> > Hi All, > > > > Long, long ago (about 50 years) I read a science fiction story wherein a > > computer selected a single individual and he would decide the election. > (I > > don't remember if the computer used intelligent or random selection --- I > > believe the individual was the "most" representative of the population.) > > The guy was nervous, of course, and didn't sleep well. A government > > official came by and asked him what he thought of the price of eggs, etc. > > Alas, I remember not the story title, author, or outcome, > > It's a classical Isaac Asimov story (1955). Called "Franchise" ,IIRC, it is > the story of one Normal Muller, selected by Multivac as the typical elector, > indeed. At the end, from his answers to the official questionnary , the huge > computer deduces what would be the result of the election, but , of course, > the guy is not allowed to know his own "vote" before the official > publication of the results.
Interesting, do you think that's where Douglas Adams got the idea for the "real" president of the Galaxy in the Hitchhiker series? (For those of you who haven't read it, it turns out the real president of the galaxy is a slightly mad old guy living on a rainy planet in the middle of nowhere who talks to his cat, government officials come and ask him questions and government policy is decided on his answers. ) Probably not, but it's a similar idea.
p.s. the Isaac Asimov story isn't that much like my random democracy idea, because the vote is effectively made by Multivac, I haven't read the story but I'm sure this is the idea. The whole point of the random democracy idea is to get rid of the fiction of a "best" government that "most represents" the views of the populace, as this is an unattainable ideal (cf. Arrow's paper "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare" in the Journal of Political Economy volume 58 issue 4), and to replace it with a government that is statistically unbiased.