One of the things I’ve been obsessed about lately is thinking about the future of politics, and especially about the future of Democracy. For the past decades, we’ve been facing a huge transformation within all the industries as a result of the rise of "exponential technologies”. Continue reading...One can argue that we’re walking towards a worst society, but we can’t deny the change. It’s true: "software is eating the world". The tourism industry was disrupted by Airbnb; the transportation industry was transformed by Uber; Zomato changed the way we find restaurants; Booking.com changed the way we evaluate hotels; Google changed the way we search for information; Facebook changed the way we communicate; Coursera and a whole set of other online tools changed the Educational industry; and we could go on and on for Insurance, Medicine, Fashion, Finance… except for Politics.
The way we do politics hasn’t change much in the last decades. Of course we have new available tools like online voting systems (still not spread over lots of states) and we even have a few politicians doing things differently by, for example, talking directly with citizens over Reddit. But the overall democratic system didn’t evolve. We appoint politicians the same way; we vote the same way; we elect the same way; we’re asked opinions the same way, and as many times as before; we have the same lack of transparency (and when we don’t, it’s a crime - Wikileaks & Snowden examples); and we even have some of the same problems as before. But we now have something dramatically powerful: technology.
Democracy is the power of the people. Using Wikipedia, Democracy “originally from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) "rule of the people", which was found from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (krátos) "power" or “rule” is a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity are involved in making decisions”. But is this a reality? Democracy has necessarily to be participatory. Otherwise, if people are not involved in making decisions, it’s just an oligarchy. People are only involved if 1) they have the tools to do it 2) they feel it’s worth doing it. Today, we have neither of them. How many times we’re asked what's our opinion in any topic other than elections and rare referendums? And how many times do we feel that what people want, results in real life (the Greek Spring is a brilliant example of that)? The reasons why this happen may be a few, but the fact is that our Democracy is ruling like we still had the tools we had 50 years ago.
What does technology have to do with this?
Technology has the power to connect people, and to make them feel heard. Parlio is a great example of it: the fact that I can express my opinion in a sensitive topic as this one without any barrier is very powerful, and makes society evolve. We can use this kind of tools to spark the change. I dream with a Democracy in which a we can have transparent access to all the relevant information for the future of our country, and we can express our opinions for any topic. I dream with a Democracy that allows us to truly elect the people we trust for government. I dream with a Democracy in which people decide, and are accountable for those decisions. This is true democracy, and we’re just in the very beginning.
Let me know your thoughts and also any articles and tools you’d recommend on this.