This is a two-part project. One part is about reality. The other part is science fiction. Both are about mobile, blockchain, and cryptographically secure voting systems in the context of US elections.
Securing elections and increasing access to voting are critical for our democracy to function properly. There has been recent focus on using mobile apps and blockchain-based systems to address these needs, but some of these systems can cause more harm than good. The Reality piece is about the innovations that can make secure and transparent elections possible, and where internet-voting, mobile apps, and blockchains fit in.
The Science Fiction piece uses storytelling to explore how our voting systems can and should work. It looks ahead at two potential futures for US democracy that branch from our present. One story is a dystopia where technology is misused, resulting in a disengaged and disenfranchised public, where wealth determines voting power. The other story is a utopia where elections are celebrated holidays, where technology makes voting more secure, and social changes make voting more accessible.
This work came out of the MIT Digital Currency Initiative’s Blockchain Ethics course.