• ...if everything goes right, you want to set your recording? I’m recording mine at my end.

  • OK, right. I’m recording voice. As usual, I’m...

  • You’re recording always.

  • ...your side. In any case, why don’t we start because we’re recording anyway? You both can join.

  • I’ll send a note. I’m going to send a chat. I’ll start recording.

  • Chat’ll be there for people, too. [laughs] Audrey is a stickler for transparency. Everything should be available, posted online for anybody.

  • Right, Bruce may be calling from St. Petersburg, Russia. If he does, I’ll just leave this and take the call elsewhere.

  • Talking about fake news in St. Petersburg. How’s that for a trip?

  • [laughs] They could probably use some of this stuff in St. Petersburg.

  • The CDCs, I was just reading your reply email. It is true that the constitutional draft bill is more a hybrid. It says basically around half of the button-up constitutional thing is statistically, randomly, very representatively driven, but the other parts are from the legislators, and one from all the indigenous drives.

  • There are three constitutional components. All around, it’s 146 people, where the indigenous people are six, the legislators are 35, and everything else is randomly sampled. It is a hybrid.

  • But it’s very close, and it does have a kind of a stakeholder-y...Are the legislators going to be ultimately deciding this? This is to inform legislation?

  • No. [laughs] This is to bind the legislation. Because Taiwan has an extremely high threshold for constitutional change, it first has to pass three-quarter in the Parliament for any amendment to go through. Then it has to pass a general referendum-ish vote.

  • The idea is that, by involving everyone from the legislative, as well as from the citizen assembly, there’s much more chance for the result, whatever the result is, to pass through the very high threshold that was there to begin with.

  • It’s not binding, and it’s not merely informative. It’s working towards the high chance of both the public and the Parliament passing it.

  • That’s correct. Because it can’t override constitution the itself for high the threshold from the Parliament is needed to change it...

  • [laughs] Yeah. I suppose the designer of this bootstrapping constitutional reform law imagined that one of the not quite binding -- but hopefully binding in the end -- resolution will be to lower the threshold for constitutional change. That’s just how it’s designed.

  • This is similar, in a sense, to the Iceland/Ireland constitutional thing, which you’d have legislators and citizens involved in it. This is like doing your exercises prior to doing the high jump.

  • (laughter)

  • Yes, exactly. It exclusively cites the British Columbia, Ireland, South Africa, and Iceland as its inspirations, so to speak.

  • Interesting. The British Columbia one didn’t have any legislators in it. It was pure citizens.

  • Right. Just to make it clear, it’s like this.

  • In a funny way, this is similar in the...What’s not there is the back and forth between the Parliament. I’m just thinking about the way vTaiwan operates in the regulatory realm. A lot of work goes on, which includes both the stakeholders and the regulators in creating stuff.

  • Then the regulation is drafted and sent back through the process to be worked over. It’d be nice if this constitution stuff went back and forth a few times.

  • This is Article 9. Google Translator does a pretty good idea of translating it, anyway, but the high level summary. The Article 14 says that, from the beginning of this process, within two months, there needs to be a blueprint meeting.

  • The blueprint meeting is to set the scope, the agenda, the process of it. Then the blueprint needs to have this F2F component, as well as an online component. The blueprint meeting is very everyone. There’s several rounds.

  • Then 15 people from this larger assembly, about one-tenth of it, is selected as the drafting team, in which the citizen must not be less than two-thirds. At least 10 people are directly from here. It doesn’t say about indigenous nations. That’s the idea.

  • It translates the route for broad consensus from the blueprint meetings, and then starts one regional meeting, at least, per county or city. That’s about 20 to 30 regional meetings. Finally, there’s a general assembly-ish meeting that takes the round-trip meetings here, the regional ones, back to the assembly here for the final binding consensus.

  • That’s the general blueprint.

  • There’s a lot of stuff from the British Columbia thing in there I recognized. This gives some interesting precedent for something if you have a really major issue, and constitutional things are always really major, but they’re not the only really major things, for overall guidance from the citizenry to the legislature, and having the legislators involved.

  • Provides a model for engaging with legislative structure that is complementary and engages the people. That’s this big realization that’s sort of obvious, but I didn’t have it as a realization before. The legislature is rooted in the people, whereas the bureaucracy is rooted in the stakeholders. It’s almost specific.

  • Yeah, definitely. I see Colin has joined us. Hi, Colin.

  • Hi, glad to meet you. There’s a bunch of things I’d love to talk about, about Pol.is, in the midst of all this.

  • Wonderful. It’s nice to meet you, too. I’m up here in Seattle, so not too far away.

  • Globally speaking, not too far away. [laughs]

  • Globally speaking, never far away.

  • Before getting into some of the major things, I had some leftover bits and pieces I was curious about from our earlier things. First of all, I’m curious. You say that English is your fifth or sixth language. I go, "What are the languages that you know, and how well do you know them?" just at a personal level.

  • Fifth language. I was raised by a lot of people, but primarily by my grandma who speaks Taiwanese Huklo. My grandpa was from Szechwan, and so he speaks, I guess, Mandarin, but with a lot of Szechwan accent and idioms. Of course, when I go to school, I learned Mandarin-Mandarin, so that’s two and a half languages.

  • Then, when I was 10, I went to Germany -- Saarland, to be precise -- when my dad was doing his PhD there, on the Tiananmen incident -- he was doing his field research there -- and so I had to learn Deutsch, and so that’s the third. But because...

  • You’re fluent in that?

  • No. Not anymore. I used to be. I can still read just fine, I think. But this...

  • OK. There’s so much material in my world, for whatever reason. A lot of Austria, and Germany, and Switzerland ....

  • Yeah. Right. I’m sure that, with some practice, I can still write, but speaking and listening is not there anymore. Because Saarland is at the border of French, so, when I was 10 and I went there, I also had to learn some very basic Français.

  • Again, it’s all gone, [laughs] but like the vocabulary of 10 years old. That’s the fourth language. English is going to be the fifth. I learned that when already an adult and I went back to Taiwan.

  • Yes, and started playing Magic.

  • That’s exactly right.

  • I learned it from Magic: The Gathering. Yeah.

  • I am curious, from a more traditional government and organizational thing. Overwhelmingly, I sense what you’re doing there is more volunteer/open-space/community. It’s just sort of happening. People are moving through different functions, and the whole thing emerges, very much like the Occupy movement was, or my Great Peace March experience, etc. The whole self-organized stuff.

  • You said you had a staff of -- I can’t remember -- you had a staff and interns, and some of them were...There was 35 of one and 25 of the other. [laughs] I can’t remember what. Particularly the staff, these staff, I’m assuming, are staff of you as technology minister, as minister without portfolio.

  • As digital minister. That’s the official term.

  • This is the digital ministry...

  • Here are the staff.

  • They’re excellent people,and you can see that we have a dress code.

  • (laughter)

  • I would assume that, particularly the digital staff...I mean, come on. So...

  • Yeah. Please, go on.

  • These are all employees of the government because you are a ministry of the government. Correct or not?

  • (laughter)

  • Let’s see. I’m a political appointee. I wasn’t elected.

  • It’s true for all the ministers, right? All the heads of a ministry.

  • It’s true for all the heads of ministries. So there’s me. Each politically appointed Minister without Portfolio has a staff of exactly one or two people. I elected for two people, and they are my executive secretaries.

  • We have Zach, who is the political staff, and we have Shu Yang, who is the design — and community and international liaison and re:architect and many other things — staff.

  • I will note that although Audrey was not technically "elected", in the court of public opinion, Audrey was certainly elected too.

  • By acclaim, not election.

  • Exactly. Thank you. Right. There’s no voting process. There is a general consensus.

  • (laughter)

  • By all means, these are really the only staff that I should have, and most other Ministers without Portfolio only has the staff of three people, three or four people. We have nine such Ministers without Portfolio.

  • However, I hacked the system so that it becomes possible for any ministries, career public servants, to join us by way of volunteering. Their salaries are still paid by their original ministries, but they can work on site in my office.

  • The original assembly, the "core team" as we like to say, these three are, say, co-founder of PDIS, but very shortly, like, within a week or so, we have 怡君 from NDC, the National Development Council, which is very important...

  • Just stop for a second. Just stop for a second.

  • These are different from the participation officers from each of the ministries. Or are these...?

  • The POs haven’t even started. I’m talking about at the very beginning of my work in the office, so, like, October 2016.

  • What you’re saying now is from earlier before POs were created.

  • Right. These are all before POs. We have 怡君 from NDC, we have 葉寧 from NCC, the National Communication Commission, who is also one of the primary authors of the Digital Communication Bill, and we have 貢丸, from, now, the Minister of Culture.

  • They joined pretty much on the first week. It is interesting, because these three people were the original people who did the vTaiwan platform and the JOIN platform under Minister Jaclyn Tsai. I knew them already as an understudy minister, and so even though they are in NCC and NDC and MoC, to some degree, they just joined us within a week.

  • Then I went to the Institute of Information Industry, the III, which is like 18F, actually, but it was established from many decades ago, like, more than 30 years ago. The III has supported the public workforce by employing people whose pay grade is well above career public servants. They are a NPO, but they have a very strong government backing.

  • I asked each part of the III -- they have six different departments responsible for all the different parts of the technology -- and I asked that one staff, each, join my office. Suddenly, I have six more people.

  • I then asked the general secretary for whatever case that I work on, I need to have an onsite customer.

  • The very first cases we deal with are related to finance and agriculture. There’s a dashboard for the price of vegetables and fruits later on, because of typhoon, and the premier wants a dashboard of all the factors of prices.

  • Then we have the Council of Agriculture and we have the Ministry of Finance. It just so happens that, from the g0v movement, there’s two public servants, one in each, that really want to join my team, and so they volunteered. Again, all this happened within the first month.

  • After that, we went to PTT, which is like Reddit -- this wonderful bulletin board system -- and say that we’re forming a participation network team. We asked any netizens who are also public servants to volunteer to become participation officers. The POs are the network then that we asked the participation, literally from the Internet, so they’re also netizens. This is the PO Network.

  • Meanwhile, there’s many other people joining...

  • They’re not appointed by particular departments? I though they represented their particular departments.

  • They represented their ministry, so they reported directly to the CIO. We don’t put a restriction of how many POs there is in a ministry. For example, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, they have two POs at the very beginning, one for the PTT, who is younger, and one is a much more senior executive.

  • I followed maybe a third of that in terms of the specifics. Part of me needs to have the quick run-down of the structure of the government. The minister without portfolio, is that what any head of a ministry is? Or, is it things that are needed across the boards, like you’re the digital minister, but you’re also minister without portfolio.

  • You talked about other ministers without portfolio. What is the minister without portfolio?

  • Let me draw a very quick, not entirely correct, organizational chart. Our administration is called the Executive Yuan, or EY.

  • It’s like the executive branch in American politics?

  • It’s quite different, you see. We have a generally elected President, but she doesn’t head the Executive Yuan directly. She heads the Presidential Office, but she appoints our Premier. The Premier holds the executive power but may be replaced any time by the President.

  • This is very different, which is why I have to draw this chart. The Premier is assisted by our Deputy Premier, who may be delegated Premier power for pretty much anything. That’s the team.

  • However, the Executive Yuan itself is technically managed by the general secretary. Above the general secretary, there is a team of pseudo-deputy-premiers that are like deputy premier, but only for very specific items. If the premier delegates parts of his power or her power to a minister without portfolio, then we may act in the capacity of premier in those particular parts.

  • However, we are not to make any decisions without explicit authorization from the premier and an explicit confirmation from the general secretary. This is our reporting structure. This is the minister without portfolios.

  • How does the minister without portfolio exist? Digital stuff is needed by every part of the government. I can assume that’s true of other ministers without portfolios or not? What makes a minister without portfolio?

  • Again, just to hyper-summarize a little bit, the Executive Yuan technically exists between the ministries. The ministries are headed by Ministers, of course, with portfolio. The cabinet, the ministers, are nominated by the Premier, but ultimately appointed by the President, just as we are.

  • This is constitutionally very interesting, because the President get to, essentially, formulate the cabinet, in conjunction or in collaboration with the Premier. The Ministers don’t actually report to anyone else but the President and the Premier.

  • We have 31 ministries, soon 32. The ministers without portfolio used to be 80 percent senior ministers. They were ministers, and then they ascended to the Executive Yuan and still coordinated.

  • Between many ministers, the ministers without portfolio can have a profile that spans any number of ministries, like three ministries, five ministries, seven ministries, so that they can act as a bridge between the ministers and form a virtual team around particular areas that are cross-ministry, but it’s always very focused.

  • For example, it’s a tradition that we have a legal minister without portfolio who oversees not just the legal ratification process, but also the enforcement process and the other processes related to law, which means that they will have to talk to the ministers of Justice, of Interior, you name it.

  • They’re in a multi-disciplinary and diplomatic kind of role, but one has a very specific realm within which they do that.

  • Yes. However, at the moment, there’s six such minister without portfolio who has specific mandates or specific realms that corresponds to ministries.

