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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Chapter 11 -- SENSUS


Chapter Eleven

Summer, 2017

Whether we are based on carbon or on silicon makes no fundamental difference; we should each be treated with appropriate respect.

Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two

In the 21st Century, the government of the United States operated at 19th Century speed with the bandwidth of the telegraph. Private sector companies, on the other hand being forced by market conditions, evolved to deliver packages worldwide, overnight. Hence, it was no surprise that Blair’s challenge to the Technology and University sectors to aid in the public discussion of re-inventing the Constitution for the 21st Century met with a swift response.

A consortium of these interests quickly developed, tested and deployed a decentralized artificial intelligence seeking to improve collective governance. Recognizing that the World is getting increasingly complex and that the 19th Century governance mechanisms currently in use were completely outdated and inadequate, the Collective Governance Program, wistfully named “Sensus” -- short for ‘Sense of the U.S.” and implying ‘common sense’ -- took the logical first step of identifying lawful citizens of the United States and their individual States and Counties and then issuing electronic identities to these lawful Citizens. The end result was a national database of ‘We the People’ entitled to a voice in the public debates regarding amending the Constitution.

By design, excluded were special, corporate and foreign interests who had no access to this public forum by and for U.S. Citizens only. Big money and its big interests immediately became spectators in the public discussion on the roles of federal, state and local governments. Likewise, the Democratic and Republican parties no longer dominated the debates with their respective agendas of staying in power without regard to the needs of their constituents.

Next, Sensus deployed a decentralized Public Platform for public opinion data discussion and collection on any subject a Citizen wanted to discuss. Rather than voting once in 4 years as the extent of their participation in governance of their own country and society, Sensus quickly engaged every Citizen to enter into the vibrant forum for discussion of issues local, national and international. Notably, traditional news organization which had thought to control the public dialog, no longer were modelers of public opinion, but quickly began to fade as Sensus began to report on the news of the day and the mood of the public with real accuracy and without bias.

Those discussions produced vast amounts of data as a result of the greater participation and involvement from U.S. Citizens. Sensus then deployed a module entitled AI Advisor, a machine learning service to provide automated, data-driven solutions to the most complex problems of governance by modelling the potential policy and economic decision outcomes of Citizen-proposed changes using a multitude of data sources, including open data and electronic libraries.

The ConProAm discussions on Sensus were guided by a ChaBot which blended similarly situated viewpoints and, without the vitriol common to public debates by removing the ad hominem attack whenever raised, presented opposing views for comment and consideration. Citizens quickly became enamored with the Sensus ChaBot as it engaged them as thinking individuals by challenging their opinions. The results of this personalize, a-political, non-agenda human/machine interaction startled even its developers. Citizens were engaged to consider the viewpoints of others, reconsider their own viewpoints and, through those interactions, Sensus was able to report consensus on issues theretofore thought irreconcilable.

For the ConProAm, what emerged was a list of areas that were deemed proper for consideration as amendments to the Constitution. While having no binding impact upon the delegates to the ConProAm, each delegate, and the members of the respective state legislatures, was now well aware as to their constituents’ views on any given issue.

Always sensitive to the constituents who put them in office, the various State legislators quickly realized that the process employed for choosing delegates to the ConProAm would need to be fair as it was to be under intense scrutiny. A suggestion from a Citizen in Oregon spread like wildfire across the United States and became the norm for all 50 states.

The noted mathematician Helen Berg suggested using a well-accepted mathematical formula to determine how many delegates would be needed in order to represent a fair statistical sample of the political views of a State’s population. The formula was a follows:



(Population Size = N | Margin of error = e | z-score = z | “e” is percentage, 
put into decimal form: for example, 3% = 0.03.)

Employing this formula, it was clear that whether the State was Wyoming, with its 582,658 Citizens, or California, with its 38,332,521 Citizens, to achieve a margin of .95% accuracy of representation of political views, 10,000 delegates -- randomly chosen -- would be needed from each State. The hue and cry from the Citizens left the respective State legislatures little choice but to relinquish their power to choose the delegates -- and thus set the agenda for the ConProAm -- and give it over to the People directly.

