Friday, July 27, 2012

Will Computers Eventually Replace our Government?

Caution: What you are about to read contains futurist speculation. Having an open and imaginative mind is advised...
Everything these days seems to be controlled by a computer of some kind. Be it your refrigerator, car, or coffee maker, nearly every aspect of our lives is assisted by tiny silicon chips.

Is it a stretch then, to say that eventually these chips will run our countries and facilitate international diplomacy?

Perhaps, but think about it for a minute. Right now, our government is committed to the monumental task of running this country, creating laws, handling internal party issues, and so on and so forth.

As you have seen with the ideological deadlock in Washington D.C. lately, the people representing us don't always do their jobs effectively.

What if then, you replaced each member of congress with an advanced computerized A.I? Something not so different than what you would find in a game such as Civilization, though far more intelligent.

These A.I.s could make swifter decisions than our current representatives, would be programmed to not be wasteful, could achieve compromise on important issues in record time, and would only be limited by the speed of their central processing units.

Our national budget would be fixed automatically, and there would be no lobbying, wasteful spending, or lengthy partisan bickering.

Our voting process could remain largely the same, except instead of voting for representatives, we would vote for an A.I. programmed with a particular political point of view. This A.I. would fight for your position in the computerized congress, under all of the same constraints as congress is today.

The only difference, as stated earlier, would be the rapidity with which the lawmaking was accomplished.

Of course, there would need to be checks and balances to this system, with a few human overseers in place to ensure that the computers don't go haywire. Additionally, a position like the Presidency would likely still remain in human hands.

Still, before you balk at this proposal, recognize that the stock exchange is mostly run by computers. If a complicated system such as that, which manages the money of many people in this country, can be run by our primitive technologies, who are we to doubt the feasibility of highly advanced A.I.s doing the dirty work of the governing process?

The benefits of this are indeed quite favorable, as more people will be free to work in the private sector as opposed to the public. Career politicians will be ousted, lobbying groups will have no more say, and corruption and partisan gridlock will be eliminated.

The downsides of course are that the computers could turn their backs on us and take over the world, but that is in all likelihood not a possibility.

Artificial intelligences may never reach a level equal to human thought, and I am sure there will be safeguards in place whenever a technology such as what I am suggesting is feasible.

I know this idea may sound ludicrous today, but logically speaking it solves many of the issues we have with the speed, morality, effectiveness, and cost of government.

Oh yes, and did I mention cost? Replacing five hundred congressmen with computers reduces the total total cost of government by around ten million dollars (representatives make roughly two hundred thousand a year).

Couple that with all of the other savings from cutting bureaucracy and other outdated government apparatuses, and what you are left with is a leaner and more reliable Washington D.C.

As technology becomes a larger part of our lives, expect a growing trend towards the utilization of computers in government functions previously reserved for humans.

The computerization of government is only one possibility for the future, and though it holds many benefits, it will take many years and many hours of hard work to create the infrastructure necessary to support such an endeavor. Though we may find a better solution in the meantime, theoretically this solution solves many of the problems inherent within our government.

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