Is it the birth of a paradigm shift? Much has been made about the transformation from the Internet from an informational distribution channel to an interactive medium. This transformation has changed much of our daily lives -- at least the online bits. Everything is changing. So it's said. The Internet is no longer a simple publishing mechanism. Instead, it’s become an interactive service that allows you to get the goods, information and even the social stimulation that you need -- and in this great year of unrelenting American politics, this latest take on what the web can do might just be what we need to answer the important questions.

Technical Odd Couple?

The Web can play a key role in politics. That is what the Institute for Public Dialogue seems to be asserting. Through their Public Talks initiative, they look to leverage a public dialogue as a medium of last resort, if you will. When other vehicles of diplomacy have failed, this medium would be available to facilitate a public mediation. The arguments will be published for review, providing transparency to the process.

Sounds interesting, but will it work?

There has been discussion about using this mechanism for international conflict resolution. However, in my opinion, I think that this technology would be best proven on domestic policy first. Though I think that the medium will work for international or domestic purposes, I would be concerned about what differences would exist as a result of different cultural norms. Domestically, though, there would be no question about contextuality. It would be a simpler vehicle to demonstrate the effectiveness of transparency in government. If the Internet and Web 2.0 can improve the way that we do business in everything from retail shopping to technical information dissemination, why would it not be able to improve our political landscape and accountability? Transparency in politics. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…