Tuesday, March 09, 2010
ACTV Localocracy panel
While watching the Localocracy Q&A panel (embedded above) I was surprised at how little faith some people have in the idea of crowdsourcing/"the wisdom of crowds."
For example, there were concerns about somebody stealing your identity and posting in your name. I thought Conor's response was pretty darn good-- Localocracy is as secure as in-person voting (anybody COULD walk up to the polls, give your name and address, and vote as you), and if you or any of your friends or neighbors notice that somebody has stolen your identity and is claiming to be you it is easy to resolve the problem (just tell the Localocracy team what happened and they'll sort it out).
They'll have to figure out how to scale that up, but that's not a hard problem to solve.
There were vague concerns that the political biases of the Localocracy creators might seep in and subtly influence things. Ummm.... no. Trust me, they'll be way too busy just trying to get the code working properly and figuring out how to make it a viable business; they won't have time to insert sneaky, very-hard-to-detect biasing techniques so their favorite pet issues get preferential treatment.
It also seemed like people couldn't wrap their heads around the idea that EVERYBODY was going to be "in charge." Watching the panel, several times I wanted to yell at the screen "if you don't agree with something or see some information that is wrong YOU get to fix it!" Doesn't everybody know about the success of wikipedia by now?
I hope it's just a generational thing, and that young people who have been exposed to the socially-self-controlled anarchy of Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia (and, for that matter, the entire World Wide Web) will have more faith in the power of people to organize themselves to try to make the world a better place.