Curiously, each State had already in place a well-trusted mechanism for randomly choosing people; the various state lotteries. Thus it was in July and August that each State held a special lottery in which only registered Voters were allowed to buy one $1 ticket. That purchase evidenced a willingness to serve as a delegate if selected. The results were as math would predict. Selected was a fair cross-section of interested, well-informed and diligent Citizens to address the issues to be raised at the ConProAm.

Here again, Sensus stepped in to organize the chosen delegates into a cohesive unit able to discuss and come to consensus on issues. Coupled with the identification of issues through the Sensus-moderated public discussions, the stage was set for Blair and Rachel to convene the ConProAm.

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Chapter 10 -- The Press Conference


Chapter Ten


Friday, April 21, 2017
10 a.m.


The freedom of the press works in such a way that there is not much freedom from it.


Grace Kelly

Rachel had a done a masterful job during the last week organizing the Office of the Chair of the ConProAm, as she decided to call it. The managers of the National Building Museum were very glad to play host to the ConProAm as it would insure a future value to the building as the host of the first such Convention.

The Great Hall of the National Building Museum is the size of a football field and is almost 15 stories at its highest point. The four massive Corinthian Columns at each end of the Great Hall are 75 feet high, 8 feet in diameter and 25 feet in circumference. The Italian Renaissance Revival style of the building inspires awe and reverence. It was the perfect setting for the ConProAm.


The Great Hall of the National
Building Museum

A small stage with a podium had been set up with rows of chairs for the Press arrayed before the stage. Dozens of camera were set up and trained on the podium. Dozens of reporters were seated, ready to pounce.

Blair and Rachel promptly mounted the stage at 10:00 a.m., with Rachel approaching the forest of microphones attached to the Podium. “Good morning, and welcome to the first press conference of the Office of the Chair of the Convention to Propose Amendments. The court appointed Chair, Montgomery Blair Sibley, will make a statement and then he and I will take questions. Befitting the solemnity of the undertaking to consider amending the Constitution which has so well served us these last 229 years, questions from the Press will be taken at the Microphone set-up in the center. Now, don’t rush to line up at that Microphone, as I will be selecting at random the names of reporters to ask questions. Today, we will be limiting questions so this event doesn’t go on forever, but Blair and I will be available for more in depth interviews in the future. With that, Blair, you have the floor.”

“Thank you Rachel. The first order of business is to introduce Rachel Hera as the Deputy Chair. You may recall that she was Judge Garland’s law clerk and as such is well versed on the history and law regarding a convention of this nature. I look forward to working with her.”

“I am very certain that this Convention to Propose Amendments, or ConProAm if you will, can only be considered legitimate if completely transparent. Notably, the constitutional convention of 1787 was held completely in secret. Not so this ConProAm. I am pleased to announce that Rachel has negotiated a deal in principal for C-SPAN to cover not only the proceedings of the Committee of the Whole made up of the delegates from the 50 states -- and non-voting delegates from the U.S. Territories -- but also each Committee established to consider a particular issue towards the end of making a proposed amendment to the Constitution on that issue. Simply stated, everything done will be done in the open.”

“Second, while the delegates as directed by their respective state legislatures will ultimately decide which, if any, amendments are proposed and sent on to the states for ratification, in order to facilitate the greatest number of voices in this process, I am challenging today the major technology companies to set up a public square where amendments can be proposed, debated and otherwise considered. The fundamental core of this virtual public square must be that only identified, registered voters may speak. No bots, foreign agents, special interest groups trying to dominate the conversation. This country was not founded by anonymous citizens hiding their identities but those willing to sign up and ‘mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.’ I trust our corporate citizens -- who will remain mute in this process as they have neither a vote, nor a soul to govern their vote -- will nonetheless discharge their civic duty by contributing to the education of the citizens of the U.S. through sponsoring programs to that end. I have in mind Ken Burns type documentaries, school plays, public debates and the like. Our citizenry is disgracefully ignorant of the history of this great Country and this is a great opportunity for a national history lesson.”

