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How digital innovation can fight pandemics and strengthen democracy

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    Audrey Tang: Very happy to be joining you,
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    and good local time, everyone.
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    David Biello: So, tell us about --
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    Sorry to --
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    Tell us about digital tools and COVID.
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    AT: Sure.
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    Yeah, I'm really happy to share with you
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    how Taiwan successfully
    countered the COVID
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    using the power
    of digital democracy tools.
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    As we know, democracy improves
    as more people participate.
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    And digital technology remains one
    of the best ways to improve participation,
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    as long as the focus
    is on finding common ground,
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    that is to say, prosocial media
    instead of antisocial media.
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    And there's three key ideas
    that I would like to share today
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    about digital democracy
    that is fast, fair and fun.
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    First about the fast part.
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    Whereas many jurisdictions began
    countering coronavirus only this year,
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    Taiwan started last year.
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    Last December, when Dr. Li Wenliang,
    the PRC whistleblower,
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    posted that there are new SARS cases,
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    he got inquiries
    and eventually punishments
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    from PRC police institutions.
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    But at the same time,
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    the Taiwan equivalent
    of Reddit, the Ptt board,
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    has someone called Nomorepipe
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    reposting Dr. Li Wenliang's
    whistleblowing.
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    And our medical officers
    immediately noticed this post,
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    and issued an order that says
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    all passengers flying in
    from Wuhan to Taiwan
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    need to start health inspections
    the very next day,
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    which is the first day of January.
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    And this says to me two things.
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    First, the civil society
    trusts the government enough
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    to talk about possible
    new SARS outbreaks in the public forum.
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    And the government trusts citizens enough
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    to take it seriously, and treat it
    as if SARS has happened again,
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    something we've always
    been preparing for, since 2003.
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    And because of this open civil society,
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    according to the CIVICUS Monitor
    after the Sunflower Occupy,
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    Taiwan is now the most open society
    in the whole of Asia.
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    We enjoy the same freedom
    of speech, of assembly,
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    [unclear] as other liberal democracies,
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    but with the emphasis
    on keeping an open mind
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    to novel ideas from the society.
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    And that is why our schools
    and businesses still remain open today,
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    there was no lockdown,
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    it's been a month
    with no local confirmed cases.
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    So the fast part.
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    Every day, our Central Epidemic
    Command Center, or CECC,
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    holds a press conference,
    which is always livestreamed,
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    and we work with the journalists,
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    they answer all the questions
    from the journalists,
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    and whenever there's a new idea
    coming in from the social sector,
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    anyone can pick up
    their phone and call 1922
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    and tell that idea to the CECC.
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    For example, there was one day in April
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    where a young boy has said
    he doesn't want to go to school
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    because his school mates may laugh at him
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    because all he had is a pink medical mask.
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    The very next day,
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    everybody in the CECC press conference
    started wearing pink medical masks,
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    making sure that everybody learns
    about gender mainstreaming.
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    And so this kind of rapid response system
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    builds trust between the government
    and the civil society.
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    And the second focus is fairness.
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    Making sure everybody can use
    their national health insurance card
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    to collect masks from nearby pharmacies,
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    not only do we publish the stock level
    of masks of all pharmacies,
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    6,000 of them,
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    we publish it every 30 seconds.
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    That's why our civic hackers,
    our civil engineers in the digital space,
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    built more than 100 tools
    that enable people to view a map,
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    or people with blindness
    who talk to chat bots, voice assistants,
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    all of them can get the same
    inclusive access to information
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    about which pharmacies near them
    still have masks.
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    And because the national
    health insurance single payer
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    is more than 99,9 percent
    of health coverage,
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    people who show any symptoms
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    will then be able to take
    the medical mask,
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    go to a local clinic,
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    knowing fully that they will
    get treated fairly
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    without incurring any financial burden.
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    And so people designed a dashboard
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    that lets everybody see
    our supply is indeed growing,
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    and whether there's over- or undersupply,
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    so that we codesign
    this distribution system
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    with the pharmacies,
    with the whole of society.
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    So based on this analysis,
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    we show that there was
    a peak at 70 percent,
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    and that remaining 20 percent of people
    were often young, work very long hours,
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    when they go off work,
    the pharmacies also went off work,
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    and so we work with convenience stores
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    so that everybody can collect
    their mask anytime,
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    24 hours a day.
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    So we ensure fairness of all kinds,
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    based on the digital democracy's feedback.
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    And finally, I would like to acknowledge
    that this is a very stressful time.
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    People feel anxious, outraged,
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    there's a lot of panic buying,
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    a lot of conspiracy theories
    in all economies.
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    And in Taiwan,
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    our counter-this-information
    strategy is very simple.
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    It's called "humor over rumor."
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    So when there was a panic buying
    of toilet paper, for example,
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    there was a rumor that says,
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    "Oh, we're ramping up mass production,
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    it's the same material as tissue papers,
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    and so we'll run out
    of tissue paper soon."
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    And our premier showed
    a very memetic picture
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    that I simply have to share with you.
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    In very large print,
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    he shows his bottom,
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    wiggling it a little bit,
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    and then the large print says
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    "Each of us only have
    one pair of buttocks."
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    And of course, the serious table shows
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    that tissue paper came
    from South American materials,
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    and medical masks
    come from domestic materials,
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    and there's no way that ramping up
    production of one
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    will hurt the production of the other.
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    And so that went absolutely viral.
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    And because of that,
    the panic buying died down
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    in a day or two.
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    And finally, we found out the person
    who spread the rumor in the first place
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    was the tissue-paper reseller.
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    And this is not just
    a single shock point in social media.
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    Every single day,
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    the daily press conference gets translated
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    by the spokesdog of the Ministry
    of Health and Welfare,
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    that translated a lot of things.
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    For example, our physical distancing
    is phrased as saying
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    "If you are outdoor,
    you need to keep two dog-lengths away,
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    if you are indoor,
    three dog-lengths away," and so on.
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    And hand sanitation rules, and so on.
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    So because all this goes viral,
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    we make sure that the factual humor
    spreads faster than rumor.
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    And they serve as a vaccine,
    as inoculation,
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    so that when people see
    the conspiracy theories,
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    the R0 value of that will be below one,
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    meaning that those ideas will not spread.
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    And so I only have
    this five-minute briefing,
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    the rest of it will be driven
    by your Q and A,
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    but please feel free to read more
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    about Taiwan's
    counter-coronavirus strategy,
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    at taiwancanhelp.us.
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    Thank you.
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    DB: That's incredible.
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    And I love this "humor versus rumor."
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    The problem here in the US, perhaps,
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    is that the rumors seem to travel
    faster than any response,
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    whether humorous or not.
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    How do you defeat that aspect in Taiwan?
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    AT: Yeah, we found that, of course,
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    humor implicitly means
    there is a sublimation
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    of upsetness, of outrage.
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    And so as you see, for example,
    in our premier's example,
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    he makes fun of himself.
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    He doesn't make a joke
    at the expense of other people.
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    And this was the key.
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    Because people think it hilarious,
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    they share it,
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    but with no malicious or toxic intentions.
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    People remember the actual payload,
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    that table about materials
    used to produce masks,
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    much more easily.
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    If they make a joke
    that excludes parts of the society,
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    of course, that part of society
    will feel outraged
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    and we will end up
    creating more divisiveness,
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    rather than prosocial behavior.
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    So the humor at no expense,
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    not excluding any part of society,
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    I think that was the key.
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    DB: It's also incredible
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    because Taiwan has such close ties
    to the origin point of this.
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    AT: PRC, yes.
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    DB: The mainland.
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    So given those close economic ties,
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    how do you survive
    that kind of disruption?
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    AT: Yeah, I mean, at this moment,
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    it's been almost a month now
    with no local confirmed cases,
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    so we're doing fine.
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    And what we are doing, essentially,
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    is just to respond faster
    than pretty much anyone.
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    We started responding last year,
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    whereas pretty much everybody else
    started responding this year.
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    We tried to warn the world
    last year, but, anyway.
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    So in any case,
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    the point here is
    that if you start early enough,
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    you get to make sure
    that the border control
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    is the main point where you quarantine
    all the returning residents and so on,
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    instead of waiting until
    the community spread stage,
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    where even more human-right
    invading techniques
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    would probably have to be deployed
    one way or the other.