  • There are, at the moment, three ministers without portfolio that are cross-cutting, in the sense that we don’t have any particular ministry to oversee.

  • There’s me, Audrey. I’m the digital minister, but also in charge of social innovation, youth empowerment, and social innovation and open government. That’s three mandates -- the social innovation, open government, and youth empowerment. As you can see, all ministries are somehow related to those three things, and so I don’t have a specific realm.

  • There’s also Minister without Portfolio Deng, who used to be the minister of economic affairs. He is responsible for trade diplomacy, all the trade service pacts, the Southbound Policy, and the new US/China trade situation. It’s all his mandate. Again, this cross-cuts into pretty much all the ministries.

  • We also have, and this is a new invention, Minister without Portfolio Hsu Kuo-yung, who is also the spokesperson of the Executive Yuan. This is a new invention. The spokesperson, generally speaking, is reporting to the general secretary, and he speaks on behalf of the administration, but it’s as purely communication officer staff.

  • However, because he is also minister without portfolio, when he goes to, for example, regional touring-around meetings to explain the policies, he has now the power to pretty much call any ministry and any agency to go along with him. So this role is a superpowered spokesperson.

  • Those are the three cross-cutting ones, and here are the six more traditional ones.

  • In this, there’s the general secretary. The premier I guess would be the prime minister. What’s called the prime minister in some places is called premier here, something like that?

  • None of those people in EY are from the Parliament. It is not like in some countries, where the ministers are also MPs. None of us has a constituency.

  • Then the prime minister is a function of parties that are in control of the legislature. That name is usually associated with that kind of function.

  • That’s exactly right, which is why we call premier "premier." To even more complicate things, it is a custom for the President to be also the head of the ruling party. That’s been true for quite some time now. President Tsai Ing-wen is also the head of the Democratic Progressive Party.

  • But that’s a tradition, not a requirement, like it is in...

  • Not a requirement. The previous president, Ma Ying-jeou, was also head of the Nationalist, the Kuomintang Party.

  • Right, but they’re not voting for the party. They’re voting for the president. That president...

  • That’s right, and that’s very important. At the end of the Ma Ying-jeou presidency, the premier was independent, Simon Chang. At the beginning of Tsai’s presidency, for a year or so, the premier was also independent, Premier Lin Chuan.

  • At the moment, in the cabinet, ever since the beginning of President Tsai Ing-wen’s original cabinet, there’s more independent ministers, parts of that cabinet, than members of any party. The ratio is around 40 percent independent, 30 percent DPP, and 20-something percent KMT.

  • It’s a very balanced cabinet...

  • I have a hard stop at 7:45 tonight. I’m totally happy to listen in, but if there’s anything specifically related to me, we should probably...

  • I will shift gears, temporarily, to Pol.is.

  • If we can go back, I want to continue from there in a few minutes.

  • Pol.is, one of the central things in my search for inclusive wisdom -- participatory wisdom is one way to talk about what I’m interested in -- I’m interested in the quality of outcomes. I think participation is necessary because of the complexity of the systems that we’re dealing with and the problems that we’re dealing with. I’m looking at the extent to which Pol.is can generate collective wisdom.

  • A lot of my inquiries come out of that. One of the things I’m assuming -- although I can’t read Chinese to tell what’s going on with the specific results of the vTaiwan/Pol.is things -- is that the Pol.is process surfaces two kinds of consensus, one of which is lowest-common-denominator consensus, which is "We, the people, want world peace," or something like that.

  • The other is somebody’s suggestion that came out of the process that happens to be a brilliant suggestion that encompasses a lot of what needs to be taken into account, and everybody, from all sides is recognizing that. That’s closer to wise consensus. I’m assuming both of those are generated by Pol.is. Do you have any thoughts on that?

  • It’s funny. I think Audrey is going to the "Civicist" article recently that I was about to go to, as well. Audrey, do you want to share about that for just a moment, and I can fill in? Or, do you want to share that link?

  • You can share this link. What I’m saying is that the Pol.is system doesn’t have a component that really determine how wise is any statement. However, it does list the statements that achieve broad consensus not just in the final report, but throughout the game.

  • The whole idea is, of course, we almost always see those general, general consensus items, but as time goes by, it will be repetitive if people see a majority opinion that is not exactly surprising. It very gradually goes into more wise suggestions if you let the game play long enough.

  • There’s this brilliant link that Colin just pasted called "Testing Tech for Consensus in a Purple Town" that goes into the play-by-play.

  • This is in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Columbia University started with a Pol.is conversation, and then went into a 250-person town hall, at which many both elected and appointed and career bureaucrats were. That followed with a round table.

  • What you’ll notice from this is that their emphasis on starting this instead of with a topic, as was done in vTaiwan, but with a general, "How could we improve life in Bowling Green?" led them to a very general, discussion-oriented kind of an event.

  • If they had done it on something like opioids, which was the suggestion for the follow-up from several parties, they would have had probably a more discrete outcome, in terms of what power was willing to address. They could have a panel that was much more focused on some kind of concrete or specific change.

  • As it was, though, there were over 2,000 people who participated from a town of about 60,000. That was quite a solid percentage of people that were engaged. What was also clear was that there was an enormous amount of consensus.

  • The things that were controversial were these national straw man issues, things that really don’t affect people day to day. The things that affect people day to day, there was a huge amount of consensus in the city, across party lines. That was clear.

  • That, to me, was a success. It was a success on a number of levels, though I would not say that it moved the dial on any specific issue. Model-wise, it did the first half correctly, which was that it got distributed through independent media, which is the proper model in the United States.

  • Had independent media and universities run the conversations, and then -- if power is unwilling -- feed that into a situation where it creates legitimacy. If power is willing to come to the table and run it, then more compromises from civil society can be made. Basically, that’s a little bit more art there than science as to how you would approach that.

  • I think that’s a fabulous example. Thank you for an English-American example I can dive into.

  • You can click through there in the report and see what’s what.

  • I love that. There’s a bunch of things I’d like to talk about. You can only have five more minutes, so we can’t talk about all of them. I’m imagining, again, Audrey and I discussed the different ways it might be able to be messed with.

  • A new one I came up with since my last talk with Audrey would be somebody who’s not trying to bias a system towards their perspective but is trying to demolish its ability to do its work.

  • If you have the bot that gives random answers, and you have lots of those, so there are more random answers than there are real-people, intended answers, what would be the response of the system to that kind of intervention?

  • It’s a good question. I can answer that on a number of levels. One of them is random is probably what you would see. If it were true...

  • It would hide consensus. That’s what I’m thinking.

  • Let me say it this way. Random is a pattern, because random is a pattern quite distinct from how people vote. People don’t vote anywhere near randomly. People vote in incredibly deterministic patterns through these things. You have the idiot-or-genius effect there.

  • If someone is voting dramatically different, there are certain patterns through the woods. There are certain statements, you vote on one, you must vote inversely on the other one. If you have both of those in your head at the same time, something’s seriously wrong.

  • With an algorithm, you could cancel all that effect out?

  • You would see that, but it would be difficult. You would have to be looking for it. It would not necessarily be apparent at the outset, but it’s an arms race. If it is the case that people begin throwing bots at Pol.is, which we have not seen...I will explain this at a number of levels.

  • One level is that it’s an arms race. Security is an arms race, in general. We can detect, for instance, that the votes are coming in every 50 milliseconds. That would maybe look like bot. The clicks look too deterministic. Google uses that for a CAPTCHA. How are the clicks coming in?

  • You can look at IP addresses and if they’re known bot IP addresses. There are number of things that you can get into with the arms race. We haven’t gotten into any of them. I think there’s a question there as to why we haven’t gotten into any.

  • One is that we are not high-profile enough yet, in a way. We’re not being used all over. We are not the American electoral system. This is not the level which we have attained

  • Once you start moving towards that, there’ll be more effort.

  • Perhaps. We were just used by the Canadian government, and I’ll share this link, as well. This is the visual arts community, a conversation about copyright in Canada. The government of Canada has just used it. Singapore’s Ministry of Youth is also using it right now, running live conversations.

  • There are ministries around the world and in national governments that are running conversations. Even still, these are ministries that don’t necessarily get more than a couple hundred people showing up to discuss things. It is not connected to a civic tech community or a visible participator framework, the way in which vTaiwan came out of g0v. That matters a lot.

  • The visibility and the kind of organic social spread, and the degree to which civil society is looking at this as a means of outlet of frustration, has something to do with how many people show up and what a focal point is.

  • The other thing is who are trolls and who are bots in the first place? A lot of times, they’re people with an ax to grind. Or, they’re people who are looking to exploit a system. I think the motivations of the bot actors are also very important to consider as to why it has or has not been attacked.

  • That’s a different level, and we can only speculate there, but I’ll put it this way. When Pol.is went up on "Hacker News," people said, "Oh, that’s extremely smart." [laughs] It’s funny. We got a really good reaction from that crowd.

  • We were afraid when we posted it way back when. It was like, "Oh, man. If people see that, they’ll know what we’re doing, and it’ll be pretty clear how to game it." We didn’t see anything like that.

  • Again, in Taiwan, there are thousands of technologists with eyes on, who could certainly write a script to game it. There’s a question of motivation as to why hasn’t that happened. Again, we can only speculate, but I think it’s worth speculating.

  • It’s a level...

  • If technologists see something that significantly smarter is being done, don’t mess that thing up. I think there’s a little more affinity from the technology side. I might be wrong, but I have a feeling it’s a little bit less dumb.

  • Whereas the FCC, I actually appreciate the fact that people are throwing in 500,000 fake comments, because it demonstrates what an idiotic system it is in the first place. I am on their side in that case. I’ll happily write that script myself to demonstrate what an idiotic thing it is to have hundreds of thousands...

  • I’ve spoken to people in the government who are on the other side of that, for instance, in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer and Financial Protection Bureau. They’re on the other side of a million comments, and there’s effectively one and a half full-time people, for a limited amount of time, tasked with reviewing them.

  • They go in and have absolutely no quantitative information, just a bunch of raw text saying every which way and every which thing. No validation, like who it came from and where they are.

  • It’s effectively useless and meant to facilitate rulemaking with 30 lawyers from industry in the room next door. There are the voices of the American people, degraded and treated with no respect...

  • Can I insert? You’ve basically given me enough to answer my question. I want to try a couple more quick ones. Do you know about Codigital?

  • Codigital is a prioritization thing, which does pair comparisons, "Do you prefer this option or that option?" It’s similar to Pol.is in the sense that anybody participating can offer an item in....

  • There’ve been a number of pairwise entries. Have you heard about All Our Ideas?

  • I don’t know that. Is that another similar?

  • It is. It’s another pairwise. I’ll paste that in here, too. I don’t favor those, personally. I am incredibly biased, and you shouldn’t listen to me, but I think they’re a little bit belabourous. What you end up with is red or green, red or yellow, yellow or blue, and then it’s converging. The user ends up doing yellow or A, yellow or B, yellow or C, yellow or D, yellow or E.

  • I’m not thinking of them as necessarily opponents of each other. I’m thinking that there’s potential synergies between them. There’s differences and they serve different purposes. I wanted to talk around in that space.

  • They do. Those are really effective if you’re looking for one best answer or to try to converge on a series of best answers, as opposed to trying to converge on a landscape. These are not quite as effective with the landscape. We’re weak if the desire is a discrete outcome.

  • I will poke around more with you in that when I visit on the 28th. [laughs]

  • Pol.is, I understand in the fields of opinion that are given, there are some outliers who are not really part of any of these groups. I’m wondering if you would ever think of doing something to explore them. What is it called?

  • There’s a specific process that focuses on people who have creative solutions that are outside the norm, identifying those people, and spreading their things into the society. Is it positive dissent?

  • I’m not sure. Audrey, do you know that?

  • Positive deviance. There it is.

  • I will look into that.

  • It feels that there is some potential synergy with the Pol.is outliers that are not specifically collections of dissent or collections of agreement. They have a uniqueness which may or may not be fruitful. I’m curious, given that you can identify them.

  • The final thing is one of my focuses in my efforts to be more inclusively wise is people have concerns, and addressing those concerns has the power to make a solution better.

  • Part of what I was thinking was, when you have something which is 95 percent in agreement, what are the concerns of the people who are part of the disagreers? You focus attention on things that are nearly complete consensus. I go, "That’s a really valuable place to be, and if you want to up it, why did those people..."

  • Could there be some way where Pol.is could branch out at that point, where there’s particular kinds of question where another Pol.is is created about that item? It has focused it on concerns.

  • I will kick it back to Audrey. That is a good place to pick up for all of you. That is just about where we leave off in terms of producing a landscape, but not necessarily having an opinion of what its next destination is.

  • I just realized you could do this with a group set aside. Say, "OK, group, work on this." You could also have Pol.is be fractal, so that the Pol.is process starts over from a point in the Pol.is process.

  • I think you would find Audrey and I both agree. I can definitely speak for myself. We’ve had many conversations in this realm of where you start. You could see in the conversation in Bowling Green, they start at the most general. Then there’s another fractal layer of opioids versus traffic versus education. Within each one of those, you could drill down.

