Essay | Technology, direct democracy, and lost potential of a truly engaged electorate

Below is an essay I recorded for my podcast which can be found at

Welcome to the Emergence, a podcast asking the question, what is possible when we are connected and in control? My name is J. Paul Duplantis and today’s episode will focus on the idea of technology helping give voice to the electorate. A concept of Direct Democracy experimented with for thousands of years yet never fully realized. What is different today is the technology at our disposal to close the gap between the will of the people and actions from the government. Technology to move influence past a reliance on lobbyists, interest groups, and bureaucratic maneuvering.

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Solid PODS ~ Applications in Development

I will begin to highlight applications using the Solid Framework as I come across examples. This Month in Solid appears to be a great source for new apps hitting the ecosystem. Below are the apps covered in an online presentation hosted by Mitzi Laszlo for May 2020. The content below comes from You can find the video stream here at

Increasing awareness around decentralized technologies is a major focus on this blog and my upcoming podcast.  Always open to new tech to feature so please feel free to contact me with ideas.

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Response Essay to Mitzi Laszlo’s The Missing Puzzle Piece

I wrote a brief essay in response to a very interesting article written by Mitzi Laszlo titled:

The Missing Puzzle Piece: it’s time for the institutional and digital to intertwine

For those of you interested in securing our digital rights in the future, I encourage you to read her article.

What follows is my response:


I very much agree with your premise on the necessity of a universal data identifier to take the flow of information out of the hands of corporate interests but I guess, as they say, the devil is in the details. To begin with, I wonder if there is a consideration to encode the IDs to incorporate country, state, and municipality zones to localize the identification protocol and to possibly allow the ability to manage ID clusters through local public institutions.

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Hydrogen vs. Battery packs

Well this might remove a few barriers. I still say hydrogen is the better alternative to powering transportation once the delivery issue is figured out. Retrofitting existing gas stations seems like a better solution than building new battery power stations in every city………………………..


IIT Madras Scientists Extract Clean Hydrogen From Seawater To Run Cars, And Lower Pollution

Monit Khanna Updated: Jan 17, 2020, 13:02 IST

Researchers across the world have been trying to harness the power of hydrogen to release us from our dependence from fossil fuels — but extracting hydrogen from water is easier said than done.

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A Conversation on Solid PODS and Direct Democracy

An essay by J. Paul Duplantis

I recently ran across a study and use case on using Personalized Online Data Stores (PODS) to help the citizens of Flanders, Belgium communicate more effectively with their representative government. Having followed the progress of Solid PODS over the last couple of years and an advocate for decentralizing the web and applications serving the web, I had reached out to the team to see how their technology may one day allow citizens to securely engage with legislation directly. 

Direct Democracy is not a new concept and has been experimented with since Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC but the represented have never had the toolset to engage with the inner workings of government in real-time regardless of their location until now. Yet even though the technology is currently possible; the network, AI layer, and application layer remain a toolset outside of user control compromising the relationship between user data and government data. But recently a major push to decentralize this toolset by companies such as Inrupt with their Solid POD framework and Singularitynet’s decentralized AI framework will begin to move controls over to the user.  

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Immersive learning: the power of enhanced reality


Phil Birchinall, senior director of immersive content at Discovery Education, on how true immersion enriches the learning experience

How many of us have been present at the dawn (or recurring dawn) of a new technology or approach, excited by the promise it holds and certain, deep in our minds, that this device or service is special, harbouring the power to transform teaching and learning? Gazing into the crystal ball and emerging with the right answer is one of technology’s most complex tricks.

History shows us that the answer is rarely ‘no’. We are all too convinced by our own enthusiasm that we assume is shared by every teacher around the globe, and so we push our chosen platforms and technologies with tweets and impassioned speeches. This Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ is a constant and necessary process to refine and select those that can really make a difference.

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Emergent Innovation ~ The Next Frontier 

Emergent Innovation

An essay by J. Paul Duplantis | 1/13/2020

“Emergent Innovation is synonymous with breakthroughs, disruption, radical ideas, paradigm-shifting results, raw novelty, and market creation.”

A list of 20 current Emergent Innovators can be found below this essay

Look around. They could be in your community. At your workplace sitting next to you. Across the field at the baseball stadium. At your church. In the ghetto. At your child’s play. Across your dinner table. Who or what is it? A person, group or organization with an innovative approach to thinking or a game-changer of an idea to help improve the human condition to emerge from a marketplace of ideas to make a difference if given the chance.

Innovations to;

  • Create better opportunities for self-actualization
  • Promote a cleaner environment
  • Improve physical and mental health
  • Improve understanding between people and communities
  • Increase the value of the exchange in the free market by bringing more people into the benefits of it.

Of course, emergent innovations are not only the domain of improving the human condition as products can be improved upon and productivity increased to help the bottom line. But to me and hopefully many others, the concept of emergence speaks better to a role of innovation serving something greater than only a bottom line. 

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Advertising’s Lost Opportunities

An Essay by J. Paul Duplantis   


I guess I am on this kick again. Just can’t shake it. I wrote an essay back in March on this and the continued barrage of nonrelevant ads into my digital footprint is keeping the argument alive for me. I believe I must have seen this ad from HostGator 50 times on different media platforms in the last week. I have to ask – what in the hell does this have to do with me.

Not the service. I actually might be in the market for a service like this is in the future. No~ the advertisement. Granted, this ad may speak to the interests of many out there which is fantastic. No judgment whatsoever. It just doesn’t speak to me. It actually turns me off the service. Are there any ads that do the same thing for you? They are lost opportunities for engagement in my mind. I could see the necessity of shotgun ads in the past before technology could tune images and moving images to my interests but here we are knocking on the doorstep of 2020 (The future by all accounts) and I am met with this?

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