Broadening Exposure to Socio-Political Opinions via a Pushy Smart Home Device

Feltwell, Tom, Wood, Gavin, Brooker, Phillip, Rowland, Scarlett, Baumer, Eric, Long, Kiel, Vines, John, Barnett, Julie and Lawson, Shaun (2020) Broadening Exposure to Socio-Political Opinions via a Pushy Smart Home Device. In: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’20): April 25–30, 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, p. 3376774. ISBN 9781450367080

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Motivated by the effects of the filter bubble and echo chamber phenomena on social media, we developed a smart home device, Spkr, that unpredictably "pushes" socio-political discussion topics into the home. The device utilised trending Twitter discussions, categorised by their socio-political alignment, to present people with a purposefully assorted range of viewpoints. We deployed Spkr in 10 homes for 28 days with a diverse range of participants and interviewed them about their experiences. Our results show that Spkr presents a novel means of combating selective exposure to socio-political issues, providing participants with identifiably diverse viewpoints. Moreover, Spkr acted as a conversational prompt for discussion within the home, initiating collective processes and engaging those who would not often be involved in political discussions. We demonstrate how smart home assistants can be used as a catalyst for provocation by altering and pluralising political discussions within households.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Funding information: Thank you to David Verweij for his help fabricating the Spkr enclosures, and CereProc for access to their CereVoice API. This work was supported by the grant ES/M003574/1 "CuRAtOR: Challenging online feaR And OtheRing". It was also supported by the EPSRC DERC grant EP/M023001/1. Data underpinning this paper is available from the authors.
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2020 16:32
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 15:45

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