“Third, I challenge the universities and corporate R&D departments to demonstrate the promise of applying artificial intelligence to the database that our national dialog will create. My hope is that by using such artificial intelligence we can be guided toward identifying areas of common concern and solutions for those concerns. Not Skynet but rather R2-D2.”

“Last, please remember that Rachel and I serve at the pleasure of the delegates to the Convention which will be the first order of business when the ConProAm is convened. However, given the size of the delegates, we propose to firmly place our Convention rules -- drawn from the sixteen rules adopted at the 1787 Convention -- before the delegates so that chaos and time don’t sideline this very important event. I will now take any questions. Rachel, call your first journalist if you please.”

“The first name I drew from the hat was MSNBC reporter Alex Witt. Ms. Witt?”

“Thank you Rachel. Mr. Sibley, do think a disbarred attorney should be Chairing this ConProAm? I refer of course to your disbarment by the Florida, New York, Washington, D.C. and 11 federal courts in 2008.”

“Ms. Witt, first, let me say I was never disbarred, but instead only suspended by Florida for three years in 2008 which the other bars, including the U.S. Supreme Court, all rubber stamped. You also omitted that the basis of the suspension was for an allegation that I failed to pay child support -- nothing to do with my fitness as an attorney. Moreover, you failed to mention that the 2008 suspension was for allegedly not paying child support in 2002. In your rush for a titillating sound bite, you failed to connect the dots between that suspension -- without an adversarial hearing mind you -- with my representation of Jeane Palfrey, known as the D.C. Madam and the 13 subpoenas that I had issued on the intelligence agencies and the White House in her defense in 2008. But ignore that appalling exercise of judicial power to remove me from the judicial playing field, let me answer your question directly.” Blair stopped and stepped down from the podium, taking the microphone with him and walked up to Ms. Witt stopping a few feet from her.

“Ms. Witt, there is no one better qualified than me to initially Chair the ConProAm. For I, as well as anyone, understand that all voices must be heard in order for a democracy to have legitimacy. And when the powerful silence voices, as the legal profession has attempted to silence mine, let’s just say you have a special motivation to make sure that everyone gets heard. What better quality would you ask in a Chair of a Convention that will determine the future of the federal/state power distribution for some time to come?”

Shaken, Ms. Witt turned and sat down at her seat. Rachel spoke up. “Next, a reporter from ABC, Tom Llamas.”

“Thank you Rachel. Mr. Sibley, do you have any amendments that you hope the Convention proposes?”

Returning the podium, Blair responded. “Yes, but as a resident of the District of Columbia, I have no voting representation at the ConProAm. At Rachel’s suggestion, we are inviting and will recognize and seat delegates from each of the inhabited territories of the United States to remind the assembled delegates that there exists a large disenfranchised population of U.S citizens. So my hope in this regard is that an amendment will be worked out to address that glaring hypocrisy. Beyond that, I think that as Chair I should remain publicly neutral.”

“Next”, Rachel said, “I have pulled the name of L.A. Times reporter Paul Pringle.”

“Mr. Sibley, how will you be moving forward to convene the Convention?” Mr. Pringle asked

“Rachel, why don’t you address that question”, Blair said turning to Rachel.

“I would be pleased to do so as I have taken on many of the logistical issues of the ConProAm. A letter will go out next week to every State Legislature advising them that a ConProAm will convene on October 14, 2017, per Judge Garland’s order. The letter will also advise that each Legislature is completely in control of how they will select their delegates and what they will charge the delegates to do as their agents. However, on the floor of this building where the ConProAm will proceed, each State will be allowed only eight seats for delegates and only one designated member to express the position of the State at a vote. The letter will contain the initial Rules of the Convention and the opening agenda. I am consulting with C-SPAN to cover the entire convention and its committee meetings. The Smithsonian is assisting in the furnishing of the desks for the Convention and the lay-out. I wanted to bring a bit of 18th Century decorum to the proceedings.”

