Juan Calderon

Bogohack, bogohack

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A Corruption Observatory

I want to share this idea for some feedback. I’m working on the design of a corruption observatory. I’m not a corruption expert (though I work with some). To make it short, you feed information to develop a conversation which will turn into education. This will then raise the level of integrity of the people. I argue that by educating people about what corruption is, what integrity is, and about the processes and structure of the system you can fight corruption. I want to encourage Open Data (which has been a pain in the ass) as a tool to fight corruption. I believe you have to visualize the system. Everything has to be transparent. Here enters the concept of the panopticon, and a bit of crowdsourcing the search for the corrupt.

By talking about integrity I want to change the mood of the conversation from pursuing the corrupt to encouraging Integrity. When our conversation is about corruption our problem is corruption. By changing the conversation towards integrity we start talking about the solution instead of the problem. I want the conversation to be sort of the one we are having right now. Plus a wiki, and some conversation periodical meetings.

The education part is the one that I’m having more trouble with. Right now I see it as a product of the conversations about the information. I need to work on this more.

This is more or less the idea, I’m happy to converse about it and answer any points that are not clear or expand about my thoughts about it. I’m interested in practical stuff. I have been bombarded about the theory of corruption enough already.

  • Apr 3 2012: Excellent Idea. i look forward to the time in ploitics, when : instead of 'open' re- elections, we have '"Inquests" into the very specific actions of our elected officials, to CONFIRM they are acting with the integrity that their public figure J-O-B demands.
  • Apr 2 2012: Yeah forstering integrity is a good idea, same with more transparency.

    But i wasnt talking about teaching people how to be corrupt. What I was saying is that when you teach people how to prevent corruption and stop corruption, you inadvertently teach them of the shortcomings of that prevention.

    I have a close friend who is a cop. He said to me once something along the lines of, "People get pulled up on the stupidest things. Seriously, they are just clueless, it's really not that hard to kill someone and get away with it." Now I dont think he has killed someone, but he knows many of the shortcomings of the police force in catching and charging criminals, they frustrate him every day.

    The corruption prone are always looking to exploit, to sneak through loop hole, in fact if you look at something like illicit drugs or internet downloading, unpaid parking etc. youll find that most people will try to get around loopholes if they do not agree with rules. That is why I think the integrity fostering is the most powerful, because it provides an internal reward to refuse corruption and simultaneously makes people more willing to be vigilant.

    But yeah transparency thumbs up.
  • Apr 2 2012: I think ethics would be a useful edition to compulsory schooling, but i dont know about teaching out corruption. I have to say that is a weak spot. Teaching people about corruptiion may in fact end up teaching those corruptioon prone individuals how to get away with it, since they have a better understanding about corruption and how it is detected and prevented, offsetting the gains you have made.

    I like the cultural change you advocate though. Promoting integrity rather than focusing on condemning corruption. I think this is a powerful tool that will help people feel more willing to report suspicions and more willing to resist the temptations of corruptions, without giving powerful tools to those pronne to corruption.

    I dont quite get the crowdsourcing bit, but i like the idea of transparency. More of that is nice
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      Apr 2 2012: The idea is to teach about being integrate. I understand your point about teaching corruption. I agree that you can't teach how to be corrupt. Or you should not encourage them take advantage of the flaws in the system.
      Still you have to let people know what is good and what is bad. I'm not worried that teaching about corruption would give the 'corruption prone' tools to behave wrong. The good guys will also know how this people are doing wrong and develop the remedy. It is an arms race. The nice thing about openness and transparency is that we have a diversity of individuals involved. I'm one of those who think that good will prevail.
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    Apr 2 2012: Dear Mr. Calderon,
    You are on the right track. One of my favorite TED Talks is from a very brave man named Peter Eigen, a former World Bank employee.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/peter_eigen_how_to_expose_the_corrupt.html

    We can fund and formulate miracles to correct the worlds most desperate needs, but until we clean house of the corruption, nothing will change. Please continue the fight. I have suffered the issue of corruption for years and have tried to gently bring it into the open for discussion here:

    http://blog.amcpros.com/2012/02/07/abandoned/

    http://blog.amcpros.com/2012/03/22/amcp/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmwwGeSpYNU&context=C4110abdADvjVQa1PpcFOCczAczEDdC8Csge-BjGMRPOxGExHYRAk=

    I wholeheartedly support you in this endeavor. I especially like the Integrity model for educational purposes.