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    And so in Taiwan, we've not declared
    an emergency situation.
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    We're firmly under the constitutional law.
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    Because of that, every measure
    the administration is taking
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    is also applicable
    in non-coronavirus times.
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    And this forces us to innovate.
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    Much as the idea of
    "we are an open liberal democracy"
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    prevented us from doing takedowns.
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    And therefore, we have to innovate
    of humor versus rumor,
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    because the easy path,
    the takedown of online speech,
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    is not accessible to us.
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    Our design criteria,
    which is no lockdowns,
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    also prevented us
    from doing any, you know,
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    very invasive privacy encroaching
    response system.
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    So we have to innovate at the border,
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    and make sure that we have
    a sufficient number of, for example,
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    quarantine hotels
    or the so-called "digital fences,"
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    where your phone is basically connected
    to the nearby telecoms,
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    and they make sure that if they go out
    of the 15-meter or so radius,
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    an SMS is sent to the local
    household managers or police and so on.
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    But because we focus
    all these measures at the border,
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    the vast majority of people
    live a normal life.
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    DB: Let's talk about that a little bit.
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    So walk me through the digital tools
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    and how they were applied to COVID.
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    AT: Yes.
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    So there's three parts
    that I just outlined.
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    The first one is the collective
    intelligence system.
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    Through online spaces
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    that we design to be devoid
    of Reply buttons,
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    because we see that,
    when there's Reply buttons,
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    people focus on each other's
    face part, not the book part,
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    and without "Reply" buttons,
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    you can get collective intelligence
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    working out their rough consensus
    of where the direction is going
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    with the response strategies.
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    So we use a lot of new technologies,
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    such as Polis,
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    which is essentially a forum
    that lets you upvote and downvote
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    each other's feelings,
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    but with real-time clustering,
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    so that if you go to cohack.tw,
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    you see six such conversations,
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    talking about how to protect
    the most vulnerable people,
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    how to make a smooth transition,
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    how to make a fair
    distribution of supplies and so on.
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    And people are free to voice their ideas,
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    and upvote and downvote
    each other's ideas.
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    But the trick is that we show people
    the main divisive points,
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    and the main consensual points,
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    and we respond only to the ideas
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    that can convince
    all the different opinion groups.
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    So people are encouraged
    to post more eclectic, more nuanced ideas
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    and they discover,
    at the end of this consultation,
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    that everybody, actually,
    agrees with most things,
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    with most of their neighbors
    on most of the issues.
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    And that is what we call
    the social mandate,
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    or the democratic mandate,
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    that then informs our development
    of the counter-coronavirus strategy
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    and helping the world with such tools.
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    And so this is the first part,
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    it's called listening at scale
    for rough consensus.
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    The second part I already covered
    is the distribute ledger,
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    where everybody can go
    to a nearby pharmacy,
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    present their NHI card,
    buy nine masks, or 10 if you're a child,
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    and see the stock level
    of that pharmacy on their phone
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    actually decreasing by nine or 10
    in a couple of minutes.
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    And if they grow by nine or 10,
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    of course, you call the 1922,
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    and report something fishy is going on.
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    But this is participatory accountability.
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    This is published every 30 seconds.
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    So everybody holds each other accountable,
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    and that massively increases trust.
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    And finally, the third one,
    the humor versus rumor,
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    I think the important thing to see here
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    is that wherever there's a trending
    disinformation or conspiracy theory,
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    you respond to it with a humorous package
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    within two hours.
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    We have discovered,
    if we respond within two hours,
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    then more people see the vaccination
    than the conspiracy theory.
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    But if you respond four hours
    or a day afterwards,
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    then that's a lost cause.
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    You can't really counter that
    using humor anymore,
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    you have to invite the person
    who spread those messages
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    into cocreation workshops.
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    But we're OK with that too.
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    DB: Your speed is incredible.
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    I see Whitney has joined us
    with some questions.
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    Whitney Pennigton Rogers: That's right,
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    we have a few coming in already
    from the audience.
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    Hi there, Audrey.
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    And we'll start with one
    from our community member Michael Backes.
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    He asks how long has humor
    versus rumor been a strategy
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    that you've implemented.
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    Excuse me.
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    "How long has humor versus rumor
    strategy been implemented?
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    Were comedians consulted
    to make the humor?"
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    AT: Yes, definitely.
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    Comedians are our most
    cherished colleagues.
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    And each and every ministry has a team
    of what we call participation officers
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    in charge of engaging
    with trending topics.
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    And it's a more than 100
    people-strong team now.
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    We meet every month
    and also every couple of weeks
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    on specific topics.
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    It's been like that since late 2016,
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    but it's not until our previous
    spokesperson, Kolas Yotaka,
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    joined about a year and a half ago,
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    do the professional comedians
    get to the team.
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    Previously, this was more about inviting
    the people who post, you know,
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    quotes like "Our tax filing system
    is explosively hostile,"
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    and gets trending,
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    and previously, the POs
    just invited those people.
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    Everybody who complains
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    about the finance minister's
    tax-filing experience
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    gets invited to the cocreation
    of that tax filing experience.
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    So previously, it was that.
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    But Kolas Yotaka and the premier
    Su Tseng-chang said,
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    wouldn't it be much better
    and reach more people
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    if we add some dogs to it
    or cat's pictures to it?
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    And that's been around
    for a year and a half.
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    WPR: Definitely, I think it makes
    a lot of difference, just even seeing them
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    without being part
    of the thought process behind that.
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    And we have another question here
    from G. Ryan Ansin.
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    He asks, "What would you rank
    the level of trust
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    your community had before the pandemic,
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    in order for the government
    to have a chance
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    at properly controlling this crisis?"
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    AT: I would say that a community
    trusts each other.
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    And that is the main point
    of digital democracy.
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    This is not about people
    trusting the government more.
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    This is about the government
    trusting the citizens more,
  • 14:51 - 14:53
    making the state transparent
    to the citizen,
  • 14:53 - 14:55
    not the citizen transparent to the state,
  • 14:55 - 14:57
    which would be some other regime.
  • 14:57 - 14:59
    So making the state
    transparent to the citizens
  • 14:59 - 15:01
    doesn't always elicit more trust,
  • 15:01 - 15:04
    because you may see something wrong,
    something missing,
  • 15:04 - 15:07
    something exclusively hostile
    to its user experience,
  • 15:07 - 15:08
    an so on, of the state.
  • 15:08 - 15:12
    So it doesn't necessarily lead
    to more trust from the government.
  • 15:12 - 15:14
    Sorry, from the citizen to the government.
  • 15:14 - 15:18
    But it always leads to more trust
    between the social sector stakeholders.
  • 15:18 - 15:21
    So I would say the level of trust
    between the people
  • 15:21 - 15:23
    who are working on, for example,
  • 15:23 - 15:26
    medical officers,
  • 15:26 - 15:29
    and people who are working
    with the pandemic responses,
  • 15:29 - 15:31
    people who manufacture medical masks,
  • 15:31 - 15:32
    and so on,
  • 15:32 - 15:33
    all these people,
  • 15:33 - 15:35
    the trust level between them is very high.
  • 15:35 - 15:38
    And not necessarily
    they trust the government.
  • 15:38 - 15:42
    But we don't need that
    for a successful response.
  • 15:42 - 15:44
    If you ask a random person on the street,
  • 15:44 - 15:48
    they will say Taiwan is performing so well
    because of the people.
  • 15:48 - 15:50
    When the CECC tells us to wear the mask,
  • 15:50 - 15:51
    we wear the mask.
  • 15:51 - 15:53
    When the CECC tells us not to wear a mask,
  • 15:53 - 15:55
    like, if you are keeping
    physical distance,
  • 15:55 - 15:57
    we wear a mask anyway.
  • 15:57 - 15:58
    And so because of that,
  • 15:58 - 16:02
    I think it's the social sector's trust
    between those different stakeholders
  • 16:02 - 16:04
    that's the key to the response.
  • 16:06 - 16:09
    WPR: I will come back shortly
    with more questions,
  • 16:09 - 16:11
    but I'll leave you guys
    to continue your conversation.
