Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Paper Session #266
A Path to Direct Democracy via the Behavioral Sciences: Autogovernance by Cyberconferencing
Sunday, May 26, 2024
12:00 PM–12:25 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Independence Ballroom
Area: CSS
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Francis Mechner (The Mechner Foundation)
A Path to Direct Democracy via the Behavioral Sciences: Autogovernance by Cyberconferencing
Domain: Theory
FRANCIS MECHNER (The Mechner Foundation)
Abstract: A behavioral science-based cyberconferencing technology that places governance functions directly into the hands of a society’s populace, is described. The model bypasses the influence of power nodes—corporations, political parties, wealthy families, autocrats, organized religions—and foregoes representatives, delegates, and other intermediaries. The resulting “direct democracy” addresses the problems created by the influence or control that power nodes exert on governance. The model: An electronic platform convenes cyberconference panels composed of randomly selected members of the populace aided by relevant experts as necessary. These panels conduct governance remotely, out of reach of power nodes. Panelists do not assemble physically and remain anonymous; they communicate only via text messaging and participate from their respective geographically dispersed locations. The electronic platform reads their communications, circulates them within the cyberpanel, and manages the panelists’ interactions to facilitate the attainment of consensus regarding the resolution of issues. Unimpeded by power nodes, cyberpanels can address a society’s true concerns, including climate change, disinformation, justice, and policies regarding science and education. They take up issues identified by petitions from citizen groups, organizations, and affected entities, including power nodes, resulting in an interplay between petitioners and cyberpanels. Potential contemporary applications of the cyberconferencing platform are discussed.



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