Gov Zero - Taiwan

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= the g0v logo, has a zero with a red line through it



Jess Scully:

"Taiwan’s civic hackers were organized around a leaderless collective called g0v (pronounced “gov zero.”) Many believed in radical transparency, in throwing opaque processes open to the light, and in the idea that everyone who is affected by a decision should have a say in it. They preferred establishing consensus to running lots of majority-rule votes. These were all principles, incidentally, that parallel thinking about how software should be designed – a philosophy that g0v had begun to apply to the arena of domestic politics.

In the wake of the Sunflower Revolution, members of g0v joined the government, and one of its members, Audrey Tang, became the country’s digital minister. The worlds of power and politics began to mix with technology and hackerdom in ways never seen before in an attempt to create a new way of making political decisions.

As g0v saw it, the problem of politics was essentially one of information. Elections were too infrequent to give lawmakers much of an idea of what the public wanted. And votes, referenda, run-offs and debates often split the public down the middle. They needed a way not to measure division, but construct consensus.

Naturally, they thought the internet could offer a solution. But in Taiwan – like everywhere else – the internet was part of the problem. The kinds of online spaces where political debate happened were engineered for an entirely different purpose: to capture attention. Whether it was Twitter’s timeline, Facebook’s news feed or the recommendations on YouTube, these platforms served up information that was shocking, horrifying or crazy enough to keep people glued to their screens. And that often meant amplifying the thundering politics of division and outrage rather than the subtle complexities of compromise.

The hackers’ answer was called vTaiwan. (The “v” stands for virtual.) A mixed-reality, scaled listening exercise, it was an entirely new way to make decisions. The platform invites citizens into an online space for debate that politicians listen to and take into account when casting their votes. Government would start a new vTaiwan process on a political question it was deliberating, and Taiwanese people from across the full spectrum of opinion would join one another to discuss it online." (

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