On a long plane ride, if you sat next to a friendly person from the opposite end of the political spectrum, would you engage them in conversation?
Contrary to what popular psychology tells us, most people are willing to engage with views and ideas that oppose their own under the right conditions. Needless to say, our media environment does not precipitate those conditions. It is rigged to expose us merely to one perspective – our perspective. We have no option of telling Youtube, Facebook or Google News to give us information from the other side that is presented in a respectful, nuanced and compelling manner.
I stumbled upon a refreshing AI initiative that tries to address this problem – improvethenews.org. With different sliders, you can choose to receive news articles that are opposed to your own view. You also get to choose the degree of length, nuance and provocation among several other settings. As of now, the website is US centric, but I really wish the idea catches on and turns mainstream. It would certainly make the world a better place.
So now that you have a chance to strike up a conversation with an intelligent person who sees the world differently, would you grab it?
PS: Here’s the link to the site again: http://www.improvethenews.org/