Rachel continued, “In that vein, the letter will emphasis that we are adopting Rule #3 from the 1787 Convention that when a delegate is speaking, ‘none shall pass between them, or hold discourse with another, or read a book, pamphlet, or paper, printed or manuscript’ adding no texting either. Of course the letter will be posted on our website, www.conproam.us. One more question today. From Politico.com, Christian Oliver.”

“Mr. Sibley”, Christian Oliver started in, “It is admirable that you state you want diverse voices to be heard, but the State Legislatures will be selecting their delegates and instructing those delegates on what to vote on. As is publicly known, as of November 2016, Republicans controlled the legislatures in 32 states while Democrats were in control of the remaining 18 state legislatures. Accordingly, won’t the GOP be able to ram its proposed amendments through the ConProAm and thereby impose its agenda on the Country?”

“Mr. Oliver,” Blair responded, “that is the most intelligent and important question that can be addressed. Thank you for asking it. Remember that the ConProAm only proposes amendments. So yes, at first blush as only a majority of the state delegates need to vote in favor of any given proposed amendment and the GOP controls a majority of the State legislatures, it would seem to be a foregone conclusion that the GOP agenda will show up in the amendments that will be proposed. However, two points counter that concern. Any proposed amendment is only a suggestion, 3/4s of the State Legislatures must approve it before it becomes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That number is now at 38 states. So the GOP majority of 32 states will not be enough to add any proposed amendment to the Constitution.”

“My second point is this:”, Blair continued, “The timing of the proposed amendments, early in 2018 at best, means that the voters in each state will be able to choose state legislators with the full knowledge on how each candidate would vote on any proposed amendment thereby insuring that the will of the People is fully expressed through our democratic process. Finally, you touch on the genesis of why I am seeking a virtual public debate on the ConProAm so that voices can be heard by those who will ultimately be accountable to them.”

Rachel then stepped up and took the microphone. “Thank you all for coming today. We are going to conclude the Press Conference now but will be available next week for individual sit downs with members of the Press. You will understand that we have a lot of work to do and must now get to it.”

Reverting to the herd the Press Corp was famous for, shouts of questions rang out from the Press, but Blair and Rachel left the stage and retreated to their new offices on the third floor of the National Building Museum.

***

Closing the door to their office, Rachel said, “That went well, I thought. Alex Witt looked like she was going to faint when you walked towards her. I wasn’t sure what you were going to do.”

“Perhaps that was too much, but I found when I was in jail that a little physical intimidation commands respect. When the Press sits back barricaded behind the wall between reporter and subject, they are like a pack of dogs attacking a carcass. I just wanted to let them know I was alive and can bite back.”

“You were in jail?” Rachel said, intrigued.

“Yes, but only for 78 days. Let’s just say a judge and I had a disagreement that took a while to work out. It was an interesting chapter of my life. Every attorney ought to spend a week in jail before they are allowed to practice. Maybe I will suggest that as an amendment” Blair said laughing.

“You certainly are an interesting fellow,” Rachel said, her eyes lingering on Blair a little bit longer professionally necessary as a smile lit up her face.

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Chapter 9 -- The Supreme Court Library


Chapter Nine

Saturday, April 15, 2017
10 a.m.

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are
useless, but planning is indispensable. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Supreme Court library is on the third floor of the Supreme Court building. With the advent of online legal research, no one goes there anymore for the world’s legal reports are all available from any computer. Built in the style of an 18th Century London Gentlemen’s club, the Library features a massive fireplace, sumptuous leather armchairs and private, wood paneled study rooms.

It was in one of the rooms with a view of the Capitol, that Blair and Rachel sat down to plan that which had never happened before -- a ConProAm.

