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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Colin Walker: on 6/3/14 at 18:02pm UTC, wrote Dear Ryoji, Thank your for your comment. I have not been following bicep2...

Ryoji Furui: on 6/3/14 at 3:56am UTC, wrote Hi Corin, Interestimg essay, voting system is the way to be democratic and...

Colin Walker: on 5/7/14 at 23:44pm UTC, wrote Dear Christian, Thank you for your gracious comments. Let me address your...

Christian Corda: on 5/7/14 at 8:56am UTC, wrote Dear Colin, As I promised in my Essay page I have read your beautiful and...

Colin Walker: on 5/6/14 at 21:38pm UTC, wrote Dear Ajay, The NASA-sponsored study appeared as a news item just as I was...

Ajay Bhatla: on 5/5/14 at 18:08pm UTC, wrote Colin, It's good to hear that we may have 350 years to get our act...

Colin Walker: on 5/4/14 at 19:04pm UTC, wrote Dear Armin, I agree that my assumptions do not correspond to politics (or...

Vladimir Rogozhin: on 5/4/14 at 11:23am UTC, wrote Colin, Here are found on the web translation "Liberta" The night falls...


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FQXi FORUM
October 15, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Democracy of the dice people by Colin Walker [refresh]
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Author Colin Walker wrote on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 16:03 GMT
Essay Abstract

The growth of an industrialized population threatens a Malthusian collapse which might be avoided through equitable sharing of resources. Democracy can bring about the tyranny of the majority, which is motivation for a consideration of fairness. A problem in probability concerning dice is used as the basis for modeling a democratic process governed entirely by self-interest. By associating a person with each face of the die, mathematical paradigms are put to the vote in a model democracy. Measures of entropy and likelihood taken over populations can reveal their degree of equitability. Getting self-interested agents to vote for these paradigms of fairness is the challenge.

Author Bio

After encountering Jaynes dice problem in probability nearly 30 years ago, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to see what sort of solutions would garner most votes from the other solutions, narrowing the search down finally to four candidates, each representing an ideal of fairness in some sense. Hence the democracy of the dice people. I received a BMath from the University of Waterloo in 1970.

Download Essay PDF File

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 19, 2014 @ 04:56 GMT
Hi Colin,

A novel approach to the essay question. I do think political structures will come under increasing pressure as the resources of the planet decline and population continues to rise. You have raised the question of fairness, and how to choose a more equitable system. Its intriguing. I'm not sure all voting is self interested. I haven't any statistics but presume at least votes for 'Green parties' are votes given for the greater good, and probably a proportion of those given to other parties too. People can be altruistic.I'm afraid the only way to prevent collapse is to have sustainable 0% growth, which is not a very popular proposal for most; as people are used to regarding growth as something positive that leads to a better standard of living. Seems to me Nature is not biased or fair, still different parts of the Earth, and thus people, will not be facing the same issues and severity of problems.

Good luck, Georgina

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Author Colin Walker replied on Apr. 19, 2014 @ 19:51 GMT
Dear Georgina,

As you say, the course of limiting growth is not popular. We are like the monkey clutching a piece of fruit in a jar, unable to withdraw its paw to escape because it will not drop the fruit.

The other requirement to avoid collapse cited in ref.[1] in the essay was equitability. Even granting the majority of people are altruistic, it seems to me the rewards of leadership in the corporate world predominantly go to the pathologically predatory whose influence on politics only increases disparity.

Thanks for the comments. Where my essay is cautionary and a bit alarmist, I will enjoy reading your presumably more constructive and optimistic perspective.

Colin

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Apr. 20, 2014 @ 06:45 GMT
Dear Colin,

It's an interesting essay that provides me notion for a thought experimentation to determine the existence of Holarchical entropy of the Universe. I shall let you know when it's ready.

With best wishes

Jayakar

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 08:28 GMT
Dear Colin,

I have attached a file in a post in my page. I think this may be useful for your work on 'Probabilities'. I invite you for your suggestions to improve further on this.

With best wishes,

Jayakar

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Author Colin Walker replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 20:22 GMT
Dear Jayakar,

I am sorry for the delay in responding. I had not noticed your post.

Your essay quite technical and I lack the background to make a comment, other than to say that I found it interesting that your ideas find support in Eric Reiter's experimental work on the "unquantum" effect.

