda, and in fact had previously approved it when they approved the algorithm.
I seriously doubt that the population of even a couple years ago would have approved a future agenda of a great reset similar to what we are currently experiencing. Instead, we would prefer to optimize the opportunities of our younger and youngest generations while minimizing the risks to that same group. This preference would accept a potentially large loss within the older generations. After reviewing the data against the predefined goals, an algorithm would coldly decide to jeopardize the lives of the at risk population of mostly older or chronically ill persons in order to allow the younger population to thrive. For example, a cold calculation could conclude that randomly eliminating older adults currently holding senior or authoritative positions would make openings available to younger people, openings that would not otherwise happen with an older generation that indefinitely postpones their voluntary retirement.
Given the data and the science of all aspects of our current condition, including not just the pandemic, but the entire system of an aging working and governing population and an under-utilized and thus frustrated younger generation, there is a larger truth that a democracy is unable to handle. The truth is that our future depends on preparing our younger generation to take over from the older generation. To do so, the older generation needs to relinquish their positions to open opportunities for the younger generation to fill, and to benefit financially. Especially in higher levels of authority, the older generation has individual political clout to defend indefinitely their hold onto their positions. This is true for multiple levels of the upper hierarchy resulting in lost opportunities for preparing younger generations for future promotions.
Inevitably, those senior positions will become vacant, and we will need to fill them with younger people. It will be at our detriment if those younger people did not have the advantage of learning from the experience of his predecessor through a process of mentoring and on-the-job executive-level training.
It is clear in the data that we have a problem with an ever increasing average age of the working population, particularly at the higher levels of authority or influence. In addition, we have a problem with an under-utilized and growingly frustrated younger generation who are very aware that they are lacking the opportunities enjoyed by their parents or grandparents.
A democracy can not handle this truth. The older population will use their vote to defend their privileges. The younger population will support the older population through an ethical obligation to their elders.
An algorithm could observe that with each passing year, the situation becomes more fragile. A pandemic that preferentially targets the older generation could quickly wipe out many of the key positions across our economy. Those positions will be filled, of course, but those filling it will not be as prepared as they could have been. Everyone will suffer the consequences as supply chains and other interdependencies degrade and break because the replacement staff were not fully aware of these intricacies.
An algorithm could see the characteristics of the current pandemic as offering an opportunity. Such an algorithm would not score highly the option of locking down the economy to protect the older population. There are better scoring options of keeping everything open and allowing the disease to take its course, decimating the older generations, including those still in positions of employment or power, and allowing the younger generation to take those positions and their associated benefits.
The increasingly complex world of the modern era brings an underappreciated increasing level of fragility in terms of the necessary skills and knowledge of how to keep everything working. The lack of preparing a younger generation to take over is partly the fault of older worker’s stubborn refusal to retire or to vacate their positions. It is also the result of structural problems within organization hierarchies where lower level positions are filled preferentially with older people because they have more extensive experience and that there is the risk of discrimination lawsuits if the better candidate is not selected.
Over the past few decades the demand to fill every position with the best resume has unintentionally reduced the entry opportunities for younger people to the lowest level positions. Positions available for younger generations are increasingly contract in nature, where the pressure is on continued education in order to remain relevant for that contracted position rather than to prepare for a promoted position.
This truth may be evident in the data, but this is a truth that our current government cannot handle appropriately. The current government instead exacerbates the problem not only by preserving the status quo, but also by increasing the requirements for eligibility for higher level positions while also increasing the demands on remaining eligible for lower level, often contracted, positions.
A dedomenocracy could handle this truth because an algorithm has complete authority to decide any policies without human consultation or approval. The population chooses the algorithm far in advance of any crisis. Their choice will define long term objectives and define the relationships and priorities of the individual priorities. Such an algorithm will likely be summarized as to do everything in a way that optimizes the future when the younger generation will be running the economy. The algorithm would also consider the totality of data about our entire economy and world.
For example, an algorithm would not find data supporting a horizontally flat capacity curve as was depicted in the “flatten the curve” promotion. The capacity would decline unless appropriate steps were taken to handle the attrition. In addition, to best respond to the pandemic, the capacity needs to increase rather than stay flat.
In the past year, despite our success in increasing the technical supplies for healthcare, we did a terrible job in increasing the supply of healthcare workers. We closed schools. We forbade innovations for revising qualifications or defining alternative positions to allow more people to enter the health professions in areas most relevant to the pandemic.
A dedomenocracy (of my imagination) would have handled the situation very differently because it inherently makes short-lived policies. A temporary policy could allow sudden changes in job types and qualification. When the policy expires, the opportunity may be withdrawn, but there would still remain the benefit of someone gaining training and experience, perhaps more valuable than what comes from formal schooling. Instead of the propaganda about flattening the curve, the goal would be about rapidly increasing the capacity with two benefits: accommodating the projected patient loads and giving opportunities for people to gain experience that will open future employment opportunities.
A decade ago, there was much fanfare about big data involving the three Vs of volume, variety, and velocity of ever increasing magnitudes. The associated algorithms made decisions based on a large number of dimensions where each involved a large amount of data that is updating very quickly. The algorithms are operating at a scale that is impractical for a human to fully comprehend, and the algorithm is not going to explain its thinking in a rhetoric a human can understand.
Though this processing of big data, the algorithm will make discoveries about the world that it is incapable of disclosing to humans. Instead it will act on these discoveries in an attempt to optimize some objective. There is a much more profound benefit of this arrangement: if the humans were to become aware of the discovery, they may be incapable of handling it. Humans will panic at the implications.