[Link] Digital Democracy Is Within Reach

by Alexei1 min read11th Nov 20205 comments

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PoliticsWorld Modeling
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EPISODE SUMMARY

Imagine a world where every country has a digital minister and technologically-enabled legislative bodies. Votes are completely transparent and audio and video of all conversations between lawmakers and lobbyists are available to the public immediately. Conspiracy theories are acted upon within two hours and replaced by humorous videos that clarify the truth. Imagine that expressing outrage about your local political environment turned into a participatory process where you were invited to solve that problem and even entered into a face to face group workshop. Does that sound impossible? It’s ambitious and optimistic, but that's everything that our guest this episode, Audrey Tang, digital minister of Taiwan, has been working on in her own country for many years. Audrey’s path into public service began in 2014 with her participation in the Sunflower Movement, a student-led protest in Taiwan’s parliamentary building, and she’s been building on that experience ever since, leading her country into a future of truly participatory digital democracy. 

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What if EA went in this direction, for the transparent deliberation over grants etc?

Listening to the audio, this is far more heartening then I would have expected. I'm excited for the possibility of other nations going in a similar direction.

I think the cynical take is important to take into account to the degree that it also captures important features of the incentive landscape you're designing for. In the ideal case, the establishment lets you in because you give them some nice properties in the short term (better data on pandering for term politicians) while not diluting the influence you have in the longer term (eventually a change in the type of voting system that otherwise wouldn't have happened, say).

Votes are completely transparent and audio and video of all conversations between lawmakers and lobbyists are available to the public immediately.

I suspect that lawmakers, lobbyists, and generally people who want to be professionally involved in politics would start learning a "secret language". Not a literal language, because that would be easily decoded, but rather a complicated system of deniable expressions and gestures... to communicate so subtly that if you are not trained in the art, you cannot interpret it correctly, and you cannot distinguish other person's expert interpretation from a conspiracy theory.

Or perhaps just find other communication channels. Use (chains of) intermediaries instead of communicating directly. Watch each other's videos and look for hidden signs. Have sex with each other (or with mutual partners), if sex is an exception to the surveillance.

Or maybe the actual power would move (even more than now) from people under the spotlight towards people in the shadows. Unelected bureaucrats, secret services, crime bosses.

Conspiracy theories are acted upon within two hours and replaced by humorous videos that clarify the truth.

I like this, assuming that my tribe decides what is a conspiracy theory and what is a well-known fact.

Hi, I believe that this is the future of democracies, and a good implementation of Blockchain could support that. We should also keep in mind the case of Estonia, which could be defined as a success story