Best regards,

Colin

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 04:28 GMT
Thank you dear Colin,

It's true it supports Eric's experimentations, mutually; while Eric provides base for me to build up further experimentations for this scenario.

With best wishes

Jayakar

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 14:32 GMT
Colin, I'll read your essay as soon as I get a chance, but wanted to add a comment on the abstract, before I forget...

My own research has shown that the only way that voting can ever be truly useful is if we use the most accurate data available, which means that we have to ask people what they know about best, which is what they want for themselves and the people they care about. Asking people to make decisions about other people, or asking them about things they aren't experienced in, is foolish, and results in, as you point out, an unhealthy democracy, and a collapse of even well-meaning governments (which we're currently seeing all over the world). Logic dictates that the only way we can make good decisions is to have good data. And that is collected when we ask people to "vote" on what they want, the positive things they'd most love to have and to be able to do, in life. That's the only truly useful way to use public data for policy making, as far as I can tell.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 16:05 GMT
Dear Mr. Walker,

Your essay was extremely well argued and I do hope that it does well in the competition.

With best regards,

Joe Fisher

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Author Colin Walker replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 22:41 GMT
Thanks Joe.

I see everything once!

Colin

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 21:13 GMT
Dear Colin,

I read your essay with great interest. Eternal Russian question: "What to do?"... Deepen democracy, change the system of education. Gradually shift from democracy 2.0 to democracy 3.0 ... Philosophy and ethics should be the main basic disciplines. Need to nurture a creative person, and not only the "professionals" and "consumers." "Freedom is the recognition of necessity" (Hegel). Nature comes to the limit and already resists, gives signals to Humanity. For more joyful Future, we all need hope...

Best wishes,

Vladimir

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Author Colin Walker wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 23:43 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

"Freedom" was a nice music video. It sounded inspiring even though I did not understand the words.

"Liberta" for all.

Colin

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Vladimir Rogozhin replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 11:23 GMT
Colin,

Here are found on the web translation "Liberta"

The night falls on the shoulders of a man who goes away

Besides the darkness he'll take away with him a secret

Between houses and churches a woman is searching for who's not there anymore

And in the name of you, how many people won't ever come back.

Freedom, you made so many people cry

Without you, there's so much solitude

Till living will have a purpose

I will live in order to have you.

Freedom, when a choir will rise

It will sing in order to have you.

There's white paper on people's pain and skin

Everyday the cynicism towards poor people is growing

But a sun rises at night in the heart of the weaks.

And out of the silence a voice will be reborn

Searching for you

Freedom, you made so many people cry

Without you, there's so much solitude

Till living will have a purpose

I will live in order to have you.

Searching for you.

Freedom, without ever crying again

Without you, there's so much solitude

Till living will have a purpose

I will live in order to have you.

In order to have you.


"Liberta" for all... "Liberta" for the Future...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 00:50 GMT
Dear Colin,

You start off prioritizing the problems, showing, if nothing else, that some people worry about anything--even the "death of the universe". You then focus on current issues such as the mal-distribution of wealth.

Your entropy analysis of hot versus cold economy, and the entropic effect of capital concentration is very nicely done. You then use Maxwell's demon to analyze the problem. As you know, I use "free energy" to analyze the same problem. I think we arrive at similar conclusions. I very much like the attention paid to "tyranny of the majority". While you note the "influence" of wealth on political systems, I tend to view the entangled nature of government and crony capitalism as one thing.

You then get into the meat of your analysis based on Jaynes. [Note-my 2013 essay had a page of endnotes devoted to Jaynes.] Your example on page 3 is simply masterful, although it requires considerable study to make sense of it. A helluva lot of information in a 4 x 5 table! [Also like your 'players'-Bob, Carol, Ted, Alice--and Kenny (who hasn't been seen since the last election).]

Your summary, top paragraph on page 4, is excellent, despite that the numbers in your example are far from transparent (the consequence of having only nine pages to solve the future of humanity.)

Please note that the distribution says nothing about the freedom of the citizens, only how big a slice of the pie they get. Your treatment of "democratic tyranny" as fascism, and your observation of its inherent instability is very interesting. Your conclusion is also graphically stated--five lifetimes, and your comparison of how short this is by contrasting it with 1664.

