Tech pioneers in the US are advocating a new data-based approach to governance – ‘algorithmic regulation’. But if technology provides the answers to society’s problems, what happens to governments?
This new type of governance has a name: algorithmic regulation. In as much as Silicon Valley has a political programme, this is it. Tim O’Reilly, an influential technology publisher, venture capitalist and ideas man (he is to blame for popularising the term “web 2.0”) has been its most enthusiastic promoter. In a recent essay that lays out his reasoning, O’Reilly makes an intriguing case for the virtues of algorithmic regulation – a case that deserves close scrutiny both for what it promises policymakers and the simplistic assumptions it makes about politics, democracy and power.
ROBERT STEELE: In the USA at least, computational mathematics (algorithms) is another form of secrecy and utterly lacking in both intelligence and integrity. Google and Wall Street are prime examples of the evil that lies ahead if anyone is stupid enough to allow algorithms (politics, secrecy, and crime by other means) to go ahead in this fashion. As for law enforcment taking over vehicles, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the state and local governments need to start shutting down federal idiocy on all fronts — micro-regulation is not just fascist, it destroys human liberty and innovation.