Friday, August 30, 2013

Smart Legislation

In my last post I point out the flaws with Congress and legislation – that their solution to problems are short sighted and they fail to take into account future ramifications that could impact the laws. Yes, it is impossible to predict all future outcomes, but many are obvious – such as life expectancies going up and this is one reason social security and Medicare are becoming insolvent.

In a previous post about the judicial system I discussed doing away with judges for sentencing purposes. I remember reading an article that infuriated me – “What If Michael Vick was White?” The article basically said if Vick where white he would have gotten a lesser sentence. Maybe, but my argument about the judicial system is that the same person (regardless of race) would have gotten ten different sentences in ten different venues. That is why I think computers can do a better job handing down sentences. This is the only way to eliminate the opinions and biases of judges. Computers would yield the same sentence to first or second time drug offenders regardless of their age, sex, or ethnicity. This is the only way to issue truly fair and impartial sentences.

Well, why not use computer programs tied to legislation to make the legislation smarter? One thing the government (at all levels) does well is collect data. Maybe it is time to put this information and data to good use. There is no reason a program can’t be tied to legislation and or the fiscal wellbeing of the country. A program can be used to increase or decrease taxes or spending depending on current economic conditions. As a firm believer of lower taxes and spending – I am sure a computer program that models economic conditions will come to the same conclusions. If, for instance, government debt reaches a certain level or a particular federal program becomes a liability because it has reached a predetermined limit of the nation’s spending, than the software program tied to these policies or budgets could trigger automatic cuts.

Computers can be used to make tough and unpopular decisions that lawmakers are unwilling to make. This approach will help overcome political polarity and decrease the emphasis on money and lobbying. It would remove human error and biases when writing legislation. And software programs can help to correct poorly written legislation. Programs can be updated as more data becomes available to keep up with the changing times. Programs can be used to replace fiscal decisions made by the Fed and even illuminate the future outcome of not only laws, but executive orders, rules, mandates, and regulations passed by any government organization.

Let’s examine ObamaCare for instance. If during the operation of the program it fails to meet CBO projections, then the program could automatically scale back expenditures from the healthcare program. In essence, the ObamaCare legislation would police itself (oversight) and be able to identify potential fraud, waste, and system abuse. Yes, programs can eliminate government red tape and bureaucracy. The computer system could adjust expenditures based on the health of the economy. And better yet, the flaws of lawmakers can be avoided or corrected.

Yes, I live in a mathematical fantasyland. But the technology and data exists for this to become a reality. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where we did not have to worry so much about who our elected officials were since we have computers adjusting and correcting their biases, ideologies, and opinions? Wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate the power and influence of money in politics? Wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate the opinions and biases of judges who legislate from the bench? Yes, it would be nice, but what we would do without our government bureaucracy?


  1. That's quite a fantasy, Patrick!

    1. Yes, it is. But we have the technology to do it.

      It was a fantasy just a few decades ago that we could use our phone to take high quality pictures and movies, and to find any information you want at your fingertips.

      As an engineer, I remember talking about those fantasies and how we can make them real. Just as it was a fantasy we would go to the moon. People laughed when I told them in the near future these things would be a reality. They are not laughing anymore, except for other future visions technology has in store for us that has not been achieved yet.

      We turn fantasies into reality all the time with technology.

    2. It’s not the technology I doubt. It’s human nature. Computers have to be programmed so the first big fight I anticipate is the fight over who will be in charge of programming the computers. I wouldn’t voluntarily allow the Left to be in charge of that job and I’m sure they wouldn’t allow the Right to do it. So we’re back to square one!