Where do we go as a society?

Thinking and working together.

Launched in 2014, vTaiwan is a decentralized open consultation process that combines online and offline interactions, bringing together Taiwan's citizens and government to deliberate on national issues. It serves as a model for People-Public-Private Partnerships (PPPP), involving government ministries, elected representatives, scholars, experts, business leaders, civil society organizations, and citizens in crafting digital legislation.

One of the many tools vTaiwan utilizes is Pol.is, a digital platform for opinion collection, to facilitate large-scale conversations and consensus building. This tool has been pivotal in achieving "rough consensus" on various policy issues at the national level, addressing scalability challenges in deliberative democracy.

In 2023, vTaiwan collaborated with Chatham House and the AI Objectives Institute on the OpenAI Democratic Inputs to AI project. This collaboration aimed to explore guiding principles for AI, particularly in contexts where human rights intersect with local cultural or legal differences. The main approach employed in this project included the use of Pol.is for public deliberation and some initial attempts at integrating Large Language Models (LLMs).

In its ongoing role as a “shadow government,” vTaiwan is set to host more digital deliberative topics, particularly as regulations try to keep pace with rapid technological advancements. vTaiwan will continue to invite contributions from all societal sectors, initiating formal discussions when needs are articulated. Looking ahead to 2024, vTaiwan anticipates engaging with AI-related regulations, including the refined “Guidelines for the Executive Yuan and its Agencies on the Use of Generative AI” and the “AI Basic Law” by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

The platform maintains various touchpoints for engagement, including its community page, slack channel g0v, Chinese-language website vtaiwan.tw, weekly online meetings and occasional hackathons. As a dynamic, participant-driven space, vTaiwan strives to be a pioneering model in democratic consultation, leveraging technology to foster in-depth discussions on important national issues.

(Last update in Dec 2023)

A Few Accomplishments

More than 28 cases have been discussed through the vTaiwan process, and 80% of them have led to some decisive government action.

Democratic Input of AI

In 2023, vTaiwan, in collaboration with Chatham House and the AI Objectives Institute, participated in the OpenAI Democratic Inputs to AI project. This partnership aimed to develop guiding principles for AI, focusing on human rights considerations within different cultural and legal contexts. The process included using Pol.is for public deliberation and experimenting with Large Language Models (LLMs). The initiative also incorporated a structured participation process: identifying issues, collating expert knowledge, engaging stakeholders, opening a Pol.is consultation, and using AI to analyze results. Following this, face-to-face consultations were held to delve deeper, refine face-to-face discussions, and finally allocate items of strong consensus to primary documents, while contentious issues were earmarked for further follow-up. This process aimed to incorporate Taiwan's perspectives into global AI development, including ChatGPT and other LLM platforms.

FinTech Sandbox

vTaiwan helped pass the FinTech sandbox act, the regulation that empowers financial technology field to conduct transparent, accountable small scale experiments that are currently unregulated by the law.

Non-Consensual Intimate Images

The devastating consequence of non-consensual intimate images (NCII) has recently been on the table around the globe, the community members and volunteers of vTaiwan all agreed this is a burning issue that we ought to examine. A Pol.is survey was launched during June 7th, 2017 to July 21st, 2017. Online discussion helped shelters the victims from exposure to include more stakeholders to preserve the diversity of viewpoints and experiences.

Things I Can Do

As an open project, vTaiwan attracts people from multiple disciplines including law makers, public servants, developers, designers, writers, researchers, journalists, film makers and much more. Therefore, we contribute our skills in different ways. Here is a list of things vTaiwan contributors have been doing, go ahead and have look and see how you would like to contribute:

  • Write all the code
  • Stack small boxes
  • Read books and stuff
  • Drink much coffee
  • Create some issues
  • Chat with everyone
  • Book hackathon venue
  • Compile an open dictionary
  • Show some interest
  • Edit shared documents
  • Ask many questions
  • Take awesome photos
  • Finish the cake

How It Works

The vTaiwan process consists of four successive stages - proposal, opinion, reflection and legislation - supported by a selection of colloborative open source engagement tools.

More About vTaiwan

Makers, bloggers, thinkers and other contributors have helped us tell the story of vTaiwan in their eyes. See how people in touch with us help us describe what vTaiwan is.

Tom Atlee featured vTaiwan in his blog

The face-to-face stakeholder conversations are intentionally diverse, professionally facilitated and, when preceded by a pol.is process, grounded in the differences and consensus statements that arose from that process, usually requiring point-by-point responses. And an interesting leading edge of vTaiwan development is the use of 3D cameras in live-streamed stakeholder dialogues to allow observers with appropriate apps to immerse themselves in virtual reality representations of those conversations. Also, two interesting points raise the quality of personal pol.is engagements into the realm of conversation. First, pol.is was designed to eliminate the tendency of online comment forums to degrade into mutual trolling, while allowing full expression of creative ideas and rational discussion. Second, research shows that in many cases when a participant registers a “disagreement” with someone’s statement, they shortly thereafter submit a statement of their own that provides a solution to their underlying concern. Thus, even without the direct interactivity of conversations and comment forums, pol.is nevertheless evokes dialogic and deliberative “communication acts” among its participants in which they are influenced by each other’s perspectives.

More about vTaiwan, read the blog posts Tom published.

Christian Svanes Kolding directed a video for vTaiwan

In a tumultuous time where the utopian visions once offered by social media seem to have been subverted into systems of oligarchic power, while trust in institutions and government is at a historical tipping point, how does one build a platform for millions of users to create new avenues for meaningful dialogue? In short, how does one design for trust? These are the challenges that g0v (gov zero), a collective of activists, coders, designers, scholars and ordinary citizens, took on four years ago in taiwan and in response, they created vTaiwan. Conceived in collaboration with the government, vTaiwan is a digital platform and a civic deliberation process for shaping legislation. By in essence creating a virtual public commons, it revitalizes the way citizens engage with their government, and how governments engage with their citizens. Through its transparency, which results in a greater degree of public trust and legitimacy, it offers a template for online discourse that is still in use to this day and applicable across the world.

More about vTaiwan, watch the video Christian directed.

Contact / Join Us ?

Join vTaiwan by join.g0v.today at channel #vtaiwan