If technology won’t save democracy what will? The basis of a democratic system of administration is information accessibility and communication. This was based on small communities, e.g. Athens 450BCE, with 20k citizens. There more slaves and others but they didn’t count.

Information was limited enough that a diligent person could read everything. The image of the US is the 18th century New England town hall meeting but that is where democracy in the US died as it was too problematic for the founding fathers.

The virtual reality of massively networked cultures is destroying the long tradition of human social organization and management but the opportunity is to create true democratic societies. But wait, there are bigger problems.

Fully interactive communication is now possible asynchronously for very large populations with permanent access to, potentially, all information but we have lost control of validating the information and ensuring that accurate information is distributed to those preparing to discuss and vote.

We are in one of the largest paradigm shifts in human history and these problems are still being worked out. The problem is not the use of technology to enable democracy it’s a hybrid hodgepodge of old and new systems.

To be even more direct, the problem is not the technology but the people implementing it. A poorly designed interface on a rushed app is disastrously poor management. In my view, there was and is a conflicting set of objectives involved in how this work was being managed in Iowa. The old political systems and their various pseudo representative facades have failed but the owners and managers are struggling to fake progress while keeping them as opaque as ever.

I think it is dangerous to cast aspersions on technology that is our only hope for something like full democracy (and it is possible, see Hong Kong resistance, etc.). Until we can turn this over fully to AI we will need to spend massive amounts of time and money removing the human bad actors intent on blocking democracy.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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