  • 16:11 - 16:13
    AT: Awesome.
  • 16:13 - 16:17
    DB: Well, clearly,
    part of that trust in government
  • 16:17 - 16:22
    was maybe not there in 2014
    during the Sunflower Movement.
  • 16:22 - 16:25
    So talk to me about that
  • 16:25 - 16:30
    and how that led to this,
    kind of, digital transformation.
  • 16:32 - 16:33
    AT: Indeed.
  • 16:33 - 16:39
    Before March 2014, if you asked
    a random person on the street in Taiwan,
  • 16:39 - 16:43
    like, whether it's possible
    for a minister -- that's me --
  • 16:43 - 16:47
    to have their office in a park,
    literally a park,
  • 16:47 - 16:50
    anyone can walk in and talk to me
    for 40 minutes at a time,
  • 16:50 - 16:53
    I'm currently in that park,
    the Social Innovation Lab,
  • 16:53 - 16:55
    they would say that this is crazy, right?
  • 16:55 - 16:57
    No public officials work like that.
  • 16:57 - 17:01
    But that was because on March 18, 2014,
  • 17:01 - 17:04
    hundreds of young activists,
    most of them college students,
  • 17:04 - 17:05
    occupied the legislature
  • 17:05 - 17:09
    to express their profound opposition
    to a trade pact with Beijing
  • 17:09 - 17:11
    under consideration,
  • 17:11 - 17:15
    and the secretive manner in which
    it was pushed through the parliament
  • 17:15 - 17:17
    by Kuomintang,
    the ruling party at the time.
  • 17:17 - 17:19
    And so the protesters
    demanded, very simply,
  • 17:19 - 17:21
    that the pact be scraped,
  • 17:21 - 17:24
    and the government to institute
    a more transparent ratification process.
  • 17:25 - 17:27
    And that drew widespread public support.
  • 17:27 - 17:30
    It ended a little more
    than three weeks later,
  • 17:30 - 17:33
    after the government promised and agreed
  • 17:33 - 17:37
    on the four demands [unclear]
    of legislative oversight.
  • 17:37 - 17:40
    A poll released after the occupation
  • 17:40 - 17:43
    showed that more than 75 percent
    remained dissatisfied
  • 17:43 - 17:45
    with the ruling government,
  • 17:45 - 17:49
    illustrating the crisis of trust
    that was caused by a trade deal dispute.
  • 17:49 - 17:51
    And to heal this rift
    and communicate better
  • 17:51 - 17:53
    with everyday citizens,
  • 17:53 - 17:56
    the administration reached out
    to the people who supported the occupiers,
  • 17:57 - 17:59
    for example, the g0v community,
  • 17:59 - 18:02
    which has been seeking
    to improve government transparency
  • 18:02 - 18:04
    through the creation of open-source tools.
  • 18:04 - 18:07
    And so, Jaclyn Tsai,
    a government minister at the time,
  • 18:07 - 18:09
    attended our hackathon
  • 18:09 - 18:12
    and proposed the establishment
    of novel platforms
  • 18:12 - 18:15
    with the online community
    to exchange policy ideas.
  • 18:15 - 18:18
    And an experiment was born called vTaiwan,
  • 18:18 - 18:21
    that pioneerly used tools such as Polis,
  • 18:21 - 18:25
    that allows for "agree" or "disagree"
    with no Reply button,
  • 18:25 - 18:29
    that gets people's rough consensus
    on issues such as crowdfunding,
  • 18:29 - 18:31
    equity-based crowdfunding, to be precise,
  • 18:31 - 18:35
    teleworking and many other
    cyber-related legislation,
  • 18:35 - 18:38
    of which there is no existing
    unions or associations.
  • 18:38 - 18:40
    And it proved to be very successful.
  • 18:40 - 18:43
    They solved the Uber problem, for example,
  • 18:43 - 18:45
    and by now, you can call an Uber --
  • 18:45 - 18:48
    I just called an Uber this week --
  • 18:48 - 18:51
    but in any case,
    they are operating as taxis.
  • 18:51 - 18:54
    They set up a local
    taxi company called Q Taxi,
  • 18:54 - 18:58
    and that was because on the platform,
    people cared about insurance,
  • 18:58 - 18:59
    they care about registration,
  • 18:59 - 19:03
    they care about all the sort of,
    protection of the passengers, and so on.
  • 19:03 - 19:06
    So we changed the taxi regulations,
  • 19:06 - 19:09
    and now Uber is just another taxi company
  • 19:09 - 19:11
    along with the other co-ops.
  • 19:12 - 19:14
    DB: So you're actually, in a way,
  • 19:14 - 19:19
    crowdsourcing laws
    that, well, then become laws.
  • 19:19 - 19:22
    AT: Yeah, learn more at crowd.law.
  • 19:22 - 19:23
    It's a real website.
  • 19:25 - 19:29
    DB: So, some might say
    that this seems easier,
  • 19:29 - 19:32
    because Taiwan is an island,
  • 19:32 - 19:35
    that maybe helps you control COVID,
  • 19:35 - 19:37
    helps promote social cohesion,
  • 19:37 - 19:41
    maybe it's a smaller country than some.
  • 19:41 - 19:45
    Do you think that this could be
    scaled beyond Taiwan?
  • 19:46 - 19:47
    AT: Well, first of all,
  • 19:47 - 19:50
    23 million people
    is still quite some people.
  • 19:50 - 19:52
    It's not a city,
  • 19:52 - 19:56
    as some usually say, you know,
    "Taiwan is a city-state."
  • 19:56 - 20:00
    Well, 23 million people,
    not quite a city-state.
  • 20:00 - 20:02
    And what I'm trying to get at,
  • 20:02 - 20:07
    is that the high population density
    and a variety of cultures --
  • 20:07 - 20:09
    we have more than 20 national languages --
  • 20:09 - 20:14
    doesn't necessarily lead
    to social cohesion, as you said.
  • 20:14 - 20:19
    Rather, I think, this is the humbleness
    of all the ministers
  • 20:19 - 20:22
    in the counter-coronavirus response.
  • 20:22 - 20:27
    They all took on an attitude
    of "So we learned about SARS" --
  • 20:27 - 20:30
    many of them were in charge
    of the SARS back then,
  • 20:31 - 20:33
    but that was classical epidemiology.
  • 20:33 - 20:36
    This is SARS 2.0,
    it has different characteristics.
  • 20:36 - 20:38
    And the tools that we use
    are very different,
  • 20:38 - 20:40
    because of the digital transformation.
  • 20:40 - 20:43
    And so we are in it to learn
    together with the citizens.
  • 20:43 - 20:46
    Our vice president at the time,
  • 20:46 - 20:48
    Dr. Chen Chien-jen, an academician,
  • 20:48 - 20:52
    literally wrote the textbook
    on epidemiology.
  • 20:52 - 20:54
    However, he still says,
  • 20:54 - 20:57
    "You know, what I'm going to do
    is record an online MOOC,
  • 20:57 - 20:59
    a crash course on epidemiology,
  • 20:59 - 21:00
    that shares with,
  • 21:01 - 21:03
    I think, more than 20,00 people
    enrolled the first day,
  • 21:03 - 21:04
    I was among them,
  • 21:04 - 21:06
    to learn about important ideas,
  • 21:06 - 21:10
    like the R0 and the basic transmission
  • 21:10 - 21:13
    and how the various
    different measures work,
  • 21:13 - 21:15
    and then they asked people to innovate.
  • 21:15 - 21:19
    If you think of a new way
    that the vice president did not think of,
  • 21:19 - 21:21
    just call 1922,
  • 21:21 - 21:24
    and your idea will become
    the next day's press conference.
  • 21:24 - 21:27
    And this is this colearning strategy,
  • 21:27 - 21:31
    I think, that more than anything
    enabled the social cohesion,
  • 21:31 - 21:32
    as you speak.
  • 21:32 - 21:36
    But this is more of a robust
    civil society than the uniformity.
