How Technology Will Impact Politics in the Coming Decade
When the internet, social networks and connectivity rose, I predicted it would lead to a world that was more united than ever.But it has not played out the way I expected.
Instead of a world united, it appears we live in a world that is more polarized and divided than ever before.Technology has given us access to more information and communication than ever before.Rather than understanding each other better, though, we have used it to entrench into our chosen groups even more.
What will the coming decade bring?
Technology and Politics
The days of relying on radio, television, mailers or in-person encounters with politicians to understand their policies appear dead. While those things still take place, the younger generation is heading online to get information.
It is why the rise of misleading information on social networks is so troubling, both to the average person and the networks themselves. People can be incredibly well informed on issues through the internet. But they can also be misled by false information.
One aspect of the internet that I expect to change is the way we get political news. As people continue to distrust various news sources and social networks, it is possible we will see bipartisan attempts to create places where people can get honest, reliable and verifiable news.
It is unclear what those places would look like in the modern internet. Will social networks such as Facebook and Twitter lead the way? Will the mainstream media try to reclaim its credibility? It is possible. But it is also possible that a new player will emerge.
Registering and Voting Online
Many cities, states and countries already use electronic voting. But it is still done at locations, where people must go if they want to cast their vote. Registration can be a similarly complicated process.
I expect these processes will get a lot easier for people to manage, as technology’s role in politics grows. Perhaps it will take a decade, but I expect we will soon live in a world where voting online is possible.
Instead of having to go to the voter booth, someone will be able to register and then cast their vote in various elections from their computer, smartphone or other digital device.
How these systems will be created and safeguarded is anyone’s best guess. But I am sure of a future where they will exist. As we attempt to get more people interested and invested in politics, making it easier to vote is a key way of doing so.
Rural vs. Urban
The divide between rural and urban voters is already very real. In most nations, the votes cast by people in major cities differ from those who live in other parts of the country.
As technology gets even more widespread and rural communities face struggles that are unique to those experienced by city-folk, those ideological gaps will only increase. And with most of the population in developed nations centering around major cities, it will be fascinating to see how rural folk are able to advance their own interests.