Framing Questions for Personal Democracy Forum

I'm on my way up to New York this morning for the 2010 edition of the Personal Democracy Forum, which Jose Antonio Vargas aptly calls "The quintessential hub of examining where politics is headed in our tech-centric, increasingly mobile, socially connected 21st century."

The leading question at this year's conference is "Can the Internet Fix Politics?" which makes an interesting frame.  I've argued here before that, despite all the dust that's been kicked up over whether the internet is a good thing or a bad thing, a panacea or the inevitable ruin or our society, the internet and all other connection technologies-- mobile phones, social media, etc.-- are, at the end of the day, just tools. This global network has the potential to be a platform for warfare, terror, oppression and manipulation. It also has the capacity to fight ignorance, isolation, poverty and disease the world over.

With extraordinary potential for both good and ill, they'll seem to take the characteristics of those whose hands they're in, but they're just tools. So, as PDF opens, Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej ask the question:  "We all agree the internet is changing politics, can it fix politics too? Can it make politics more open, participatory, responsive and accountable? Can it help restore trust in self-government and perhaps convince more of us that the country is on the right track?"

I'm looking forward to responses to these questions over the next two days, and you can expect to be updated here (or follow the twitter-action at #pdf10).