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In 1931, Aldous Huxley conceived of a world unimaginable to those who lived in his time. This vision, albeit dystopian, rested on a fundamental restructuring of the foundations on which society was established. Driving the changes that upended the society he envisioned were technological advancements that humanity hadn’t seen for nearly half a century.

Until now.

We live in an age where that re-imagination is a necessity. Tech is changing the world. Now more than ever, the accelerating pace of technological change is forcing a new transformation of society, both economic and political.

Modern market dynamics can be described by…


People hear what they want to hear. And that’s especially true with Facebook.

When I think back to my attitude towards Donald Trump, it began with my Newsfeed. I remember seeing article upon article about how he was a racist, sexist, islamophobic, sexually assaulting bigot. Many of the articles I saw were outright fake or had unsubstantiated claims. I didn’t believe them, but after a while of reading the same thing over and over and over again you begin to construct a persona of someone who seems shady.

Luckily I’m actually interested in politics so I double check and confirmed…


No. Compulsory anything in America is too tough and too politically costly to implement. We just had a fight over compulsory healthcare which every other OECD country on earth has, and it’s proven to give better results, yet we still complained about it violating our fundamental freedoms.

The American way to do this would use incentives to ‘strongly convince’ them to vote, having the same effect. Instead of compulsory voting, I would propose we have a national holiday on election day, like Puerto Rico. …


UGBA 39E Final Project

For our final project, we came up with potential innovations that would tackle the perceived overly-bureaucratic administrative system of the University of California, Berkeley.

We quickly came to the conclusion that transparency needed to be the at the center of our solution. As one of the members of the Student Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Education, and someone with an interest in understanding education policy, I’m well aware of the shared governance model that we follow. The university actively seeks out faculty and student opinion, but only deals with the appointed representatives for each constituency — posting their dealings on an…


Near Doe Libary from my instagram: @ali_wetrill

I want to take a second for us to stop panicking about the fact that we have a President Trump. Instead let’s think about how we have such partisan vitriol throughout our country, and not just in Washington. How did we get here? Why is it so hard for us to accept this reality (yes — sadly it is a reality) and how did no-one see this coming.

When I first came to campus last year I had just read Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, in which he talks about the ultimate manifestation of power in a prison model that…


Icelandic Crowdsourced Constitution — Promotional Picture

It’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it

I’m not sure who exactly said that, but it encapsulates the theme of political (and therefore constitutional) reform. Reflecting on this article, it presents the Tunisian constitution as more ‘progressive’ than the US’s, it was written in 2014 looking forward. We can now observe that the Tunisian constitution wasn’t as successful as we expected it to be. The country is still focused on maintaining basic security as their neighbors devolve into chaos. …


A GOTV strategy is crucial. After all, it stands for ‘Get Out the Vote’ and without votes, you’d be hard pressed to win an election. But what’s surprised me from this week’s readings is the lack of coverage on the evolution of the process.

Some background: In both 2008 and 2012, Obama’s team came up with some of the best GOTV efforts this nation has ever seen. In 2008, the Obama team made a massive leap in the first step of GOTV efforts — identification. Campaigns have limited resources and have to figure out who exactly they should use their…


Hacking an election is absurdly easy. Here’s how.

For those of us who envision voting online with the click of a button, this poses serious challenges. Although there is already plenty of voter suppression, through strict voter ID laws, lack of polling places, or unreasonable voter registration deadlines, there’s something deeply disturbing about having an outside force decide the state of our election. A good example of a country that’s dealing with this conundrum is Estonia.

This summer, I worked on a civic tech startup as part of the European Innovation Academy. Through that program I was able to talk…


Are people really just not that interested? A study by Google’s Civic Innovation research group gives a more precise metric — 48.9% of American’s are ‘interested bystanders.’ Reading the key elements of what characterizes these people makes me believe that you can start calling them a customer segment. After reading this article the convention of ‘people just aren’t that interested in civic tech’ seemed less plausible. If you want to work in civic tech you have to believe that’s not entirely true, but this close to confirms it, telling us that we just haven’t found the right solution which combines…


https://btcmanager.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Blockchain-Technologies-to-work-on-Blockchain-Based-Voting-System7.jpg

Is the future of politics a platform based technology? Blockchain technology seems to be that technological breakthrough that upends traditional representative democracy through secure direct voting. If you read enough articles by the civic tech, thinktank and public policy community, you might conclude that blockchain is in fact the future of politics.

Now consider reading the literature by the startup community. Blockchain is talked about as revolutionary, but never in the field of politics. Instead they see potential in its application to the financial system — a way of decentralizing asset purchases in order to create transparency and ultimately decrease…

Ali

Just a few thoughts // aliahmed.io

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