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Grid Computation and Modern Democracy

As previously said, due to the many computers connected on Internet, it is now possible to distribute computations to all distant processors available through the web. This corresponds to the grid computation, mentioned above, which allows freely sharing of heterogeneous and delocalized resources.

With the Internet, traditional institutions, and especially democratic institutions that contribute to government, for instance assemblies, voting, etc. tend to be highly transformed. The notion of political representation, which has been rendered necessary because of the difficulties to communicate, tends, more and more often, to be substituted by stakeholders, which can be non-governmental organizations, private societies, associations, etc. As a consequence, the general architecture that corresponds to the new social landscape is no longer hierarchical, neither circular nor “starred”, but meshed, because connections are more or less randomly created between institutions, as required, no longer with geographical, moral or legal constraints.

Besides this meshed topology, institutions perform tasks on demand, according to their own agenda and to their availability. This results in a totally distributed and delocalized scenery, corresponding to the grid computation model. Put otherwise, the general model on which democracy is based is no longer a centralized democracy as in Ancient Greece, with institutions like the agora. Neither is it a representative democracy based on the legal institutions of the Modern Age with assemblies, voting, constitutions etc. It corresponds to a new form of democracy that we shall call “Grid Democracy,” because its structure reflects grid computation architecture, i.e. a meshed topology and a distributed and delocalized decision processes.

G-rid Democracy

To conclude, let us recall that computer scientists know that changing machine architecture requires changing the algorithms. The introduction of parallel computation forces us to rethink the processes that solve tasks, according to the type of parallelism used (SISD, MISD, …). Sometimes, this may lead to very efficient solutions, but not always; in any case, whatever happens, we need to totally rewrite the programs according to the type of parallelism that is implemented.

It seems to be the same with “grid democracy”: the procedures that democratic institutions implement, like voting, decisions, public consultation, etc. need to be re-thought and rewritten. In a way, this appears to be very positive, because the old hierarchies and traditional authoritarian relations seem to disappear, which means that with “grid democracy” the democracy gets rid of ancient and cumbersome constraints. But, in this way, democracy also gets rid of many traditional democratic institutions and the fear is that this might leads to democracy itself being got rid of.

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