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    • The following is a passage from demonstrating the possibilities of an emergent web helping citizens become more resonant with their government.

      "Where we could interact directly with a passage from pending legislation with the ability to turn on layers of context providing insight into committee sponsor benefactors, lobbyist involvement, preferred contractors, related legislation, and topic related member voting records. With access to a feedback tool to invite community members into the thread allowing legislators to identify contributors for panel discussions, creating associative trails of civic discourse." Link to passage -

      In a representative democracy (and federal republic for the U.S.) we vote for people to represent our interests through the policies they put forth but is our influence not stifled when we build more of a relationship with the legislator over that of the legislation they draft? Now that we have tools of mobility and immersibility shouldn't we be focusing on building tools to help understand the dymamics of what is written versus what is only being said?

      This question posed on Twitter.

    • Interesting, Paul. You got me on an hours-long quest to understand more about what the emergent web means in terms of actual applications. I watched this keynote that Tim Berners Lee gave a couple of weeks ago:

      It looked to me like he lost the audience and they were talking to each other and looking down at their stuff. However, I found it interesting, especially the conflicts he outlines near the end between free speech and bullying, freedom of the press and manufacturing fake news for profit. He paid tribute to Wikipedia and how it works, which I think has some parallels to how Cake works (completely free speech on Wikipedia does not lead to accurate information).

      The idea of the emergent web reminds me of when John Warnock, founder of Adobe, came over to NeXT to demo a new application to me and Steve Jobs called Carousel. It was hard for us to understand and we felt pretty dumb because we knew John was smart. But Carousel went nowhere with its launch, they changed its name to PDF and it went nowhere again.

      So they moved an Adobe saleswoman from Chicago to their San Jose HQ: Judy Kirkpatrick. I've told her all about Panel conversations to try and get her help.

      She hired an agency to help market PDF. They asked what it's for. She gave a long answer about color management and printer support. They said wrong answer. Too complex. So she arranged a meeting between them and Warnock. They asked for the elevator speech. He said there is no building tall enough to explain it in an elevator, it's too rich and has too many benefits. They said wrong answer. They were looking for one simple, compelling thing. Neither Judy nor John could give it to them.

      So they went away and came up with it on their own: Exactly. It's the only file format in the world that looks exactly the same on every printer and every computer. And thus their tagline Exactly was born. And thus PDF took over the world because exactly was the one thing everyone wanted.

    • I guess it is degrees of representation I am concerned with. Pixar seems to do a hell of a job with their employees by fostering an ultra collaborative environment, where they include the entire company in the decision making process and they certainly have a few wins under their belt. In my opinion involving a constituent in the making of the bread is at the very core of the tenets set forth by the founding fathers and the philosophers of the enlightenment. Micro managing to me is an approach not a means. I would absolutely not recommend tools to encourage constituents to get in the way of legislative affairs but to add to it. Which is why I believe a ranking system would be important in the toolset to allow the legislator to easily tune out the noise and cut to the feedback directly addressing the topic at hand. But yes there is always two sides to a coin and technology will always have its drawbacks just like the state of being human.

    • You have no idea how much I struggle with the very core of what you bring up. I fully realize how much I am fighting the trend-line in all of these ideas. People don't want to hear these things. I really don't think technologists want to hear it either. And even the people who believe in these ideas are going to look at my background and lack of credentials and wonder who the hell invited this guy to the party. But I just can't shake it. Actually I couldn't if I wanted to. I have been loosely chasing these ideas for 15 years but the technology was never available to pull it off. But about a year and half ago I started to see some of the core technologies taking shape, especially in mobile and immersive and started to dig back into trying to figure out what it was I was going after. Then I started to dig into Bush, Engelbart and Nelson again but this time I dug deeper and realized these ideas are now within the realm of possibilities. Then I stumbled upon Steven Johnson's book Emergence and pretty much realized how closely these ideas from the past were aligned with the natural flow of information. Just like the fractal patterns of a mobile antennae mimicking the patterns of mother nature to achieve a better signal, why are we not building these technologies to do the same.

      It is so clear to me but I am afraid of a very muddy landscape. Not that I am smarter than anyone else. Actually quite the contrary, but I do see something that I believe people much smarter than I could build. And I believe I have a way to explain it if I can get the right feedback to beat the crap out of these ideas to make it more palatable and condensed!! Here is the point. I firmly believe the solution is a demand problem not a supply one. To put some of these technologies into the hands of everyday people and let them render something they didn't think they could do. What happens when one constituent feels they were part of that legislation that was passed? What happens when they invite a peer into another piece of legislation? If people are using technology won't technologists figure out a way to build more of it?

      The problem is who is going to want to fund this or other emergent technologies like this? I believe if it had a proper arc behind it with a proper proof of benefit as I cite in my paper, maybe social impact investors could see the payoff beyond only the monetary. But I also believe money could be made on this model if the goods and services really spoke to the interests of the user with the ability to tune in what resonates.

      There is a distinct possibility I am out of my depth, I do realize this but I am practicing what I preach since I believe the power of a better society is in each one of us reaching further than what others expect of us.

      Anyhow Chris, I would just like to say how much I appreciate your interactions. I just get a sense that the level of your character matches the level of your background. I bet that is hard to come by in your neck of the woods!!! I would still love to have that coffee if the offer still stands when I make it into town.

    • Yes, I'm all in for coffee.

      One thing I'm not sure Tim Berners Lee and the rest fully appreciate is the power of money in all this. It doesn't take many visits with investors here in the valley to understand that 95% of their investment decisions are based on growth, growth at any cost. They invest big in services like Yik Yak and Secret and Reddit, no matter how many scandals. I know Zuck and Cheryl are taking it on the chin for all the scandals at Facebook, but the investors cheered on that growth, sit on their boards and know how they got it.

      Some very small things that involve money lead to some very big outcomes that no one sees coming.

    • Yeah I bet you have been in the trenches. At one point I was discounting the power of money in my writing but then realized money could be the best friend of progress. Just wish there was a way to demonstrate personal growth through the use of technology. Am I too much of an optimist to think a social impact investor would consider that even a factor if it could be measured? One of my missions in finally stating to put my writing out there is to take what I learn and move it back into the ideas. Your feedback has always been on point and very helpful.