Crowdsourcing Deficit Reduction

Can the Internet help balance the budget?

Amid the conflict in Washington over how to reduce the deficit, two heavyweight computer scientists in the Bay Area have launched a website that aims to find politically palatable solutions, in part by giving ordinary citizens a voice on the matter.

The site, called Widescope, has some support among budget experts and policy wonks. It also has plenty of skeptics who feel the project is an example of “technological utopianism,” the belief that technology can solve difficult problems caused by humans, including political ones.

The site’s creators, Stanford University professor Ashish Goel and former Google Inc. executive Narayanan Shivakumar, believe public discourse about the budget is broken.

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