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Once upon a time in the cybarium

It was Jean's day to be a politician.

Slipping from the shower into his cyber-grid suit, he saw the day's tasks fly around the walls of his cybarium. Agreeable tasks were butterflies of many hues or birds of paradise; less agreeable ones had fewer colours. After a brief flight, the avatars grouped themselves into different parts of the room. He telepathically signalled to one bright bird; his local school authority file streamed onto one wall of the cybarium. Today there would be a virtual gathering of the governing body which he chaired. He liked local politics because he knew many of the people personally. That helped when they worked in virtual space.

He allocated a lower priority to his role in national politics, so this avatar was a large moth. Without prompting, it flew in and files opened on another wall. An azure jewel flashed on the wall. He needed to speak to Antje before the meeting that day when there would be a vote on a new feature of the welfare system. Thanks to the simulations performed using the welfare system's huge datasets, and enterprising performance artists, it was now possible to dramatize the different outcomes in order to help public understanding. Feedback had been positive on his group's proposal and even Antje's people seemed on side. Yes, the CyberU course had been a good idea, as it had opened a pathway to all this.

His mind slipped forward to tomorrow, when he'd be back at his day-job working in the city’s sewers. He liked the contrast between the virtualness of his political time and the physicality of the sewer system. His mind wandered briefly to his crew and the sim-game demonstrator based on the sewer network they were pitching. He was inclined to think that the Venezuelan venture capitalist was right about reducing the level of realism…


Analytical skills of digital natives are not as great as their digital knowledge. This can be critical in a system more and more characterised by new forms of direct democracy.

The speeding up of politics implies a loss of the deliberative space which representative democracy does well. 

Part-time/split-time work for political involvement


The possibility for people to come together in new ways and get involved in running their own affairs.

Greater citizen involvement, improved deliberation and consultation, fewer perverse effects.




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Underpinning policy ideas