Intelligence Squared US

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Intelligence Squared debate

When it comes to politics, the Internet is closing our minds

Does the internet poison politics? It’s been argued that the rise of “personalization,” the use of algorithms to filter what you see online, and easy access to the like-minded, has served to reinforce our pre-conceptions.  Is the information bubble a myth, or is it undermining civic discourse?  Is the rise of social media really broadening our world views, or narrowing them?

The debaters are: Eli Pariser, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Evgeny Morozov and Jacob Weisberg

Comments [4]

Kim from NYC

Who audits the 'voting' of Intelligence Squared debates to be sure it is legitimate voting?

Many ways to rig the votes in the audience and they get lots of exposure with their 'votes'. Their political POV is furthered by the 'results' and then perpetuated across the web, tv and radio. Looks very authentic. Is it?

How can we know?

Jul. 26 2012 10:47 AM
Julie Turkewitz from New York

What a wonderful debate! Thanks WNYC for hosting this. I am working on a project that aims to bridge political divides in an increasingly "personalized" information age, and encourage anyone interested in the debate above to check us out.

May. 21 2012 10:29 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

What's missing here is any real science of measuring network disconnectedness. Most notably one needs systematic global survey methods, to overcome the reality that social networks form natural cells of network connectedness that contain hives of activity, you won't have "heard of" if you are "out of the loop".

You need scientific methods to break that. What hidden cells of self-organization they are organized around is invisible from the outside, as for the internal workings of any organism, society or business. As for a hive of bees, outsiders only see wandering individuals outside the hive, and miss most of their communication. Look up network theory.

May. 20 2012 08:47 PM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

I'd like "boundary crossing filters" from Google, results filtered according to the worldview I'm interested in learning about. That would give me truly interdisciplinary viewpoints, rather than leave me stranded on my own all the time.

I think we're forgetting that the problem of humans thinking in narrow "silos" of cultural self-definition applies to all the issues and questions of life. It has always been the role of social networks to define what people would agree to as their 'reality'.

It's one of the most obvious things today, when you look around the world. Nearly every culture, every profession, every substantial business, all the way down to every discussion thread, adopts it's own set of premises and internally accepted views of reality, just like religions do. So it's not the internet, but the brain and the way consciousness seeks social affirmation for its self-serving images of the world.

Now we can see the pattern clearly in every field. We still seem we'd be helpless to change it, but not realize we are not going unharmed by nearly every conversation referring to a different universe, in effect. We've come to need to tolerate completely contradictory views about survival issues, and to filter their conflicts from public discussion.

It allows everyone have their own social agreements defined as reality to now become quite a direct mortal threat. It's clearly hamstringing all of human decision making.

May. 19 2012 02:55 PM

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