Audrey Tang, Digital Minister Taiwan


RSA’s Bridges to the Future podcast (25 min)




Audrey Tang:

software programmer, dropped out of junior high school to start his own start up,

serial entrepreneur, retired at 33, conservative anarchist, currently Taiwan’s ,digital minister’, first transgender official in Taiwan’s cabinet, in charge of social innovation



// CB notes


triple coupon

everybody who uses a credit card / debit card up to 3.000 Taiwan dollars (80 pounds)

to spend it in a way that is not e-commerce

gets it back one week later from the cash machine

The pandemic is a great amplifier.
We will be much more empowered to solve world issues together.

we (Taiwan) are 2 months before

happy to work together



fast, fair, fun

fast: we had tests from 1st Jan for people coming from Wuhan, we are prepared since 2003 (SARS)

fair: masks for everybody, standard and special. basic supply free, extra supply at fair costs and certain quantity per person/household guaranteed

fun: humor vs rumor – fun clarification gets even more viral than conspirancy theories


open governance – people participating.
daily press conferences at 2.00 p.m., everybody can call in.

talking to each other


In contrast to the stern public health warnings in China, Tang said that embracing levity has allowed Taiwan to address other social issues stemming from the pandemic. For example, after reports surfaced that some boys were bullied in school for wearing pink face masks (one called in at daily press conference), Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center showed up wearing pink surgical masks at a press briefing. ,[They made] sure everybody learned about gender mainstreaming,’ said Tang, who is also the first transgender official in Taiwan’s cabinet.


Every time a hoax surfaces on social media, Tang and her band of civic hackers unleash a joke containing the facts of the matter within two hours of spotting the post, based on the idea that since people like to share funny memes on social media, doing so allows the government to wrest control of the narrative. Tang also said that government agencies have employed professional comedians as ,engagement officers’ to help in the cause. If they miss the two-hour window, Tang’s team locates the perpetrators and recruits them as allies in Taiwan’s coronavirus effort.


Taiwan is a country that uses technology very extensively, but does it in a way which engages and empowers citizens as innovators and actors within the technological system

assistive intelligence, not artificial intelligence


communication channels:



live press conference


the mask is a social technology

as a social signal statement saying

I am not touching my face

I am washing my hands


The role of the state will be much larger and more significant during the period of recovery. It’s about blurring the boundary between governmental action and civil action. To dissolve the state by becoming part of the social sector.


simple reflecting to the civics sectors what the social innovators do

no need of criminal penalty for not washing your hands

state is part of social sector

if we exercise no cohersive action

we never declared a state of emergency

the constitutional democracy is intact

CCC (Krisensteuerungsboard) has 94% of approval rating



// humor as a tool against coronavirus hoaxes

Taiwan is using humor as a tool against coronavirus hoaxes


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