  • 21:36 - 21:38
    There's no uniformity at all in Taiwan,
  • 21:38 - 21:40
    everybody is entitled to their ideas,
  • 21:40 - 21:42
    and all the social innovations,
  • 21:42 - 21:44
    ranging from using
    a traditional rice cooker
  • 21:44 - 21:47
    to revitalize, to disinfect the mask,
  • 21:47 - 21:49
    to pink medical mask, and so on,
  • 21:49 - 21:52
    there's all variety
    of very interesting ideas
  • 21:52 - 21:54
    that get amplified
    by the daily press conference.
  • 21:56 - 21:58
    DB: That's beautiful.
  • 21:59 - 22:01
    Now -- oh, Whitney is back,
  • 22:01 - 22:03
    so I will let her ask the next question.
  • 22:04 - 22:07
    WPR: Sure, we're having
    some more questions come in.
  • 22:07 - 22:10
    One from our community member Aria Bendix.
  • 22:10 - 22:14
    Aria asked, "How do you ensure
    that digital campaigns act quickly
  • 22:14 - 22:16
    without sacrificing accuracy?
  • 22:16 - 22:20
    In the US, there was a fear
    of inciting panic about COVID-19
  • 22:20 - 22:21
    in early January."
  • 22:23 - 22:25
    AT: This is a great question.
  • 22:25 - 22:32
    So most of the scientific ideas
    about the COVID are evolving, right?
  • 22:32 - 22:37
    The efficacy of masks, for example,
    is a very good example,
  • 22:37 - 22:42
    because the different characteristics
    of previous respiratory diseases
  • 22:42 - 22:44
    respond differently to the facial mask.
  • 22:44 - 22:46
    And so, our digital campaigns
  • 22:46 - 22:50
    focus on the idea of getting
    the rough consensus through.
  • 22:50 - 22:53
    So basically, it's a reflection
    of the society,
  • 22:53 - 22:57
    through Polis, through Slido,
    through the joint platform,
  • 22:57 - 22:59
    the various tools
    that vTaiwan has prototyped,
  • 22:59 - 23:03
    we know that people are feeling
    a rough consensus about things
  • 23:03 - 23:06
    and we're responding
    to the society, saying,
  • 23:06 - 23:07
    "This is what you all feel
  • 23:07 - 23:10
    and this is what we're doing
    to respond to your feelings.
  • 23:10 - 23:13
    And the scientific consensus
    is still developing,
  • 23:13 - 23:14
    but we know, for example,
  • 23:14 - 23:18
    people feel that wearing a mask
    mostly protects you,
  • 23:18 - 23:21
    because it reminds you
    to not touch your face
  • 23:21 - 23:22
    and wash your hands properly."
  • 23:22 - 23:25
    And these, regardless of everything else,
  • 23:25 - 23:27
    are the two things
    that everybody agrees with.
  • 23:27 - 23:29
    So we just capitalize on that and say,
  • 23:29 - 23:31
    "OK, wash your hands properly,
  • 23:31 - 23:32
    and don't touch your face,
  • 23:32 - 23:34
    and wearing a mask reminds you of that."
  • 23:34 - 23:36
    And that lets us cut through
  • 23:36 - 23:39
    the kind of, very ideologically
    charged debates
  • 23:39 - 23:43
    and focus on what people
    generally resonate with one another.
  • 23:43 - 23:47
    And that's how we act quickly
    without sacrificing scientific accuracy.
  • 23:49 - 23:53
    WPR: And this next question
    sort of feels connected to this as well.
  • 23:53 - 23:56
    It's a question from an anonymous
    community member.
  • 23:56 - 23:58
    "Pragmatically, do you think
    any of your policies
  • 23:58 - 24:02
    could be applied in the United States
    under the current Trump administration?"
  • 24:02 - 24:03
    AT: Quite a few, actually.
  • 24:03 - 24:08
    We work with many states
    in the US and abroad
  • 24:08 - 24:13
    on what we call "epicenter
    to epicenter diplomacy." (Laughs)
  • 24:13 - 24:16
    So what we're doing essentially is,
  • 24:16 - 24:18
    for example,
    there was a chat bot in Taiwan
  • 24:19 - 24:22
    that lets you, but especially
    people under home quarantine,
  • 24:22 - 24:24
    to ask the chat bot anything.
  • 24:24 - 24:27
    And if there is a scientific adviser
  • 24:27 - 24:29
    who already wrote
    a frequently asked question,
  • 24:29 - 24:31
    the chat bot just responds with that,
  • 24:31 - 24:34
    but otherwise, they will call
    the science advisory board
  • 24:34 - 24:37
    and write an accessible response to that,
  • 24:37 - 24:41
    and the spokesdog would translate that
    into a cute dog meme.
  • 24:41 - 24:43
    And so this feedback cycle
  • 24:43 - 24:47
    of people very easily accessing,
    finding, and asking a scientist,
  • 24:47 - 24:50
    and an open API
    that allows for voice assistance
  • 24:50 - 24:54
    and other third-party developers
    to get through it,
  • 24:54 - 24:57
    resonates with many US states,
  • 24:57 - 24:59
    and I think many of them
    are implementing it.
  • 24:59 - 25:03
    And before the World Health Assembly,
    I think three days before,
  • 25:03 - 25:08
    we held a 14 countries
    [unclear] lateral meeting,
  • 25:08 - 25:09
    kind of, pre-WHA,
  • 25:09 - 25:13
    where we shared many small,
    like, quick wins like this.
  • 25:13 - 25:16
    And I think many jurisdictions
    took some of that,
  • 25:16 - 25:18
    including the humor versus rumor.
  • 25:18 - 25:19
    Many of them said
  • 25:19 - 25:21
    that they're going to recruit
    comedians now.
  • 25:21 - 25:23
    WPR: (Laughs) I love that.
  • 25:23 - 25:25
    DB: I hope so.
  • 25:25 - 25:26
    WPR: I hope so too.
  • 25:26 - 25:29
    And we have one more question,
    which is actually a follow-up,
  • 25:29 - 25:32
    from Michael Backes,
    who asked a question earlier.
  • 25:32 - 25:35
    "Does the Ministry plan
    to publish their plans in a white paper?"
  • 25:35 - 25:38
    Sounds like you're already sharing
    your plans with folks,
  • 25:38 - 25:40
    but do you have a plan
    to put it out on paper?
  • 25:40 - 25:41
    AT: Of course.
  • 25:41 - 25:43
    Yeah, and multiple white papers.
  • 25:43 - 25:47
    So if you go to taiwancanhelp.us,
  • 25:47 - 25:50
    that is where most of our strategy is,
  • 25:50 - 25:54
    and that website is actually
    crowdsourced as well,
  • 25:54 - 25:57
    and it shows that more
    than five million now, I think,
  • 25:57 - 26:00
    medical masks donated
    to the humanitarian aid.
  • 26:00 - 26:02
    It's also crowdsourced.
  • 26:02 - 26:05
    People who have some masks in their homes,
  • 26:05 - 26:08
    who did not collect the rationed masks,
  • 26:08 - 26:09
    they can use an app, say,
  • 26:09 - 26:13
    "I want to dedicate this
    to international humanitarian aid,"
  • 26:13 - 26:16
    and half of them choose
    to publish their names,
  • 26:16 - 26:19
    so you can also see the names
    of people who participated in this.
  • 26:19 - 26:22
    And there's also
    an "Ask Taiwan Anything" website,
  • 26:22 - 26:24
    (Laughs)
  • 26:24 - 26:27
    at fightcovid.edu.tw,
  • 26:27 - 26:31
    that outlines, in white paper form,
    all the response strategies,
  • 26:31 - 26:32
    so check those out.
  • 26:33 - 26:34
    WPR: Great.
  • 26:34 - 26:38
    Well, I will disappear and be back
    later with some other questions.
  • 26:39 - 26:42
    DB: A blizzard
    of white papers, if you will.
  • 26:42 - 26:47
    I'd like to turn the focus
    on you a little bit.
  • 26:47 - 26:52
    How does a conservative anarchist
    become a digital minister?
  • 26:53 - 26:57
    AT: Yeah, by occupying
    the parliament, and through that.
  • 26:57 - 26:58
    (Laughs)
  • 26:58 - 26:59
    More interestingly,
  • 26:59 - 27:03
    I would say that I go
    working with the government,
  • 27:03 - 27:05
    but never for the government.
