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Seeing Plural

By E. Glen Weyl, Audrey Tang and ⿻ Community

Seeing Plural

“In order to carry out a positive action we must develop here a positive vision… It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” — Dalai Lama XIV

The advent of the internet unfurled the world. Beginning in the 1960s, this new technology created unprecedented possibilities to tie distant communities together across space and time. Knowledge transcended borders, spreading instanteaneously across languages and cultures.

At the same time, globalization ushered in an era marked by increased disparities in wealth and social standing. The rapid evolution of digital technology fueled the rise of towering tech giants, which lured individuals into polarized enclaves.

The internet is a powerful technology for tying people together in new collaborations across vast differences. Unfortunately, it has also recently proven to be a powerful tool for thwarting those collaborations and sowing new forms of division.

It is no coincidence that democracy now finds itself at a low tide. Authoritarian regimes now command nearly half of the global GDP. Only a modest one billion people find solace under the umbrella of democratic systems, while over two billion dwell under authoritarian rule.[1]

Every culture, akin to a river, tells its own tale. We see the river of democracy as a conduit of hope. As its waters wane, we must replenish it.

This book, a surging communal effort, is one attempt to restore the flow – and with it, hope.

In Mandarin, 數位 means both "digital" and "plural." To be plural is to be digital. To be digital is to be plural.

Plurality captures the symbiotic relationship between democracy and collaborative technology. Together, democracy and collaborative technology can power infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

Let's free the future — together.

  1. V-Dem Institute, Democracy Report 2023 (Gothenburg, Sweden: V-Dem Institute, 2023): 7. ↩︎