a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|The January 2021 issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics includes the article Aligning Political Options and Aggregated Personal Opinions on the Issues by Kris Green which introduces an alternative way to achieve representative democracy. Rather than each individual voter selecting candidates, in this method an algorithm automatically registers votes for the candidate most closely aligned with each voter's preferences and priorities. To illustrate this idea -- both what it would feel like to the voters and a nightmare scenario as to how it could go horribly wrong -- Green himself wrote this science fiction story that was published in the same issue.
The general public may not think of mathematics when they think of democracy and elections, but the study of voting methods is actually an active area of research in mathematics. This story mentions Arrow's Theorem, arguably the most famous mathematical result in this area. And, many mathematicians are now working on the tricky problem of how to handle the problem of Gerrymandering. Green's article is therefore a contribution to this particular area of math research.
The story is not going to win accolades from the Nobel or Pulitzer prize committees for its literary merit, but Green's ideas are themselves rather unorthodox and so it appropriate that they are presented in this unorthodox manner with a research article and accompanying work of fiction.
Thanks to Allan Goldberg for suggesting that I include it in this database.
|More information about this work can be found at scholarship.claremont.edu.|
|(Note: This is just one work of
mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more
works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)|
Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books
let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)