“Blair”, Rachel said, “before we begin, what did you mean yesterday when you said that this ConProAm may mark the end of the Age of Pisces and the start of the Age of Aquarius?”

“Rachel, I guess you should know that among other things, I am an unrepentant Hippy from the 1960s and fully ascribe to the idea that we are leaving the Age of Pisces – early Christians used the symbol of Pisces, a fish, as a secret symbol of their faith – and entering the Age of Aquarius. Curiously, the symbol for Aquarius resembles the sine wave that describes a smooth repetitive electrical oscillation which is the backbone of the Internet. The Age of Aquarius is an astrological age, which occurs because of the motion of Earth known as the Precession of the Equinoxes. The cycle of Precession lasts 25,800 years. There are 12 constellations of the Zodiac. So, roughly every 2,150 years, the Sun’s position at the time of the March, or vernal, equinox moves in front of a new Zodiac constellation. The ancient astrologers thought of Aquarius as the sign of all things that are newly invented. This is why the Age of Aquarius is linked so strongly to technology. Aquarius is also an Air sign and therefore highly communicative, bent on gathering information, which echoes what is coming toward us in this new Age, too. Aquarius has a strong need for independence and individualism, and is very original and inventive. Aquarius is visionary and creative, but rebellious, too. Aquarius’ job is to challenge authority, tear down existing structures, and replace the outdated with something better.”

“I don’t think Judge Garland realized he put a space cadet in charge of the ConProAm”, Rachel said, smiling.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But, let’s get back to business. Your list or mine first?”

“You go ahead, Mr. Chairperson”, Rachel said smiling.

“O.K. I propose we identify the areas to be addressed and then divide up those areas between us. As the Chairs of the ConProAm, we have a lot of discretion in launching this convention and I am keen that we do a professional job so that the end results are seen as legitimate. So I started backwards from when the ConProAm will adjourn with its proposed amendments sent off to the states for consideration. What I want the public to believe, regardless of what amendments come out, is that the process was fair and transparent.”

“I agree completely. Didn’t I read that at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the state delegates worked in secret?”

“Indeed, Madison wrote to Jefferson approving the secrecy of the proceedings. I have a copy of the Madison letter so let me quote it: ‘It was thought expedient in order to secure unbiased discussion within doors, and to prevent misconceptions & misconstructions without, to establish some rules of caution which will for no short time restrain even a confidential communication of our proceedings.’ I don’t think those reasons would hold today if the results are to be considered legitimate. So the first item on my agenda is to establish a mode for broadcasting the entire proceedings for all to see.”

Rachel said, “I have some good contacts at C-SPAN so I am sure they would love the opportunity to play that role. Let me take that task.”

“Great. I should have mentioned that what I am working towards is our first Press Conference next week so it would be great to be able to announce that the proceedings of the Convention will be aired by C-SPAN, so put that on the top of your list. Next, I have the issue of how the Convention will work. What do you think of using the same framework used by the 1787 Convention? It is a workable framework even though we now have 50 states, rather than just 13.”

“Blair, I haven’t done the deep dive into that Convention’s rules, what are they?”

“There were 16 rules in all; some of them not applicable to the 21st Century -- standing when the George Washington, as Chairman, left the room, for example -- but many make sense today. They are: (i) each state has one vote, (ii) a majority of states is needed to pass a motion, (iii) my favorite, ‘Every member, rising to speak, shall address the Chair, and, whilst he shall be speaking, none shall pass between them, or hold discourse with another, or read a book, pamphlet, or paper, printed or manuscript’, (iv) and that Committees shall be appointed to consider and report on a proposed amendment.”

“Should make for good theatre, for sure” Rachel said. “That may have worked when there were only 55 delegates for 12 states, Rhode Island not showing up, but how can that work with 50 states sending who-knows-how many delegates?”

