Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Monday, 22 October 2007
The electorate are only as good as their information, so safeguarding truth is essential to democracy:
- Free and competitive press
- Strong laws against fraud, lying and misrepresentation
- Transparency in government
- Government sponsored research free from political bias
- Critical thinking and freedom of speech
- Competition among search engines to avoid political bias
- Complexity/simplicity of the subject? Most votes can be boiled down to simple issues!
- The time and media coverage available to address the issue? Each vote is an interactive media story.
- The public's capacity to give due consideration to the pros and cons? Opinion leaders with media access are important to the debate.
- Cost of administering the referendum? Interactive Democracy benefits from low cost IT services.
- National security considerations?... Decisions may be based on secrets!... Or they may be based on morals?
- Frequent votes may lead to overload and voter apathy! But people can vote on many issues at one sitting and may not vote at all on issues they have no feelings about.
It seems to me that when politicians decide if there should be a referendum, there's a little voice in the back of their heads saying "Only do it if you are sure we will win!"
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Friday, 19 October 2007
Thursday, 18 October 2007
By EQ I mean the Experience Quotient (nothing to do with emotional intelligence, though similar arguments may be made about EI). Lets imagine that the sum of your life experiences is the sum of every different experience that you have ever had or learnt about. This encompasses a good proportion of your learned IQ. Compare this EQ to IQ, which is useful in understanding and analysing data on relatively simple decisions that may not take into account complex values, feelings and motivations.
Imagine a group of politicians - how diverse are their experiences? Now imagine a much bigger group - the whole population involved in a referendum. This group probably includes every politician and has a cumulative amount of experience which can be expressed through the vote.
Many voters may not easily be able to articulate their views but it may be argued that their sub-conscious has already factored in all their experience to lead them to an opinion, which may be altered by the light of good arguments, stories and debate.
Interactive Democracy capitalises on the maximum amount of every form of intelligence, from every source.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
- "I value mountaineering - you think it's stupidly dangerous"
- "I eat too much - you think I'm a drain on the national health service"
- "I value freedom - you value security"
Edward de Bono defined six styles of thinking:
- White Hat Thinking is about facts and gathering information
- Red Hat Thinking is about emotion and intuition
- Black Hat Thinking is critical thinking and is sometimes seen as negative
- Yellow Hat Thinking looks for the positive
- Green Hat Thinking is creative
- Blue Hat Thinking is about controlling the process
"6 Sigma" is the title of a quality management system and refers to being almost defect free (3.4 defects per million). Its procedure for the management of improvement is DMAIC:
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
- The manifesto of the winning party is always implemented... No it isn't - so how do we choose which party to vote for?
- MPs reflect the opinions of the majority in their constituency... How do they know?
- MPs always act on their convictions... So what are the party whips for?
- MPs always tell the truth... And there's no such thing as spin?
- Your vote can sway the result... Your vote is one in many hundreds of thousands and carries little influence.
- Anyone can become a Member of Parliament... There are only 640 odd seats in the commons, so the odds are pretty slim.
- All aspects of an argument are presented in debate... Points of view are as diverse as peoples experiences and can never be fully communicated in debate.
- All pertinent information is presented and analysed by Parliament... Information is virtually infinite and decisions can never be fully informed.
- Parliament makes logical and rational decisions... There is no set of standards for decision making as would be the case in, say, testing an aircraft wing structure to ensure safety.
- Politicians are experts in decision making... And are well qualified in statistical analysis?
- Politicians are mostly altruistic... Freud may disagree - he identified many sub-conscious motivators.
- Consequences of decisions can be predicted and fully considered by dedicated professional politicians... Consequences can never be fully predicted because of chaos and complexity theory.
- Politicians represent the will of the people... How do they know what the majority want?
- A small group of intelligent politicians make better decisions than a large group of average people... Large groups of dissimilar people have more experience to draw on than a small group with similar experiences.
- Multi-faceted decisions, such as those in a General Election can be calculated rationally... Multi-faceted decisions are much harder to decide than single issues.
(Politicians have special skills that are needed in Interactive Democracy and, despite the above comments, I feel it is everyone's duty to vote.)
Political parties can win elections by dominating the centre ground, where most voters are. Please see this link for an explanation of this argument (same as the previous post). The problem may be how to discover what the majority of voters want?
Interactive Democracy "asks" voters what they want through the ePetition system, refines it through parliament into workable laws and then asks the electorate to approve it by referendum. This is a process of discovering what the majority want.
There are several core concepts to Interactive Democracy:
- Democracy can be improved with technology which can be highly secure.
- Any modern democracy requires voter identity and secure databases.
- Good decisions can be made by the electorate, not just the elite, because voters possess a vast depth and breadth of knowledge and experience.
- Parliament should be responsible for the quality of data on which decisions are made using statistical analysis where appropriate.
- Issues attract the electorate with vested interests in the outcome (eg teachers and parents on education issues).
- A free press is crucial to democracy; "media interest" provides the impetus to make ID successful.
- Facilitating everyone's contribution to new policy suggestions through the IdeasEngine (ePetition) system, outside the constraints of the party politics, will be good for society.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
- ePetitions are approved by the web master before posting, to ensure no duplication of ideas (as happens today with the No.10 system).
- A search facility allows access to all relevant "petitions" on any one subject.
- "Petitions" may be ranked by most popular or most recent or by relevance to a region (eg Wales or a local authority).
- Amendments may be added by the original author (qualified by a separate count of "seconds").
- The original author may be contactable by email.
- Comments and questions may be posted on the site (moderated for abusiveness by the web master).
- 'Other "petitions" you may be interested in' (automatically listed by the search facility) will be presented alongside the one you are reading, giving alternative views.
- Reporting on the "petitions" in the media may clarify the issues and lead to amendments.
- The "top 10" and "10 most recent" will be listed on the ePetitions home page.
- The party political system will engage with the ePetitions system (Ideas Engine), debating and posting new ideas.
- The party political system will encourage voting on ideas by party members.
- 'Send to a friend' buttons would encourage distribution of ideas (ePetitions) by electronic word of mouth on the Internet.