Your epilogue (poor Kenny!) nicely captures Ted's machinations to slowly change the weighting over time. I'm sure you were not referring to, for example, GE, which owns the MSNBC/Obama network and pays no taxes.

It's very hard to extract the information from tables, so perhaps a Mathematica-type topology could make things more graphic.

I did not understand whether the ideas underlying this essay are your own, or adapted from your reference [1]. In any case it is a masterful essay, and deserves expansion beyond nine pages. I hope you do very well in the essay contest.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Colin Walker replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 02:47 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thanks for your kind comments. Jaynes' influence is there with the entropy, but the idea of a Maxwell demon likely comes from recently studying some discarded ideas of Walther Nernst relating to the third law of thermodynamics and cosmology.

It is reassuring that both our approaches converge on the same outcome.

Best regards,

Colin

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 16:06 GMT
Colin,

Nice essay, fascinating, and very 'different' (and despite Bob, Carol Ted and Alice appearing in both, quite different to mine). I must look up the Nernst ideas. I've published a cosmological model in which entropy is cyclic, so we all infinitely recycle, freshly re-ionised. Probably a good thing!

But I also feel you may be about right with the 350 years this time around the way society is going.

Well done for a novel approach to the subject, well presented.

Best of Luck

Peter

(PS, Re last year, I did find a handy use for quaternions, which seem to underly the different orientations of spinning spheres in mine).

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Author Colin Walker replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 19:28 GMT
Dear Peter,

I hope to post another comment about your essay after reading it in more detail. The controversy over Bell's theorem and entanglement is what drew my interest to quaternions a few years ago.

Thanks your your kind remarks.

Colin

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 17:34 GMT
Dear Colin,

You have introduced some fascinating ideas here. I had never noticed a formal resemblance between entropy and capitalism. Here is my feedback on the main points of your paper:

I think the concepts you introduce are probably too "high level" for the majority of the population to be understood, and this presents a substantial obstacle to general acceptance. I admit that even I did not quite follow some details of the example you gave. Also, real politics is probably too "amorphous" for a model that requires as clear cut assumptions as you give in your example. However, I think that your model might be very useful as a risk management tool, particularly when one needs to decide on an action that carries two different kinds of potential risks at opposite extremes. Have you considered this?

I wanted to see what a five-sided die looks like, and upon googling came upon a site which complained that an actually available such die turned out in a trial not to be fair, in spite of a claim to the contrary in its patent application. Ha!

Thank you for allowing me to learn about some fascinating ideas.

Armin

PS I can't resist mentioning one aspect of my research which touches on probability theory. Introducing the central distinction in my theory formally into set theory has as one of the consequences that one can then define different types of measures over sets. If the measures are restricted to values between 0 and 1 and the family of sets under consideration is thought of as an event space, this means that one can formally distinguish between different types of probability. The usefulness of this, as far as I can tell, is that it allows one to tease apart different interpretations of probability, as some types are incompatible with all but one (usually Bayesian) interpretation. The application to quantum mechanics is that this may be a first step to formally separate out different interpretations of QM, say Copenhagen and Bohmian mechanics, as different theories (not just different interpretations of the same theory), because the concept of probability has a different interpretation in each of them.

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Author Colin Walker replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 19:04 GMT
Dear Armin,

I agree that my assumptions do not correspond to politics (or economy) in the real world. Besides what can be called human interference, apparently we vote based on our biases, not direct self-interest (although perhaps those biases are associated with a perceived common, or group self-interest). The example is a swamp of numbers which can be a bit tedious to follow. A few details were not mentioned so please let me know if some part stands out as questionable.

Risk management is not an application I am familiar with. I did use the dice problem with its real-valued probabilities as a model to develop an iterative algorithm for high-resolution spectrum analysis. Here the unknowns are complex-valued Fourier coefficients and there is a constraint for each (possibly complex valued) data point in the time series. A probability spectrum comes from the squared modulus of the Fourier coefficient for each frequency and the algorithm maximizes spectral entropy (which has the form of log-likelihood in this case).

It is very interesting to hear that you might be able to categorize quantum theories. Given unprecedented attention to dimensionality, you may be originating a productive new field of study.

