by Jerry Cayford
A friend of mine covers his Facebook tracks. He follows groups from across the political spectrum so that no one can pigeonhole him. He has friends and former colleagues who, he figures, will be among the armed groups going door to door purging enemies, if our society breaks into civil anarchy. He hides his tracks so no one will know he is the enemy.
That trick might work for the humans, but artificial intelligences (AI) will laugh at such puny human deceptions (if artificial intelligence can laugh). When AI knows every click you make, every page you visit, when you scroll fast or slow or pause, everything you buy, everything you read, everyone you call, and data and patterns on millions like you, well, it will certainly know whom you are likely to vote for, the probability that you will vote at all, and even the degree of certainty of its predictions.
All of that means that AI will soon be every gerrymanderer’s dream.
AI will know not just the party registrations in a precinct but how every individual in a proposed district will (probably) vote. This will allow a level of precision gerrymandering never seen before. There is only one glitch, one defect: with people living all jumbled up together, any map, no matter how complex and salamander-looking, will include some unwanted voters and miss some wanted ones. To get the most lopsided election result possible from a given group of voters—the maximally efficient, maximally unfair outcome—the gerrymanderer has to escape the inconvenience of people’s housing choices. And since relocating voters is not feasible, the solution is to free districts of the tyranny of voter location. The truly perfect gerrymander that AI is capable of producing would need to be a list, instead of a map: a list of exactly which voters the gerrymanderer wants in each district. But that isn’t possible. Is it? Read more »