Can tech replace politicians?

Surprising to many, The Engineer does not live under a rock. Even more surprising, he cultivates more than a superficial interest in politics.

Perhaps ‘interest’ is the wrong word. Maybe ‘frustration’ would be a better description. You can probably guess why.

Yes, Brexit. But more specifically politicians. The Engineer won’t bore you with his own opinion on the subject save for a few simple observations.

  1. The British Parliament is unwilling to implement the express wishes of the British people.
  2. British politicians are behaving like children who can’t get their own way.
  3. The bureaucrats is Brussels are merrily putting their fingers in their ears, are wilfully still not understanding the fundamental reasons for the result.

These statements are hopelessly reductive of course. Amongst all parties and peoples there is disagreement on the type of Brexit the people want. There is legitimate reason for debate.

This set The Engineer thinking. Is there a way that the will of the people can be know, absolutely, on any given topic in near real time?

Suppose for a minute everybody had a smart device. Suppose also said device could receive notifications, messages and send responses?

You can probably see where The Engineer is going with this.

What if, when the will of the people needs testing, a simple question can be presented to their device, along with a set of answers and a time window to send a response?

With a simple text message the will of the people may be known almost instantly. Questions may be proposed as often as required and individuals will start to feel engaged again.

By simple extension, could politicians therefore be replaced? It is after all the civil service that actually writes laws and runs the country. For the most part politicians simply set the agenda and direction, then bicker about it when someone disagrees.

Again this is reductive of a very complex problem. But maybe, just maybe this is the kernel of an idea. The Engineer does not live in hope, however. It is, after all, against the individual interests of the career politicians most normal people despise so much, individuals that barely understand their own departments let alone tech. It is hence unlikely to see the light of day.

Instead the Engineer leaves you with this simple thought. If we can’t replace our politicians, perhaps we can at least bring back some common sense and a measure of competence. Maybe health secretaries who have been doctors, education secretaries who have been teachers, defence secretaries who have served in the forces…


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