I'm watching the debate (or the aftermath of the debate) between the two remaining candidates of the ever present runup to the American elections. As always, I'm watching through the glass of my Janetter window - what I see is not the debate itself, but the ever flooding flood of tweets gushing by whenever anything worth mentioning happens.
That debate is evidently high up on things worth mentioning.
The thing that strikes me is that the quality of information that can be gathered from these debates is questionable, to say the least. It would seem that neither of the candidates are given the chance to expound their views and opinions in any amount of detail, and that the "debate" part of the debate consists of the participants saying demeaning things at each other rather than giving the audience any useful insight into what their respective platform actually consists of. Which is all very well and good for those watching the proceedings for the entertainment value, but for those of a more analytical bent it leaves something to be desired.
I'm not saying that we should replace these happenings with something else - they are, after all, evidently worth mentioning. But I'm thinking that those who are of a thinking sort might benefit from a complementary form of presentation from the candidates, which would lend itself closer to the careful analysis by any and all interested voters with any amount of spare time on their hands.
I am, of course, thinking that the candidates should stage a game of Civilization 5 in such a way that their play style reflects the general outline of their political platforms. If they, for example, are of the militarily enthusiastic kind, this would be reflected in the building and maintaining of a strong army, and by the enactment of policies benefitting the military in various ways. And, conversely, a stronger focus on developing the domestic economic infrastructure would be clearly visible to all who would watch the gameplay of a candidate playing with such a focus.
There is to my mind a strong chance that such a demonstration of a candidates political views would convey just as much - or even more - information to the voters than the methods in use today. Rather than being limited to judging the actions undertaken by a single individual in a single social situation, the voters would have access to a wealth of information about how the candidate would manage war, peace, diplomacy, domestic spending, the advance of science and a host of other political issues.
A slight variation upon this theme would be to use the classic game Alpha Centauri in the same manner. This would have the benefit of adding the selection of an ideological faction as a factor to the analysis - those who beeline for the militaristic Spartans take a different approach to everything than those who play the Gaians. (I myself would, of course, play the Data Angels. For obvious reasons.)
As we move into a newer world, it becomes ever more important to consider alternative ways of presenting complex information to the public. The debate format might be the ol' reliable when it comes to candidates showing the world how they stand in relation to each other, but as my reading of my Twitter feed shows, it does not convey the amount of clear information needed for the public to make an informed choice about their candidates. It rather makes people tired of the whole process, and more than one person has expressed a sincere tiredness about the whole ordeal. Which, in truth, is the opposite of wanting to think longer and harder about the issues at hand.
There are other ways. We have the technology to make it better.
Let's remix politics, shall we?