Technology-facilitated Societal Consensus

Paper by Timotheus Kampik and Amro Najjar: “The spread of radical opinions, facilitated by homophilic Internet communities (echo chambers), has become a threat to the stability of societies around the globe. The concept of choice architecture–the design of choice information for consumers with the goal of facilitating societally beneficial decisions–provides a promising (although not uncontroversial) general concept to address this problem.

The choice architecture approach is reflected in recent proposals advocating for recommender systems that consider the societal impact of their recommendations and not only strive to optimize revenue streams.

However, the precise nature of the goal state such systems should work towards remains an open question. In this paper, we suggest that this goal state can be defined by considering target opinion spread in a society on different topics of interest as a multivariate normal distribution; i.e., while there is a diversity of opinions, most people have similar opinions on most topics. We explain why this approach is promising, and list a set of crossdisciplinary research challenges that need to be solved to advance the idea….(More)”.