Smart Democracy and Information Technology
History and evolution teach about the power of technology. Information technology encroaches and prescribes the political future of democracies and political systems across the world. Further, information describes the issues (forms and functions) and so the political relations and the derivative institutional organizations.
In democracy (public) and in other political systems the ultimate power rests predominantly with the people. In autocracy (and tyranny) the power rests predominantly with the state or worse in particular power. In representative democracy (republic) the authority for law making in the parliamentary process and so for governance, is delegated by the people to the representatives via elections.
This authority carries one fundamental limitation (condition) which emanates from constitutional submission and defines the legitimacy (of power) in office. The social and economic foundation of state and society, is in (the commitment to) the commission of the good. While the direction (mandate for the good) is not negotiable, the right way (variation) to destination is negotiable.
In simple and more in complex integrated systems, relations, organizations and conditions are active and dynamic, geared in the direction of time, motion and evolution. In social, political, legal and economic systems the good translates to the confluence of the individual and the common good and beneficial. The combination of the individual (partial and particular) and the common (general and global) good is fundamentally technological as well as moral.
Besides morality and the law, in politics the pursuit and the attainment of the good is delegation condition and qualification of leadership. The service of the particular interests of the principals – voters requires the authority and leadership of the representatives. Condition for this is the concurrent service of the public, national and at global level of the international interest, the greater good and beneficial. The justification of proposals and policies is important in this.
Furthermore, in religion the good has spiritual attributes and in God, divine. Interestingly, economy, ecology, technology and especially, information technology underscore this. Therefore, the same partial and total combination of the good translates also as the greater good in intellectual and spiritual systems.
Artificial intelligence (as for example in computer science, algorithms and robotics), powers information, definition and design and determines the dynamics of complex systems in real time. Such systems include states, modern societies and political and economic systems, which rise increasingly integrated and global. Here information technology recalibrates the citizen – (city) state relation and its organizational and conditional dynamics. Here information technology underscores performance and accordingly weighs in the social, economic and political equations as well as in the institutional charters.
To be fair, applications of information technology like technical and artificial systems are not more intelligent than the (sensor – motor) neurology of natural and human evolution. They are nonetheless instrumental in the computing of probabilities (of the future and specifically of the good) and in the design of programming, as well as in the regulation of the variation of definition. This the systems do in the analytic and synthetic process during the structuring and processing of information. Likewise systems test policies, practices and propositions and evaluate forward effects in real time.
Information technology and intelligence applications help in framing the dynamics of discourses and debates in parliaments (for the configuration of power and for the institution of the law) and in the Courts of law (for the enforcement of the law and the configuration of justice). They also contribute to the gradations of delegation and to the affirmation of the legitimacy of authority in constitutional democracies and in other political systems. Information and intelligence applications also help the negotiation of the relation between the citizen and the state. Finally, such technology and applications are instrumental to the control of power and conversely to the depiction of the right and the commission of the good and relevantly of the greater good.
The aforementioned social and political mechanics and techniques of democracy are less available in less liberal, state centered, authoritarian or autocratic regimes. Without these devices (of participation and engagement) the standard of performance (excellence) in the exercise of authority is significantly higher and more demanding. Technical and technological facilities like those described, are helpful but with information (connectivity) and data (participation) reduced or deprived, the benefits are limited.
Technical and technological know-how mitigates the data deficit to some extent. However, in liberal political, social and economic systems and even in the less liberal (communist, totalitarian etc.) systems, technology is instrumental and so net subordinate to information and data. The difference is one of level, since content is King.
In political competition, the bet of the authoritarian regimes is not that they are better. It is that the democratic ones are worse and if they are not, that they will reduce them to become, least by regression, repression and assimilation to them. Information technology and the unfolding evolution however, disavow this.
John A. Economides
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