Friday, July 12, 2013

Running government like the Internet

An outstanding short talk on incorporating apps and crowdsourcing software into government structures. That, and possibly remodeling government so that it resembles the open model used to run the Internet. One of the most interesting aspects to this ongoing debate and evolving body of ideas is the notion of treating government "not as an ossified institution, but as a means for collective action" at a time when crowdsourcing and social media have already made collective action on a local level easier and cheaper than ever before. Particularly when it comes to allowing people with similar interests and levels of motivation to find one another.

While human politics isn't likely to change baring some major biotech or gene engineering innovations, the IT revolution is opening up all sorts of possibilities for new structure of governance. Of new and potentially streamlined forms of all the bureaucratic machinery that actually gets things done, from defense to sewage and roads and schools. Previous technological revolutions gave us hierarchies of professional priests who doubled as scribes and mediators; medieval courts with kings and appointed nobles versed in administering law; and 19th century-style bureaucracies made possible by industrial organizational methods and manufactured goods like typewriters, telephones, telegraphs and trains. Software, social media, and digital networks hold similar transformative possibilities for us in the present, if we care to use them and start in the long and sometimes bumpy road of evolving a governance system to match our new technological age.

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