  • 27:05 - 27:08
    And I work with the people,
    not for the people.
  • 27:08 - 27:10
    I'm like this Lagrange point
  • 27:10 - 27:13
    between the people's
    movements on one side,
  • 27:13 - 27:16
    and the government on the other side.
  • 27:16 - 27:18
    Sometimes right in the middle,
  • 27:18 - 27:20
    trying to do some coach
    or translation work.
  • 27:20 - 27:23
    Sometimes in a kind of triangle point,
  • 27:23 - 27:28
    trying to supply both sides with tools
    for prosocial communication.
  • 27:28 - 27:31
    But always with this idea
  • 27:31 - 27:35
    of getting the shared values
    out of different positions,
  • 27:35 - 27:37
    out of varied positions.
  • 27:37 - 27:38
    Because all too often,
  • 27:38 - 27:41
    democracy is built as a showdown
    between opposing values.
  • 27:41 - 27:44
    But in the pandemic, in the infodemic,
  • 27:44 - 27:46
    in climate change,
  • 27:46 - 27:48
    in many of those structural issues,
  • 27:48 - 27:52
    the virus or carbon dioxide
    doesn't sit down and negotiate with you.
  • 27:52 - 27:56
    It's a structural issue
    that requires common values
  • 27:56 - 27:58
    built out of different positions.
  • 27:58 - 28:03
    And so that is why my working principle
    is radical transparency.
  • 28:03 - 28:05
    Every conversation, including this one,
  • 28:05 - 28:06
    is on the record,
  • 28:06 - 28:09
    including the internal
    meetings that I hold.
  • 28:09 - 28:12
    So you can see all the different
    meeting transcripts
  • 28:12 - 28:15
    in my YouTube channel,
    in the SayIt platform,
  • 28:15 - 28:18
    where people can see,
    after I became digital minister,
  • 28:18 - 28:21
    I held 1,300 meetings
    with more than 5,000 speakers,
  • 28:21 - 28:25
    with more than 260,000 utterances.
  • 28:25 - 28:28
    And every one of them has a URL
  • 28:28 - 28:31
    that becomes a social object
    that people can have a conversation on.
  • 28:31 - 28:32
    And because of that,
  • 28:32 - 28:38
    for example, when Uber's David Plouffe
    visited me to lobby for Uber,
  • 28:38 - 28:39
    because of radical transparency,
  • 28:39 - 28:42
    he is very much aware of that,
  • 28:42 - 28:44
    and so he made all the arguments
    based on public good,
  • 28:44 - 28:46
    based on sustainability,
    and things like that,
  • 28:46 - 28:50
    because he knows that the other sides
    would see his positions
  • 28:50 - 28:52
    very clearly and transparently.
  • 28:52 - 28:55
    So that encourages people
    to add on each other's argument,
  • 28:55 - 28:58
    instead of attacking each other's person,
  • 28:58 - 29:00
    you know, credits and things like that.
  • 29:00 - 29:02
    And so I think that, more than anything,
  • 29:02 - 29:07
    is the main principle of conserving
    the anarchism of the internet,
  • 29:07 - 29:08
    which is about, you know,
  • 29:08 - 29:11
    nobody can force anyone
    to hook to the internet,
  • 29:11 - 29:14
    or to adhere to a new internet protocol.
  • 29:14 - 29:17
    Everything has to be done
    using rough consensus and running code.
  • 29:19 - 29:22
    DB: I wish you had more counterparts
    all around the world.
  • 29:22 - 29:25
    Maybe you wish you had more
    counterparts all around the world.
  • 29:25 - 29:28
    AT: That's why these ideas
    are worth spreading.
  • 29:28 - 29:29
    DB: There you go.
  • 29:29 - 29:35
    So one of the challenges that might arise
    with some of these digital tools
  • 29:35 - 29:37
    is access.
  • 29:37 - 29:39
    How do you approach that part of it
  • 29:39 - 29:43
    for folks maybe who don't have
    the best broadband connection
  • 29:43 - 29:49
    or the latest mobile phone
    or whatever it might be that's required?
  • 29:50 - 29:51
    AT: Well, anywhere in Taiwan,
  • 29:51 - 29:55
    even on the top of Taiwan,
    almost 4,000 meters high,
  • 29:55 - 29:57
    the Saviah, or the Jade Mountain,
  • 29:57 - 30:00
    you're guaranteed to have
    10 megabits per second
  • 30:00 - 30:02
    over 4G or fiber or cable,
  • 30:02 - 30:07
    with just 16 US dollars
    a month, an unlimited plan.
  • 30:07 - 30:10
    And actually, on the top
    of the mountain, it's faster,
  • 30:10 - 30:12
    fewer people use that bandwidth.
  • 30:12 - 30:14
    And if you don't, it's my fault.
  • 30:14 - 30:15
    It's personally my fault.
  • 30:15 - 30:18
    In Taiwan, we have broadband
    as a human right.
  • 30:18 - 30:20
    And so when we're deploying 5G,
  • 30:20 - 30:23
    we're looking at places
    where the 4G has the weakest signal,
  • 30:23 - 30:27
    and we begin with those places
    in our 5G deployment.
  • 30:27 - 30:30
    And only by deploying broadband
    as a human right
  • 30:30 - 30:33
    can we say that this is for everybody.
  • 30:33 - 30:36
    That digital democracy
    actually strengthens democracy.
  • 30:36 - 30:40
    Otherwise, we would be excluding
    parts of the society.
  • 30:40 - 30:41
    And this also applies to, for example,
  • 30:41 - 30:44
    you can go to a local
    digital opportunity center
  • 30:44 - 30:46
    to rent a tablet that's guaranteed
  • 30:46 - 30:48
    to be manufactured
    in the past three years,
  • 30:48 - 30:49
    and things like that,
  • 30:49 - 30:52
    to enable, also,
    the different digital access
  • 30:52 - 30:56
    by the digital opportunity centers,
    universities and schools,
  • 30:56 - 30:58
    and public libraries, very important.
  • 30:58 - 31:02
    And if people who prefer to talk
    in their town hall,
  • 31:02 - 31:06
    I personally go to that town hall
    with a 360 recorder,
  • 31:06 - 31:09
    and livestream that to Taipei
    and to other municipalities,
  • 31:09 - 31:12
    where the central government's
    public servants can join
  • 31:12 - 31:14
    in a connected room style,
  • 31:14 - 31:17
    but listening to the local people
    who set the agenda.
  • 31:17 - 31:19
    So people still do face-to-face meetings,
  • 31:19 - 31:22
    we're not doing this
    to replace face-to-face meetings.
  • 31:22 - 31:24
    We're bringing more stakeholders
  • 31:24 - 31:26
    from central government
    in the local town halls,
  • 31:26 - 31:28
    and we're amplifying their voices
  • 31:28 - 31:31
    by making sure the transcripts,
    the mind maps, and things like that
  • 31:31 - 31:34
    are spread through
    the internet in real time,
  • 31:34 - 31:37
    but we don't ever ask the elderly to, say,
  • 31:37 - 31:40
    "Oh, you have to learn typing,
    otherwise you don't do democracy."
  • 31:40 - 31:41
    It's not our style.
  • 31:41 - 31:42
    But that requires broadband.
  • 31:42 - 31:46
    Because if you don't have broadband,
    but only a very limited bandwidth,
  • 31:46 - 31:48
    you are forced to use
    text-based communication.
  • 31:49 - 31:50
    DB: That's right.
  • 31:50 - 31:51
    Well, with access, of course,
  • 31:51 - 31:56
    comes access for folks
    who maybe will misuse the platform.
  • 31:56 - 31:58
    You talked a little bit
    about disinformation
  • 31:58 - 32:00
    and using humor to beat rumor.
  • 32:00 - 32:05
    But sometimes, disinformation
    is more weaponized.
  • 32:05 - 32:09
    How do you combat those kinds
    of attacks, really?
  • 32:10 - 32:13
    AT: Right, so you mean
    malinformation, then.
  • 32:13 - 32:19
    So essentially, information designed
    to cause intentional public harm.
  • 32:19 - 32:22
    And that's no laughing matter.
