Marko A. Rodriguez and Jennifer H. Watkins
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545
Abstract— The ideals of the eighteenth century’s Age of Enlightenment are the foundation of modern democracies. The era was characterized by thinkers who promoted progressive social reforms that opposed the long-established aristocracies and monarchies of the time. Prominent examples of such reforms include the establishment of inalienable human rights, selfgoverning republics, and market capitalism. Twenty-first century democratic nations can benefit from revisiting the systems developed during the Enlightenment and reframing them within the techno-social context of the Information Age. This article explores the application of social algorithms that make use of Thomas Paine’s (English: 1737–1809) representatives, Adam Smith’s (Scottish: 1723–1790) self-interested actors, and Marquis de Condorcet’s (French: 1743–1794) optimal decision making groups. It is posited that technology-enabled social algorithms can better realize the ideals articulated during the Enlightenment. Index Terms—collective decision making, computational governance, e-participation, e-democracy, computational social choice theory.
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The paper comes to the following rational resume’ :
The purpose of a democratic government is to preserve and support the ideals of its population. The ideals established during the Enlightenment are general in nature: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In articulating these values, the founders of modern democracies provided a moral heritage that remains highly regarded in societies today. However, it should be remembered that it is the ideals that are valuable, not the specific implementation of the systems that protect and support them. If there is another implementation of government that better realizes these ideals, then, by the rights of man, it must be enacted. It was the great thinkers of the eighteenth century Enlightenment who provided the initial governance systems. It is the challenge and the mandate of the Information Age to redesign these governance systems in light of present day technologies“
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