Policy Modeling through Collaboration and Simulation

New paper on “Bridging narrative scenario texts and formal policy modeling through conceptual policy modeling” in Artificial Intelligence and Law.

Abstract: “Engaging stakeholders in policy making and supporting policy development with advanced information and communication technologies including policy simulation is currently high on the agenda of research. In order to involve stakeholders in providing their input to policy modeling via online means, simple techniques need to be employed such as scenario technique. Scenarios enable stakeholders to express their views in narrative text. At the other end of policy development, a frequently used approach to policy modeling is agent-based simulation. So far, effective support to transform narrative text input to formal simulation statements is not widely available. In this paper, we present a novel approach to support the transformation of narrative texts via conceptual modeling into formal simulation models. The approach also stores provenance information which is conveyed via annotations of texts to the conceptual model and further on to the simulation model. This way, traceability of information is provided, which contributes to better understanding and transparency, and therewith enables stakeholders and policy modelers to return to the sources that informed the conceptual and simulation model.”

Hacktivists as Gadflies

Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, in the New York Times: “Hacktivists, roughly speaking, are individuals who redeploy and repurpose technology for social causes….For some reason, it seems that the government considers hackers who are out to line their pockets less of a threat than those who are trying to make a political point….The law, as interpreted by the prosecutors, makes it a felony to use a computer system for “unintended” applications, or even violate a terms-of-service agreement. That would theoretically make a felon out of anyone who lied about their age or weight on Match.com…In a world in which nearly everyone is technically a felon, we rely on the good judgment of prosecutors to decide who should be targets and how hard the law should come down on them. We have thus entered a legal reality not so different from that faced by Socrates when the Thirty Tyrants ruled Athens, and it is a dangerous one. When everyone is guilty of something, those most harshly prosecuted tend to be the ones that are challenging the established order, poking fun at the authorities, speaking truth to power — in other words, the gadflies of our society.”

June 1: National Day of Civic Hacking

From Peter Welsch at the White House: “On the first weekend in June, civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the country will gather together for the National Day of Civic Hacking. By combining their expertise with new technologies and publicly released data, participants hope to build tools that help others in their own neighborhoods and across the United States”.

Apply for the National Day of Civic Hacking at the White House. The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Friday, April 19.