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Computational Support for Public Debate and Policy Justification

Summary: Computational Support for Public Debate and Policy
Katie Atkinson
Abstract. This paper investigates how computer support can be enlisted to help
the Government collect and analyse public opinions regarding the justification of
policies. To do this we show how a link can be established between two existing
systems for eDemocracy: the first, an implemented online tool based upon a spe-
cific model of argument for gathering the public's views about a particular topic;
the second, a method to enable autonomous software agents to reason about jus-
tifications for action based upon their subscription to social values. We show how
the output from the first of these systems can be used as input to the second and
how the information gathered can be reasoned about through computer support.
1 Introduction
Communication between the Government and the people has altered from traditional
methods of letter writing and discussions at council meetings, to email contact and
web interactions. With the development of safe and efficient web-based services gov-
ernments have the opportunity to exploit the benefits of new computer technologies to
provide accessible, efficient and useful systems through which democracy can be ef-
fectively conducted. The work presented in this paper aims to contribute to some of
these objectives. We explore how a specific computer system implemented to facilitate


Source: Atkinson, Katie - Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences