Open source democracy presentation, Ola Tjornbo


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  • I wanted to thank Victor for organizing this panel and also to say that the title 'beyond the hype is very apt. Because there is no doubt that social media has a huge potential to change human society in some quite radical ways, and that it is changing society. But it is also an emerging phenomenon that's moving very fast, faster than acadaemia can keep up with, and its a movement that has no shortage of cheerleaders so getting beyond the hype is difficult. In this presentation I want to look at the potential of social media to help create a more resilient society, but also to try to look critically at the phenomenon and suggest one way of getting beyond the hype.
  • So lets start with the hype – and the hype has grown extremely loud lately with recent events in the middle east and paticularly in egypt where facebook played a big part in sparking off the movement that ousted Mubarrak Many commentators have taken this opportunity tht social media is now about to change the world for the better
  • One vision of this change is the idea of open source democracy. The term was coined by Douglas Rushkoff and I have a couple of his quotes up here. Basically this is a vision of citizen led democracy. Its an idea that should be appealing to resilience scholars since it is a good fit with ideas such as adaptive governance and adaptive management. Are we moving into n era of open source resilience. What might that look like? Is this going to happen- well we need a way to look critically at this emerging phenomenon and to look at the real potentials and challenges associated with using social media to build resilience.
  • The way I've been doing that is to look at the basic social building block of the social media movement. Social media on its own is just a tool and doesn't tell us much about how it will be used. But for a social scientist like me VSNs do. Definition. What's unique about VSNs – each node can communicate instantly with any other node in the network or the whole network – size, position of nodes, geographic scale
  • Wikipedia – collectice knowledge and intelligence Polymath – collective problem solving Kiva - long tail resource mobilization Mybarackobama – political mobilization
  • Polymath project and most examples of successful VSN collaboration don't involve real conflicts of interest. Clear evaluation metrics and agrred on methods of arriving at the right answer – Wikipedia shows what happens if you don;t have that Wikipedia can contain misinformation – and its not even tackling anything that complex – newspaper comments section full of poorly informed opinion
  • Open source democracy presentation, Ola Tjornbo

    1. 1. Open Source Democracy – Virtual problem solving and deliberation Ola Tjornbo Balsillie School of International Affairs
    2. 3. Open Source Democracy <ul><li>Rushkoff: “ We are heading not towards a toppling of the democratic, parliamentary or legislative processes, but towards their reinvention in a new, participatory context” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We move from simply following the law to understanding the law, to actually feeling capable of writing the law </li></ul>OPEN SOURCE RESILIENCE?
    3. 4. Virtual Social Networks (VSNs) <ul><li>Virtual social networks: groups of people who communicate using computing devices linked by non-physical ties </li></ul>
    4. 5. What can VSNs do? <ul><li>VSNs severely reduce the costs of communication and increase the scope of possible participation in networks, creating new possibilities for collaborative action and problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul><ul><li>Polymath </li></ul><ul><li>Kiva </li></ul><ul><li>Mybarackobama </li></ul>
    5. 6. What can't VSNs do? <ul><li>Resolve real conflicts of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Sort good information from bad </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that people behave rationally </li></ul><ul><li>Provide face-to-face interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent abuses of power </li></ul>
    6. 7. VSNs and Resilience: using VSNs to solve complex problems <ul><li>Building resilience involves challenges of ignorance, irrationality, coordination and power </li></ul>