Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Let's pick our ballot at random next time!

In this interesting article, it is shown that a parliament would govern a society more efficient if some of the legislators were elected "randomly". These randomly selected legislators are not politicians but just civilians (that most probably satisfy a set of criteria). The paper provides a golden rule for the number of independent legislators taking into account the size of the parliament as well as the elected percentage of each party in the parliament.

It is surprising that adding randomness in a social system boosts its efficiency. In the same direction it will be interesting to see if adding randomness in an online social system/network helps it achieve its goal. E.g., for twitter, if we randomly follow some people does this increase the entropy of the information we obtain from the "tweets" ? Online social networks suffer from a large number of issues (e.g., spam, multiple accounts, etc.) that add challenges to similar studies and/or approaches to boost the efficiency of the underlying system.

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