Delivering Improved Democracy through Technology

jel, adiffer

AMPU Project - 'The Problem Being Solved.'

For a while now, many people have been bored with voting, and with the governments and political parties for which they can vote. Some say people simply don't care enough about their future to take an hour or so to vote, but many think that is plainly ridiculous. A few reporters have even suggested that the process isn't enough "fun".

Others think the problem is the opposite one. People have come to understand the system all too well. Many have said that democracy as we know it is inadequate. Many people are beginning to see the cracks in the system, even if they aren't yet fully aware of the cause of those cracks. In short, we have outgrown the typical versions of democracy in use, just as we outgrew everything before it.

What we need is a new system, one that builds on much of what has been done before -- not a revolution, per se, but an evolution.

jel, adiffer

AMPU Project - 'Why Solve The Problem?'

Some solutions to problems faced by direct and representative democracies cannot keep up with our demands in an ever more complex society. Others were ahead of their time, if a little flawed. Now, with the advent of the Internet, the time for improvement upon democracy has finally come. It is time for people to make decisions on their own.

A more direct solution allowing people to vote upon decisions they care about, and let others handle things for which they care little is within reach of technology today. Such a solution will encourage people to vote in a manner they already prefer while avoiding some of the organizational blockages that otherwise discourage them.


AMPU Requirements Specification - 'A Case Study'

We are intent on developing a tool for the support of direct decision making by large populations for a open-ended range of issues. This tool will enable users to create new decisions to be made, express an interest in existing ones, and vote on them when the time comes. This tool will support decisions to be made via direct democracy and through a representative system using juries directly chosen to make them. The tool will maintain a library of decisions, supporting documents. It will also maintain the relationships between decisions, the groups making them, and other related decisions.

When a user first plans a choice to be made, they record the high level details concerning the choice into the tool or choose an already described choice as a template for their new one. After defining a choice the user proceeds to categorize the choice according to lists available for voting style, documentation needs, and other resource issues. The user then proceeds to relate their choice to others listed in the tool as the need arises.

The tool will verify whether the choice definition, categorization, and related links are meaningful and reject those that are not. Any that are meaningful will start down the road toward their conclusion.

Once a meaningful choice has been established, the system will run a variety of related events including advertising of the issue in related choice domains, handling of document storage and retrieval requests, and the details concerning the actual vote. The tool will make use of whatever distributed resources are registered as available and that it deems necessary to produce the results required for a related event. Any user will be able to check up on the state of a choice at any time by submitting a request for related information to the tool. When so requested, the tool will gather a snapshot of the choice in its current state and deliver it to the user.

During the run of a defined choice, a user may interact with their choices through an established set of commands available to them through a user interface. Other users participating in a choice may interact through a limited user interface that blocks them from administrative commands for choices they did not define.

Assuming the choice encounters no administrative conflicts, it will run to completion with or without administrative interaction, archive its components, and then deliver its results to the location specified by the administrative user.