  • Figuring out what that landscape is at more and more granularity, there’s different tools and different processes, and we haven’t quite figured out, other than just starting another one and throwing it out there, based on the information. I know that Talk to Taiwan has done that. In various cases, they’ve thrown out a second conversation.

  • That’s right, yes.

  • Hopefully, by the 28th, I will understand it enough to have an intelligent conversation with you on that.

  • Feel free to reach out, and I’m happy to send over a few more links.

  • Thanks everyone. Great to see you.

  • Thanks for joining us.

  • Nice meeting you.

  • Just logistics, for the day that we’re supposed to meet face to face, I have selected a place. It’s TECO, Seattle. TECO is a consulate setting, and the meeting room should be large enough. We have booked half past 10:00, all the way to 7:00 PM. You, Tom, have a preference of very long meetings, so we’ve maximized the meeting time, but there is no obligation for you to stay there the whole way.

  • You have to do other things there. You’re saying I could have the whole day?

  • You can have three hours during the day?

  • No, I literally delayed my flight because of this. I go back to Taiwan one day later, so there’s no meeting scheduled for that day.

  • The structure would be, in the half past 10:00 to noon -- because we also have deputy minister of science and technology, as well as other people from Taiwan delegate -- we start with a brief overview of the past, the current applications of Pol.is, especially the ones that are just recently being summarized, such as the ones Colin surfaced here.

  • There’s lots of English material that wasn’t produced, because the crowd just wasn’t large enough for this kind of material to surface. I think it would be great to go over those materials with the Taiwan delegate, as well, in a very large show-and-tell, question-and-answer format.

  • Starting from lunch, we delve into much deeper topics of governance in the future. If you’re OK with that, you’re, of course, welcome to join at any particular point.

  • This is a structured conversation you have already that is covering a lot of ground that I want to cover, and I can join in that.

  • It’s a draft that I came up 15 minutes ago.

  • You have plenty of time to revise that if you prefer a different structure.

  • It’s not as if I show up, like in these calls, and we talk about whatever. You need to have a structure for...

  • There’s two broad segments, the past and current is the first half. The future is the other seven hours. But seven hours is a very long time, and we can fractalize it however we want.

  • I will lower in priority the questions that I have on future. That’s future in terms of larger outreach into the larger movement...

  • Yes, and the governance of the technology itself.

  • That’s governance of Pol.is or governance of the...

  • Of Pol.is, but Pol.is now work in conjunction with many other technologies, and so we can talk about many other technologies, as well. It doesn’t have to be digital technologies.

  • There’s a bunch of people who want to combine some form of this with random sample voting, which is, again, a way to cryptographically or mathematically protect against the various attacks you just mentioned and still have the representative fragments or parts of the society to be able to deliberate and vote based on CDC principles. Could be more binding.

  • The reference here is called you count but there’s many other things that are in the same domain.

  • Any links to initiatives or methodologies that you think you’ll be talking about that I should educate myself on to be able to participate on a more generic, rather than just my own past and questions - my familiar territory - would be useful. I’ll try and get up to date on it before I show up.

  • Downshifting for a moment to the government model. Of people holding these functions, who are currently most supportive of the kind of public and stakeholder engagement perspectives that you represent?

  • By far, the president.

  • The next question, because I watched this elsewhere, if the president is replaced by somebody who is less sympathetic, does this whole thing get wiped out? What’s the resilience in a quasi-democractic scenes we’ve got? What is the vulnerability of v.Taiwan to getting overturned by a replacement?

  • The structure, the participation officers, the align platforms, petition platform, referendum platform and so on, they are variously defined by regulations and laws. The National Referendum Act, which just passed a couple of months ago, is binding because it’s a Parliament saying.

  • If you want to overturn that, it takes, again, a majority vote in the Parliament. Many other things, like the e-petition and the Participation Officer Network, are defined in the regulation level, so technically a new president can just cancel them.

  • There are two levels. If it’s at the law level, then the president has to go through a lot of hoops to cancel it, because it’s a very firm structure. Basically, we would say it’s part of democracy. At that level, we have the National Referendum Act.

  • We hope to soon have the Digital Communication Act, which is like the embodiment of vTaiwan spirit, by exclusively defining what a multi-stakeholder, consensus-gathering, participatory platform is, and the very important note that it doesn’t have to be controlled by the government, but the government should be supportive of any multi-stakeholder initiatives that are cross-sectors.

  • This is, again, at draft stage, but the Referendum Act is already firmly here. At the regulation stage, the POs are in this level. The e-petitions are in this level. We actually revised the e-petition regulations, so that it links to the POs, and so these two are now linked. There’s a counterpart, the open data and everything, which are all in this level.

  • There is many regulations, as well as the Government Digital Service Principles, the GDSP, which are in draft stage, that again defines stakeholder involvement at the very beginning as a core component for any digital service.

  • There is this mutually supporting cloud of regulations. One of the current vTaiwan topics is how much or how deep should we lift parts of these things into a separate law. Or, shouldn’t we? That’s one of the ongoing vTaiwan conversation. That’s the current status.

  • In terms of how to protect it, internally by law, is your main strategy at this point, so that it would be very difficult for a new president to...It’s not necessarily impossible, because president traditionally has a majority party support.

  • I’m very happy to see the kinds of thinking that’s going on there. It occurs to me that the visibility and logic, the narrative that this is a participatory way to bring sanity to governance processes, at all levels, feels like whatever could be done to support that in the public’s mind...

  • How much of this is made public, à la the Maclean’s Magazine, whatever, so that the public demands this and would never stand for any president to change it? Also, among stakeholders, I don’t know to what extent there’s...That’s where the ENGI begins to cross over, the Emerging Network Governance Initiative.

  • They’re trying to have stakeholders, per se, identify as a governing force, and self-aware. Stakeholders in one area are, in fact, similar to stakeholders in another area. Collectively, their interests are served by having certain things happening. Their interests are undermined by other things happening. That’s a piece I wanted to toss into the mix.

  • However, the POs are not just POs. They’re also senior public servants, so senior executives, and they’re career public servants. My main strategy is based on the fact that our current president is in the second year of a traditionally eight-year term -- two four-year terms -- which leaves us about six years to develop this model under the current cabinet.

  • Within the six years, those senior executives. who are our first batch of POs, who are very much starting -- they’re mostly in their 40s and 50s -- will raise to deputy minister level, within those six years. Under a minister, there are traditionally two to three deputy ministers.

  • It is traditional to have one politically appointed deputy minister and one deputy minister that is a senior executive. In larger ministries, it may be two and one or one and two.

  • By having senior executives as POs, we’re betting that, six years down the road, many of them will be in the general secretary for their ministry level, or many of them will be even deputy minister level, and they will, again, support this methodology from within the career public service task force.

  • That would be very encouraging, except I’m living where the Trump administration is tearing apart the foundations of all the departments’ basic principles, removing people right and left, including career people. There’s many different approaches to handling it.

  • You’re handling it really well, and some of the approaches that are... [laughs] There’s some really horrible possibilities that are sitting there, but we don’t have to be preoccupied with that.

  • From my perspective, in terms of the importance of this kind of process for...The language I want to have is for the survival of the human race. [laughs] It gets to that level. It’s not just the day-to-day functioning thing. There’s a much bigger thing going on.

  • To have this kind of process made as invulnerable as possible, and part of becoming invulnerable is being able to constantly change in response to what’s going on. You already had a lot of that that I tremendously admire.

  • I’m going to leave. Thank you very much for allowing me to jump in here. Tom, if you need to use my Zoom, give me a call. It’s just the two of you.

  • So far, right. At nine o’clock, our time, Martin will come on.

  • Wonderful. That’s great.

  • He has his own things he wants to talk about, too.

  • That’s wonderful. I’m so glad to hear that. It was a real privilege participating in this, and it’s exciting to watch. Thank you.

  • Nice seeing you again.

  • Thank you. Cheers. Bye.

  • Here we are again. There was one very detailed thing. There was one point, in the last tape I think it was. I think the phrase said, "Name and tech line to point out controversial points." Does that communicate anything? Does that sound like something you would have said that you could articulate what it means?

  • Maybe it’s "name and tagline to point out controversial points." I don’t have a transcript yet for the second conversation.

  • Yeah, that’s right. It sounds more like a Shuyang thing.

  • Oh, could be. [laughs]

  • If I said that, the main idea -- and I’m just filling in Shuyang’s mind in a simulation in my brain here, if I said that I’d be channeling Shuyang -- would be more of the kind of focus-level- or function-level-raising intervention that Miki was saying in our first conversation.

  • It is by pointing out a problem statement or a quick summary of the main contention point, and therefore conflict resolution point are to all the participants involved. In the vTaiwan process, it is essential that we surface this tension, if there is tension to begin with, in the title, the tagline, and the description.

  • What is the tagline?

  • Of the whole issue?

  • Yeah, of the whole issue. If we go to vTaiwan and see the issues there, the tagline of the data integration is, "How do we make full use of data, along with the public service?"

  • That’s a question. Is a tagline basically a question, an inquiry?

  • It’s a provocation. The sharing economy, the provocation is, "Is it yours, is it theirs, is there a mine? What is ownership in the platform economy?" It’s a provocation.

  • It usually is a question though. It may have other things, also, but it’s a question. The other things are intended to provoke a little more complex thinking.

  • Yes. The idea is that, instead of people just looking at the title and coming up with lower-level associations, we start the associations by provoking people to think along the main controversial and conflict-resolution lines.

  • Thank you very much. That makes sense. I love that. That’s another way of creating brilliant questions. I think we discussed this when we talked with Miki. My view is questions point not to a specific answer, but to a space of inquiry. This is questions pointing to a space of controversy without saying, one way or another, what’s supposed to happen with it, but just stirring up the energy.

  • There’s an open space I was part of. The morning of the first five days was a world café, where the question was, "What question, if dealt with here really well, would change everything?" [laughs]

  • Hmm. That’s very meta.

  • The world café went through three rounds, and then there was lunch. There’s no sense of trying to find the answer. There was lunch, and then after lunch, they opened the space. [laughs] I thought that was such a brilliant design. Everybody was all stirred up.

  • It’s awesome, yeah.

  • A few things on the way you operate. I alluded to it earlier, the sense that you are definitely for -- what’s the name for it? -- putting everything out there.

  • Radical transparency?

  • Transparency, right. Transparency is different from, but intimately related to, accessibility. It’s different from and intimately related to public knowledge. There’s a sense of having things posted on a website with it freely available, and how to look at it, anybody who’s interested.

  • I’d think putting that as a low level of this high-level thing. The next one is the wide streaming of process, where people can see the raw thing unfolding, in real time, and comment on it. I think you said many times you have chat function accompanying the live streams.

  • That’s right. It’s two-way.

  • But the people have to sign into the live stream, have to be the kind of people who are aware of live streams, very different from what happened with Maclean’s and Canadian TV, which was a broadcast.

  • Here is a channel that people are...I’m not saying TV channel, although that was true. There is a media channel, through which information is always flowing to people. This thing is now being put out over that channel. Any people who are tuned into that particular channel see it. I’m thinking of mass media, not of the smaller...

  • You can emulate chat room from mass media by posting, as we do, a QR code, a SMS number, or whatever, as an overlay, so that people know they can just text to this number or to open this particular link, and then enter the more interactive space, is what I’m saying.

  • I wasn’t even thinking interactive on this level. I was thinking of, "At four o’clock, Thursday, this interaction between these people will be available on..." I don’t know what your stations are.

  • We have 300 different channels, [laughs] but if there is some major ones, here is the major broadcast channel that you don’t have to subscribe to, you get it automatically with your TV. There is like 10 of those. The NBC, ABC, Fox News, those channels have something to go out over that.

  • That is another layer of public accessibility because people are already engaged with those realms and I think an awful lot of live streaming is either young people who are very tech acclimatized or the geek world. I hardly ever witness live streaming. I’m a different person.

  • No, but you do have C-Span, so there is like a dedicated channel for public matters.

  • Yes, I know. Very few people watch C-Span.

  • The design is horrible. It’s very often one congressperson will be speaking to an empty hall for their constituents, but not really because it’s anything terribly meaningful. It has a reputation for being really boring and only policy geeks ever watch it.

  • I’m not thinking of that, but I’m thinking of like what happened with Maclean’s. Here was a major newspaper, magazine. Every country has their major things, some to a certain extent communities have those things. People get them free or subscribe to them, but they’re different from the live streamed channels.

  • I don’t know. [laughs] I feel like, am I just this old 71-year-old guy who’s talking and stuff but some of these things don’t matter anymore.

  • No. I see where you’re getting at. It is more about accessibility but with a journalistic-ish lens or context, where people are expecting to read about public affairs instead of gossiping in the first place, and therefore, more ready in a state of mind to engage into public affairs.

  • It is about a media that has an inherent frame of public affairs and current affairs so to speak, rather than dedicated C-Span to particular functions of the government.