    Warmest regards,

    Gerald
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    Mar 30 2012: Seems I can't reply to You directly, Juan...

    1) You don't know that there will "be Robots that don't want to do things"
    2) All NECESSARY work can be done by robots now
    3) I expect STELLAR progress as minds now wasted flipping burgers and sweeping floors and adding widgets on assembly lines are freed to contribute
    4) As People are freed to follow Their bliss, things like programming, problem-solving, helping Others, teaching, researching, designing, painting, sculpting, and any other thing a Human finds bliss in will be done.
    5) "Currency" will be social; People will "earn" respect, appreciation, lauds, gratefulness, name recognition and Self satisfaction. Witness Linux if You don't think being paid in these forms for doing something that is in Your bliss will suffice.
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    Mar 30 2012: I propose that if We eliminate the need for money, via free energy, We can eliminate corruption. We can also eliminate hunger, poverty, homelessness, oppression, war, wage-slavery, the LOVE of money (the root of all evil), all economic models in favor of a social economy, removing the "work ethic" (a slave's ethic - enrich Others with Your Human energy) in favor of a Betterment Ethic, waste (by distributing by profit and not need supermarkets throw out hundreds of thousands of TONS of food a MONTH, products are made to break to ensure future sales, theft-deterring packaging, and much more), and many other ills in Our society.

    For more, see My idea here and My blog: http://amaterasu101.tumblr.com/
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      Mar 30 2012: There will always be money, that another conversation I would like to have. I don't think you can eliminate money, not even with infinite free energy available.
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        Mar 30 2012: If One understands the very intimate link between money and energy, it becomes clear that adding what money represents - meaningful energy expended in an energy-scarce society - along with robots to do all necessary work no One WANTS to do, money becomes moot. Adding effectively infinite energy means adding effectively infinite money - and infinite money has no social application.

        As the cost of the energy - which is 100% the cost of anything - is removed, the cost of things drops until the point that collecting the penny for the week's groceries, the room full of furniture, the house, the [fill in the blank], becomes more than the penny is worth. At that point, everything is free.

        In such a society, We need to address certain things, seed parameters out of which the chaos that is society can positively emerge (all societies are chaos systems, and chaos has an infolded ("hidden") structure). The key things that must be addressed are:

        1. A code of conduct
        2. Our approach to the Earth and how we bring forth the abundance she has to give
        3. How open we will be on code and programs for our machines
        4. How necessary work gets done
        5. How we communicate and identify the primary issues
        6. What focus in life should be stressed

        If we seed our society with a code of conduct, calling to the fore the three Laws – which are:

        1. Do not willfully harm or kill another Being
        2. Do not willfully take or damage another Being’s property
        3. Do not willfully defraud another Being

        this sets one parameter of the seed to ethics.

        Promote organics, clean processes and so on answers the second parameter, insist on open source for all public works, use robots for any necessary work no One wants to do (or not enough People), use the web for governance stigmergically, and focus on following One's bliss answer the rest.

        For a definition of stigmergy, see: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0605/03-elliott.php
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          Mar 30 2012: You talk about robots doing what I don't want to do? In the future there would be Robots that don't want to do things, there are also tasks that robots cannot do (yet)---neither do you----but someone can do. Free energy does not mean the end of progress (if you can call it like that). We will keep making things, developing our knowledge, and so there would be new ideas and thing to spend our time doing. They will imply doing boring or dangerous stuff. I think you will pay for getting things done. The currency would be something not very accessible with the free energy hypothesis.
  • Mar 29 2012: First of all I think it's a great initiative to promote integrity rather than hunt down corruption. It is always better to encourage good virtues rather than put punishment on the bad ones.

    However in your origional post something is not completely clear to me.
    "To make it short, you feed information to develop a conversation which will turn into education."

