This system of governance inevitably results in over criminalizing because it equates so many unrelated violations of law into a single category of a crime requiring a prison sentence. We may need these laws, and for argument’s sake I’ll grant that prison sentences are a valid form of punishment. I question the need for all of these laws to require prison penalties. I question the wisdom of equating any violation of such a wide range of laws to be a single category: an imprisonable convict.
These cases are often described as open-secrets. Many people in the community are aware of the information about individual cases and about the pattern of behavior, but there has been some kind of understanding that the past events are resolved in some acceptable terms, and that ongoing behavior is restrained by certain conditions. The oxymoron of open-secrets can be resolved by defining the open-part as being observed data, while the secret-part is restraints on how this data may be used in future decision making.
The assumption is that the initial condition of the fully automated economy and government is ideal in terms of a modern middle-class experience for everyone with a guaranteed income and free entertainment. It can only get worse from there. Humans offer nothing to improve the future of the automation. Inevitably, they will segregate into groups. Those groups will strive for improvements of their condition where their best opportunity is at the expense of other groups. The automation will adapt.
Although the types of punishments that may occur in government by data are similar to older traditional punishments we witness in parts of the world today, a future system of automated government by data can avoid some of the abuses. The government by data encourages forgiveness and clemency to minimize the need for punishment. This government requires any punishment to be quick in order to return the person back to the community as soon as possible (such as within a day). The punishment decision is automated using algorithms and data to assure consistent and fair treatment of cases. The algorithms and data for the punishment decision are to assess what minimum level of punishment for a particular person will be sufficient to encourage that cooperation instead of having some broader goal of extracting justice. The public will have access to evaluate and criticize the data and algorithms that impose the punishments, just like they will interact with the data and algorithms that generate new rules. In government by data, the automatic decision-making based on data and algorithms includes the decision making for assigning punishments to people who disobey the rules.
In my last post, I stumbled upon a notion that USA’s approach to crime is to treat it like political dissent. The post made two points about the confusion of crime and politics. One concerned our disapproval of foreign governments for punishing political dissent with imprisonment. The other concerned our preference for imprisonment…