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How can we use technology to create open democracy?

A large portion of our population is ignorant about the important issues of our government. And, the sources by which we gain information about the government are increasingly biased and unreliable. Social media technology is able to connect large numbers of people, communicate large amounts of information quickly, and eliminate hierarchical structures. The question is, how can we connect these resources to solve the problem of closed and apathetic democracy?

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Government is the original platform for social innovation. Large resources, lots of manpower, avenues for direct feedback. If we can optimize this already existing infrastructure, it can become an even more powerful tool to beget change. The most important part of this process is the connection between the users and the tool--in this case the people and their government. Although I can only speak for the general climate in America, I imagine that other democracies around the world are facing similar problems. Apathy, corruption and distortion are not uniquely American problems, they are human ones.


Technology, especially social media, is the only way to create connection between the masses and the critical happenings in the government. Wonderful work has already been done in this area by the Sunlight Foundation ( http://www.sunlightfoundation.com ). For example: Poligraft ( http://www.poligraft.com ) will take online news articles and annotate them with campaign contributions data for the people within and the author of the article. But it is only a small part of what needs to happen. As an NGO, they can only create projects that critique information from mainstream sources. Governments should be more transparent in online mediums and news sources should facilitate fact checking. Brazil has tried this with wiki-legislation, where citizens contribute comments and text to new laws ( http://ow.ly/3seDm ). Initiatives like these from other areas are needed to reach the ultimate goal of truly open democracy.

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DeletedUser

I agree that this has got to be one of the most important questions of our time. While a great number of challenges face America and the world we live in, we risk following the same paths if we do not find a way to be more inclusive, in order to find new solutions.

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