  • 32:22 - 32:27
    So for that, we have an idea called
    "notice and public notice."
  • 32:27 - 32:29
    So this is a Reuters photo,
  • 32:29 - 32:31
    and I will read the original caption.
  • 32:31 - 32:33
    The original caption says
  • 32:33 - 32:36
    "A teenage extradition bill
    protester in Hong Kong
  • 32:36 - 32:40
    is seen during a march to demand democracy
    and political reform in Hong Kong."
  • 32:40 - 32:43
    OK, a very neutral title by the Reuters.
  • 32:43 - 32:47
    But there was a spreading
    of a malinformation
  • 32:47 - 32:49
    back last November,
  • 32:49 - 32:51
    just leading to our presidential election,
  • 32:51 - 32:53
    that shows something else entirely.
  • 32:53 - 32:56
    This is the same photo -- that says
  • 32:56 - 32:59
    "This 13-year-old thug bought new iPhones,
  • 32:59 - 33:01
    game consoles and brand-name sports shoes,
  • 33:01 - 33:03
    and recruiting his brothers
    to murder police
  • 33:03 - 33:07
    and collect 200,000 dollars."
  • 33:07 - 33:10
    And this, of course, is a weapon
    designed to sow discord,
  • 33:10 - 33:16
    and to elicit in Taiwan's voters
    a kind of distaste for Hong Kong.
  • 33:16 - 33:19
    And because they know
    that this is the main issue.
  • 33:19 - 33:22
    And had we resorted to takedowns,
  • 33:22 - 33:23
    that will not work,
  • 33:23 - 33:25
    because that would only
    evoke more outrage.
  • 33:25 - 33:27
    So we didn't do a takedown.
  • 33:27 - 33:29
    Instead, we worked with the fact checkers
  • 33:29 - 33:30
    and professional journalists
  • 33:30 - 33:35
    to attribute this original message
    back to the first day that it was posted.
  • 33:35 - 33:38
    And it came from Zhongyang Zhengfawei.
  • 33:38 - 33:44
    That is the main political and legal unit
    of the central party,
  • 33:44 - 33:47
    in the Central Communist Party, in CCP.
  • 33:47 - 33:52
    And we know that it's their Weibo account
    that first did this new caption.
  • 33:52 - 33:54
    So we sent out a public notice
  • 33:54 - 33:57
    and with the partners
    in social media companies,
  • 33:57 - 33:58
    pretty much all of them,
  • 33:58 - 34:01
    they just put this very small reminder
  • 34:01 - 34:05
    next to each time that this is shared
    with the wrong caption,
  • 34:05 - 34:08
    that says "This actually came
    from the central propaganda unit
  • 34:08 - 34:10
    of the CCP.
  • 34:10 - 34:13
    Click here to learn more.
    To learn about the whole story."
  • 34:13 - 34:15
    And that, we found, that has worked,
  • 34:15 - 34:19
    because people understand
    this is then not a news material.
  • 34:19 - 34:22
    This is rather an appropriation
    of Reuters' news material
  • 34:22 - 34:24
    and a copyright infringement
  • 34:24 - 34:26
    and I think that's part of the [unclear].
  • 34:26 - 34:29
    In any case, the point
    is that when people understand
  • 34:29 - 34:31
    that this is an intentional narrative,
  • 34:31 - 34:33
    they won't just randomly share it.
  • 34:33 - 34:35
    They may share it,
    but with a comment that says
  • 34:35 - 34:41
    "This is what the Zhongyang Zhengfawei
    is trying to do to our democracy."
  • 34:42 - 34:46
    DB: Seems like some
    of the global social media companies
  • 34:46 - 34:51
    could learn something
    from notice and public notice.
  • 34:51 - 34:52
    AT: Public notice, that's right.
  • 34:52 - 34:55
    DB: What advice would you have
  • 34:55 - 35:00
    for the Twitters and Facebooks
    and LINEs and WhatsApps,
  • 35:00 - 35:03
    and you name it, of the world?
  • 35:04 - 35:05
    AT: Yeah.
  • 35:05 - 35:09
    So, just before our election,
  • 35:09 - 35:10
    we said to all of them
  • 35:10 - 35:16
    that we're not making a law
    to kind of punish them.
  • 35:16 - 35:19
    However, we're sharing
    this very simple fact
  • 35:19 - 35:21
    that there is this norm in Taiwan
  • 35:21 - 35:24
    that we even have a separate branch
    of the government,
  • 35:24 - 35:25
    the control branch,
  • 35:25 - 35:28
    that published the campaign
    donation and expense.
  • 35:28 - 35:31
    And it just so occurred to us
  • 35:31 - 35:34
    that in the previous election,
    the mayoral one,
  • 35:34 - 35:35
    there was a lot of candidates
  • 35:35 - 35:38
    that did not include
    any social media advertisements
  • 35:38 - 35:40
    in their expense to the Control Yuan.
  • 35:40 - 35:44
    And so essentially, that means
    that there is a separate amount
  • 35:44 - 35:49
    of political donation and expense
    that evades public scrutiny.
  • 35:49 - 35:51
    And our Control Yuan
    published their numbers
  • 35:51 - 35:52
    in raw data form,
  • 35:52 - 35:54
    [unclear] they're not statistics,
  • 35:54 - 35:58
    but individual records
    of who donated for what cause,
  • 35:58 - 35:59
    when, where,
  • 35:59 - 36:01
    and investigative journalists
    are very happy,
  • 36:01 - 36:04
    because they can then make
    investigative reports
  • 36:04 - 36:06
    about the connections
    between the candidates
  • 36:06 - 36:08
    and the people who fund them.
  • 36:08 - 36:10
    But they cannot work
    with the same material
  • 36:10 - 36:12
    from the global social media companies.
  • 36:12 - 36:14
    So I said, "Look, this is very simple.
  • 36:14 - 36:16
    This is the social norm here,
  • 36:16 - 36:18
    I don't really care
    about other jurisdictions.
  • 36:18 - 36:22
    You either adhere to the social norm
    that is set by the Control Yuan
  • 36:22 - 36:24
    and the investigative journalists,
  • 36:24 - 36:26
    or maybe you will face social sanctions.
  • 36:26 - 36:28
    And this is not the government mandate,
  • 36:28 - 36:32
    but it's the people fed up with,
    you know, black box,
  • 36:32 - 36:36
    and that's part of the Sunflower
    Occupy's demands, also.
  • 36:36 - 36:40
    And so Facebook actually published
    in the Ad Library,
  • 36:40 - 36:45
    I think at that time,
    one of the fastest response strategies,
  • 36:45 - 36:51
    where everybody who has
    basically any dark pattern advertisement
  • 36:51 - 36:53
    will get revealed very quickly,
  • 36:53 - 36:56
    and investigative journalists
    work with the local civic technologists
  • 36:56 - 37:01
    to make sure that if anybody dare to use
    social media in such a divisive way,
  • 37:01 - 37:05
    within an hour, there will be
    a report out condemning that.
  • 37:05 - 37:09
    So nobody tried that during
    the previous presidential election season.
  • 37:09 - 37:11
    DB: So change is possible.
  • 37:12 - 37:13
    AT: Mhm.
  • 37:16 - 37:19
    WPR: Hey there, we have
    some more questions from the community.
  • 37:19 - 37:21
    There is an anonymous one
  • 37:21 - 37:26
    that says, "I believe Taiwan
    is outside WHO entirely
  • 37:26 - 37:29
    and has a 130-part preparation program --
  • 37:29 - 37:31
    developed entirely on its own --
  • 37:31 - 37:33
    to what extent does it credit
    its preparation
  • 37:33 - 37:35
    to building its own system?"
  • 37:36 - 37:40
    AT: Well, a little bit, I guess.
  • 37:40 - 37:43
    We tried to warn the WHO,
  • 37:43 - 37:44
    but at that point --
  • 37:44 - 37:48
    we are not totally outside,
    we have limited scientific access.
  • 37:48 - 37:51
    But we do not have any ministerial access.
  • 37:51 - 37:52
    And this is very different, right?
