Randy Lubin writes, "Earlier this year I teamed up with Scout.ai to design Machine Learning President, a simulation game to help pro-democracy folks think about the impact of technology on politics. Somehow a copy got in the hands of the Mercer family (previously) and, earlier today, the New Yorker covered it. We have no clue how they got the rules but we talked to Gizmodo to set the record straight."
Update: Techdirt's Mike Masnick helped design the game and a detailed history, along with an offer to play it if you're looking for a diverting time.
In order to determine the outcome of the game, Lubin based scoring on real-world voter models—and although the Mercer family apparently ended with a copy of the rules to the Machine Learning President, they likely don't have all of the detail they would need to properly play the game. Lubin didn't learn that the game had fallen into Mercer's hands until a friend sent him the New Yorker story this morning, joking that he should launch a Kickstarter to create it. As he read the article, he recognized sentences from his own game design.
"The fact that they went to the trouble of getting the rules and running the game—it's a bizarre and ironic form of validation, I suppose," Horvath said. "I am fascinated to know what they learned and how that affected their plans in upcoming elections."
And although he's shocked that the game made its way into the hands of the Mercer family so quickly, he hopes to let more pro-democracy groups play it in the future.