Software Tells Politicians What People Really Want

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It's like 'The Sims.' Only political. And real. An international consortium of tech and political science experts is working on new software to help politicians figure out what their constituents actually want.

The consortium, called FUPOL, has 17 partners from Europe and China as well as $11.58 million in funding from the European Union. Using an approach based on complexity science, the partners have laid out a plan to develop advanced information and communications technologies for policy makers.

"The project proposes a comprehensive new governance model," the consortium site reads.

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The idea is that eventually the software developed for the project will be able to collect and analyze opinions expressed on the Internet in a large scale. FUPOL's a little vague about exactly how that's going to work, but mentions using tools to classify huge volumes of data generated by social networks. 

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The software should also be able to simulate the effect of a new policy or law. That means a politician could put a new proposal into the software and find out what the response will be, based on actual social networking user data.

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"The processing of information made available by social networks will change the way in which politicians communicate with the people and their decision-making processes," Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona researcher Miguel Mujica said in a statement from the university about its participation in the software development. 

Mujica specializes in systems engineering and leads the social behavior simulation modeling. "[The project] will lower the barrier between citizens and politicians," he added. 

Now, if only we had software that would let us filter pre-election mudslinging, empty promises, and twisted truths from social media sites. For the time being all we've got is an off button.

Photo Credit: jdurham

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