  • 37:52 - 37:55
    If you only have limited
    scientific access,
  • 37:55 - 38:01
    unless the other side's top epidemiologist
    happens to be the vice president,
  • 38:01 - 38:03
    like in Taiwan's case,
  • 38:03 - 38:07
    they don't always do
    the storytelling well enough
  • 38:07 - 38:11
    to translate that into political action
    as our vice president did, right?
  • 38:11 - 38:13
    So the lack of ministerial
    access, I think,
  • 38:13 - 38:16
    is to the detriment
    of the global community,
  • 38:16 - 38:19
    because otherwise,
    people could have responded as we did
  • 38:19 - 38:21
    in the first day of January,
  • 38:21 - 38:24
    instead of having to wait for weeks
  • 38:24 - 38:28
    before the WHO declared
    that this is something,
  • 38:28 - 38:30
    that there's definitely
    human to human transmission,
  • 38:30 - 38:33
    that you should inspect people
    coming in from Wuhan,
  • 38:33 - 38:34
    which they eventually did,
  • 38:34 - 38:38
    but that's already two weeks
    or three weeks after what we did.
  • 38:40 - 38:42
    WPR: Makes a lot of sense.
  • 38:42 - 38:45
    DB: More scientists
    and technologists in politics.
  • 38:45 - 38:47
    That sounds like that's the answer.
  • 38:47 - 38:48
    AT: Yeah.
  • 38:51 - 38:54
    WPR: And then we have another
    question here from Kamal Srinivasan
  • 38:54 - 38:56
    about your reopening strategy.
  • 38:56 - 39:00
    "How are you enabling restaurants
    and retailers to open safely in Taiwan?"
  • 39:01 - 39:03
    AT: Oh, they never closed, so ... (Laughs)
  • 39:03 - 39:05
    WPR: Oh!
  • 39:05 - 39:06
    AT: Yeah, they never closed,
  • 39:06 - 39:09
    there was no lockdown,
    there was no closure.
  • 39:09 - 39:13
    We just said a very simple thing
    in the CECC press conference,
  • 39:13 - 39:15
    that there's going to be
    physical distancing.
  • 39:15 - 39:17
    You maintain one and a half meters indoors
  • 39:17 - 39:18
    or wear a mask.
  • 39:18 - 39:20
    And that's it.
  • 39:20 - 39:24
    And so there are some restaurants
    that put up, I guess, red curtains,
  • 39:24 - 39:29
    some put very cute teddy bears
    and so on, on the chairs,
  • 39:29 - 39:31
    to make sure that people spread evenly,
  • 39:31 - 39:37
    some installed see-through
    glass or plastic walls
  • 39:37 - 39:39
    between the seats.
  • 39:39 - 39:42
    There's various social
    innovations happening around.
  • 39:42 - 39:47
    And I think the only shops
    that got closed for a while,
  • 39:47 - 39:51
    because they could not innovate
    quick enough to respond to these rules,
  • 39:52 - 39:54
    was the intimate escort bars.
  • 39:54 - 39:58
    But eventually,
    even they invented new ways,
  • 39:58 - 40:02
    by handing out these caps
    that are plastic shielding,
  • 40:02 - 40:06
    but still leaves room
    for drinking behind it.
  • 40:06 - 40:08
    And so they opened
    with that social innovation.
  • 40:10 - 40:12
    DB: That's amazing.
  • 40:12 - 40:17
    WPR: It is, yeah, it's a lot to learn
    from your strategies there.
  • 40:17 - 40:21
    Thank you, I'll be back towards the end
    with some final questions.
  • 40:22 - 40:26
    DB: I'm very happy to hear
    that the restaurants were not closed down,
  • 40:26 - 40:30
    because I think Taipei
    has some of the best food in the world
  • 40:30 - 40:33
    of any city that I've visited,
  • 40:33 - 40:37
    so, you know, kudos to you for that.
  • 40:38 - 40:45
    So the big concern when it comes
    to using digital tools for COVID
  • 40:45 - 40:47
    or using digital tools for democracy
  • 40:47 - 40:50
    is always privacy.
  • 40:50 - 40:53
    You've talked about that a little bit,
  • 40:53 - 40:57
    but I'm sure the citizens of Taiwan
  • 40:57 - 40:59
    are perhaps equally concerned
    about their privacy,
  • 40:59 - 41:02
    especially given the geopolitical context.
  • 41:03 - 41:04
    AT: Definitely.
  • 41:04 - 41:06
    DB: So how do you cope with those demands?
  • 41:07 - 41:13
    AT: Yeah, we design
    with not only defensive strategy,
  • 41:13 - 41:15
    like minimization of data collection,
  • 41:16 - 41:18
    but also proactive measures,
  • 41:18 - 41:21
    such as privacy-enhancing technologies.
  • 41:21 - 41:24
    One of the top teams
    that emerged out of our cohack,
  • 41:24 - 41:27
    the TW response from the Polis,
  • 41:27 - 41:30
    how to make contact tracing easier,
  • 41:30 - 41:32
    focused not on the contact tracers,
  • 41:32 - 41:35
    not on the medical officers,
    but on the person.
  • 41:35 - 41:38
    So they basically said,
    "OK, you have a phone,
  • 41:38 - 41:40
    you can record your temperatures,
  • 41:40 - 41:43
    you can record your whereabouts
    and things like that,
  • 41:43 - 41:45
    but that is strictly in your phone.
  • 41:45 - 41:47
    It doesn't even use Bluetooth.
  • 41:47 - 41:48
    So there's no transmission.
  • 41:48 - 41:50
    Technology uses open-source,
  • 41:50 - 41:52
    you can check it,
    you can use it in airplane mode.
  • 41:52 - 41:55
    And when the contact tracer
    eventually tells you
  • 41:55 - 41:57
    that you are part of a high-risk group,
  • 41:57 - 41:59
    and they really want your contact history,
  • 41:59 - 42:03
    this tool can then generate
    a single-use URL
  • 42:03 - 42:06
    that only contains
    the precise information,
  • 42:06 - 42:08
    anonymized,
  • 42:08 - 42:09
    that the contact tracers want.
  • 42:09 - 42:13
    But it will not,
    like in a traditional interview,
  • 42:13 - 42:14
    let you ask --
  • 42:14 - 42:18
    they ask a question, they only want
    to know your whereabouts,
  • 42:18 - 42:20
    but you answer with such accuracy
  • 42:20 - 42:23
    that you end up compromising
    other people's privacy.
  • 42:23 - 42:25
    So basically, this is about designing
  • 42:25 - 42:29
    with an aim to enhance
    other people's privacy,
  • 42:29 - 42:32
    because personal data
    is never truly personal.
  • 42:32 - 42:34
    It's always social,
    it's always intersectional.
  • 42:34 - 42:37
    If I take a selfie at a party,
  • 42:37 - 42:41
    I inadvertently also take
    pretty much everybody else's
  • 42:41 - 42:44
    who are in the picture, the surroundings,
    the ambiance, and so on,
  • 42:44 - 42:48
    and if I upload it to a cloud service,
  • 42:48 - 42:51
    then I actually decimate
    the bargaining power,
  • 42:51 - 42:53
    the negotiation power
    of everybody around me,
  • 42:53 - 42:56
    because then their data
    is part of the cloud,
  • 42:56 - 42:58
    and the cloud doesn't have to
    compensate them
  • 42:58 - 43:00
    or get their agreement for it.
  • 43:00 - 43:02
    And so only by designing the tools
  • 43:02 - 43:06
    with privacy enhancing
    as a positive value,
  • 43:06 - 43:08
    and not enhancing only
    the person's own privacy,
  • 43:08 - 43:10
    just like a medical mask, it protects you,
  • 43:10 - 43:12
    but mostly it also protects others, right?
  • 43:13 - 43:16
    So if we design tools using that idea,
  • 43:16 - 43:19
    and always open-source
    and with an open API,
  • 43:19 - 43:21
    then we're in a much better shape
  • 43:21 - 43:25
    than in centralized or so-called
    cloud-based services.
  • 43:28 - 43:30
    DB: Well, you're clearly
    living in the future,
  • 43:30 - 43:33
    and I guess that's quite literal,
  • 43:33 - 43:36
    in the sense of,
    it's tomorrow morning there.
