Can 3D social media network sites engage the youth through artificial intelligence? The Citizens Foundation from Iceland created an open source software called Your Priorities. It provides citizens with a fun and interactive way of contributeing to today’s decision making processes. Róbert Viðar Bjarnason, the president of the Citizens Foundation and Gunnar Grimsson, CEO of the Citizens Foundation, hope that artificial intelligence and a 3D interface can increase youth participation in democracy in different countries all around the globe.
If you are young or old, still in the kindergarden or already have your PhD, it does not matter. Through Your Priorities, you can share your ideas of improvement for creating a better society. This is the basic idea of Your Priorities. In Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, when wanting to submit an idea, people need to identify themselves with their ID number, thus everyone can participate. Ideas range from small ideas, for example creating a new playground for the local community, to larger ideas which benefit the whole society.
However, Your Priorities is not a direct democracy, it is more a platform for crowdsourcing ideas to improve democracy in the future. Here, citizens can engage in discussions between different paticipants. This is done by firstly choosing a side, the positive or the negative one. An additional option is to add a new argument to the topic.
The Your Priorities software has been used in a some projects already, but not only in Reykjavik. In a primary school in Australia, or in Estonia’s political crisis in 2012, it played a crucial role. The participation on the platform is definitely noteworthy. In Reykjavik, the project Better Reykjavik achieved 60% participation and overall, more than 500 ideas have been not only approved, but also put into action. Ons Ben Albedelkarim from Tunisia thinks that this especially of importance since people start seeing change in society. She says “People need to see that those ideas will be discussed”. Further, it shows that Your Priorities not only works in Iceland, but also can be translated to other countries.
3D interface vs. texting
Besides the success of the software, it needs to be questioned if a 3D interface is really the optimal solution for engaging the younger generation in democracy. Simone Bernstein, the 21 years old co-founder of VolunteenNation, an organization that helps young people to find place for voluntary work, said: “Young people are more involved in texting than in commenting post on blogs and online platforms”. Nancy Lubin, the CEO of DoSomething.org , explains that we read to 100% our text messages due to this fact. Therefore, it needs to be considered if a 3D interface is a suitable solution.
But perhaps not only text messing can engage the youth; so this has to be found out. Gunnar Grimsson expressed: “Eventually we need to create a solution that enables them to use their favorite method of participating”. In one point, Grimsson is right. There are many social media networks out there, everyone has his favorite. Some prefer Twitter, others rather stick to Facebook. The Chinese, the largest internet population in thw world, use totally different networks such as Tencent Weibo. Consequently, it is clear that Your Priorities is also not the perfect solution, but can it be perfect?