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Equality Analytics: Stories of Driverless Governance

The Brief

Synopsis. In an age of scarcity, the American Dream no longer chases boundless materialism, but instead the promise of absolute equality. To accommodate this shift, the Nevada Bureau of Predictive Management creates Glenda: an algorithm that harnesses predictive analytics to distribute resources in relation to people's likely energy use. Constituents opt into this emergent form of driverless governance, delighting in state-of-the-art entertainment interfaces that dispense their basic needs. While the algorithm optimizes energy equality, citizens begin to envision the unmeasurable complexities of human life.

Narrative

Let’s speculate a driverless government…

“This year, for the first time, the World Happiness Report gives a special role to the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions.”

Bias, social class, money, location and etc are effecting the way that we have access to resources and flourish in our lives. But is there a better way to remove these constrains? A group of three Transdisciplinary students at Parsons, the New School for Design came together to explore a speculative world without having human as government but getting help from data and algorithms to manage our society with the goal of reaching equality in source distributions.

Equality Analytics: Stories of Driverless Governance explores how predictive algorithms, in pursuit of a measurable “absolute equality,” might manage resources in an age of scarcity. It is a hyperbolic depiction of new technologies and an exploration of their limits and possibilities–for good and for bad–and the social interactions that might emerge from their use.
Design fictions are stories or artifacts from alternative worlds that blend elements of our present reality with a range of future possibilities in order to better understand the present and to discuss the kind of future people want. By exploring the use of tracking technology and predictive analytics through a new mode of governance, this film acts as a catalyst for policy-makers, developers, designers and global citizens to reflect on what community, equality and happiness really mean in a complex, measured world.
ABOVE: Constructing the ideology, worldview and inner workings of our design fiction
ABOVE: Early illustration from what our world might look like
ABOVE: Shooting screen tests and rough cuts for the film
“This creates a space in which people’s physical needs are being provided for by the system, but their emotional, personal and social needs have to be provided by each other.”
– Karl Schroeder, Futurist and Science Fiction Author
Further Reading
The World Happiness Report, its dashboard and how inequality is being considered in its calculations: http://worldhappiness.report/
The potential of using machine learning in distributing aid for development or humanitarian work:http://www.datakind.org/projects/using-the-simple-to-be-radical/
Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income? http://freakonomics.com/podcast/mincome/
The Mincome project piloted in Dauphin, Manitoba from 1974 – 1979:
Credits
Sound: ‘Skylark’ by Bunny Berigan and his Orchestra Philharmonic Recorded in 1941]
Sound effects courtesy of freesound. For the full list see: https://goo.gl/kLjTqs

© 2016

Target Population

Policy makers, People and communities