  • 43:36 - 43:37
    AT: Twelve hours.
  • 43:37 - 43:38
    DB: Yes.
  • 43:39 - 43:42
    Tell me, what do you see in the future?
  • 43:42 - 43:43
    What comes next?
  • 43:45 - 43:49
    AT: Yes, so I see the coronavirus
    as a great amplifier.
  • 43:49 - 43:53
    If you start with
    an authoritarian society,
  • 43:53 - 43:56
    the coronavirus,
    with all its lockdowns and so on,
  • 43:56 - 44:01
    has the potential of making it
    even a more totalitarian society.
  • 44:01 - 44:03
    If people place their trust, however,
  • 44:03 - 44:04
    on the social sector,
  • 44:04 - 44:07
    on the ingenuity of social innovators,
  • 44:07 - 44:09
    then the pandemic, as in Taiwan,
  • 44:09 - 44:11
    actually strengthens our democracy,
  • 44:11 - 44:15
    so that people feel, truly,
    that everybody can think of something
  • 44:15 - 44:18
    that improves the welfare
    of not just Taiwan,
  • 44:18 - 44:21
    but pretty much everybody
    else in the world.
  • 44:21 - 44:23
    And so, my point here
  • 44:23 - 44:28
    is that the great amplifier
    comes if no matter you want it or not,
  • 44:28 - 44:32
    but the society, what they can do,
    is do what Taiwan did after SARS.
  • 44:32 - 44:35
    In 2003, when SARS came,
  • 44:35 - 44:37
    we had to shut down an entire hospital,
  • 44:37 - 44:41
    barricading it with no definite
    termination date.
  • 44:41 - 44:42
    It was very traumatic,
  • 44:42 - 44:46
    everybody above the age of 30
    remembers how traumatic it was.
  • 44:46 - 44:47
    The municipalities
  • 44:47 - 44:50
    and the central government
    were saying very different things,
  • 44:50 - 44:52
    and that is why after SARS,
  • 44:52 - 44:55
    the constitutional courts
    charged the legislature
  • 44:55 - 44:57
    to set up the system as you see today,
  • 44:57 - 44:59
    and also that is why,
  • 44:59 - 45:02
    when people responding
    to that crisis back in 2003
  • 45:02 - 45:06
    built this very robust response system
    that there's early drills.
  • 45:06 - 45:09
    So just as the Sunflower Occupy,
  • 45:09 - 45:13
    because of the crisis in trust
    let us build new tools
  • 45:13 - 45:15
    that put trust first,
  • 45:15 - 45:20
    I think the coronavirus is the chance
    for everybody who have survived
  • 45:20 - 45:21
    through the first wave
  • 45:21 - 45:27
    to settle on a new set of norms
    that will reinforce your founding values,
  • 45:27 - 45:31
    instead of taking on alien values
    in the name of survival.
  • 45:33 - 45:35
    DB: Yeah, let's hope so,
  • 45:35 - 45:40
    and let's hope the rest of the world
    is as prepared as Taiwan
  • 45:40 - 45:43
    the next time around.
  • 45:43 - 45:46
    When it comes to digital
    democracy, though,
  • 45:46 - 45:48
    and digital citizenship,
  • 45:48 - 45:50
    where do you see that going,
  • 45:50 - 45:52
    both in Taiwan and maybe
    in the rest of the world?
  • 45:53 - 45:56
    AT: Well, I have my job description here,
  • 45:56 - 45:57
    which I will read to you.
  • 45:57 - 46:01
    It's literally my job description
    and the answer to that question.
  • 46:01 - 46:02
    And so, here goes.
  • 46:02 - 46:05
    When we see the internet of things,
  • 46:05 - 46:07
    let's make it the internet of beings.
  • 46:08 - 46:10
    When we see virtual reality,
  • 46:10 - 46:12
    let's make it a shared reality.
  • 46:13 - 46:15
    When we see machine learning,
  • 46:15 - 46:17
    let's make it collaborative learning.
  • 46:18 - 46:20
    When we see user experience,
  • 46:20 - 46:23
    let's make it about human experience.
  • 46:23 - 46:26
    And whenever we hear
    the singularity is near,
  • 46:26 - 46:28
    let us always remember
  • 46:28 - 46:30
    the plurality is here.
  • 46:31 - 46:33
    Thank you for listening.
  • 46:33 - 46:35
    DB: Wow.
  • 46:35 - 46:37
    I have to give that a little clap,
  • 46:37 - 46:38
    that was beautiful.
  • 46:39 - 46:40
    (Laughs)
  • 46:40 - 46:42
    Quite a job description too.
  • 46:42 - 46:44
    So, conservative anarchist,
  • 46:44 - 46:47
    digital minister,
    and with that job description --
  • 46:47 - 46:48
    that's pretty impressive.
  • 46:48 - 46:50
    AT: A poetician, yes.
  • 46:50 - 46:52
    DB (Laughs)
  • 46:53 - 46:58
    So I struggle to imagine
  • 46:58 - 47:01
    an adoption of these techniques in the US,
  • 47:01 - 47:05
    and that may be my pessimism weighing in.
  • 47:05 - 47:10
    But what words of hope do you have
    for the US, as we cope with COVID?
  • 47:12 - 47:15
    AT: Well, as I mentioned,
    during SARS in Taiwan,
  • 47:15 - 47:20
    nobody imagined we could have
    CECC and a cute spokesdog.
  • 47:20 - 47:23
    Before the Sunflower movement,
    during a large protest,
  • 47:23 - 47:27
    there was, I think, half a million
    people on the street, and many more.
  • 47:27 - 47:31
    Nobody thought that we could have
    a collective intelligence system
  • 47:31 - 47:34
    that puts open government data
  • 47:34 - 47:37
    as a way to rebuild citizen participation.
  • 47:37 - 47:39
    And so, never lose hope.
  • 47:39 - 47:45
    As my favorite singer, Leonard Cohen --
    a poet, also -- is fond of saying,
  • 47:45 - 47:46
    "Ring the bells that still can ring
  • 47:46 - 47:49
    and forget any perfect offering.
  • 47:49 - 47:53
    There is a crack in everything
    and that is how the light gets in."
  • 47:55 - 47:56
    WPR: Wow.
  • 47:57 - 47:59
    WPR: That's so beautiful,
  • 47:59 - 48:02
    and it feels like such a great message
    to, sort of, leave the audience with,
  • 48:02 - 48:04
    and sharing the sentiment
  • 48:04 - 48:07
    that everyone seems to be so grateful
    for what you've shared, Audrey,
  • 48:07 - 48:13
    and all the great information
    and insight into Taiwan's strategies.
  • 48:15 - 48:16
    AT: Thank you.
  • 48:16 - 48:17
    WPR: And David --
  • 48:18 - 48:20
    DB: I was just going to say,
    thank you so much for that,
  • 48:20 - 48:22
    thank you for that beautiful
    job description,
  • 48:22 - 48:27
    and for all the wisdom you shared
    in rapid-fire fashion.
  • 48:27 - 48:30
    I think it wasn't just one idea
    that you shared,
  • 48:30 - 48:33
    but maybe, I don't know, 20, 30, 40?
  • 48:33 - 48:35
    I lost count at some point.
  • 48:36 - 48:38
    AT: Well, it's called
    Ideas Worth Spreading,
  • 48:38 - 48:39
    it's a plural form.
  • 48:39 - 48:41
    (Laughter)
  • 48:41 - 48:43
    DB: Very true.
  • 48:43 - 48:45
    Well, thank you so much for joining us.
  • 48:45 - 48:46
    WPR: Thank you, Audrey.
  • 48:46 - 48:48
    DB: And I wish you luck with everything.
  • 48:49 - 48:51
    AT: Thank you, and have a good local time.
  • 48:51 - 48:52
    Stay safe.
Title:
How digital innovation can fight pandemics and strengthen democracy
Speaker:
Audrey Tang
Description:

more » « less
Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Project:
TEDTalks
Duration:
49:05
  • 4:39 - 4:41
    "Oh, we're ramping up mass production, →Oh, we're ramping up mask production.

  • 10:26 - 10:27 such as Polis, →such as Pol.is

English subtitles

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