PODCAST: Consensus as Design Principle. An experiment with algorithmic content curation in the online democratic debate (2021)

Podcast made for SETUP.

It is not surprising that our society is polarising: we like to package our opinions in clickbait-like statements that you are either completely for or completely against. Nuance seems lost. On top of that does algorithmic content curation favour this type of ’extreme’ language content, which results in these radical messages being more visible on media platforms to more people. Enhancing the division and polarisation between population more and more.

If our media is designed to search for polarisation, then a basis for a nuanced discussion can also be designed. How does it look, if we design an online public arena for discussion, but instead take consensus as design principle?

Together with designer Nienke Huitenga, computer scientist and community organiser James Bryan Graves and researcher Rudy van Belkom, SETUP did an experiment. How can technology help us have solid, nuanced discussions?

In March 2021, in the weeks before the Dutch House of Representatives elections, we performed an online experiment, in which we invited twenty tech critical people to discuss statements from Rudy's Technologie Kieswijzer in an online environment. With the help of the consensus algorithm WINWIN from Nienke and James, we then highlighted the 'moments of consensus' in these discussions.

In this podcast, Nienke, James, Rudy and I are discussing the results of this experiment, reflect on our insights, and put these into a larger context of technology, design choices, and the democratic debate.

Together with Marijke Hessels I guided the experiment.

I produced, moderated, and edited the podcast.

Listen to the talk here!

© SETUP Maakt: Online discussiëren zonder polariseren

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