Lawrence Lessig on designing a corruption-resistant democracy for a virtual world


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Remember that time that Lawrence Lessig was played by Christopher Lloyd on The West Wing? Anyway, I sure do miss President Bartlet.


Oh good! Nobody has ever outlined an ideal society before. Our troubles are over!


I’ll take it for what it is: an experiment. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how many methods get employed to try and break it.

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It was a weird moment because I knew who Lessig was, but I also enjoy watching Lloyd. It was like getting a sundae with a cherry on top. Pity that WW hasn’t aged well.


If you choke down any episode of Rogan, I recommend the one where Lessig very cogently does an ELI5 for Joe, and highlights the positive actions we can take, only to have Rogan blurt a bunch of truther nonsense at the end, you can see the point at which Lessig is spiritually broken by Rogan’s blather.


Absolutely love the idea of a virtual political experiment. Almost immediately makes me of Eve online.
Maybe more to the point, ancient Athenian democracy encountered rather similar growing pains. Specifically, over time, democracy had a strong tendency to become an oligarchy. Sortition was one mitigation attempt.


The only incorruptible government would be one run by a properly-programmed all-powerful AI.

The key concept, of course, is the definition of “properly programmed” (and who programs it).

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That was a great epissode and one of my favorites.


Woops. There is the develish detail.


“You got people who are living in radically different worlds, and they don’t even understand the same facts, so they can’t even come to the same understanding.”

How to model this in game is staring at your. The players are playing a game right? What is stopping you from having two radically different worlds and aggregating votes for both. The government management system should be a different interface, that only indirectly can affect each world. Or where action that is beneficial for one world is nonsense in the other.


It was always high fantasy, but I still go back and watch the first four seasons every couple of years.


This is just the benevolent dictator argument with a veneer of the “objectivity” or “rationality” we usually ascribe to computers. Since we can’t create a actual “objective”, “properly programmed” AI, you basically just made a techno babble solution.

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