Should Google vote on our behalf?

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Steve3007
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Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Steve3007 » September 27th, 2017, 11:38 am

It's been said that internet search engines are getting so sophisticated that they might be getting to the stage where they know us better than we know ourselves. If an algorithm could be used to assess our likes and dislikes over a long period of time, before each election, perhaps we should simply ask Google:

Who should I vote for?

That way, our vote wouldn't be needlessly influenced by our mood on the day. It could be a detached assessment of what we really want.


Note: Other search engines are available. This OP is not sponsored by Google.

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Greta
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Greta » September 27th, 2017, 8:17 pm

Imagine what people would be like without their machines if they had relied on those machines for a long time to form their opinions?

They would go through life without opinion or judgement and thus most likely be extremely nice - rather like our dogs :)

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Ranvier
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Ranvier » September 27th, 2017, 8:33 pm

There is a difference between that of what we "want" and what we "need". I don't think that Google can balance well enough between the two.

Steve3007
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Steve3007 » September 28th, 2017, 2:24 am

They would go through life without opinion or judgement and thus most likely be extremely nice - rather like our dogs :)
Or like the soma-stupefied characters in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Or like Stepford Wives. It makes the Google motto "Don't be evil", with its appeal to passiveness (its appeal to not do something) seem strangely creepy.

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Greta
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Greta » September 28th, 2017, 3:19 am

As it is, we have surrendered numerous old individual skills to enable group capacities. If ants, or our cells, were strong individuals then the nest or our societies would not be tenable. The smaller the group, the more that broad individual capacities are useful.

I personally find the rise of the right and unreason as more creepy than Google's growing influence. They are wretches when it comes to taxation and power-grabbing, but they are at least philanthropic and interested in the future, unlike some energy companies, for instance.

Perhaps the machine logic could be used to get rid of politicians and simply govern by logic, with algorithms providing humanitarian safeguards? It would save a fortune and I suspect that an AI governing machine would be vastly better for the many without being hamstrung by the blinkered cronyism, corruption, perks and blinkered ideologies of our current politicians. For whatever reason our system fails to bring "the best of us" to leadership. Rather, like nature, the rewards go to the most leveraged, networked, ruthless, and cunning.

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Togo1 » September 28th, 2017, 9:07 am

Steve3007 wrote:It's been said that internet search engines are getting so sophisticated that they might be getting to the stage where they know us better than we know ourselves. If an algorithm could be used to assess our likes and dislikes over a long period of time, before each election, perhaps we should simply ask Google:

Who should I vote for?
Two issues that I can see.

First off, while search engines are accurate enough to give us sparks of recognition when they get things right, they aren't accurate enough to represent our actual likes and dislikes, but instead produce more of a parody or stereotype of them. As a quite glance as social media will show.

Second, you can't use past behaviour to predict future behaviour, because people aren't static - they change over time.

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Steve3007 » September 29th, 2017, 6:36 am

Thanks for the replies.

My own view on the proposition in the OP is that I instinctively think it a very bad idea. But I proposed it to try to think about why it seems that way. The central one, I suppose, is that we wouldn't like to think that the question of either what we want or what we need in life can be calculated using an algorithm.

So it relates to the subject of whether artificially created consciousness is possible.

-- Updated Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:37 am to add the following --

(I should also point out that it wasn't my idea. I heard it from a bloke in the pub where I sometimes go for philosophy discussion meetings.)

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Ulrich
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Ulrich » September 29th, 2017, 4:50 pm

From a practical standpoint this cannot work. The search history of a user does not mirror the political desire of a user. To give an example: A user may browse conservative pages, not because she endorses their Ideas, but because she wants to be informed. What would the sophisticated engine make out of this? Apart from that, if the user is engaged in politics she would be intellectually mature enough to form her own opinion about her political stance. If one, on the other hand, would be politically indifferent the search engine would have nothing to work with. It would rather suggest to go to the cinema.

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Greta » September 30th, 2017, 1:42 am

Nice point made above.

