Hello, everyone, at the 2018 OTF Summit. The conference is here not only in Taiwan for the first time but also in Asia for the first time.

This confirms that — while our efforts are making Taiwan more open, transparent and free — those efforts have also had a positive spillover effect on the surrounding areas and the international community.

First of all, I want to share some good news with you.

  1. After the WEF (World Economic Forum) listed Taiwan as one of the four global super innovators on October 17, Japan’s Waseda University also released the annual international digital government evaluations on October 27. Taiwan is ranked 9th. …


Two years ago, our President Tsai Ing-wen said an inspiring statement in her inauguration speech. She said:

Before, democracy was a clash between two opposing values, but now democracy must become a conversation between many different values.

Indeed, in conventional thinking, social benefits and business profits are opposite forces and often contradict each other, forcing the government to make tradeoffs.

However, the idea of social innovation brings a brand new way of thinking.

For people working on social innovation, the core objective may be achieved by developing business models to address social issues or environment issues, and the government’s role has changed. …


Building Empathy and Attunement through VR

Hello, I’m Audrey Tang. I’m very happy to be here, virtually, to talk about the work I’ve been doing throughout the year: using virtual reality for civic deliberation.

First presented at #OGP16, Paris

Deliberation — listening to each other deeply, thinking together and working out something that we can all live with — is magical.

In a high-quality deliberation, participants become immune to propaganda and misinformation, and feel a sense of deep connection long after the event.

Unfortunately, the magic of deliberation often excludes people who are physically absent.

In the past couple years, we have deployed tools for translation, facilitation, and transcription so that people can watch and participate in deliberations from afar. …


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VR: Virtual Reality. It is not meant to replace human contact, but rather to provide a completely new way to interact. In the past, pencil and paper, telephone and audiovisual media have all played this role.

What is so special about VR is that it can transcend the dimensions of time and space, bringing a stronger sense of coexistence to participants, which helps foster common understanding and eventually leads to spontaneity, interaction and pursuit of the common good.

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Through VR, we can build an equal and open room for dialogue.

This not only improves the efficiency and comprehensiveness of communication, but also helps us practice many universal democratic values in the process, as we interact again and again. …


(Previous in the series: On Utopia for Public Action)

Civic hackers in the vTaiwan project — the deliberation process that solved the Uber policy issue — are volunteers working in our spare time, relying on free software and automated moderation tools.

The tools we used are proven to work well under massive scale. However, many national policies face the opposite problem.

🗞 ⚔

Uber and Airbnb are hot topics, but other public issues — such as judicial reform, land-use planning, and cultural policy — don’t get much coverage. …


Starting in 2015, an assortment of tools have reduced the costs of policy communication and made the process of negotiation more open and transparent in Taiwan.

Although there remain quite a few rooms for improvement, those endlessly creative digital tools have provided governments and communities with open spaces for policy discussion unconstrained by time or geographical limits.

Elements

Below we categorize these tools into four elements: Discussion, Survey, Transcript and Telepresence.

Discussion

Discourse, Disqus, BBS

Anyone can post a topic on the top section, and everyone else can post a reply in the bottom section, thereby forming a discussion thread. …


On August 27, 2015, I served as a co-facilitator on the 7th vTaiwan e-Rulemaking public consultation meeting, alongside Minister Jaclyn Tsai.

Modeled after Cornell’s RegulationRoom, vTaiwan is a g0v (gov-zero) project run by volunteers that works with the Taiwan administration on crowdsourcing internet-related regulations.

This time, participants crowd-sourced our meeting agenda via 4 weeks of public survey on Pol.is, complete with Uber’s own analysis on the raw data.

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1,875 online participants joined us during the two-hour live-streamed meeting with academics, industry experts, and representatives from four stakeholders:

  • Association of Taxi Drivers in Taipei — the main city in which UberX…


(French version on Le Monde: « Une expérience pionnière de démocratie numérique » à Taïwan)

I’m honored to attend the 15e édition des Rencontres Internationales de la Gestion Publique to share a few stories from Taiwan, an island with 23 million people.

Today, May 20, is the first day in office for our new president, Dr. Tsai Ing-Wen. From the January election till May, the transition of administration power took four months. …


On refactoring the social norm.

I’d like to start with a few stories of programming languages.

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As we know, Rails is built on the Ruby language. Matz created Ruby by blending his five favorite languages together: Ada, Eiffel, Lisp, Perl, and Smalltalk.

I cannot cover all of them in this 20-minute talk, so let us start with Ada.

Ada comes first in this list not only because its name starts with an “A”, but also because it was named after Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer.

In 1842, Ada wrote a program for the Analytical Engine, the first general-purpose computer ever designed but not constructed until a century later. Ada was also the first to realize that computers are not limited to work with numbers; she envisioned that people would compose music and create art on a computer. …


Cache invalidation, Troll hugging, and Reactive functions.

Be bold

In Asian culture, a lot of us feel that communicating progress is a form of boasting, since we believe that “empty vessels make the most sound”; this, however, could not be further from the truth. Share your experiences with courage, as well as a thick skin. Say something foolish — on the Internet, the best way to get attention isn’t to ask questions, but to provide the wrong answers.

If you want the opportunity to learn new things, give the wrong answer to a problem; out of nowhere, experts will materialise and correct you. …

About

Audrey Tang 唐鳳

Digital Minister @ Taiwan.

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