Can Big Data Save Politics?

Ugh. I know, political posts on gaming blogs. I promise I am not going to go all partisan. And my short style of writing may not be wholly appropriate for a topic of this magnitude, but doing it anyway. Considering it an entry discussion point!

There is an election here in Canada. I have been a card carrying member of a certain party for most of my life. The older I get, and the more I read and learn the more I realize how much I dislike party politics. It seems that too much time is spent by the parties worrying about gaining (And keeping) power, instead of well, actually governing. I mean, anytime an elected official is forced to support a party platform instead of their direct constituents I see that as a problem.

I also hate our first past the post system. The Liberal Party in Canada got just under 7M votes in 2019, which represents about 20% of the population (~38% of the vote) of Canada. Yet, that was enough to give them a majority government, and they can now put through policies that affect the rest of the 80/62% of the population. Our Prime Minister promised to fix this for THIS election, but he (and ALL the parties) recognize that it is against their parties interest to do so. Even if it is in the population’s best interest.

I am pointing out the Liberals here, but ANY party who has formed a government in Canada has benefited from this. So it’s hardly a Liberal party issue.

I also strongly believe that the government is meant to adhere to the majority while protecting the minority. And in a case of proportional representation this would ensure that officials would have to work with a wide swathe of viewpoints to get anything done effectively. Which means more the population’s thoughts and wishes are included.

How do we fix this?

Use big data. Pick non-professional politicians (they are not any smarter or more effective than the average Canadian – heck, our current PM was a part time drama teacher and Ultimate Frisbee instructor. His main competitor ALMOST became an insurance salesman before a career politician)

The basic premise is take all of the facts that we know, and use data to select the appropriate people in the appropriate places. For example:

  • Population by province
  • Age demographics
  • Sex demographics
  • Sexual orientation demographics
  • Ethnicity Demographics
  • Political spectrum (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, PP)

Everyone interested can put their name into a hat, and let the computer crunch out that the Transgender male 45 year old from Ontario is the best person for that downtown Toronto riding, then congrats! You get it. That 30s something cisgender hetero Indian woman from Burnaby with Green Party tendencies, congrats! (and if the data shows we need 5 of them in government in BC, then more congrats!)

Surely a computer can do a better job of selecting true representation of a country over lies, bullshit media coverage, misleading messages, and the thirst for power over true public service any day?

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Mixed member proportional representation is a bridge to full representation.

    Either model gets away from the 2 system nightmare that FPTP systems produce.

  2. I predict this system will select somebody’s dog before it actually selects a human being you would want representing you in government. But I’d take the dog most days of the week with the current system.

  3. I happily see a PR system introduced in the UK and the death of the two major parties that are now utterly obsolete. I’d also be happy to have Parliament leave London, and move to a bespoke building in the middle of the UK. We can also dispense with all the pageantry and old school traditions that our government is steeped in, as I believe these are ultimately exclusionary and prevent the average member of the public from clearly scrutinising the work of Parliament.

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