CNN Money (2/7) reports the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at California Polytechnic State University has released an online tool called Digital Democracy which “lets you search for issues at the state level as easily as you might search for something in Google.” The system has been rolled out in California and New York, and soon will be available in Texas and Florida. Users “can search for issues and find the hearings that mentioned a particular keyword.”
Wired (2/7) reports that the system was developed with the help of former California state legislator Sam Blakeslee, who says that legislation is often made “far from the prying eyes of” citizens. When Blakeslee left government, “he began working with students on a way to automate government accountability.” This article describes Digital Democracy as being “like YouTube for local government hearings, bolstered with a splash of artificial intelligence. Bots create transcripts of lawmakers’ every official utterance at the state house and use face recognition software to keep track of who’s speaking.”
Politico (2/7) reports that California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is backing the plan and its expansion. The article describes it as “a pioneering online video platform that allows citizens and journalists easier access to information about the government.” The AP (2/7) also covers this story.