  • Right, and there are branches of that. There is the journalist branch, which is, is it covered by media? Are the things that are going on part of the daily news? In Taiwan, the vTaiwan activities, are they being covered by the daily news? So that most of the population knows at least that it’s going on and that...

  • Oh yeah. Yes, but only for really controversial issues will the journalists devout extra time. At least the CNA, the national news agency, which is part of the public...The CNA is the Central News Agency. They do send out announcements of the upcoming not just vTaiwan conversations, but really any conversation that we really want mass awareness.

  • They also run more detailed conversations such as there is one where they interviewed me for half an hour summarizing the recent conversation on autonomous vehicles on vTaiwan and our joint platforms in the format of an interactive dialog.

  • Over the past few days, it’s been syndicated by pretty much all the mass media here in Taiwan. There is this broadcast channel. We use that to summarize conversations, we don’t use that to recruit people at this point because, for that particular conversation, it’s well past its regulatory pre-announcement period.

  • It’s going to be in the parliament next week anyway, or in a few weeks.

  • That’s the retroactive having proactive efforts. I don’t know, it feels like your work overlaps so much with the g0v world.

  • Whether the people in g0v, as a movement that’s trying to have an impact, might see proactive coverage by various public media, publicly viewed media, as something to find new ways to do and to actively promote because that will ultimately secure and advance the kind of thing that they’ve been developing.

  • That’s right. We try to very selectively promote things. For things like Uber, the entire Taiwan is aware of it, but things like the Hengchun hospital case, or the Penghu Marine Preservation Park case. By nature, only people in their neighborhood care a lot about it. We try to leverage the stakeholder network because for even attention it’s easier.

  • Because by definition they’re already amassed about 5,000 people. If we say the messages right, those 5,000 people will become the seed in which the word of mouth, as well as popular media, of course, spread the news that there is going to be a conversation about it. If it doesn’t come from e-petition we are pretty selective.

  • We only do it if the stakeholders we think are not reached by the existing snowballing survey, and that there are parts of Taiwan that we’re missing, and we have to go through mass media to do that.

  • The reason we do this is because, for things like autonomous vehicles, it’s much easier if we actually have a self-driving tricycle, for example, for people to play with and then come up with informative questions and answers...

  • You’re thinking of recruiting participants in the process.

  • I have a different agenda, which is embedding the vital nature and vital necessity of such processes in the public mind.

  • Yeah, but that’s more the...The national reform forums on pension reform, on judicial reform, there is this also national forum on the future of the cultural Y paper. All these national forums have a lot of visibility on mass media already, and because there is a huge amount of regional sub-forums for this kind of design, they also give people more chance to participate face-to-face.

  • That’s already going on, which is why we don’t raise more awareness of this multi-stakeholder model because the more...I wouldn’t say CBC, but hybrid model, has been already going on and is on everybody’s mind.

  • I would be interested in a survey, a standard public opinion poll, that had to do with to what extent do you know about, value, whatever various parameters of the public participation or the stakeholder participation in the creation of our governance - something that finds out how many people were aware.

  • There is actually a funny downside example, where this news comedian from the US who went to Moscow to interview, what’s-his-face?

  • Yeah, Edward Snowden.

  • Yeah, I watched that. It’s a very visceral illustration of Snowden’s points.

  • The one point I wanted to mention was, he had gone around Boston asking people if they knew who Edward Snowden was and most of them, at least in his sample, didn’t know. Snowden was really thrown by that, because he’d just totally turned his life upside down in order to make this known. He thought his name would be known by everybody and not everybody knew about it. [laughs]

  • It’s a filter bubble. [laughs] Back to the national forums. What I’m saying is that all these forums are bootstrapping. The judicial reform forum has one of its resolution that the process of the implementation of the consensus point needs to be publicly tracked and accountable online.

  • One of the other things - so, accountability - and another thing is that there is going to be a more regular participatory process of the judicial yuan and the other judicial forums. Part of it is the citizens jury, which we didn’t have. What I’m saying is that...

  • ...not Citizen’s Jury as a public issue thing, but as a jury in trial.

  • A jury that works with the judges. We don’t have that system, and so as part of the resolution, we’re introducing some form of that system.

  • What I’m saying is that always in those forums where there is a majority component of citizen participation or citizen constituents, in the forum we almost always see the resolutions bootstrap itself by defining more forms of participation down the road. That’s been true for pretty much all the national forums.

  • OK, that’s it. I didn’t get what you meant by bootstrapping, but I get that. Each one is initiating a further spread of that particular approach. There is another interesting approach that is inspired by a mixture of Maclean’s and the Canadian broadcast thing and reality TV.

  • Which is the idea of having a dramatic presentation of a real-life public deliberation, which is sort of what Maclean’s and Canadian TV did. It went over two and a half days, but they did an excellent editing job where they talk about conflict sells in the media.

  • There is different ways to approach conflict, and look it’s a very dramatic story in the Maclean’s because of intense conflict. Something else is done with the conflict than is usually done in reality TV shows.

  • When Martin gets on, one of the projects he wanted to talk with you about and see if you might be interested in relating to in some way was a thing in Germany of having a civic council, like is done in Austria, on a topic that’s in a major city.

  • They would do coverage of it, dramatically. The outcome, whatever the recommendations were, they would then, in a positive deviance style, look for who is handling that well, and do further coverage of those people.

  • It has no official approval or sponsorship. It is just a TV show. It’s not journalism in a traditional sense, because it’s designed to sell rather than to report on -- to sell the idea, to engage people. That’s just another approach.

  • This is very fruitful. Thank you. I don’t think we have any television shows designed for that. The Watch Out group has done a lot of interactive fiction and even games for that, but it’s not on a TV setting. It’s on a computer setting. It’s on an Internet setting. I imagine they have similar goals, and I’ll be very happy to explore this with Martin.

  • The question I had about stakeholders versus citizens and legislature versus ministries, my impression is, historically, the Sunflower Movement was deliberating about a law, which was going to be the trade pact with China.

  • The citizens were taking over not only the legislative physical space, but the legislative function at that time, saying, "Look, we can do this really well as citizens," and putting the legislature to shame and getting them to start engaging more citizens.

  • The genesis of vTaiwan is in that experience. Now, what I gather from you and Shu Yang, it’s around an 80/20 -- 80 percent regulation kind of stuff and 20 percent legislative. What’s the track of evolution that resulted in the shrinkage of legislative attention and the expansion of regulatory attention in the participatory process?

  • The person who came to the g0v hackathon and proposed the vTaiwan project is the minister without portfolio for cyberspace and legal affairs, Minister Jacqueline Tsai. Because of her position, by necessity we need to tackle more administrative rather than MP’s visions.

  • There are many other movements out of the Sunflower Movement. vTaiwan is just one out of maybe 200. The civil, constitutional reform, the one that I just did a very quick summary of, is one of the consensus points of the Sunflower Occupy.

  • That branch of people, composed of -- again, very high overlap -- a more fundamental, constitutional rewrite aspiration, will want to continue to move power this way. By nature of Jacqueline Tsai’s position at the time, it necessarily moved back this way.

  • There’s many other movements and sub-movements. There’s a new party-ish thing that came out of the Occupy, but it fragmented into the New Power Party and the Socialist Democrats. Again, these two all carry the basic consensus items of the Sunflower Occupy.

  • They need to be got together with Pol.is! [laughs]

  • Right, and they’re all aware. We’re all aware of what each other’s doing, actually. By nature, if a new party is formed, like the New Power Party -- they now are the third largest, with just five seats in the Parliament of 135, I think -- the NPPs are then, by necessity, doing their work within the Parliament.

  • However, the Social Democrats, who didn’t win any single seat, are now working on a much more grassroots organization and citizens’ assembly, but on a township-level thing, at the moment.

  • G0v, the tools we use and contribute are all open source, so you see parts of vTaiwan components in all these movements, but we don’t actually have control over any of it. Many part of them drop by our weekly meet-ups and share their experiences. It is, by necessity, not a lot of cohesion, because the vital players are all on different positions now.

  • Thanks for complexifying my thinking.

  • Yeah, it’s reality.

  • (laughter)

  • Hopefully, not over complexified.

  • It’s a non-linear history. I was going, "Huh, how did this linear history happen?" You’re going, "Well, that linear history didn’t happen. There’s a much more non-linear history that happened."

  • My role as a public servant of public servants is basically to reduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt of the professional senior executive career public servants. During the Occupy, there’s really a lot of FUD going on of what Occupy actually means within the public service.

  • By having an occupier as the digital minister who say, "I’m not asking you to do anything. I’m facilitating you to realize your potential as public servants," we’re reforming the affect, the feelings of the public service around the word "participation." I see that as my main role, and there’s many other roles being played by many other players.

  • Thank you. [laughs] I am learning so much, not just of the specifics, but of the nature of the complex realities, of which vTaiwan is only one. I tend to be usefully reductionist, but still reductionist, in a variety of my work. You helping me balance that with the realities that you deal with.

  • I was having a conversation with one of my other board members a couple year ago who had spent two years in Mainland China teaching English but engaging a lot with the students. One of the things that she introduced me to was the Mandate of Heaven logic.

  • I began to think, "What an interesting relationship could be painted between sophisticated public participation regimes and the Mandate of Heaven mythos." Without giving up power, you can access what the people want, and then do it for them, by using these participatory processes.

  • I’m wondering, from your proximity to that world view, if you have any thoughts about, "Oh, that’s a good idea," or, "No, that wouldn’t work," or, "You haven’t thought of these seven things," or whatever you might do with that. I’m just curious.

  • Certainly, Confucius, or if you’re talking about Mandate of Heaven, is equally Mencius thinking, it’s what we call Ming or citizen-based. It is not democratic, because it is not a rule of the people. It is based on people.

  • The ruler of the Confucius conversation is, at the best, philosopher kings, but it is not voted. There is no mentioning of voting of any kind in the Mencius/Confucius tradition.

  • I understand that. Voting has a very minor place in my own ideology. I’m just curious, given the Communist Chinese structures, which I’m aware that they are hanging in your background, [laughs] in a very dominant way. There could be things that could happen that would be very messy for Taiwan.

  • Within the world of China, where there’s a lot of interest, apparently, in democratic reforms, but not democracy the way the West practices it, I go, "This is democracy in a way that’s different from the way the West practices it." What would it be like? Would this be a meme that’s a selling point for Chinese people who are trying to preserve the Chinese system?

  • I’m uniquely not qualified as a political analyst of Communist China, just because of my position. Broadly speaking, they also had their constitutional reform not too many months ago. Their constitutional reform are straight...

  • In Taiwan., Chiang Kai-shek did the same thing. He amended the legal system, so that he can be the president forever. We saw that dynamic happening back when Chiang Kai-shek was still ruling.

  • Chiang Kai-shek also used a lot of Confucius, and especially Wang Yangming terminologies, to paint himself as the sage that is the lighthouse tower, whatever, that embodies the Heaven’s Mandate in a "democracy" setting that allows him to uniquely reflect the will of the people. We have all this before in Taiwan.

  • The rhetoric I would say is very similar, at least.

  • It’s also unreal. We know that this is a falsehood. This is a myth in the negative sense and the positive.

  • I wouldn’t go so far and say it’s a myth, though. Chiang Kai-shek has to link to the word "democracy," just as the Communist Party has to link to Lenin’s centralized democracy or democratic centralization. The word maybe you would feel distorted are still popularized because of this rhetoric.

  • The younger generation raised with the word "democracy" and "rule of the people," and so on, soon discovers, once they have free access to information, what these words really mean. I would also argue that it then makes the Occupy or the further democratization processes much more legitimate.

  • They could claim that they are implementing a better implementation of the core ideas that are propagated by the myths. I think this is an important part of the dynamic to the distortions that you mentioned. We see this dynamic in South Korea, as well in the democratization of the Asian countries.

  • There’s both a bastardized myth of democracy and a myth of the Mandate of Heaven, which is used to often justify rule that is not in any way wise or representative of the public will. From my perspective, this is a realization.

  • Within a top-down structure, if the top-down structure that has no voting in it -- or hardly any voting or depowered voting -- is established in a way that seeks the will of the people through deliberative activities, of the kind that you and I are engaged in, you don’t have to lose your grip on power.

  • You just have to legitimize it and become the representative and empowerment of the wise voice of the people. [laughs] I was curious where...

  • Yes, I completely agree. The four pillars of open government are called four pillars precisely because there’s tremendous tension between those values.

  • One can use, for example, transparency and accountability to establish this kind of Mandate of Heaven by saying that a ruler shares all the information with the people, and so on, and use participation as an instrumental means, not a value in itself, and therefore achieve a fake inclusion.

  • Basically, having accountability, bastardized in a very top-down way, and then leveraging all these techniques or technologies, but only when convenient. We see this configuration a lot in dictatorship-to-democracy transitions in East Asia, and sometimes it’s a recession.

  • Which is why I put trust in the center and have those four pillars as the service of the trust. I think it could flow both ways this way, but that’s because I’m a Taoist rather than a Confucian. [laughs] It’s a different philosophical configuration, as well, is what I’m saying.