“I have been wrestling with that problem for some time and this is what I have come up with. Imagine a pyramid. At the top will be the ConProAm floor where each State will have its designated speaking/voting delegate; the Committee of the Whole. Thus I envision a room with 50 seats, one for each state, with a desk behind which will sit seven state delegates as observers and/or secretaries. The only proceedings that will occur at the top of the pyramid will be the procedural votes on the operation of the Convention, creation of Committees and the actual votes on the proposed amendments.” Blair stopped to take a sip of water.

“Let’s not forget the U.S. Territories. Though they will have no vote at the Convention, I think they should be seated.” Rachel said.

“That’s a good idea: Then seats for the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While it is not for me to interject, I do hope the ConProAm takes up the status of those territories.” Blair said.

“Agreed. Particularly on Congressional representation. I always thought that living in D.C. was like being on a slave plantation where masters, Congress, decided everything about our laws but we had no vote on who was in Congress.”

“The next level of the pyramid”, Blair continued, “will be the Committees. Each Committee will work on a particular proposed amendment and try to reach consensus. Either way, after a given time frame, the Committee will report out on its results. I am keen to move this process along and wind up the Convention within six months, so I would propose putting time limit on each Committee to fish or cut bait.”

Rachel responded, “Yes, but sugar coat that and let the Committee of the Whole set that time, we should just suggest it. But how are the issues to be considered by each Committee to be decided?”

“Are you sitting down?” Blair said in jest. “Google.”

“What? Are you kidding?” Rachel said eyes widening.

“Look. It pains me to say this but corporations are people too in one sense, even though they have no direct vote. Given the power, money and complete lack of a soul accountable to God, corporations will want to be in on this process to try to advance their own agendas without concern for civic duty. My thought is to dilute that power by proactively pushing them out of the picture except as sponsors of the process.”

“And how are you going to do that?”

“Artificial intelligence combined with the wisdom of the crowd.”

“O.K. I am listening” Rachel said, sitting back in her chair.

“Let’s start with the Wisdom of the Crowd. In the book of that name, James Surowiecki advanced the premise that big crowds reach smarter decisions than individuals. As an example, he related the story of when Francis Galton visited a livestock fair in 1906 in England. Over 800 contestants entered a contest where they had to guess the weight of an ox. Looking at the data, Galton found that no one guessed the true weight of the ox -- 1,198 pounds -- correctly. Indeed, the closest guess was 9 pounds off. However, when he calculated the average weight guess of all participants, he was shocked: 1,197 pounds. The crowd as a whole was just 1 pound off.”

“That’s amazing.” Rachel said. “How does that work at the ConProAm?”

“My thought is this. Let’s open the amendment proposing process to the crowd. The results will have no de jure effect on the actual ConProAm process, yet it will inform the state legislatures, who are ultimately elected by the People, as to the concerns they have about the relationship between federal and state power.”

“Blair, we are both trained in the law and well aware of the nuances and history of the federal/state power dynamic as memorizilied in the Constitution and articulated by Supreme Court decisions. I know we both have strong feelings about how that dynamic needs to change. Why do you think that a farmer in Iowa or a car assembler in Detroit will gasp those issues rationally?”

“Rachel, I fear far less the common sense of the masses than I do that of the over-educated elites which now run this Country from their entrenched power-base in Washington, D.C. Is it any surprise that the five most affluent counties in the Country encircle the District of Columbia? Moreover, what I have in mind is educating the public before the questions are posed.”

“Explain.”

“At the Press Conference, I want to announce a challenge to our corporations. Organize an on-line forum to propose and discuss amendments. Only identified individuals who are registered voters would be allowed to participate. Each person would have to be confirmed by their local elections department as a valid, register voter. They then could propose amendments, engage in discussion and otherwise begin to ‘guess the weight of the ox’, so to speak. My sense, and hope, is that from that will emerge an educated consensus on the proper role of the federal government and that of the states in the affairs of the Citizens of the United States.”

“And how does that put Corporations on the sidelines. Not to mention the political parties? Won’t they just overwhelm the discussions?”

