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  • John

    12/29/2022 at 12:40 pm

    Here’s the Twitter thread I created as part of digesting this video: shorturl.at/asuET

    Today, I’m beginning my own introduction to “quadratic voting” after coming across an interview with Dr. Michael Freedman (Fields medalist and mastermind behind #microsoft’s topological quantum computing strategy) on the subject.

    From Wikipedia: “Quadratic voting is a collective decision-making procedure which involves individuals allocating votes to express the degree of their preferences, rather than just the direction of their preferences.”

    Further: “Quadratic voting works by allowing users to “pay” for additional votes on a given matter to express their support for given issues more strongly, resulting in voting outcomes that are aligned with the highest willingness to pay outcome, rather than just the outcome preferred by the majority regardless of the intensity of individual preferences.”

    You can read the Wikipedia article for a general understanding of quadratic voting and some criticisms leveled against it. Two things however, jumped out at me from this interview with Freedman. First a quote brought to the table by the interviewer Luis Rayo Bravo:

    “What the inventive genius of mankind has bestowed upon us in the last hundred years could have made us carefree and happy if the…organizing power of man had kept up with his technical advances…This is as dangerous as a razor blade in the hands of 3-year-old.


    And secondly Friedman says in the interview: “and when I looked in the ecology literature, I found out that for the last 20 years, economists had been screaming up and down about how ubiquitous rock paper scissors seems to be the explanation for why there is so much biological diversity. You know, 1 million species and a shovel full of dirt. If everything was based on a linear potential function: who is stronger than who, if you thought of fitness as climbing a potential, then you’d only have a handful of winners, you wouldn’t have millions of them. I think it’s the cyclitcity of the order that leads to a dynamic stability.”

    The “cyclicity” that Freedman is referring to is the dynamics involved in the game of rock paper scissors as opposed to linear yes/no voting. And he’s exploring the idea that this type of voting creates a greater #diversity of winners and a dynamic stability. Perhaps this dynamic stability is the very thing we are searching for to correct the growing imbalance present in our shared politics.