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The end of politicians: Time for Real Democracy

It all started in the small countries of north-western Europe. The movement began way back in 2011-12 when one of them went without a government for almost 2 years. But it wasn't until 2020 that the first regional parliament there instituted a second chamber of randomly selected citizens to review legislation. That made other governments around the world take note. Then, after the global crisis of 2023-25 people hit the streets, leaders paid attention, and randomly selected, representative "citizens' chambers" began to flourish. Canada replaced its Senate with a citizens’ chamber and, finally – after years of campaigning – the House of Lords in the UK was also replaced with a representative, randomly selected “House of the People”. It wasn't long after that – when people began to realise that these assemblies work well and make good, fair, trusted decisions – that the call to abolish elected chambers all together began to spread like wildfire.

Then it happened. After the political crisis in north America in 2039 a couple of US states responded to the crisis by completely replacing their elected legislature with a citizens’ chamber. First it was Oregon, and then the big one: California. Now, in 2050, some countries have followed suit. Among the early adopters were Belgium and The Netherlands in Europe. Who would be next was hard to predict: The depth and breadth of the political movement depended crucially on the local conditions and historical context of each country.Yet the movement continues to grow: Slowly, politicians are becoming a thing of the past. They are now commonly seen as a bizarre historical artefact of that brief period in the 1900s, between the time when parliaments elected by universal suffrage became the norm across half the planet, and the 21st-century spread of the new sortition democracy based on universal, representative random selection.

Some of these randomly selected citizens’ representatives love their duties, and a few have become prosperous and famous after their selection, but most find the invasion of privacy troubling and uncomfortable, and several have since gone into hiding to escape the public spotlight. However, the majority are proud of their achievements. They maintain a deep interest in politics, and look back on the two years they served in their local or national parliaments as some of the most important and profound years of their lives. They now understand that every political decision is fundamentally a moral decision. That there is no such thing as the "best" or "right" political decision – there are only trade-offs to be made when allocating limited resources between competing demands. They are dismissive of those who call for an AI to take over political decision-making. All the millions of AIs operating within every aspect of life in 2050 – no matter how “clever” at diagnosing problems or tracking the implementation of decisions – have nothing to say about what a community of humans values and believes is most important and which members of society are more deserving. Those types of decisions will always require the full diversity of humans communicating and deliberating respectfully with each other, together.


I agree
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I don't agree
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Albert Jackinson "But it wasn't until 2020 that the first regional parliament there instituted a second chamber of randomly selected citizens to review legislation." Yeah. That didn't age well. This is fairly reasonable. I can't say if this has a higher likelihood of happening than not, but this seems to be a decent possibility within the next few decades.
26 Mar 2020
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Victor Muraviev Oh yeah, let's just put the world in the hands of someone who doesn't know what their doing. Why go to a experienced CEO to run your trillion dollar company, when you can get a six-year-old to do it, right? This is sarcasm if you couldn't notice. 16/03/2019
16 Mar 2019
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Marriette Deckard Provided we can overcome the rising tide of Authoritarianism that has swept the world since 2016. Democracy by citizen council would be a much better option than the representative democracy we have now which very often is structured to benefit the powerful and usually wealthy. It has meant that some democracies resemble oligarchies more so than they do free societies. We have seen how this pans out when looking at Hungary, The Philippines, Turkey, and the United States, to say nothing of the nationalist movements that have emerged since the failure of reforms attempting to address the fallout from the Great Recession of 2008. Provided we can overcome a tendency to resort to strongman politics in the face of crisis, we could finally see the emergence of movements to cede democratic control back to citizens, and be truly representative of the people. AI will likely enhance this decision making by prompting a capacity to better model outcomes and to better frame the moral dialogues of any decision at the scale of social policy. I know this is certainly the vision I am working towards in my own life, and I very much advocate that we work towards changing our political-economy lest we end up programming our biases into our technologies and creating digital dictatorships.
15 Mar 2019
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