Interesting event at UC Berkeley This Wednesday: Tanja Aitamuro, Research Exchange: Crowdsourcing in Policy-Making: The Impact of Blended Expertise on Law-Making Process

This talk reports on a study about the impact of crowdsourcing on a law-making process in Finland. In the studied process, the off-road traffic law reform was opened for public participation in Finland by the Ministry of the Environment. The citizens were first asked to share their experiences and problems with off-road traffic and the regulating law on an online platform.

Then the participants were asked to share solutions for those problems. Crowdsourcing resulted into 500 ideas, over 4,000 comments and 24,000 votes, which were analyzed and evaluated both by the crowd by using a new tool called CrowdConsensus and by a globally distributed expert panel. The talk discusses deliberative aspects in crowdsourcing and the usefulness of blended expertise, i.e. the mixture of the crowd’s and experts’ knowledge, in law-making. Furthermore, the talk discusses the concepts of representation and legitimacy in a crowdsourced policy-making process.

The Finnish experiment is one of the first empirical studies about crowdsourcing in legislative processes. Such democratic innovations hold the potential to improve citizen empowerment and participation in the age of democratic recession and deteriorating political institutions. More about the Finnish experiment here:

From the CITRIS mission statement:

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) creates information technology solutions for many of our most pressing social, environmental, and health care problems.

CITRIS was created to “shorten the pipeline” between world-class laboratory research and the creation of start-ups, larger companies, and whole industries. CITRIS facilitates partnerships and collaborations among more than 300 faculty members and thousands of students from numerous departments at four University of California campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz) with industrial researchers from over 60 corporations. Together, the groups are thinking about information technology in ways it’s never been thought of before.

CITRIS works to find solutions to many of the concerns that face all of us today, from monitoring the environment and finding viable, sustainable energy alternatives to simplifying health care delivery and developing secure systems for electronic medical records and remote diagnosis, all of which will ultimately boost economic productivity. CITRIS represents a bold and exciting vision that leverages one of the top university systems in the world with highly successful corporate partners and government resources.

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The event will be live broadcast. The hashtag is #CITRISRE. Or view that talk later on YouTube.