Entrepreneurship

What are your views on the future of tech disrupting politics from an engagement perspective?

Angel Otero Consultant en Freelance IT Consultant & Service Provider

October 5th, 2016

Especially now that we have the elections coming up in the US I find that a question of this nature has good timing.
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ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

Here is what I wrote on the homepage of virtual-town-meeting.com ...

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Virtual Town Meetings engage citizens in participating in the decisions made in their name. Virtual Town Meetings are live forums where citizens, experts and elected officials discuss in an informal but organized manner during one or two hours on a regular basis.

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Think about several hundreds of people gathered under the same roof and discussing in groups on different subjects: the attendees discuss and then move to another group of interest. Virtual Town Meetings reproduce the same organization except that the roof is replaced by the Internet and that participants stay at home and use their webcam.

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Citizens, experts and officials see each other while conversing and their facial expressions convey the intensity and the richness of human dialogs. Dozens of conversations happen simultaneously and all the participant are active: they listen, intervene or move to another conversation.

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The purpose of Virtual Town Meetings is not to make decisions but to share and spread information and perspectives so that the decisions made by the citizens' representatives rest on a broader democratic foundation. The time between Virtual Town Meetings allows personal convictions to re-arrange themselves and evolve.

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ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

William Holz 

Thanks for your comment. I need to think about it. More soon...

ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

A practical case happening right now in Berkeley after a murder was committed and neighbors started to antagonize because of drug situations.

Nancy Armstrong-temple is a social worker / neighborhood actor looking for a process that "really" solves the issue.

She explains the situationhere: White Kids and Black Kids vimeo.com/185753360

Her solution: asuccession of town hall meetings (with experts) for the neighborhood community to discuss(traditional + virtual for people who cannot attend physically), alternating with city meetings.

Town Hall meetingsand non violent conversations:

She associatesTown Hall meetingswith Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent conversations.

It is not a traditional "Town Hall" meeting of course, but the words "Town Hall" help participants understand how it works.

William Holz

October 5th, 2016

I certainly think there's a big window for a company that's focused on 'doing good' to take advantage of all of the opportunities and laws that are currently being utilized by more purely profit driven companies.

In particular, I could see a Google/Valve/Mondragon hybrid forming that takes advantage of things like Citizens' United both to increase their corporate value but also as a recruiting tool or to reduce turnover.  Given how much time and effort people donate to charity, I could see many of those same people getting great value out of knowing that their other 40+ hours a week also contribute to a good cause.

I don't know that we're talking about future scenarios that could put a stake in the two-party system, but there's room for serious influence at the primary level at the very least.

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 5th, 2016

Would you please rephrase the question? Sent from my iPhone

ChrBaudry

October 5th, 2016

In terms of engaging citizen, I think that what is crucial is to find attractive and convenient ways for citizens to spend time understanding the challenges threatening their community.

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That's what town hall meetings do. Town hall meetings are informal public meeting open to everybody in a town community with attendees discussing the issues of the community.

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The problem with town hall meetings is that participants need to be physically present under the same roof which restricts its use to small towns.

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The way for tech to disrupt politics from an engagement perspective is to leverage the Internet to mimic town hall meetings with hundreds of citizens having simultaneously dozens of conversations on community issues.

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Using the Internet and webcams, virtual town hall meetings free participants from the physical presence limitation.

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Check virtual-hub.org for a virtual town hall meeting application used for the Nov. 8th election in Berkeley.

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 7th, 2016

Town meetings are designed to get people together to hash out civic problems and to vote. Virtual meetings are not designed to get people together, and identities can be hidden or faked. Virtual town meetings are an efficient but lousy way to conduct Punic business. Sent from my iPhone

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 8th, 2016

William: I am pretty sure I texted that there is a place for virtual meetings. I was NOT totally negative on the subject. It is true that some groups are under-served under the present system. That fact does not address the main issue, which is that virtual systems have their own disadvantages, and that in certain contexts, those disadvantages can be governing. For example, you dismissed the problem of ID faking by saying that we have gone well beyond that as a concern. Recent news of hacking into government data bases suggests otherwise. There appears to be a need for expanded participation by the populace in civic matters, and is probably inevitable, but it is not a panacea. Of course, in the end, it is not the method used to arrive at government policy, it is the policy itself that is the pacing item. That is another discussion altogether. Sent from my iPhone

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 7th, 2016

I am a New Englander. Here, town meetings are a long-standing tradition and indeed people vote on ma y civic issues - some trivial, some important. A virtual meeting might serve as a way to survey the populace, but voting - not a chance. Sent from my iPhone

William Holz

October 7th, 2016

Christian, what are your thoughts on using the virtual town meetings concept not in a 'civilization of birth' nation model, but instead inside a 'civilization of choice' worker co-operative model?

It seems like that'd solve most of the risks, and allow people to influence their own lives directly (campuses as charter cities, Dunbar-sized 'monkeyspheres', googleplexes, etc.) as well as to leverage the power of the corporation to influence their local environment/government (putting rulings like Citizens' United to potentially good and positive use if we've got an ethical hiring model)