MIT Collaboratorium

Matt Cooperrider pointed me towards this YouTube video on MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence Collaboratorium project:

In my opinion, their design is too centralized and too top-down; but I nevertheless give these folks a tremendous amount of credit, because I believe that a solution to the collaborative deliberation problem they are trying to solve could save the world. It could provide the technological foundation for a Habermasian’ ideal speech situation.  If done right–and MIT doesn’t seem far off from a great first step–it would be the social killer app.

FairVote on social media in politics

FairVote’s blog has an article summing up the use of social media in politics.

As an example of people taking the initiative and offering presidential candidates star power, through using the medium of video sharing on YouTube, the Will.I.am “Yes We Can” song endorsing Barack Obama was an instant hit. Other candidates have also had unsolicited songs inspired by them and written about them.

I would describe the tone of the post as “cautious”–in both the scope of its claims and its attitude towards technology. The most important issue it raises, in my opinion, is the question of access:

One final note of caution is whether these technologies become so cheap that it is truly for the masses or will there become a technological underclass lacking access and the skills to keep up?

A totally appropriate concern. No discussion of e-politics is complete without a mention of the digital divide. I’ve gotten into the bad habit of answering this concern with a hand-wavy, “One Laptop per Child will solve it!” But that’s an inadequate response.

Copyright infringement in the public domain

Mike Masnick at Techdirt on the topic of copyright infringement on the public domain:

…a bunch of episodes from “The Andy Griffith” show fell into the public domain. However, it was just a bunch of episodes from later seasons. Earlier seasons remained under copyright. The court ruled that since the later shows were based on the earlier shows that were still covered by copyright, the later shows could not be distributed freely. This seems like a rather perverse interpretation of copyright law.

Full post here.