It Could Be You.
We live in a digitally determined world. Whereas once we sought out material in news, entertainment and fiction, we wanted to consume it. Now, we rely on internet algorithms and social media platforms to ‘feed’ us with content they think we want.
Consequently, we are now passive players in an active game. Our agency has been eroded; digital determinism has tacitly supplanted free will.
This leaves society open to profound manipulation. Indeed, today our habits, tastes, opinions and knowledge are constantly—and cynically—guided in directions we are not aware of, by forces we cannot see. Organisations spend millions a year on bespoke datasets, targeted ads, and predictive algorithms, so that they can anticipate and engineer the minds of others.
Yet, although this might seem palatable in a retail or professional context, it is most disconcerting when the ramifications of digital determinism are bought into political view. With Cambridge Analytica being only the latest example of the ways in which data manipulation is affecting society’s ability to vote freely, a new strategy is urgently required.
Instead of a democratically elected government, what of a lottocratically elected government? Instead of those in power reflecting the misguided, and manipulated “will” of the people, why not reflect a freedom generated by chance?
The project thus anticipates the emergence of a Lottocratic assembly whose sole aim is to revivify society with the free will it lost to the echo chambers of the internet.
Leaders, terms, and roles of the assembly selected via lottery. As part of its strategy to produce a system of governance which more adequately represents the nation, parliament becomes itinerant, utilising the existing rail infrastructure to set up The Lottocratic Network—a web of potential sites of intervention at all 2,563 UK railway stations. Randomly occupied and for random amounts of time, these gateway areas provide exposure for and therefore trust in Lottocracy. For society to want it, they have to believe in it.
The relevance of the interventions the Lottocatic Network makes are twofold. On the one hand, they facilitate the operation of the new government; on the other, they each respond to the current and future needs of the surrounding area. This legacy strategy ensures that any development is not transitory and wasteful, but long-term and worthwhile.
Despite being selected randomly; the first site of the Assembly is not. Instead, Euston station is chosen as Site 0000. Defined by its technological inhabitants and expertise, Euston proffers an opportunity for Lottocracy to begin reintroducing free will into society at the very heart of its decay. Only then will we break free from the shackles of digital determinism; only then will we realise that those in power are not required to be those we see in the media—instead:
It could be you.