Best wishes,

Colin

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Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 18:08 GMT
Colin,

It's good to hear that we may have 350 years to get our act together. Thanks for pointing me to the NASA study. If I get a chance to read it in time, I will add my comments on the NASA study to your essay.

Is your dice 5-sided only to get to a clear winner? How does your model hold out for a coin that has 3 sides, but one side (the round one) has a clear disadvantage? MY reason for these questions: How good is the model when it comes to relating the concept of entropy to human actions (which are always biased in some unclear way)?

Thanks,

- Ajay

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Author Colin Walker replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 21:38 GMT
Dear Ajay,

The NASA-sponsored study appeared as a news item just as I was thinking about this essay contest. 350 years until collapse seems like a short time to me and is specific, which increases the feeling of urgency. My original topic was going to be ideals of fairness, but the idea of needing equitability to avoid our upcoming demise is more compelling.

The usual six-sided die leads to deadlock in most of the cases. Entropy is just another statistic, like average or median. I would not like to speculate on how it relates to human activity. Other statistics, like the number of people without safe water or sufficient food as you mention in your essay have more meaning.

Best regards,

Colin

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Christian Corda wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 08:56 GMT
Dear Colin,

As I promised in my Essay page I have read your beautiful and peculiar Essay. Here are my comments/questions:

1) It is an almost general conviction that the universe will ultimately expand into a cold death. In fact, observations shows that the value of the density parameter is extremely near 1 and this, in turn, implies a flat universe with cooling to approach absolute zero temperature. You tell you do not agree with this view. What is your alternative?

2) Sadly, I agree that that economic disparity has already become problematic for society.

3) I like your introduction of "economic entropy" as both a measure of fairness and of economic potential and of "hottest and coldest economies". It is indeed a enlighten parallelism.

4) It is again enlighten that the solution with maximum likelihood expresses a socialist ideal while entropy is a measure of unfairness in communism. On the other hand, I prefer to use "social democratic ideal" rather than "socialist ideal"

5) I would like to be optimist. You put a possible time scale for societal collapse in perspective of 350 years. But I stress that in last 350 years we had both the Newtonian and Einsteinian revolutions! Maybe that within a lapse of 350 years we could be further scientific revolutions which will save our society.

In any case, your Essay enjoyed me a lot. Thus, I am going to give you an high score.

Best luck in the contest.

Cheers, Ch.

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Author Colin Walker replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 23:44 GMT
Dear Christian,

Thank you for your gracious comments. Let me address your points.

1) I propose a stationary universe. Tired light would appear as pure dark energy in the context of a flat big bang cosmology. Supernova data support a tired light model, but the connection requires complementarity between photon energy loss and time dilation seen in supernova light curves. Equivalently, it is as if the recessional velocity were fictitious. This should be ready for the next essay contest.

2) And the old song "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer".

3) It is a fairly unusual idea of hot and cold, but seemed appropriate in context.

4) The trade-off between likelihood and entropy was the part that most interested me. The left side of the political spectrum could be called "Inclusion", and the right side could be called "Exclusion" of the person in the least advantageous position (Kenny) effectively posing a kind of moral choice. In my model, entropy is all business but likelihood has heart.

5) I share some of your optimism. Technology is providing more data to science than ever before. I am not so optimistic about the organizational and social aspects of science that are susceptible to the foibles of human nature. The mention of 350 years was meant to give a sense of urgency but it also gives a sense perspective. Given the accelerating pace of technology, we surely have less chance of imagining 350 years into the future than our ancestors.

Good luck to you, and thanks for the boost!

Colin

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Ryoji Furui wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 03:56 GMT
Hi Corin,

Interestimg essay, voting system is the way to be democratic and as its definition, the power and its responsibility are fundamentally owned by voters and not chosen person(s).

by the way, what do you think about bicep2 result? i had a discussion at Lawrence Crowell's essay site. i would like to hear how it can be formulate with GR.

Ryoji

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Author Colin Walker replied on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 18:02 GMT
Dear Ryoji,

Thank your for your comment. I have not been following bicep2 discussion. It appears that a complete analysis will not be published until later this year. In my opinion, singularities such as the black hole horizon in general relativity are a sign that something is wrong with the theory. I prefer your approach just using special relativity, at least for basic understanding.

Best wishes,

Colin

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