I'm reminded of a Red Dwarf episode where the ship's new AI named Pree with predictive capabilities, knowing what crew members will do before they do it. Rimmer decides he can save on some work by having Pree to fix a number of engineering faults in B deck in his stead.
Kryten: Sir, come quickly! B Deck is in total disarray!
Rimmer: B Deck, the floor Pree repaired? Pree, what's happened? I thought you were going to repair all this!
Pree: I did. And thanks to my predictive capabilities, I was able to carry out the repairs in the exact manner you would have instructed.
Rimmer: It's one botch-up after another, with no regard to safety procedures or good workmanship!
Pree: Exactly.
Rimmer: How can you be a top computer if you do something like this?
Pree: I didn't, Arnold, YOU did. I merely duplicated what you would have done.
Rimmer: I don't understand!
Pree: I'm programmed to align myself with the ship's senior officer so computer and crew can perform as one. What the senior officer would do, I do for them.
Rimmer: You're saying because I would have cocked all this up, you cocked it all up for me?
Pree: Precisely.
https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.u ... ode=s10e02

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by SimpleGuy » September 30th, 2017, 3:19 am

In germany a Voting advice application called Wahl-O-Mat is already in use. This is sometimes a basis for independent pre-estimation of voter's success or not. In former times in the netherlands the program StemWijzer was some kind of program like this. This could be a basis for a computer based amellioration. It could be a pre-estimator for voting behaviour but not as a stand-alone but with the aid of additional polling data. But this decision is not abolishing regular voting.

-- Updated September 30th, 2017, 3:57 am to add the following --

The Wahl-O-Mat-App is a program downloadable for your Handy, in which you can describe yourself and others with your own words and describe them via your own presupposed description and ask for guidance which party shall i or he or she vote in order to get advice. I by myself was not in possession of this app but it was presented to me by an aquaintace of mine for my personal astonishment.

-- Updated September 30th, 2017, 3:57 am to add the following --

The Wahl-O-Mat-App is a program downloadable for your Handy, in which you can describe yourself and others with your own words and describe them via your own presupposed description and ask for guidance which party shall i or he or she vote in order to get advice. I by myself was not in possession of this app but it was presented to me by an aquaintace of mine for my personal astonishment.

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Steve3007 » September 30th, 2017, 4:41 am

Greta, re that Red Dwarf scene. I always love comedy with a philosophical point to it.

Ulrich:
From a practical standpoint this cannot work. The search history of a user does not mirror the political desire of a user...
Yes. Your point and the Red Dwarf excerpt which illustrates it show some drawbacks. But I think it's interesting to forget about current technology and concentrate on the princple being discussed. i.e. In principle, could it ever be a good idea to try, in some way, to encapsulate our wants and needs, for the purpose of voting, using stored data and an algorithm of some kind linking that data?

SimpleGuy:

Interesting example there. An application that gives voting advice by collecting information with the explicit intention of doing that, and which therefore presumably combats (to some extent) the problem discussed by Ulrich and Greta.

Of course, whenever we read summaries in newspapers or on news websites of various political parties' positions we're taking part in a simplified version of this kind of thing.

I guess the very simplest version 1.0 algorithm might be something like:

Do you believe in the power of free markets and distrust big government?
If yes, vote right.

Do you believe in equality and high taxation to fund numerous public services?
If yes, vote left.

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SimpleGuy
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by SimpleGuy » September 30th, 2017, 9:26 am

In addition to the previous remark . In america this is the i-side-with webpage. Some drivers-licence-instructor once showed me, that he could log in with a different identity and claim something to get a "good hint which party to vote for".

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Steve3007 » September 30th, 2017, 9:55 am

Thanks. I've just tried out the UK version of that website:

https://uk.isidewith.com

According to that, the UK political party with whom I most agree is Plaid Cymru. A Welsh party.

So much for that then.

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Ulrich
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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Ulrich » October 1st, 2017, 11:51 am

Steve3007 wrote:Greta, re that Red Dwarf scene. I always love comedy with a philosophical point to it.

Ulrich:
From a practical standpoint this cannot work. The search history of a user does not mirror the political desire of a user...
Yes. Your point and the Red Dwarf excerpt which illustrates it show some drawbacks. But I think it's interesting to forget about current technology and concentrate on the princple being discussed. i.e. In principle, could it ever be a good idea to try, in some way, to encapsulate our wants and needs, for the purpose of voting, using stored data and an algorithm of some kind linking that data?
Setting aside the practical ramifications, I still think a system like this would be not preferable. Ideally the political discourse relies on agents who have formed their opinion consciously. Of course this is rarley the case. And although I belive that the Wahl-O-Mat does not apply to the OP for several reasons, it is still an interessting example. People who used it later told me that the results caught them off guard. For example, they considered themselves to support the conservative party, the Wahl-O-Mat however showed them that their ideas match those of leftist parties. But I still do not think that this defect of self reflections could be repaired by a computer programm.

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Re: Should Google vote on our behalf?

Post by Eduk » October 5th, 2017, 8:24 am

Ignoring the practicality it's pretty trivial to imagine a future world where AI can do a 'better' job on everything than any human. For example AI driven cars will at some point replace human drivers and they will do a much better job than humans can.

The problem is, I think, that what you want is hidden from you. Therefore if you attempt to program an intelligence to give you what you want you may run into profound issues.

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