Yeah, and the books.
Thank you so much, really, we really appreciate this.
We have a colleague who’s a designer, but also has a background in math. I will have to ask him if structure-preserving transformation and natural transformation are indeed the same idea. I will probably have a four-hour answer to that, but that’s OK.
Really quickly, what was the mathematical term that’s like a structure-preserving...
That’s been debated for a long time. All right?
That’s good to know. That act, you said it hasn’t been passed?
Not just to meet with you, take notes, and that kind of thing, but is there a role for our research actually to help further the kind of work that you’re doing? I think that’s the question.
About the relation between democracy and technology, and not, there’s a simplistic American narrative about that. I think there’s a much more difficult narrative that you’re living in a day-to-day way. I think a lot of our questions is, is there a role for us?
Maybe to turn it into more proactive terms, what role do you think, as western academic researchers, we might have in helping to...? For our part, we can get funding talking about things like innovation, but our heart is not with innovation. I think we’re really interested in the ...
Do you have...I think we’ve covered? You have your very last. This is about you.
Well, the US context is tied to American notions of individualism, romanticism, and those kind of things. I think maybe here, it’s a different ideological apparatus.
Of course, that’s definitely heroic...
We did it all by ourselves. [laughs] In Scandinavia, it was a collaborative effort. It’s really interesting to see the ways that governments, ideology, and then the stories that we tell about computing all tie together. I think that’s one of the things that we’re trying to ...
Yeah, that’s him. In Scandinavia, they say he co-invented object-oriented programming. If you look at American Wikipedia, it was only invented in the US.
It’s N-Y-G-A-A-R-D. The first name is K-R-I-S-T-E-N.
There was another analogue of somebody who was combining a computer science epistemology with very Scandinavian notions of what is democracy. Just another example of blurring those two lines. I think that’s something that we’re really interested in.
Also, with Scandinavian participatory design.
That’s why it’s fun to be a researcher. Just really quick, we’re almost out of time, but one thing that came to mind while we were working on the interview. Do you know Kristen Nygaard, a Norwegian? He’s one of the co-inventors of object-oriented programming.
I just need to read more, and think more about this. I don’t want to say anything stupid.
Just a young democracy?
The transition, you’re specifically referring to, from the military and from a dictatorship...
I think we were seeing things in terms of the dynamic relations, and specifically trying to counter a notion of binarisms. Rather, to see things in a more fluid and dynamic way. I’m not sure that it’s wrong, but I feel like I, at least, need to go ...
I’m not sure.
I think this is very much what Alexander is talking about.
I think what I’m hearing you describe the current generation of technology tools for direct and participatory democracy. What I’m hearing is it’s a structure preserving transformation, because what happens before is still part of it, and hasn’t been disrupted, broken, shattered, replaced, or made obsolete ...
He talks about the preservation of life or design in the same way that good design are those that take primitive forms and that transform them but that primitive structure is still there.
He has a concept that you might like called a structure-preserving transformation. He looks in nature and at things that grow. Even when something develops or transforms into something else, its initial structure is still there. It’s just now it’s more elaborate and more rich.
Have you read Christopher Alexander? Do you know who that is?
It is, yes.
Can you elaborate on that?
I didn’t understand this aspect. That helps. Is the relationship, then, between the formal governance and the more direct and participatory -- is that seen as complementary? Is it seen as all part of a single system? Are they in checks and balances? There’s that kind of relationship?
To go back to the earlier question that I asked about elderly people, that also would be a mechanism to involve them, because it actually is contiguous with...
Is it correct to say, then, that the platforms like Pol.is and the initiatives that you’re having on open government, open data, join.gov -- you don’t see them as disruptive, you see them as very much continuous with this tradition that goes back?
That might make sense. Could you talk about the early participatory and direct?
Direct participation of the sense that we can go out and protest, have petitions, and all this kind of stuff, but it’s actually very hard to effect change. It might also be part of the size of the US versus Taiwan might also be an effect.
Maybe that’s what I would like to understand a little bit better. It seems, again, growing up in the US, as an American, being told that democracy is A, B, and C, I have a very strong mental model of voting and legislation.
It’s also at the beginning?
Not really? Then...
The representatives are the ones who do a lot of the legislating, making decisions, and that kind of thing. The citizens have an indirect relationship that happens through formal processes.
It seemed to me before we met [laughs] that a way that government worked in Taiwan was similar to the US, in the sense that you elect representatives, and the representatives stand for different political ideologies or different stances.
This is a very early thought. This might be half-baked. It seems to us that there’s a way that...I’m hesitating, only because I’ve learned a lot in this conversation that’s making me rethink the question itself. I apologize if this comes out a little bit ...
One of the things that we have been reading about in the past few years for different reasons has been queer theory. We’ve just been trying to look at different things through that lens to see what we can see.
Yeah, I think so.
OK, got a picture of that. That’s good.
I think you’re right. I think it is conflated in the US as well, so I understand. Now, I can ask my question in a better way. Is it for disinformation or misinformation?
The same two words, conflated, yeah.
Cool. I want to hear about that.
Are the rumors...I can’t read this, sorry. The kind of rumors, are they fake news like we have in the US or are these more like fake health?
The Taiwan fact-checker would probably be a little bit slower and more authoritative, a little more Agile.