    From the later part of your post I guess that the information feed is from "open data" aka more transparent companies etc. But how does that develop into a conversation which turns into education?
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      Mar 29 2012: Information is not just data. It also includes information about the government, the people that govern, about the processes that govern the government and the people. It has to also include information about how to do things, and how things works. I'm planning a huge wiki that grows to capture everything you might need.
      Most of the corruption I believe happens because of ignorance. You are corrupt because you do not know you are doing wrong. This can only be overcome by educating about how to do stuff, and for this you need to gather information about the structure and the processes also. It is not only necessary to measure (and make transparent) but also to document.
      • Mar 30 2012: still doesn't answer the question to how the acces to information will lead to a conversation that will lead into education.

        Also I don't think that people can 'be corrupt because they don't know they are doing wrong'. All cases of corrupt behaviour are thought up by someone who knows exactly how it's wrong. Sure sometimes it happens that the person selling a 'corrupt product' doesn't know it's corrupt... but still the guy who told him to sell it knows what it contains.
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          Mar 30 2012: Let me know if I'm missing something. We have information about the state, the functioning, and the elements of the system. We also have channels specially designed to encourage positive constructive conversations. I'm assuming that there would be some conversation going on about corruption. Conversations would include a great diversity of people. Some will be talking about the nature of corruption and integrity and the importance of being integrate. Others would converse about how the system works. Conversations process and organise information. On the one hand, If you are having conversations around a topic, you are educating yourself about it. On the other hand, conversations can help improve and develop tools for education. I'm assuming conversations educate. And if you are educated you will be good.

          By 'be corrupt because they don't know they are doing wrong' I mean that you are not exempt from the law because of ignorance. One example is me trying to invite the government employ for whom I'm client for lunch. He didn't accept, cause he is an integrate guy. I didn't thought trying to buy him lunch was a corrupt act. After some conversations I realised it was obvious that I couldn't buy him lunch, that is as bad as giving him a diamond watch as present.
      • Mar 30 2012: There are a lot of different types of corruption. But do you think that if you upload a lot of information about a company / government / other entity. That a person could get in there and understand the data better than the people at the top of the organisation?
        Because they have to check all of the numbers and have developed all of the functionings of the system etc.
        The idea that I could know better how an organisation works than the CEO of that company seems strange. So if the CEO can't tell if people are corrupt or not, how can I? And if the organisation / CEO himself is corrupt how can you know your data is valid (as it has to come from somewhere)?

        Corrupt people can only be corrupt because they don't have to explain their own actions or because they can do so in a way that fools others.

        One could say that employees of the organisation in question might be able to see what's going on because they work with someone who is corrupt. But that doesn't really give you a need to make it publically it just creates a need for organisations to internally have better control via more open data within the organisation.
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          Apr 2 2012: Sometimes you are corrupt because everyone is. I cross the street at the wrong place, because everyone is doing it. I arrive late because everyone is arriving late. What we want is to expose this behaviours and have a conversation about it. Let people know that it is wrong. The validity of the data is not as important as having the conversation. I don't need to know exactly how the system works. I just need to know the correct way for me to work as part of the system. The knowledge of the system is collective, and you have a local knowledge about your role on the system. Information---is the excuse that---triggers the conversation.
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    Mar 29 2012: It is unfortunate that I found this string with only 6 days to go.

    I have always thought that at every industrial site there should be an electronic monitor, which continuously records and displays to concerned citizens, the exact classifications and quantities of all toxic substances being introduced into the surrounding environment.

    Yes it would seriously effect real-estate but at least big business might stop sh*%ing where we sleep.
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      Mar 29 2012: There is a trade-off between the number of things you look at and the number of things you can pay attention to.
      You can have lots of monitors, but not enough man power to make sense of them or even do something about. I agree with you that we have to watch the people who sh%#t on you. The problem is that we don't know what to do about it.
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        Mar 29 2012: If it is in my interest to be 'globally aware', I will 'pay attention to' those things that concern my immediate circle of influence.
  • Mar 29 2012: It is more of making Global awareness about corruption.
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      Mar 29 2012: I believe that the awareness is not only about corruption but integrity---both really. You have to change people minds towards doing good, towards doing your everyday jobs with integrity, do it correctly. By having conversations about corruption and integrity, you educate and raise Global Awareness. The task here is to make the global awareness truly global.
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        Mar 29 2012: 'Our integrity often sells for so little though its all we really have. It is the very last inch of us but in that inch we are truly free.'

        we must ask ourselves if in this instance is it more important to find fault or work towards remedy.