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

Feltwell, Tom, Wood, Gavin, Brooker, Phillip ORCID: 0000-0003-1189-4647, Rowland, Scarlett, Baumer, Eric PS, Long, Kiel, Vines, John, Barnett, Julie and Lawson, Shaun
(2020) Broadening Exposure to Socio-Political Opinions via a Pushy Smart Home Device. Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '19 2019. pp. 1-14.

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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: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Filter bubble, Echo chamber, Selective exposure, Smart home technology, Socio-political discussion, Nolan chart
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 09:07
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 13:56
DOI: 10.1145/3313831.3376774
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