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Three Interesting Developments in Democracy

August 11, 2014

Here’s three article/development I’ve been meaning to highlight…

The first is the Mayday Political Action Committee, and organisation founded by Lawrence Lessig of Creative Commons and Remix Culture fame. It’s a bold idea with a strong hint of Aikido about it – use the force of our opponent against them. In this case the opponent is money in democratic politics and the aim is to raise money to counter it. The first 2 stages of the Mayday PAC plan (2 rounds of money raising) have been completed and now it’s onto the stage of making change.

The astounding achievement of raising almost $8 million from people in a Kickstarter style campaign is the first major coup of this project. Watch this space!

The second is the idea of opening up every single vote to the voters. This idea goes to the heart of democratic politics; how direct do you want it?

The latest startup attempting to ride technoutopian naiveté all the way to the nation’s capital has a plan to restore democracy to America by “replacing your Congressman with software.” Those aren’t my words; that’s the tagline of PlaceAVote, a California company that wants to replace the nation’s elected representatives with a software system that votes on every bill according to the public majority online.

The company is running two candidates for Congress as the human face of the digitized democracy tool in California districts 16 and 22—a couple of random computer engineers named Job Melton and John Catano. If the candidates get voted in, any registered US citizen can vote on any piece of legislation through the PlaceAVote website, and the representative will vote according to that tally.

The third is the idea of using games to help understand democracy:

In an attempt to promote either democracy, creativity, personal expression, or some slightly convoluted combination of all three, Sweden has been operating a program called Democreativity that’s meant to curate ideas for “the most unlikely game ever.”

How this is not a new idea. A small sample research project showed that gamers already think about things like democracy while playing games. There are also plenty of games on the subject, however I like the idea of linking it to creativity and also crowdsourcing ideas for the game.

Screenshot from Democracy 3.

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