via Harvard SEAS
Algorithm ensures fairer selection of citizens’ assemblies
Democracy in ancient Athens looked quite different from democracies today. Instead of elections, most offices — including those in the legislature, governing councils, and magistrates — were filled by citizen volunteers, selected by random lottery. These citizens’ assemblies drafted, debated, and passed laws; made major foreign policy decisions; and controlled military budgets.
Today, citizens’ assemblies are making a comeback. In 2019 and 2020, citizens’ assemblies in France and the UK convened to draft measures to address climate change. Citizens’ assemblies in Ireland have led to changes to the Irish constitution which legalized abortion and same-sex marriage.
One of the biggest challenges in organizing these assemblies — both in ancient times and today — is deciding who should serve. The assembly needs to be representative of the population as a whole. But selection should be random — ideally, with all volunteers having an equal chance of being chosen.
To balance those two goals, the ancient Athenians used a rudimentary machine called a kleroterion, which randomly selected panels of volunteers from different tribes. Now, a team of computer scientists has devised a 21st century solution.
Now, a team of computer scientists from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with a practitioner from the Sortition Foundation, have designed an assembly selection process that satisfies representation and fairness simultaneously.
This paper was published in Nature.
“Ideally, a citizens’ assembly acts as a microcosm of society,” said Ariel Procaccia, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at SEAS and co-author of the study. “Whether this goal is realized in practice, however, depends on exactly how assembly members are chosen.”
Original Article: Can AI make democracy fairer?
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Growing disconnect with democracy
Last year, more than 100 faculty members from universities across the United States signed a statement warning that the threats to the electoral pillars of American democracy have become so ...
- Clark County Fair ‘worth the wait’
Canceled by COVID two years running, ’Summer’s Best Party’ makes its return After COVID-19 hijacked Summer’s Best Party two years in a row, the Clark County Fair is back and “Worth the wait.” The ...
- Our View: There’s more to preserving democracy than reforming the Electoral Count Act
While the bill from Maine Sen. Susan Collins is a thorough response to the problems caused by Donald Trump following the 2020 election, the real problem is much bigger.
- Julia Vaughn: Democracy is like a Lake Michigan beach
I’ve spent the last 28 years of my professional life working to expand and protect voting rights, and I’ve come to see that representative democracy in Indiana is a lot like those Lake Michigan ...
- American media wants to save democracy. Is it helping?
In recent years, a pronounced pro-democracy movement has been gathering strength inside U.S. media and liberal intelligentsia. Not everyone is on board.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Anchorage Assembly overrides Bronson veto on process for removing a mayor
The Assembly has overridden Mayor Dave Bronson’s veto of an ordinance that creates a process for the Assembly to remove a mayor for a breach of public trust. The Assembly voted to override the ...
- Muda launches Puteri Wangsa citizen's assembly to tackle local issues
SHAH ALAM - Muda today launched its Citizen's Assembly in Puteri Wangsa to raise local issues faced by residents to the state government and local councils as part of its manifesto in the last Johor ...
- Ukraine Parliament calls on citizens to snub sham referendums if Russia holds any in occupied areas
The Ukrainian Parliament calls on the residents of the temporarily occupied territories not to participate in the provocative and illegitimate pseudo-referendums that the aggressor power, the Russian ...
- Gov. Tom Wolf sues General Assembly in effort to preserve abortion rights in Pa.
Wolf doesn’t think the people of Pennsylvania are smart enough to make their own decisions. While the General Assembly asks the citizens to vote on important issues, Gov. Wolf runs to the courts in an ...
- See inside Virginia's new General Assembly building
Contractors are putting the finishing touches on the new General Assembly Building, which has been in the works since 2017. Why it matters: The 14-story complex on Capitol Square is where lawmakers ...