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Saturday, July 28 • 4:00pm - 5:50pm
Listening at scale: the Bowling Green Civic Assembly & vTaiwan

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Narayanan, Smalls and Karaganis will discuss the recent ‘Civic Assembly’ pilot in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The Civic Assembly is based on the vTaiwan open consultation model, developed by the g0v civic tech community and the government of Taiwan. At the core of this model is a conversation tool called Polis, through which participants can state their opinions and respond to those of others. Using machine learning, Polis is able to map out and visualize the resulting set of opinions, surfacing areas of consensus and divisiveness. The Civic Assembly started with a ‘Virtual Town Hall’ conducted with Polis. Over the course of 2 weeks it saw 2000 Bowling Green residents participate, resulting in a detailed map of local concerns and the lines of agreement and disagreement that run through them.  This ‘Virtual Town Hall’ led to a face-to-face Town Hall with discussion around the results, giving local leaders the chance to respond to the concerns raised.  Conducted in collaboration with The Bowling Green Daily News, the pilot also experimented with the role of local newspapers in building a responsive local information ecosystem. In our session we will discuss the successes and challenges of this experiment, and the resulting ‘Civic Assembly’ prototype for strengthening local information ecosystems and civic engagement in small cities around the United States. A demonstration of how to use the Polis tool will follow the discussion about the Bowling Green experiment.

  • Darshana Narayanan, her, Twitter: @dznarayanan
  • Christopher Small, him, Twitter @metasoarous
  • Joe Karaganis, him, @jjkaraganis

Affiliated Organizations:
  • Polis (pol.is)
  • The American Assembly, Columbia University (americanassembly.org)
  • Bowling Green Daily News (bgdailynews.com)

avatar for Joe Karaganis

Joe Karaganis

Vice President, The American Assembly
Joe Karaganis is vice president at The American Assembly, a public policy institute at Columbia University. Most recently, he is the director of the Civic Assembly project and Open Syllabus Project and editor of Shadow Libraries: Access to Knowledge in Global Higher Education (20... Read More →
avatar for Darshana Narayanan

Darshana Narayanan

Darshana Narayanan introduces participatory decision-making practices into governments, businesses, nonprofits and communities, using behavioral insights and open-source algorithm-assisted crowd-understanding tool Pol.is. She has a Ph.D.in Psychology & Neuroscience from Princeton... Read More →
avatar for Christopher Small

Christopher Small

Co-founder, Polis
Christopher Small is the Chief Data Scientist and co-founder of Polis, an AI tool for scalably gathering and analyzing open ended feedback. He has a deep faith in the transformative power of democracy, and its his personal mission to apply his trade towards making democracy more resilient... Read More →

Saturday July 28, 2018 4:00pm - 5:50pm PDT
2nd Floor Room 222