Quartz editor Gideon Lichfield has published a science fictional vignette depicting the final backstage moments before the 2025 inauguration of President Mark Zuckerberg's second term.
Which is how we get to today. Of course, there are safeguards. We've built it so there's basically no risk of a misvote. As the election approaches, you'll start getting reminders—sporadic at first, then gradually more insistent, until you can't even use one of our services without seeing them. The reminders will say: Based on the data Facebook has about you and your friends, we predict that you will vote for so-and-so. Is that right? And if you're already a decided voter, you say yes or no. (We reckon less than 0.1% will say no, because our prediction models are that good.)
Then you can forget about it; your civic duty is done. On election day itself, Facebook will cast your vote for you. If you change your mind before then, you can always change your choice.
If, on the other hand, you're undecided, you say so. Then we'll keep nagging, right up until the polls close on election day. And then, if you still haven't told us how you want to vote, we'll cast a vote for you all the same.
You say that's creepy? Look: In most elections, the undecideds will be less than 5% by election day. And of those, only a small fraction will get to the end of the day without telling us their decision. And even of those, we will still be able to predict, 999 times out 1,000, where they would have ended up. So while there may theoretically be people who never get around to telling us their choice and for whom we cast the wrong vote, they will be vanishingly few. By contrast, the number of new voters will be huge.
Democracy 3.0: A science-fiction story about what comes next in America