  • That’s an interesting choice in your putting trust in the middle of it.

  • Don’t change the screen. One of the things that came up during your last little speaking was the difference...If you have top-down power, there are status rewards to that, and there are psychological "having power over some people" psychologies that...

  • Coercive power, yes.

  • There’s also this financial/material benefits kind of power. It feels like the king or dictator can satisfy their "ceremonial status, live in great wealth" kinds of interests without corrupting the system where it matters for other people. It doesn’t cost a lot to support a king, for example...

  • ...compared to the cost for the society. You could have a king that was the embodiment of...

  • Yes, and then you earn back the expense through tourism, for example, of the monarch.

  • (laughter)

  • If you have one-quarter of one percent the budget of the country is supporting the monarch, and all the rest is fulfilling the ideals of the people and the will of the people, you have the idealized Mandate of Heaven situation. The ruler is ruling through the guidance of the people. This is the Taoist leader, I guess, even more, who means well...

  • That’s the constitutional monarchy idea, and it’s still practiced.

  • Yes and no, because I’m removing the voting. I’m saying that this is an inspired...I think, in the history of Greece, one of the top-down rulers initiated the original democratic forms, Solon or somebody. That kind of leader, who establishes a new order that maintains somebody at the top in power, but their hold on power is...

  • Anyway, blah-blah-blah. We can set that aside. Those are philosophical story/interesting things. I just realized that, for me, the thing that’s in the middle is the wisdom factor.

  • I know trust is easier to define and sense than wisdom.

  • And measure and quantify.

  • Yeah. The wisdom thing is priority for me because the nature of our decisions, in terms of their wisdom or folly, given the level of power humanity now has, we can easily destroy ourselves in any one of one or two dozen major ways, all of which are proceeding in the wrong direction.

  • If we could have a philosopher king that would do the job, I’d go, "Let’s go for the philosopher king and off-load the democracy part of it." Democracy is not my central value, but I think the systems are so complex that having multiple viewpoints being integrated somehow has to be part of the puzzle in order to make wise decisions.

  • I know there’s no measure. I had this definition of taking into account what needs to be taken in account for long-term broad benefits. Of course, all those are debatable, just like equality is debatable and justice is debatable.

  • They are north stars to shoot for and to know that certain ways of doing things will systematically disable your ability to take into account what needs to be taken into account. Other ways will increase your ability to do that.

  • If you’re always recognizing you’re going to miss things all the time, you’re going to not take into account certain things, so you make your process iterative. It’s picking up the things you missed rather than trying to suppress the things you missed. It’s a lot of different things that can go into that.

  • I realize participation, inclusion, and accountability and transparency all serve my goal of wisdom. [laughs] It’s fascinating to put trust in the middle. It’s something to meditate on. It’s much more grounded in the people who are living through it.

  • I think wisdom in my mind is like a regulatory idea, like Immanuel Kant, like reason or critical thinking or critical appreciation or aesthetics. We need to hold that in our minds to even begin to move to make moves. Like sustainable development goals, they’re not to be quantified along the path.

  • They’re like north stars, exactly as you mentioned, which is why it’s not usually appearing in these diagrams that I draw, because a regulatory idea necessarily is...

  • When you say, "regulatory idea," what do you mean?

  • Regulatory idea is a philosophical idea of Immanuel Kant.

  • Just to let you know, I am not philosophically trained at all.

  • The basic intuition is that, to quote Kant, "Even if there has never existed a completely sincere friend, sincerity in friendship is an idea that is still required for friendships to even form." That’s the kind of regulatory idea.

  • You have to hold it in your mind to engage in a process with the complete awareness that it can’t be ever attained in its pure form and it’s not even directly measurable. You can’t just look at a pair of friends and say, "Is their sincerity ratio dwindling or increasing?" It’s just a regulatory idea.

  • We can always try and measure them, but they’re not measurable, really.

  • You can measure a lot of proxies, but then it’s proxies, like how transparent, how inclusive, how participatory, and so on.

  • My inquiry, the wise democracy pattern language, is trying to look at what are the dimensions that I can see, the different things that would need to be addressed or taken into account while you’re holding this wisdom regulatory idea at a government’s level. This is not the wisdom of individuals. This is the wisdom of crowds.

  • Not like the book says, "The real wisdom of the whole." [laughs] My way of saying is how to call for it and access and engage the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole. That’s part of the way, I think, and when I look at what you’re doing, I go, "This girl’s doing it."

  • I’m just curious how...I have this page on the sources of wisdom that apply here. There were nine of them, and it’s not "The Nine." It’s just nine that I could frame and pull out. From that perspective, they suggest different ways to do things or tweak things that you already have going.

  • It’s like one those sources of wisdom is the holistic and systemic sciences, like systems thinking and ecology, chaos and complexity theory. The people who study these have a... [laughs] you might call it knowledge without portfolio.

  • (laughter)

  • It glosses over all sorts of other things implicitly because you’re studying basic structures of how the world’s put together.

  • For example, in a Pol.is exercise, to be able to include people like that, to be able to include ethicists, to be able to include people who understand the common ground among all the world’s religions, people who have deep time perspectives into the past and the future, whatever, some shamans thrown into the mix.

  • Different sources of wisdom, people who embody those different sources of wisdom, what would happen if you put a hundred of them into any given Pol.is to bring their perspective into that? They are throwing their items into the mix. They are doing their voting on different items, agree, disagree.

  • They are adding a wisdom dimension that wouldn’t necessarily be there by only picking the stakeholders.

  • Yes, I completely agree.

  • That’s an example of an intervention that’s specifically designed because of the wisdom factor, which would not normally be put in there if you don’t have that in mind. Let’s do that. [laughs] I was even thinking you could have your stable of 100 or 200 people from whom you would pick.

  • For any given Pol.is, you could pick people out of that stable. You could pick people to advise a citizen deliberative council, too. Deliberations should have that dimension, also, which they often don’t. You can solve a problem for now, and it may be totally harmful to seven generations after us.

  • Yeah, I think that’s definitely...

  • One of the takeaways of previous conversation is that the scope of time. We talk about seven generations, but also existential threats to even have seven generations down the road, that requires decisive collective action. These two are not antitheses of each other. These two are different zoom-in levels of existential time frame.

  • I think one part of it is that to be inclusive by necessity, for example, say, there is a teenager somewhere who saw Pol.is as kind of game and they voted and contributed one statement.

  • By nature of highlighting their statement and sending out invitations for them to join a face-to-face, more deliberative setting and also by making available the methodology and toolkits and so on, that participant has the potential to be empowered and to take this wisdom-oriented thinking and be more inclusive in their self-organization in their schools or whatever as well.

  • That’s another dimension that I’m very focused on, is the public co-learning effect of this kind of rippling out. Whereas many other players in the current Taiwan political realm think in a more like, "We need a constitutional reform in the next few years," timeframe, I always think of the next generation.

  • I think there’s nothing fundamentally different or opposite in the ways that we approach things. It’s more of the different way that we frame things.

  • You meant "we," meaning everybody, or you and me? Which is the "we?" What’s the "we?"

  • The wisdom factor, as you said. It’s worth keeping in mind to think long-term more holistically, but it doesn’t prevent us from doing short-term interventions as needed as long as there is a mind toward continuing the conversation not necessarily controlled by the current people who hold the convention is what I meant by it.

  • [laughs] It’s like there’s this thing of "Think globally and act locally."

  • Right, but in a time...

  • Think long term and act now. [laughs]

  • Exactly. That’s the idea. The creative process starts now but is infinite in scope.

  • Your focus, I would say that’s an 80/20 thing. It feels like the 80 is on...Well, it’s not your decision to do it. That’s part of why it’s intriguing to me, the dance between intentional design and emergent design. You have an 80 percent emergent, 20 percent intentional design thing going on in what you’re doing for all I can tell. [laughs] If not 90/10 or something, I don’t know.

  • In terms of addressing...I guess I should just say, what are your thoughts? The fact that you talk about existential threats means you’re very aware of that dimension and what’s going on there.

  • That’s my center of gravity totally. There is a way in which I could care less whether we get our act together locally if we can just handle those because, if we don’t handle those, local issues will be semi-irrelevant.

  • For me, there is a different ratio because there is so many emergent dynamics that counter taking those things seriously. Some based on the way we have evolved as human beings. The limits and urges we have as human beings will often channel us toward short-term immediate kinds of solutions.

  • Which was one of the weak points of non-deliberative democracy. There is a hidden agenda here. There is a way I’m trying to figure out what kind of collaboration makes sense in that realm with you? Is there an urge in you to do something with existential threats that is wise, that utilizes your skills and knowledge that’s in addition to what you’re already doing?

  • Maybe you have knowledge about setting up emergent systems that can actually address that. I would like to be in conversation with you because I have such gigantic respect for the intuitional work that you’re engaged in and the Daoistic style you have and that you spread around you. [laughs] Is there a way to tap that for this other project?

  • Yes, so to go back to the beginning of your paragraph, the 90/10 thing. I see my main role in the intentionality realm as a spellchecker of sorts. [laughs] People do whatever, but it needs to not cancel each other, and it need to be coherent in some way.

  • In coordinating and picking up some loose ends.

  • Yeah, as I said in the first conversation, if there is this trash that everybody is too busy to take out, I take it out. It’s not metaphoric, it’s real. If everybody’s too hungry, I order pizza, and things like that. I also do it in the ideas and narratives level. It’s like a shortstop in a baseball game. [laughs]

  • If there are any uncaught balls that will threaten the playing field, I just go and catch it, but otherwise, I do nothing. That’s the basic idea.

  • ...look for where the balls are falling. [laughs]

  • Right, exactly. It’s not like a traditional architect who holds in her mind the architectural integrity, or conceptual integrity as we say in computer science. Rather it is integrity of the functioning of the system and is always done in a minimally intrusive way. That’s how I see my role.

  • It’s a purely reactive role. If it goes really existential like the occupy, the first few days that the cops are threatening to go in and make everybody go away and so on, there is a lot of intentionality in the counter design, the counter surrounding of the cops, of the communication of the ask for help, and so on.

  • Once it’s relatively peaceful and self-organizing, I go back and doing things like asking for higher bandwidth live streaming and things like that. What I’m saying is that it’s proportional to how much the existential threat or the organism is feeling that will determine the intentionality, and it is not a given ratio.

  • At this point, PDIS, maybe two percent intentional. That’s my situation. Back to the planet existential thing, I think the Sustainable Development Goals actually is a very good example because the SDGs they kind of the non-controversial essence. The parts that none of the country will fight over with.

  • Everybody kind of agreed that these are important things, but again, this is not framed as, we have to solve it within the next few years otherwise we better send spaceships out, kind of way. It is a more moderate framing of the existential, more planetary issues.

  • By focusing on SDG 17 almost exclusively in our work, I think the same methodology do have potential to escalate into a more direct conflict prevention or conflict reducing way. In Taiwan, of course...

  • The 17 is global partnership and a focus on things as mundane as digital opportunity, wide access to ICT systems, and all the way to strategies and systems to enable cross-sectorial and multi-stakeholder collaboration. It is the most dynamic of the SDGs, and the one that basically enables people to focus on particular goals without sacrificing other goals.

  • It is the thing that binds the admittedly very different focus of economic growth, and social and environmental growth together. That’s the main position I’m speaking about or at, but in a way that could be scaled I guess more deeply and more urgently if needs arise.

  • It’s just at the moment, for example, climate change and carbon footprint, and global conflict, and things like that, we don’t yet have an exportable framework for direct action on these things. Not because we are not prepared for those things, it’s just it doesn’t arise naturally in my current position.

  • Yeah, I know that it’s in this direction that I will want to make my contribution to the future conversation in the afternoon and evening conversation in Seattle. When you talk about the future it’s like, what does it mean to apply the knowledge we have in a way that would allow us to survive for another few millennia at least?

  • Part of that is, how do we develop the capacity to iteratively digest and reframe our experience and our activities, which is what the co-intelligence is about. Intelligence is about maintaining your internal maps congruent with the external realities over and over again, learning and changing those.

  • Wisdom is, from my perspective, a longer version of that, a longer term deeper version of that phenomenon. It is not something you just have. It is something that you’re iteratively working on all the time. A part of me would love to clone you and have somebody who has the Daoistic sensibilities.

  • The closest thing I’ve come to in a vision of that is actually current one than an old one, is the idea of a think tank that looks for stuck points, for missing opportunities in existing transformational efforts.

  • Where a conversation of some kind, from an email to a full-blown major conference, would break the, "Who should talk to who, through what medium, about what?" It would be like acupuncture on the larger transformational movements.

  • What a think tank of a dozen or 80 people who are constantly looking over the activities of constantly redefined transformation agents, looking for those stuck points that could be tweaked. That’s the vision that I’ve never had, I just wrote up a description of it once, not a proposal because I don’t know who would support such a thing or to move such a thing, or even how to actually do it.

  • It’s just a vision. The other thing with ENGI, the recognition that these...Steve Waddell specifically noted the emergence of parallel collaborating multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, multi-scale networks arising around every one of the sustainable development goals.

