Technically Exists

Combining anarcho-primitivism and transhumanism


Anarcho-primitivism and transhumanism are two ideologies that place a lot of importance on technology, but they do so in completely opposite ways. This makes the task of combining them into a cohesive ideology very difficult, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. While previous attempts have had many desirable features, there is still plenty of room for improvement. As such, I wish to propose a new combination of the two which I believe makes many of the available improvements.

To build this new ideology, we first need a model of the ideologies we’re building it out of. It’s common to model anarcho-primitivism and transhumanism as being on opposite ends of a technology political axis that lies orthogonal to other axes like the left-right axis. The key to combining these ideologies will be to split this axis in two.

Read more

On dealbreaker voting criteria


In my previous post, I argued that probabilistic analysis was superior to pass/fail analysis as an approach to social choice theory. As a quick recap, pass/fail analysis tries to identify desirable criteria, then figure out which methods pass them and which methods don’t. Probabilistic analysis instead tries to identify how often failures of these criteria occur and how severe those failures are.

One consequence of pass/fail analysis is that it’s tempting to adopt what I would call a “dealbreaker criterion”, a voting criterion which a voting method must pass for you to even consider recommending it. If a voting method fails that criterion, it doesn’t matter if it is otherwise great; that failure is a dealbreaker. I’m not sure how many people actually do this, but I do know that it’s common to pick a criterion to emphasize as being crucial, which at the very least comes close.

Read more

Social choice theory paradigms


Within social choice theory, there are two major approaches to evaluating voting methods: pass/fail analysis and probabilistic analysis. Pass/fail analysis primarily consists of defining mathematical criteria that seem desirable to have, then proving which methods pass them and which methods fail them. It also has other aspects like proving that certain sets of criteria cannot all be satisfied by the same voting method; this is where the famous Arrow’s impossibility theorem comes from. On the other hand, probabilistic analysis does away with this and instead assesses voting method performance using simulations and, where possible, data from real-world elections. This approach has its downsides, but overall I think it is by far the superior evaluation method.

As a simple example of the limitations of pass/fail analysis, I’d like to consider reversal symmetry. Reversal symmetry is passed if reversing the preferences of every voter will always result in a different winner when there are at least two candidates running. The idea behind this criterion is that voting methods should not consider the best candidate to also be the worst candidate. Single-choice plurality fails reversal symmetry, since it is possible for one candidate to have both a plurality of first-choice support and a plurality of last-choice “support”, which becomes first-choice support if preferences are inverted. On the other hand, approval voting passes reversal symmetry, since the candidate with the most approvals cannot also be the candidate with the least approvals.1

  1. For simplicity, we ignore all elections in which ties occur, as is common in pass/fail analysis. 

Read more

The motivation behind SPSV, part 5


This blog post has been adapted from a series of posts written for r/SimDemocracy. If you haven’t read the previous entries, please start with part 1.

In the last post, we went over how RRV extends SPAV to work with 0-n rated ballots. I mentioned that SPSV also extends SPAV to work with such ballots, but that it does so using a different method. In this post, I want to start off by explaining how this method works and why I find it superior to RRV’s approach. After this, we can move on to the full explanation of the motivation behind SPSV and to comparisons with other proportional methods.

Section A: The Kotze-Pereira transformation

The extension method that SPSV uses is called the Kotze-Pereira transformation, or KP transform for short. The basic idea behind the KP transform is that it’s possible to use approval ballots as building blocks for creating a score ballot. As an example, let’s use a 0-3 rated ballot that rates candidate A 0, candidate B 1, candidate C 2, and candidate D 3. We can construct this ballot out of 3 approval ballots by having the first ballot approve B, C, and D, the second approve C and D, and the third approve only D. That way, each candidate’s score equals the number of approvals they have.

This isn’t our only option though. We could also use 1 ballot that approves B and D, and 2 ballots that approve C and D. This is a problem because not only do we want to construct score ballots from approval ballots, we also want to decompose score ballots into approval ballots. Thus, we need a means of choosing a unique set of approval ballots for each score ballot.

Read more

The motivation behind SPSV, part 4


This blog post has been adapted from a series of posts written for r/SimDemocracy. If you haven’t read the previous entries, please start with part 1.

In the last post, we considered how to improve upon the strange behavior that D’Hondt has when dealing with voters that have preferences which don’t match up with party lines. We went over how SPAV modifies the approach that D’Hondt used by reweighting individual ballots instead of a party’s full set of votes, and how this allows it to handle more complex voter groups in a sensible manner. This gave voters more freedom to express their preferences, but they still had to either fully support or not at all support each candidate.

Can SPAV be adapted to use 0-n rated ballots instead of approval ballots? As it turns out, this is fairly straightforward to do. Instead of using the formula 1/(1 + m), we can use 1/(1 + s/n), where s is the sum of all the scores given to candidates who have already been elected. This method is known as Reweighted Range Voting (RRV), where range voting is used as a synonym for score voting.

Read more