“Always possible, but the reason we have so much false news and viruses on the internet is the scourge of anonymity. Look at any comment section and you will see that no one uses their own name so they are free to say any damn thing they want. Before the howls of the cosmopolitan elite are screeched claiming that anonymous postings on the internet highway are a God-given right, consider this analogy: On the actual highways of the world, do we allow the drivers of vehicles to operate anonymously? The answer, of course is ‘no’. The reason is plain: In so much as vehicle operators can cause significant property damage and injuries and/or death to persons, their identities must be known. Accordingly, in order to hold the operators of vehicles accountable for their actions, we require driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, license plates and, significantly, vehicle identification numbers unique to each vehicle on the road worldwide. In that way, if a breach of the law occurs, the perpetrator can be identified and called to account for any damage done. For the same reason, the identification of each Internet user contributing to the ConProAm must be required.”

“That would give legitimacy to the discussion, for sure.” Rachel said. “I like it. It would involve everyone. I am sure the tech wizards at Google and other tech companies could put that together with the challenge to make it transparent and a real use of the Internet for the 21st century. But you also mentioned education. What are your thoughts in that regard?”

“Well, that is where the corporations can come in again. At the press conference, I am going to challenge them to do their civic duty for the ConProAm to serve as educational sponsors. For example, TeachingAmericanHistory.org has a great outline of the 1787 Convention entitled ‘The Constitutional Convention as a Four Act Drama.’ I am going to propose corporations sponsor that as a live event across the country. Or take other significant issues, say the Eleventh Amendment which established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states which replaced Article I, §3 of the Constitution, which mandated Senators were to be elected by state legislatures. That caused a radical shift in the power of the Federal Government as States no longer had a direct voice and Senators became the patsies of special interests. The ignorance of the Citizens of the United States of its history is appalling and I see this moment as a time to address that.”

“I like it. You really are the right person to lead the ConProAm forward. But what about the artificial intelligence you mentioned?” Rachel said, looking a bit longer into Blair’s eyes than necessary.

Blair paused and returned her gaze and then continued, “Imagine then we have this massive database of proposed amendments coupled with online debates on the various proposed amendments. Now you release an artificial intelligence on that database to arrive at proposals that would likely produce the amendments that could secure ratification. The combination of these amendment communities’ expressions and artificial intelligence analysis creates a Collective Intelligence which, through methods such as topic modeling, link and synthesize across these human contributions producing a structure for our federal/state/individual rights. Scary as it may sound, this sort of AI could serve an important role as a scholar, a synthesizer, and an evidence-based decision maker for amending the Constitution. The end result can benefit the social construction of our federal system.”

“I get that”, Rachel said. “The Wisdom of the Crowds would engage a large numbers of diverse individuals thereby producing a better solution than any single point of view could provide. The different perspectives avoid the solutions that a group of like-minded individuals -- I am referring to the age, ethnicity, wealth and social standing of the all-white, mostly male, homogeneous Congress and state legislatures -- would provide. Moreover, diverse groups will be involved in the process and thus invested in the process.”

“My thoughts exactly. Those are the three items I want to raise at the Press Conference next week. Now it’s your turn. What have you come up with?”

“I guess I am thinking more logistically. First, we need an office, a staff and budget. I am happy to take those tasks on and let you focus on the bigger issues”, Rachel said.

“That would be great as that is not my strong suit. I would recommend we keep the employees all Washington, D.C. residents to avoid any state being favored”, Blair said.

“I agree. Second, we need to find a dignified place to hold the ConProAm. It deserves certain majesty. Judge Garland set the place as Washington, D.C. I was thinking the National Building museum; lots of space to set up a Convention with three stories of galleries for the press and public to watch.”

“I have been there several times. That would be perfect. Jump on that first thing. It would be a great place to have our offices too. I am sure they would clear any conflicts to let us have the facility.” Blair said.

“Third, we need a Website, pronto. I expect we are going to be deluged with inquiries. Do you want me to take on that as well?”

“Rachel, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Blair said.

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