Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"I Helped Design The Election Simulation 'Parlor Game' Rebekah Mercer Got, And It's Not What You Think"

How was your Monday? Mine was odd. Have you ever seen a news story where you know the reports are getting things wrong? This is like that, but on steroids. In fact, this was a story in which not only were the basic points wrong, but the wrongness started to go viral.


First off, no, this was not a game for rich evil billionaires to relive the election and the joys of playing with the populace. This was actually in response to the 2016 election, and how the role the internet played in that election took a lot of people -- especially in Silicon Valley -- by surprise. The founders of Scout.ai, Brett Horvath and Berit Anderson, thought it might be useful to do some scenario planning to game out how tech might impact future elections, as a way to think through the potential challenges and pitfalls that might eat away at democracy. The founders of Scout recently spun out Guardians.ai to deal with the problem directly and protect pro-democracy groups around the globe from information warfare and cyber attacks. The idea behind the Machine Learning President was to use the game to get people to think about these issues, and to prepare for potential abuses of the system, while also thinking through ways that technology could be used for good -- to protect democracy.