While not a child of Obama's campaign, it is timely that Orange is tomorrow releasing a report on how technology can facilitate a greater link between politicians and the public. The Future of Politics argues that technology "allow(s) the public to have their say about new legislation, and the concept of MPs interacting with voters through real time online discussion. The use of holographic projection (see picture)... means there would be nothing to stop one of us beaming in to take part in Prime Minister's Questions". This report has been constructed by MPs in conjunction with Orange technologists and appears something of a pipe dream in terms of what could be achieved using the technology if the will is strong in politics.
However, the ideas are worth some thought. Would the caution inherent among politicians prevent such moves in losing control of the message? Would the public wish to get involved? Or rather would a majority wish to get involved and would the limit on numbers that can dissuade many? On the other hand could technology provide a level of engagement previously unthinkable. A key point is that participation has already been facilitated by the web and so has increased. Far more people contribute to political forums and comment on news sites that ever wrote letters to papers. The explosion of political blogs demonstrates a willingness to use technology. What if more people could have instant contact and interaction live? Could that draw in a wider range of participants? Worth a thought and look out for the report.