  • The fact that these are already emerging, suddenly there is the Daoist thing of move with the energy that’s there. There is energy in those MS3 networks, and the fact that they’re struggling to work together because they are self-interest and own perspective pursuits.

  • All these sectors and stakeholders, their tradition is to work on their thing in their way and push their thing operating on their traditions.

  • Hi. Good morning or good evening.

  • (laughter)

  • (laughter)

  • That’s a good way to say it.

  • Let me just finish this and I’ll turn it over to you Martin.

  • Please move forward, and I’ll just chime in.

  • Audrey and Martin, what a crowd. We earlier had Margaret, and then she went off. Anyway, so the idea that there is extensive knowledge, and expertise, and know-how in how to work together. There is digital tech and there is human group interaction tech, and all this stuff, and those people don’t know about that to a degree.

  • Helping them gain that knowledge and helping them realize that they are already an emerging form of governance, and we’re just trying to help them do that job better. [laughs] It includes and transcends existing government. Part of me feels there are, partly from the stakeholder focus that you’ve got, that there are lessons to be had.

  • Part of your work will be to bring into that, and that collaboration between the vTaiwan or just you, and the ENGI thing has a way to upscale in a Daoist way to the whole world through the networks and helping them be able to do their function well.

  • I’m trying to figure out how to bring the wisdom factor in, but the fact that they’re multi-sector and multi-stakeholder and trying to collaborate, that already covers the number one wisdom-generating point that I got. [laughs]

  • If I can figure out how to add in some of the other stuff that’s icing on the cake, but the fact that they already cover the ground of things that need to be taken into account to a certain degree is just as well... Anyway, that’s going to be one of the...

  • It’s not exactly vTaiwan, because vTaiwan has things to do with Taiwan, but the vTaiwan sensibilities and approach, how can that be woven in with the emerging network governance thing. I think there is super high leverage in a realm that’s really hard to figure out where transformational leverage is. The kind that we actually need to make it.

  • I have no idea whether we’ll make it, but that’s an invitation I’d like to give to you and to the Pol.is folks. My last question, which specifically came up and which you were talking about a little bit earlier. Do you take people out of Pol.is for the subsequent discussions because of how they responded in Pol.is? Does that ever happen?

  • We send invitations to people who achieve a high resonance in their conversations. Sometimes we just send the invitation to everybody who got into...

  • Whoa, when you say high resonance in your conversations, does that mean in Pol.is they are saying things that everybody else is saying or something?

  • Or everybody in a cluster at least. Their statements embody the consensus of their groups. We do send invitations.

  • There is the methodology Synanim, I think I’ve mentioned it to you before. That has a group of 10 people who they have some problem like, let’s solve the housing problem. OK, so each of the 10 people write their one-page thing about how to solve the housing problem, then they read each other’s statements and pick one to revise and revise it.

  • They do that iterative process several times and supposedly it moves towards a consensus. At the same time a computer...It’s all been online or in the system software. The computer is tracking whose essay gets picked by the most people, and who picks the essay that mostly the other people in the group picked. That person is being identified through the whole process.

  • If there is 100 people, like 10 groups of 10, and they’re going to make another group of 10, they pick those people from each of the groups that’s embodying the group mind for their group. I just realized that you are doing that action in...

  • Yeah, but to be honest it’s much easier to just filter out the trolls and send an invitation to everybody else.

  • (laughter)

  • Rather than just setting a threshold, which is what we end up doing. In the very beginning of the vTaiwan design, we entertained with the idea. We were still using foreign technology then, but the basic idea is the same.

  • We identify the ones that are making original contributions, meaning that their raise points that nobody else has raised, and we just invite those people to form a working group. It soon becomes difficult to subjectively judge originality, and so then we move to Pol.is, and we use resonance.

  • The general agreement within and globally to surface the agenda. Then we entertain the idea of inviting the people who contribute the most, as picked by Pol.is.

  • Then again, we settled on the much easier to operate, and in reality, actually not at all prohibitive way of just filter out the trolls, the sheer duplicates, and the meaningless statements, and invite anyone who made a contribution at all. Which actually worked pretty well. We do that for petitions as well. That’s our current mode of operation.

  • We are not saying that just by nature of presenting a statement in the wisest way you’re automatically are identified as a wise person, because it turns out it doesn’t work that way because they could be just reading a statement from a magazine and pasting it or whatever.

  • It’s easier if we just invite everybody who is not a troll to the face-to-face conversations. It’s what actually happened historically, but we did entertain with the idea.

  • Interesting. That’s part of the intentionality, you’re just doing it in a different way now.

  • Because it seems to work and because it’s easier. [laughs]

  • Exactly. It’s less energy for everybody involved.

  • And it’s more fun. [laughs]

  • Which makes it more fun. It’s no fun to do tedious work. We have more extended AI intelligence or whatever doing the more complex models, then why not? We’re still open to other motives.

  • I have covered most of the ground that I had in my...There’s some things I’m saving off for Seattle. Once again, practically every question that I asked has resulted in a reframing of my understanding so that the question didn’t get answered specifically, but it was the wrong question to ask. [laughs] I see one other...

  • It was never the wrong question. That’s what questions are for. Just say that. It points to the space.

  • It points to the...

  • You gave me a more spacious answer than I expected to a bunch of my questions. Final thing I wanted to ask is when and how do you invite general public to participate in v.Taiwan deliberation like Pol.is? I gather you are due the rolling survey which generates more and more stakeholders who should be invited into participating.

  • Is there a general public route that says, "Hey, everybody, anybody wants to show up, come on down." What exactly is that?

  • Usually it happens during the convergence of the first diamond that the brainstorm, by definition, is open to the general public. We make sure the stakeholder here are OK...

  • ...are OK here, but as I said, the CNA, the Central News Agency, usually send out a press release with a link to the current topic so that the general public also has a chance to know that that’s what it is. The CNA is syndicated by the major newspapers. That’s the brainstorming stage.

  • The Pol.is is usually around here, but the invitation to the face-to-face meeting, that is everybody from the general public is welcome to participate online. The offline, due to space constraints and things like that, are usually limited to people who have made contributions along the way.

  • As I said, sometimes these people, as well as people who offer opinions online, are invited to the second diamond, but that is not guaranteed. It’s maybe one-in-five or something.

  • CNA is the major publishing of the whole thing that’s happening, so if you want to...

  • Right, exactly. We’re also working more with the speakspersons team as well as if there’s any ministry that is the host of one particular issue, then the media channel of that particular ministry is also leveraged.

  • Got it. What are you doing here, Martin? [laughs]

  • [laughs] Anything you’d like to do? Whatever you’d like to say.

  • I think I’ll just chime in here and in the sense that in regard to the public, Audrey, there are four items I thought at least I’d like to raise and see where we go with them. The first one is I have been developing a participation TV project.

  • I’m working with a production company in Germany and one in Switzerland. Last week, I shared my excitement about v.Taiwan and what’s going on as a nation that is raising the standards for participation on a national level. We have here in Europe some local-level participation, and it seems it’s quite new for many.

  • Some do it with reluctance. Tom already mentioned, Vorarlberg has been a model for many other states in Austria and also mainly in Germany, there are other ministries that are trying to or are doing it. There’s especially a very well-known woman professor who’s pushing the so-called "city councils" or "wisdom councils."

  • Then I mentioned that, and she said, "Oh, Martin. I think it would be good if we first did a documentary before we did the TV participation project." I’ll share with you the presentation. She asked would I write a treatment so we could present that to Swiss National Television. There’s like a fundraising foundation for documentaries.

  • She said, "Would you do that?" I said, "Yes." Then, I thought it would be great to, in that show, it’s about 50 minutes. It would be four examples, one in Switzerland on a local level like a city. One’s more on a state-wide level. Then the other one, the third one, I thought would be ideal for Taiwan, the national level.

  • Maybe there’s one that is more on the transnational level of participation project. I wanted to generally hear you. Would that be a possibility if, let’s say, this actually gets funded? That means that would be in fall. Then, we would probably start filming in fall and wintertime.

  • We would film either a project that has happened or a project that you’re working on, that we would film the whole process. It would be a short part of it. That means about 15 minutes. We would interview you and show the project in a fast motion.

  • Here’s the person comes to the office hour or somebody’s raising a topic, and then you have your hackathons. Then, you move forward and you go through the diamonds and support them until something happens with it now and introducing Pol.is and so forth.

  • Generally, I wanted to ask, is this something that would be possible to do, for example?

  • Yes, certainly. If it’s involving me, I’d say, actually in the film, all I ask is either the film itself to be released under Creative Commons or that one of our filming crew can film your filming and release that as Creative Commons. That’s my only condition. Everything else sounds just right.

  • OK, good. I’m not sure about the first one, especially because it’s Swiss National Television. We would have to figure that out. I’m sure the second version is easily...

  • Sure. Then, we’ve done that with many directors.

  • Just for me to understand, you have had film crews coming in from foreign countries and filming the process?

  • Yeah. Huge numbers, but I don’t think it followed from the beginning to the end. It’s definitely not in the fast-motion. Usually, people are interested in one part of it. They extrapolate. Tom, in our first meeting, has commented that usually they then frame it in the narrative that they’re familiar with and miss the community co-creation point.

  • We have a lot of films. One particularly more fair or balanced report is the interactive design award, but it’s very short. It’s like five minutes.

  • I saw that one. The Danish filmmaker.

  • That’s right. The shorter one, I think that is the most balanced one of the short films, but the longer films tend to have an agenda based on...let’s put it that way, so we don’t have a production at the moment that takes care of both balances.

  • Is this something that would also be interesting for v.Taiwan or to have a fair presentation of the whole process?

  • The thing is that it’s never the same process for the same case. For example, we can’t promise that when you come to film in winter there will be a case that involves the use of Pol.is, because maybe for all the cases around that time, we decide Pol.is is not the best idea.

  • If you expect no specifics, you will always get something. I think [laughs] you not say, "I will be happy with that," but if you expect any specifics, then we are easier. We go through the historic archives.

  • [laughs] You have basically everything streamed at least the...

  • Right, and under Creative Commons, so you can use the footage however you want.

  • If you have a hackathon, that’s not being filmed is it? Is it?

  • We’re just starting to live-stream our weekly meet-ups. There is no guarantee that it will continue. Normally, the pitch part of the hackathon of tech projects that people are bringing in, in the larger hackathons, those are live-streamed as well to ensure that people can participate online to at least understand what is there that people want to do.

  • There’s also film at a final presentation of what’s being done at the end of the day in the larger hackathons. Those are live-streamed as well, but they’re mostly in Mandarin. There’s an English tour of larger hackathons, but those are not filmed, far as I know.

  • I was just thinking for in the archives would there be enough to represent the whole process on any given issue or something that would satisfy Martin’s desire to represent the whole process?

  • Then I think you have to balance it with many interviews. I think that’s not a big problem, because if you come to the g0v Summit, which is October 5 to 7, you would pretty much have all the different generations of Occupy and post-Occupy movement on the g0v site.

  • You can use interviews to fill in the gaps, so to speak, of whatever you’re trying to film. That’s the link to the summit that I just pasted here.

  • That’s in English.

  • I think this is the presidential hackathon?

  • No, no, no. This is the g0v Summit. The g0v, the shadow government version of the presidential hackathon. [laughs] It is not state-sponsored in any way, but you’ll find most of the g0v actors here.

  • Thank you, Audrey. I’ll share my screen quickly.

  • That would be good. I’ll just check, X out of this screen. There I go. Here it is. You see it, Audrey, right?

  • Smarter together.

  • This is the interactive live TV show. I’ll share it with you in a quick mode. Maybe this could be interesting at some point, or parts of it.

  • This is an existing show that you’re thinking of riding along, having a version of, a program of, or this is...?

  • Yes. It might have aspects that are interesting in regard to what you’re doing, Audrey, so I’ll give it a shot. First of all, it’s basically interactive on different levels. I’ll go through the quick part, the show design. We have, for example, this is a US issue, gun violence.

  • Here in Switzerland, we have something about the healthcare reform because prices are rising in the healthcare reform. That’s a difficult issue. We also have gender equality. Here in Switzerland, women also are still paid about 25 percent less than men in certain areas. The show design would be basically through the channels of national media.

  • There would be on radio, television, Web, the information on a certain topic. With that topic, you would also launch, for example, a Pol.is to get the diversity of the opinions. After that or during that phase where these different media channels are used, you have then this random selection, basically, of...

  • Let me take this out. This random selection of the people. This is basic, the civic council.

  • These 15 people come together in two to three days, depending on the complexity of the issue, they have a basic introduction of the results of Pol.is and also the basic introduction from experts or from policy makers about the situation and where they have difficult decisions to make and where are the dilemmas, for example.

  • For example, in Europe, we have the dilemma about the issue where a lot of foreigners enter the country from Africa and so forth. We have the refugee situation. How hard are you on the refugees? How do you close the borders, and so forth? It’s a very difficult issue. Then after that, once you have two or three days, these people work on issues.

  • They, as 15 people, come up with their unanimous recommendations. They have to be collegial, and then they’ll say, "OK, this is what we think as a group." That’s part of it. You might have differences at a certain part, but you as a group, you come as one council in that sense.

  • Then, there’s a possibility of the media, if they have some recommendations, that, for example, just concrete solutions they come up with. These are already working somewhere in the region, the television would show these positive deviants. They would show, "Oh, this is already in this town. This is how they’re doing it."

  • These people are invited, for example. These positive deviants are filmed. It could have also be in other regions, maybe even in another country, they have maybe even a solution to a specific problem. Then on the live show, you have an audience, about one hundred people, maybe.

  • Then you ask the TV audience to have their digital devices or laptop ready. Then what you do would be the first clip that would be you present the situations and facts. Then, maybe you have some experts and politicians answer some questions. Then, you introduce the Pol.is results, for example.

  • Then, you introduce the civic council. This civic council, basically you have maybe two or three people who are probably better than the others in the group to explain things. They would share their key insights. You would have visually-enhanced presentation of the key insights.

  • Then, you would also show clips of positive deviants that are already happening. That would be the presentation of what these randomly-selected people as a council would recommend. Then what you then have is the people at home have the possibility to rate their resistance to either...

  • There are usually different kinds of solutions. One is more a principle. We believe we can do it. That’s like a principle. You have a concrete solution for, "We need more information, uh, uh, uh, a website from the government that gives us more data information about the whole refugee thing. We don’t know what’s going on. That’s why we’re scared."

  • Let’s say you have these kinds of recommendations. Then the people at home, they rate their level of resistance. You also have the people in the audience that share their resistance. Then, those things that are very high in resistance you automatically throw out.

  • Those things that are maybe, let’s say, from 0 to 10 have an average of 4 to 5 resistance, you ask, "Hey, why is your resistance like 5 to 6?" Then people would say, "I think it would be important to include, um, some agencies here or, or somebody else should take care of the problem. I think this is too complex, too difficult."

  • Then, you ask them for solutions. What would lower your resistance? The people can either improve the solutions or offer new solutions. This could be from people in the studio audience or people from home. This is the basic idea. There’s one software, I think it’s called Mentimeter, that you have online, immediate response possibilities without an identification or a larger log-in.

  • Then, you have a second round where you have all the new solutions come in. Then, you have one more resistance measure. Then, you have the top 3 or 4 proposals or 10 or 5 or 6 proposals depending on the issue. That’s it. Then, you close the show.

  • If it’s a show, if it’s something that is very complex, you can have two or even three shows on the same topic. That would be something that is the basically TV participation element. I wanted to share. Maybe it’s interesting.

  • I’ll send you the link to it so you can automatically download it whenever if you want to have a look at it more in detail. It’s on a Dropbox link. Here it is.

  • Here it is. Sorry about that. There you go. That’s it, Audrey. I’ll send the...So that. I stopped sharing the screen, right?

  • No, you’re still sharing.

  • We can see the...

  • It’s still sharing. We can see the shared link, but you’re still sharing.

  • Now it’s sharing. That’s it.

  • Then the third topic I wanted to ask about, Margaret, who you just met, and a colleague of Tom and I, Andy, we were thinking about working on a proposal for fundraising for CII.

  • We came up with one idea as part of this fundraising proposal is besides supporting Tom and CII and the work, this is a fundraising proposal we would like to send to companies, individuals, or foundations.

  • There’s two parts in it. One is supporting Tom’s work. One is creating a kind of media channel with sharing best practices and so forth or creating webinars. There’s one idea. While watching and hearing about v.Taiwan, I was very enthusiastic and excited.

  • I said, "Hmm. Um, wouldn’t Audrey be interested or v.Taiwan or the team interested in people creating, like, presentations or workshops about the whole process with photos, images, slideshows?"

  • As far as my understanding is, you have online calls just like this one with other people from other governments and so forth introducing them to the whole situation, right?

  • I was wondering, is this any interest? People like us from the outside creating workshops, slideshows and so forth, sharing the process, for example, in Europe or in America and maybe in a way that...

  • I’m not sure if it’s more accessible. I’m thinking of, is this any need or is the demand rising for presentations like that, that people would like to know how this works, how the software works and how it could be implemented in their culture? It’s always this transfer of culture. That would be something.

  • As you said in one of the calls, you can’t transplant it or order it, but you can figure out what will work in our culture and how. Even raise the question, is this something that would work in our culture? Do we have to change the way the soil, as you said? What would be needed to change at the soil?

  • I’m wondering if this is something of any interest, because basically Andy and I would be very enthusiastic if there would be funds to create workshops and even come to Taiwan maybe a few months and create pictures and do translations, whatever is needed. Then, do present it off of webinars and, of course, Tom writes about it.

  • He can even create articles or a short book about it, whatever. I’m wondering in that direction, what we, v.Taiwan and your team maybe have had some thoughts around that? That’s my question.

  • As a matter of fact, we had a curriculum of the process for public servants way back before I joined the cabinet. It’s a two-day forum with plenty of workshops and a process. We’ve trained at least a thousand or so public servants via hands-on training. That’s the original vTaiwan process back in 2015 and all the way to early 2016.

  • Most of the materials are in Mandarin, but after I become the digital minister, we started working on an English curriculum of the counterparts, because we do get, as you said, a lot of interest from public servants, many of them at a city level.

  • We’re thinking to deploy such a workshop training. It would be just six hours. It will be an abridged version. First, we will do a trial run in Taipei with the public servants who are well-versed in English, just to move one variable at a time. Then hold a training late May in New York City, with the Civic Hall people.

  • We are also thinking to do something like that in Ottawa around the Forward 50, but it’s not finalized that, at the end of the year, around November, I think. That’s the two engagements that we’re thinking about.

  • By nature of our work, they will have full documentaries, but we are not yet editing them. To answer your question, we will have an English course curriculum at the end of May, around May 20-ish. We will keep perfecting it, whatever perfecting means, till November-ish.

  • That’s more of one part. It will be a brief introduction of the two diamonds, and a practice that goes through perhaps these parts of the two diamonds, and perhaps a little bit here. It will not be the complete experience, which will require two days, from our experience.

  • That’s the material that we will have. If you’re interested, again, we can collaborate many ways. I can hand you all the raw material and you can do editing. That’s one way. Or, you can book one of the possible teams of public servants interested in this kind of training and document the whole process.

  • Maybe we can fly to Europe. That’s another part of it. Or, you can come to Taiwan and capture the whole process and also interview some community members and rely on translations. We can make whatever way that we want. We’re open to collaboration in any of those three or four different ways of collaboration.

  • Basically, you are training people from your team to do these workshops, prepare them so they can do these workshops around the world, wherever is needed.

  • This would be a starting point now in May and November to give it to start and to start improving the material, and then offer these workshops.

  • Yes, and we will focus on the tools at the middle of the diamond. Co-called issue-based mapping is the code name for it. It will be very hands-on, and we will use concrete many mock subjects that the audience cares about to go through part of the process together.

  • Interesting. I’m wondering. One possibility would be to take part at one of these workshops in May and see how you do it. Then see, "Oh, we would like to do this," introduce the material I need, and if we think there’s some material missing, we would ask you for it, or come to Taiwan and complete and do the extra material which is needed.

  • Then we could do these workshops, if the demand is high.

  • Just as a scenario, let’s say there’s someone in London or in England and says, "Oh, there’s this vTaiwan. Is there anybody in Europe who can do this workshop?" do you think there could be a scenario like Andy could do that workshop in London for you?

  • Yes. Certainly. The Nesta people are already de facto doing this.

  • Yeah. The Nesta think tank has done a very thorough review of the vTaiwan process circa 2016, early 2016, and so they’ve been spreading the word and the process in many different settings that I don’t even have a very accurate track of. So that’s already happening, is what I’m saying.

  • OK. And Nesta is based in?

  • Oh. They’re in London. OK. Thank you.

  • The upcoming New York one, we’re still working on this, but here is their working Google document that lists about six hours of the parts that is...

  • It goes into too much detail than we can go into, but that is the general format of a workshop structured with the primary audience being public servants, but also people from other sectors are welcome to join in. In fact, we think it works better if there’s a mixture of private and civil society and the public sector

  • OK. We’ll see it, if we’ve got time. OK. Is this the Joint Library of Humanities. No. That’s the other one, right?

  • No. This is the New York curriculum that we’re planning.

  • OK. Here it is. There’s the working title. I got it. OK. Great. Thank you.

  • Yeah. "Government-led Collaboration Workshop for Public Policy Co-Creation."

  • Cool. Cool. I have that. OK. Wow. Because I think Andy and I would both be excited doing work like this. The fourth issue which I wanted to ask you, we’re basically...CII has been funding, this being funded basically by...I think, Tom, once or twice a year you do some fundraising that basically covers the basic living costs of Tom.

  • I’m just wondering, Audrey, if you have any contacts, especially in the US and Silicon Valley, that might be interested or might have a budget for organizations like CII, that might be interested in supporting organizations that are doing work like Tom is doing or we are doing.

  • Let’s say, if we had a larger budget, we could come to Taiwan, or go easily to New York City and watch the Google workshop and be at the workshop, or do extra film in Taiwan, and so forth.

  • As it is, I have to think twice about going to Seattle.

  • (laughter)

  • I’m just wondering if you have any ideas or any thoughts about that, or contacts to Silicon Valley around that. We would appreciate some kind of links.

  • And I have a document that we just completed a month ago. I’ll just share you the link, so you know this is the work. This is...I have a document, right? Yeah, there it is. You’re providing a link. You’re much faster, Audrey. [laughs]

  • Really fast. [laughs]

  • Yeah. I just noticed how fast you are while I’m doing it myself. OK. That would be the link to the document, which is about the work and the fundraising stuff.

  • Right. Yeah. This is the Venn diagram. Yeah, I’ve read this before. In any case, the answer is several-fold. I do have a lot of friends in the civic tech world, so, if you frame yourself as a technology amplifier or enabler, but by far the largest networks aside from the usual suspects Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and friends, are this network called Omidyar Network.

  • Omidyar is very interesting, because they don’t directly or put friends in very smallish organizations, but they put their work into intermediaries, like my society in the UK and many others.

  • The Omidyar extended network, like Code for America, and things like that, do have a lot of different grants and different supporting for endeavors like this, but they don’t have a very close track of their extended network. It’s all in the media public website, so that’s one part of it.

  • You can apply for loans from Omidyar, or for grants from Omidyar. Can you?

  • You can, but it’s generally a very large amount, so with a plan to serve as intermediary. They’re investing or putting grants to intermediaries, who then distribute this money in a more coordinated fashion to effect some synergy, as the sayings go.

  • That’s the Omidyar’s main idea. Of course, the Personal Democracy Forum folks, the New York folks, they also have pretty good sponsorship, but these are all from technology companies.

  • I understand that there’s Google.org, there is the civic tech part of Microsoft, so all those Silicon Valley huge companies, they have an arm to work, this kind of community at work, but I don’t know the criteria. I haven’t interacted with their investment arm or grant arm directly. I mostly work with their technology arm. But there’s one arm in each of those huge companies at this point.

  • What else? There’s the larger impact investing network. At the moment, we’re talking with AVPN, which is the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, but they focus their work on anti-investing around Asia, but I’m sure that there is their equivalents in other parts of the world.

  • Then you have to frame yourself as an enabler for social innovation, in the sense that you make social enterprises and CSOs function on a higher level, due to these technologies or these ways of working, in which case it will be billed as a process innovation. That’s the threshold for entering the Venture Philanthropy Network.

  • There’s many other partisan entities, the National Democratic Institute or something like that. There’s one for major parties in many other countries, as well, but because of my work, I can’t really interact with them anymore. That’s pretty much it. That’s the extent that I know of.

  • Are there individuals you know of, individuals of wealth, as they say, rich people, who this kind of thing...You know a lot about my kind of thinking and the kinds of innovations that I focus on at this point.

  • There’s people, millionaires, billionaires, who choose to create some impact relatively directly. Does anybody come to mind who is like that -- since I’m kind of out-of-the-box, I’m not an easily described innovator -- people who might go, "That’s interesting. Tell me more?"

  • Along the way here in Taiwan, a lot of g0v grants are done by individually wealthy people. They form an angel investment club and focus on democracy. I think that is very particularly Taiwan thing. When they were made rich, Taiwan wasn’t even a democracy. [laughs] They channeled a lot of their wealth into the continued democratization process.

  • I don’t know an equivalent in the developed world of old democracies. [laughs]

  • There’s a thing called Threshold, which is a similar network of wealthy people that have a foundation branch, but mostly are a, "Hey, Joe. Have you looked at this? This is an interesting thing you might be interested in," network. Their center of gravity is progressive. It may or may not embrace wildly democratic things like ours.

  • There’s this Media Lab Network that looks at what they call "extended intelligence." It’s mainly a Joi Ito thing, but I think I learned that from Sandy, Alex Pentland.

