Pardon me for interrupting

Some time ago my boss asked my about technical possibilities to push (possibly) disturbing content to people’s mobile devices.

She described the reason for this request as follows: “As filter bubbles shield us more and more from content that we (or know-it-all’s like Google) define as uninteresting, controversy and different viewpoints tend to vanish from our attention. I want to initiate a research project that remedies this development. Think of it this way: when you move around in a city, all kinds of stuff catch your attention for a short time: advertisements, graffiti… and you are not able to block them. I want to do the same, but with ‘better’ content.”

I pointed out that we would need to work together with hard- and software providers to achieve such a functionality cross-platform, etc. etc..
Other issues concern e.g. content curation; the non-technical aspect that disturbed me the most however is simply the fact that I don’t see the point: intelligent people by choice search for controversial information to broaden their intellectual horizon, while the others will very soon be annoyed by being forced to watch things that disturb their mental world, and disable the content feed.

Some tidbits I dug out in the wake of this discussion:

The body bakery is pretty disturbing but I admire the craftsmanship.

2 thoughts on “Pardon me for interrupting”

  1. Very interesting. That raises the question to what degree we, as technologists, should support people in their ability to ignore what they don’t want to know about. And if we are supporting them, then perhaps we should occasionally challenge their perceptions, by accident of course, even systems sometimes get it wrong ;-).

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