Wegetit becomes real
A technology I imagined for the Hieroglyph anthology is being built
The super-cool hackers over at queeriouslabs.net have coded an experiment based on one of my stories!
Back in 2014 I published "Degrees of Freedom," in the farsighted short story anthology Hieroglyph (which was edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer). The story is about indigenous rights, self-government, and new technologies for governance, and man did it have legs! It's still being taught at a couple of universities and garnered interest from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among other entities.
Now, the adventurous hackers over at queeriouslabs.net have built a test version of it! You can try it for free over at the We Get It website.
In the story, wegetit.com is a popular site that's used as a kind of funnel to feed discussions into policy-generating forums. You can have conversations about any subject on wegetit, but one of the things it does is expect you to define your terms. In other words, when I used the word "liberal" in this post, what do I mean by it? When you use it in your reply, what do you mean? The theory is that the permanent rolling meltdown of understanding we see in social media is largely the result of people misunderstanding what each other mean by very basic words. I say something I think is innocuous, you get triggered by it because a word I understand one way is read by you in an entirely different way. And it goes back and forth, amplifying mistrust and enmity.
Wegetit tries to dampen out this feedback system by guaranteeing that people understand what each other mean, not just read what each other say. This first version is very bare-bones, but that's how systems are developed. You can just give it a whirl and see where it leads you. I'm playing with it and having a great time.