Ashish Goel: Beyond Voting: Mechanisms and Platforms for Societal Decision Making

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Zoom Registration Link:
Ashish Goel: Beyond Voting: Mechanisms and Platforms for Societal Decision Making

YouTube competes with Hollywood as an entertainment channel, and also
supplements Hollywood by acting as a distribution mechanism.  Twitter
has a similar relationship to news media, and Coursera to
Universities. But there are no online alternatives for making
democratic decisions at large scale as a society. In this talk, we
will describe some algorithmic and markets-inspired approaches towards
large scale decision making which go beyond simply voting for
candidates or in referenda.

We will start by describing two platforms that our team has built and
deployed in over 100 real-life elections or deliberations: the
Stanford Participatory Budgeting Platform and a Video-conferencing
Platform for cIvic deliberations that incorporates automated
moderation. We will then outline our progress on some of the
algorithmic problems that arise in these settings: knapsack voting,
menu-driven participatory budgeting, deliberation mechanisms, and fair
advertising. We will also describe how one can construct a market for
public-decision-making inspired by the celebrated work of Foley and
others on public goods markets. We will conclude with a list of
high-level open directions.

This represents joint work with current and past members of the
Stanford Crowdsourced Democracy Team (including Anilesh Krishnaswamy,
Tanja Aitamurto, Sukolsak Sakshuwong, Lodewijk Gelauff, Nikhil Garg,
and Ben Plaut), with Kamesh Munagala and his research group at Duke,
and with Jim Fishkin and Alice Siu at Stanford.