Have we as a society encountered a stagnation phase? In my recent reads, it appears that even the most seasoned reporters/analysts seem to agree the uncertainty over the future of some of the world’s more complex societies. Even more worrying, on average the level of democracy around the world has been in constant decline since 2012.

The future of developing democracies becomes even more bleak when you additionally consider that recently the Chinese parliament has approved indefinite reelection for their president, Xi Jinping, and to everyone’s bewilderments, polls show that Italy favored parties in the election are all far-right. This seemingly empowering political parties in Italy are also lead by counter establishment individual with one of them being Silvio Berlusconi, one of Italy’s most infamous and corrupt politicians for decades. The outcome of this election would see Italy join the likes of Hungary and Poland and revitalize the far right speech in Europe. With this and many other developing news stories one can assume that this counterproductive trend will continue by the end of 2018.

The instances mentioned above are only two noticeable examples taken in the last two weeks, but I assume that any person that sporadically reads the news would be able to connect other similar situations around the world where it seems the wrong choice is been taken.

These cases shed the light on an increasing societal problem: the perception that some societies are regressing in time. With so many similar historically and contemporary occurrences having the same negative outcomes why are societies still stumbling upon them? As the old saying goes “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. What can be objectively seen like progress is then later curtailed by senseless choices which slowly regress humanity into old practices and more conservative mindsets. I could be exaggerating as well, but most of these observations also imply that humanity progresses in a cyclical motion with highs and lows, as opposed to a more desired and simple linear trajectory.

What could then be a possible solution to avoid the retaliation from these societal cycles in the future? One solution could be as simple as taking wiser, better calculated choices within a whole society while also eliminating evils such as corruption. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. The other more technical approach to this problem could be through the implementation of technology.

The influence of technology is hardly a new theme, and numerous numerically based fields such as finance have been significantly improved by using decision-supporting systems and AI to calculate and evaluate choices. The issue at hand would be to examine how decision-making systems could potentially improve a society and to apply this insight to non-numerical decisions in the domains of politics, humanities, psychology and even relationships.

Compared to societal lows and highs, computational approaches would probably point towards rational decisions – facilitating and alleviating the burden of human decision-making and ensuring a linear societal progress. You may be thinking at this point “this sounds like another ‘Black Mirror episode’.” It may indeed seem grim and like an unnecessary change, but such implementations could help prevent unnecessary curvatures and dents in our continually developing societies.

Pietro Vigilanza from Venezuela lives in Rotterdam since two years and studies IBCoM