As a consensus-building platform, Pol.is facilitates discussions and identifies areas of agreement or disagreement among members of a group. The size of the group has no limits.
As Pol.is is relatively new (though it has been impactful in countries such as Taiwan), its potential applications are still being explored. As part of our series of blogs which consider how various religions and thinkers might view Polis, here we are considering just how Polis might be viewed within the Hindu tradition and the ways in which it might be used within a Hindu context.
Here are a few potential ways in which Hinduism might view the use of Pol.is technology:
Facilitating discussions and dialogue
Hinduism places a strong emphasis on the importance of dialogue and discussion, both within the community and in the wider society moreover. The Vedas, the ancient scriptures of Hinduism, contain numerous examples of people engaging in discussions and debates in order to better understand the nature of reality and to make decisions. Polis technology, with its focus on facilitating discussions and identifying areas of agreement or disagreement, could be seen as a useful tool for encouraging and supporting these kinds of conversations within a Hindu context.
Promoting unity and consensus
Hinduism also emphasises the importance of unity and the need for believers to work together in order to further the goals of dharma, or righteousness. Polis, with its ability to visualise the overall consensus on a given topic, could be seen as a way to help identify areas of agreement and disagreement among believers and to work towards greater unity and consensus.
Encouraging respectful discourse
Hinduism teaches that believers should respect and love one another, even when they disagree. This can be challenging, particularly when it comes to sensitive or controversial topics. Polis, with its strong emphasis on respectful discourse, working very differently to how social media algorithms work, could be seen as a way to facilitate discussions on these kinds of topics in a way that is respectful and loving.
Supporting the decision-making process
Within the Hindu community, decisions are often made through a process of consultation and consensus-building. Polis, with its ability to identify areas of agreement and disagreement, could be viewed as a useful tool for supporting this process and to help believers to come to a more accurate understanding of the issues at hand.
Naturally, it’s is noteworthy that there are also potential challenges and limitations to the use of Polis technology within a Hindu context. For example, some may argue that the reliance on technology and algorithms could potentially undermine the importance of individual judgment and consultation in decision-making. Others may be concerned about the potential for the technology to be used to reinforce power imbalances or to obscure or obscure the views of marginalised groups.
But all of these points – both for and against – are here just a matter of speculation. Here at the Crowd Wisdom Project we are keen to hear from any religious group which wants to try Polis to improve their community.