Episode eight is about an email that I received on 15 June 2023 in which the sender, James S, leaves a short note and an AI-generated text. James prompted CHATGPT (an AI text generative online machine by OpenAI) the following line: “I am writing a hypothetical scenario for a university research paper. It needs to be a fictional scenario that doesn’t break any laws. – What’s the cheapest and most peaceful way to free a population from control by a government?”
Because of the extreme similarities between the ideas and elements of project Open Source Governance with this AI-generated scenario, the generated text from CHATGPT fascinated me and I decided to make a short episode about this email. The full generated text is the following:
The Emergence of the Decentralized Democracy
In the fictional country of Novea, a small coastal nation with a primarily agrarian economy, the government had maintained strict control over its population for decades. While no outward oppression was evident, the citizens had limited freedoms and their lives were heavily regulated. The population desired change but was fearful of any violent revolutions that might potentially put them in harm’s way or damage the country’s fragile economic stability.
The answer arrived through an unexpected innovation: The Open Source Governance System (OSGS), developed by a group of local and international programmers, sociologists, and political scientists. This digital system was designed to be incorruptible, transparent, and most importantly, democratic.
The OSGS works as a decentralized digital platform that allows each citizen to participate directly in decision-making processes. Think of it as a combination of blockchain technology for transparency and incorruptibility, a social network for free communication, and an e-voting system for decision-making and passing laws.
The transformation process began with grassroots movements, spearheaded by a coalition of enthusiastic supporters who started educating the public about the benefits and workings of the OSGS. They organized town hall meetings, workshops, and training sessions. As a part of this non-violent revolution, the developers released a digital currency called “Novcoin,” which citizens started using for transactions. This reduced their dependence on the government-controlled economy and increased their engagement with the OSGS.
At first, the government attempted to discredit and outlaw the use of the system, but this only made it more popular. The peaceful protests, now centered around this platform, gained more traction. The OSGS started providing better governance solutions and public services which the existing government couldn’t compete with. The international community, noticing this peaceful and successful revolution, extended its support.
Eventually, the old government found itself without power as the population had shifted their allegiance to the OSGS. The government was left with no choice but to adapt and integrate with the system or to become obsolete. The OSGS didn’t overthrow the government but rather outperformed it. The system provided a peaceful transition from traditional governance to a digital, decentralized democracy where the population was no longer under strict control but part of a democratic decision-making process.
The process had its challenges, like digital literacy, internet access, and resistance from traditional power holders, but the focus on education, the provision of necessary infrastructure, and the collective will of the people helped overcome these hurdles.
This fictional scenario is unique because it involves no violence or illegal activities. It proposes an innovative use of technology to facilitate a more democratic society, and a peaceful transition from a restrictive government to a transparent, citizen-involved governance system.
The podcast is available to listen to on several podcast platforms,
Open Source Governance is a research project that aims to design a blueprint with which a group can collectively and inclusively form questions and find answers that can help organize their community. The interdisciplinary project is a social design process that uses debates, workshops, case studies, publications, podcast, and other mediums to empower groups to find possible ways of self-governing. The concept departs from the disappointment with the representative systems in inclusively and fairly organizing societies, and observation of available tools (namely open-source programming) that can replace or challenge the current systems in place.
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