Neuropolitics is a new field of political data collection involving the human brain. Specifically, campaigns study facial expressions and even brain imaging to try to understand how voters feel and to swing elections in certain directions. Neuropolitics sounds like science fiction, but it’s just one of the ways that technology can shape public policy.

Technology in public policy can prove beneficial for both constituents and candidates. With technology, more petitions can reach voters, and constituents have an easier time contacting their representatives at every level of government. In fact, something as simple as your activity on social media can indicate how politically involved you’ve become. Though you might get tired of seeing political posts on your feeds, social media networks help you stay informed about policy changes and the actions you can take for or against them.

Representatives now use social media to engage with people, but the phenomenon of using technology to enhance policy, voting, and elections isn’t new. The idea of tapping into public opinion has been around since before the French Revolution. It gained traction in the 1800s with straw polls and has turned into the public opinion frenzy that countries around the world witness today. The University of Southern California has created an infographic laying out the ways in which technology forms how governments interact with constituents. Scroll down to check it out and learn more about this fascinating metamorphosis.