[pp.int.general] Agora Voting System for a Liquid Democracy at FOSDEM

lilo al3lilo at autistici.org
Wed Feb 2 16:20:55 CET 2011

On 01/02/2011 14:38, Félix Robles wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 11:47 AM, Daniel Riaño <danielrr2 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Will the DNI be of some use for the spreading of some kind of direct
>> democracy? The encryption system chosen for the digital DNI suggests
>> otherwise.
> I don't understand that statement.

do you know "vilfredo goes to athens"?

With my friend Pietro we shall try to present Vilfredo and give a
demonstration at the opensourceday2011:


anybody else will be coming? some Pirates from Copenaghen?


yesterday i'd send the mail, i paste it below  FYI:

Open Democracy, Open Questions, Open Society:
The Next Revolution.

Pietro Speroni di Fenizio 1, Alessandra LiLo 2.
1 CISUC, Department of Informatics Engineering, University of Coimbra,
speroni at dei.uc.pt;
2 Italian Pirate Party -  Fusolab hacklab - Via Pitacco 29 - Rome - Italy
al3lilo at autistici.org

We would like to present a tutorial talk with a demo on a participative
collaborative platform that can be used to achieve consensus. The
platform is called Vilfredo goes to Athens (sometimes shortened as
Vilfredo, or Vg2A, VgtA) and is available at http://vilfredo.org, while
the code is open source and available at googlecode
(http://code.google.com/p/vilfredo-goes-to-athens/). The project was
presented at the ePart conference, and the paper is available at

In this project we explore the possible alternative ways in which people
can reach an agreement. Democracy, both representative democracy and
direct democracy are based on voting theory. Which starts from the
assumption that we know what options are to the issue in hand, and we
vote among them. Thus the question that is being asked is always a
closed question. Either, “Which of those alternatives do you prefer?”,
“Which of those politicians do you prefer?”, or “Do you agree on ... ?“.
This makes perfect sense in a world where communication comes with a
high cost, but on the time of the internet we can start to imagine what
kind of society could be designed if everybody had access to the
internet, all the time. We are rapidly moving toward that kind of
society. In such society communication is instant, and cheap, and
horizontal. This should, is, and will redefine democracy from its most
basic foundations and assumptions.

To give an example, consider than in the United States the reason why
the people do not elect directly the president, is for a reminiscence of
old technological reasons. American Citizens elect the grand electors,
which then elect the president 40 days later. This because 40 days was
the time necessary to go to Washington from the state of the Union that
was further away at the time (Maine). Similarly in Ireland the
parliament only meets two days a week. This to permit to the politicians
to go back to their hometown, and report what has been done. The trip,
back and forth, taking 1 day in each direction, again by horse.

As communication becomes cheap it does not just change the way speed at
which consultation are taken, but the strategy itself can and will
change. Already citizens are asking and expecting to see the bill of
laws that are about to pass to be able to comment on them, before they
are voted by the parliament.

But a more fundamental change is about to happen, and many people are
working toward it. The idea that the government asks a question, and
then the people, through the internet, using online collaborative tools
find an answer that has a wide support, and then the government ratifies
such answer. Sometimes the people will not reach an agreement over a
single answer, but will present the politicians with a rose of
possibilities, among which then the government decides. Such a strategy
completely turns onto its head democracy as we are used to it, without
needing big structural or constitutional changes.

In this presentation we intend to show a possible system to achieve just
this, Vilfredo goes to Athens. This system is a human based genetic
algorithm, which, given an open question, will let participants propose
answer, vote on each other answer, and then select a subset of them. It
should be noted that the subset presented will not be simply the most
popular answers, but a rose such that everybody who participated will
find at least an answer he has voted for in the rose. As such we can say
that the rose is representative of the whole community. Then this rose
is presented back to the participants, asking them to use them as
inspiration to write new proposals, and so on. In this way each
participant is both a person proposing an answer, an evaluator and a
person trying to find acceptable compromise among existing answers. The
system uses the biological metaphor of evolution to help participants
find an agreement. Proposals “evolve” as they are written, voted, and
rewritten to accommodate other proposals. In this way solution that
originally were unknown to any participant are discovered and evaluated.
The process ends when either a solution is (or more solutions are) found
such that everybody voted for it (them). Or the process enters into a
cycle with few un-reconcilable proposals being presented over and over.
When this happen we say that the system has reached a final result and
we present the result to whoever has asked the question.

We would like to offer a demo of the system, a tutorial, accompanied to
a presentation.  Probably between one hour and a half, and two hours
will be needed. Both the authors will need to be present, so that while
one (Pietro) focuses on the presentation, the other (Alessandra) can
help with the tutorial.

Dr. Pietro Speroni di Fenizio has a Doctorat from Jena University in
bioinformatics, a master in evolutionary and adaptive systems from
Sussex University and an italian Laurea in mathematics. Is now working
as a research assistant in the faculty of Informatics engineering of
Coimbra University where he focuses on tools for online collaborative
problem solving.

Alessandra Minoni (a.k.a. Lilo) has an italian Laurea  in economics from
the University "La Sapienza" in Rome. Has been working for 10 years in
server architecture ex-napster (OpenNap protocol) for file sharing and
digital rights.
Follows with interest, and is a well known figure in the development
communities as ls-LUG (GNU/Linux Users Group LaSapienza), hackit
(hackmeeting) and Ninux (ninux.org independent wireless network)
Since 2006 enthusiastically handles the PR for the Italian Pirate Party,
as the administrator  of its social fan page on Facebook and its twitter
Recently follows with interest the development of the metagovernment
system “Vilfredo goes to Athens”, with interests both for the technical,
ethic and philosophical side.

registered GNUlinux user #527294
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freesoftware means LOVE :^)

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