  • They’re all computer science-ish people around Media Lab that focus on bringing the human side out and focus on the existential issues that you are also focused on, but from a "How do we make humanity itself less selfish through intervention of artificial intelligence and extended intelligence?" borderline trans-humanist angle.

  • I’m not exactly sure how robotics and your work mix, but it actually mix a lot.

  • (laughter)

  • There’s parts of affective computing, from playful systems, from the human dynamics group, which are all Medial Lab things. They get their sponsorship from Lego, of all places. They’re like a bridge between the thought leaders or wisdom leaders and the Lego-ish companies and try to find synergies between those.

  • That’s another network that I’m not intimately familiar but am aware that they’re doing a lot of these catalyst work that connect rich companies and the social impacts they could have had with the leading thinkers. That’s another network.

  • Yeah, the MIT Media Lab, yes.

  • Thank you so much, Audrey. Those were my four points. Great.

  • I think we may have walked as far as I can go. This is three hours. Gee, I can’t even make the next half hour like I did the first time. [laughs]

  • It’s just fine. Martin, do you have any other points you want...

  • I was glad to hear your response around the workshops. I think that is very interesting, and I think there’s quite a lot of interest. I have this political science professor who works for institution of the German government. It’s called Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies.

  • She’s very interested in using the work of vTaiwan. If you have ever a schedule of coming to Europe, sharing the process, I’ll share the process. I’ll tell her that you’re in New York and share that one document. I’m sure she would want to invite you or one of your colleagues to the Institute. It’s based near Berlin in Potsdam.

  • Because they are working on different issues in regard to bringing participation into the government, including technology and all these different things -- they’re like a well-funded think tank or institution, with a lot of academics, mainly academics -- they would be very interesting.

  • Sure. Let’s carry on this conversation over email. My trips to Europe, I don’t have anything booked yet, but Shu Yang goes to Europe very frequently in the past few months. We’ll find someone.

  • That would be great. I can also write Shu Yang to let me know if she’s traveling. I think that would be ideal.

  • It turns out Audrey is relatively fluent as a reader of German.

  • It’s an interesting...

  • 10-years-old level fluent, but yes. I stayed for a year in Südland when my dad was doing his PhD in the Südland University. It’s very rusty now, but I still read a little bit of original German material. It’s OK if you just send me materials in Deutsch. I will probably be able to read.

  • OK, wow. Great, that’s good to know.

  • I just noticed one...Go ahead, finish your...

  • One other thing on my note, my page of questions [laughs] that I had for this. I keep picking from all different places. One of the things that I have found different in my thinking from most of the other democracy thinkers is specifically regarding the issue of a focus on diversity versus a focus on numbers.

  • Public opinion surveys and elections and all these things focus on the number of people. From my theory, that’s a natural focus when you have a competitive scene, where the more soldiers in your army or the more money you have, this makes the difference.

  • If you’re going to have a representative group of people to make a decision, and you’re going to say this is a cross-section of the population, you need to have the right number of black people, the right number of white people, the right number of Asian people.

  • When you’re dealing with diversity -- not demographic diversity, which is what the word means to most people nowadays, it seems -- but the full range of cognitive diversity, experiential diversity, all these different diversities, different perspectives, if your trip is trying to generate wisdom out of diversity, if you have special ways of helping people who are very diverse come together in various ways, the numbers are borderline irrelevant.

  • I’ve found, in talking, I can’t remember whether it was you or Shu Yang, that if you have the same votes on the agree or disagree things in Pol.is...

  • Right, then it disappears.

  • It’s reducing the system to its diversity. I think it’s Ashby’s Law. The solution work that you’re doing must have the diversity in it that exists in the system you’re trying to solve. The focus on diversity and integrating diverse perspectives is fundamentally different from the numbers perspective.

  • I don’t know if you have or have run across -- you’re a more trained theoretician than I am -- a theory about this. I have barely articulated it in my own writings, but it seems a fundamental paradigm shift in participatory, deliberative activities to think that way.

  • I think it is more of an emphasis than anything else. It’s not like we can suddenly discover the spectrum of diversity without there being a base of people to start with. There has to be a little bit of both, both on the number of people and the diversity you could surface.

  • It is true that if we choose to ignore the duplicates, then the face of the crowd is different, as opposed to if we want to emphasize the relative numbers. It will look very different, and I think it is the conscious defined decision of Pol.is, of Colin to do that.

  • I think Colin wasn’t even a professional programmer to start with. I think he taught civics in senior high school or something, Habermas and stuff. He learned programming to realize his political vision. I think Colin is more suited than me to explain the choice of the Pol.is system.

  • There’s this person, Yves Sintomer, a French theorist and widely regarded as one of the leading thinkers around participatory budgeting and things like that. I read one of his papers -- it’s not this one, but it’s very close -- where he argues about where does this representation idea actually came from.

  • He was arguing that the proxy representation through representative democracy or through the numbers-based representation could be extended to more heterogeneous kind of way. It’s not exactly this paper that I’m looking for, but it is a starting point.

  • Yeah, I had long talks with Eve around the different ideas of representation. That is, in fact, where I get this where to be presentation as defined by how to capture the whole systems from which those diversities occur by presenting, as much as possible, the original proposal, or petition, or stakeholders’ point of view instead of having one person to speak on behalf of a focus group, for example.

  • It entails a different design of space which is why they’re insisting live streaming or, at least, on the video recording or, at least, transfer of recording because only through the conversational context can we resurface the presentation around the time where it all happens which, in turn, outlines the more holistic and not individual stake-based conversation.

  • This is a representation of people by another representation of people and so on. Yeah, I would encourage you to explore a little bit of Yves Sintomer’s work because I borrow a lot of words from his work.

  • OK, I will check that out. I just realized one of the challenges in diversity-based councils is the...Diversity is infinite. Every entity, every person is unique. Every entity has multiple, infinite dimension. [laughs] Which standard are you going to use? Demographics is a great starting point, but it’s barely...That is a surface of diversity that’s important.

  • You just gave your mention of the merger of the numbers approach and the diversity approach in a sense that if you have a way to extract the relevant diversity from a group, the bigger the group is, the more adequate you will have the diversity represented from within that group, which I haven’t thought about.

  • That’s what Pol.is is particularly skilled at presenting as you can get lots of people...

  • Right. Exactly. Yeah, the intuition here is that we use sampling mechanism because we can’t deal with large number of people. If we can deal with large numbers of people, then the territory is better than the map, so to speak. The population is better than the sample. We’re not there yet, but that’s the intuition.

  • Yeah. I’m still trying to understand the difference...One of my big realization, I think I told you, was the fact that when people in Pol.is -- many people, not all people -- mark disagree, they will then submit an item that is their proposal for resolving their disagreement, adding their piece to the mix.

  • There’s a funny way in which it mimics face-to-face deliberations. That was a revelation for me. I go, "What is the fundamental difference between Pol.is and face-to-face deliberations?"

  • There’s much, much less bandwidth, right? [laughs] There is much less bandwidth. That’s what Holopolis is trying to explore. What if we can add much more bandwidth by having synthetic personalities that speak as the face to the group in our interactive way? It’s the game in augmented or virtual reality through chatbots or through other kind of extended intelligence forms.

  • That’s the main question Shu Yang is exploring. It’s very speculative design, but that’s to bridge the two dimensions, right? In face-to-face, it’s very easy to just sketch a model and get people to look at my perspective by using the whiteboard or using a legal -- why not -- or whatever else.

  • There is nothing theoretically preventing us to do this over the Internet. It’s just the technology isn’t quite there yet.

  • What if we consciously push the technology toward face-to-face deliberation but do it in a way that it could be asynchronous, meaning that we just have a conversation with whomever gets online, but our conversation becomes synthetic personalities that other people can carry on the conversation with? That’s the intuition.

  • That’s related to but somewhat different from what I’m looking at. I’m extracting meaning from it, but I want to refocus it. There’s...

  • In the Pol.is, I guess, what the interaction is based on is these restrictively brief statements.

  • In faith, I’m trying to figure out what’s the difference in the deliberative quality and, to a certain extent, the idea of if you have responsive avatars that are really representative avatars -- you can get facial expressions and all that, emotions and all that -- that dimension of it which may or may not be cognitively important but, at the very least, in a face-to-face deliberation, somebody is giving a fuller statement of whatever it is that they are contributing.

  • People are responding to that level of detail and complexity with their own version of detail and complexity, that’s an advantage that face-to-face deliberation has from a deliberative quality perspective.

  • There’s a streamlining oversimplification, but it offers this consensus-extracting power. That bumps into another thing that I suggest in my earlier 10-page thing that we haven’t talked about but wondering if...In Wikipedia, there’s discussion dimension to each page which is not on the front. The front is just the statement, so far, consensus statement is.

  • I was wondering what it would be like in Pol.is to have...In any statement in Pol.is, there is a tag you can poke that will take you to a discussion space about that.

  • There’s a way in which I originally said, "Oh, well, that starts to produce the level of the substance that a regular deliberation has, but if it’s not facilitated, it starts to introduce the bullshit that Pol.is was explicitly designed to get rid of." [laughs]

  • That’s right. The thing is twofold. The one I was exploring, Holopolis, was the face-to-face magic...

  • ...required the Holopolis...

  • Holopolis? I’ve never heard of it. [laughs]

  • Yeah, a more holographic...Holos, that is also a...

  • Shu Yang was exploring from three angles, the virtual reality angle where it adds dimension to the current Pol.is conversation, the conversational pattern angle where it desensitize personality and to make it more fun to go into more depths.

  • And the mixed reality part where it makes it possible to talk around concrete such as, I don’t know, urban planning or whatever, projects while still being face-to-face, basically, overlaying the online conversation with the face-to-face deliberation.

  • These are the angles that she’s exploring. That’s the part that kind of bridges what we call established system versus the physical system. You’re talking about something else. You’re talking about if you want to make it so that each statement can be more fully explored in a more completely resulting way in a facilitated conversation.

  • The challenge here is that, in computer science terms, it requires a user agent that can speak on behalf of the user, because a user doesn’t have the time for exploring these steps to thousands of statements or commentaries.

  • It is necessary for the user to be enabled or extended in some way so that their user agent can negotiate within the space, like their secretary and surface the main parts that require their cognitive input. Otherwise, it doesn’t scale. You go back to the place where the trolls with the most time wins the conversation.

  • The traditional way to resolve this through face-to-face is by limiting the number of participants and have high-quality facilitators, human facilitators. That’s the traditional solution. What we’re exploring here is something else.

  • It’s to make facilitator distributed so that each participant has a micro-facilitating power, currently, only through voting and proposing statements but maybe more proactively so that their collective facilitating power is equal to a well-trained human facilitator. We are very far from that yet, but it is a very different attack angle to the same problem, is what I’m saying.

  • This is another version like I was mentioning to Colin earlier. I can imagine where the discussion space is another version of Pol.is, but in this case, anybody can enter a point to consider. The points to consider are thrown up.

  • When you go click on the discussion section, you get, let’s say, four points to consider that you rate. Then it shows you what everybody has rated in order of how many people rated it. You’re going there primarily to get more information and see what other people may be missing so you can add it in.

  • The software is, like, throwing up random statements that have already been made. It is creating a neutral rating space and then showing you the things that are currently highly rated. Then you can put in your two cents.

  • It enters into that system so that somebody who comes can go through the quick motions of rating these things and then get the top ones which will educate them quickly about what’s going on with this topic without there being the trolls able to surface visibly. That’s an approach I can imagine.

  • I guess part of the problem...I keep thinking of Wikipedia. Wikipedia has these discussion spaces. Wikipedia has this background community that’s handling all this stuff.

  • I go, "But Wikipedia is this entity that just sits here, and Pol.is is something that comes and goes." It doesn’t have the capacity because of its temporariness to build the level of community that could facilitated it in this level of...

  • Right. Yes, which is why before the Pol.is, there always has to have a community. It could be stakeholder. It could be the state power, of binding power that brings people together. It could be something.

  • The continuity of the community, as we’ve started discussing in the very first call, is the weekly hackathon. It’s actually how I channel this communication and so on, it’s the g0v background, without which, I don’t think any of these will result in anything that is more than an incremental way of brainstorming.

  • People, by participation in one of those smaller games, as I said, end up learning about the toolkit of thinking and of feeling that they can contribute more to the progress of this evidently not perfect community and then is motivated to jump into this 坑, this gap and filling it.

  • That’s the meta-recruitment procedure, which is why I keep referring to these social issues as "excuses" for engagement.

  • [laughs] Right, your big-picture view again.

  • OK. I have been sufficiently complexified on that question. [laughs] I should probably wrap up.

  • Will you send out your link when you get it for this thing, or should I send out...?

  • You mean the recording?

  • Yeah, I recorded it.

  • Yeah. I just recorded the voice, so I still rely on your side of recording for the screen and everything.

  • I’ve already published the conversation of Shu Yang and you and I from the previous call, but we haven’t got around to make a transcript of that yet.

  • Soon as you upload it, we’ll put it to the YouTube channel.

  • OK. I think we’re there. Blessings on the Journey.

  • I value the connection with you immensely.

  • All right.