Today Scoop launched HiveMind a new platform for citizen engagement and people powered decision making in collaboration with engagement specialists Public Engagement Projects. ‘The hivemind’ is a term used to describe large groups of people who share their knowledge or opinions with one another to produce collective intelligence. Our use of this metaphor reflects the desire to include a range of public voices in developing new thinking about complex and challenging problems.
A healthy democracy involves more than holding elections – it requires a constant exchange of ideas and the hearing of all voices. Where we forget how to do this we become poorer as a society.
A new approach to online news media comments and social media discussion is essential today due to the manipulation of news and the inability of most online media discussions to achieve any productive outcomes for anyone involved. Existing media discussions often tend to feed oppositional thinking and ultimately lead to conflict, groupthink and echo-chambers.
HiveMind is an experiment in new ways of building consensus and trust and promoting healthy public discussions in ‘the new town square’. In this approach, participants are encouraged to develop arguments, to understand other perspectives and ultimately to find common ground and innovative solutions.
HiveMind has been inspired by international successes using the Pol.is software and we will be the first news media organisation in the world using this technology to our knowledge.
Taiwan’s Civic Hacker g0v movement has notably utilised this tool to facilitate nationwide public policy development discussions including reaching an agreement between all parties in the debate over the legality of the Uber ride sharing company in Taiwan.
The Pol.is tool uses cutting edge peer-to-peer and machine learning technology to surface trends and to group participants together according to commonly expressed views. However, the design of the tool seeks to break down these silos and bring divergent groups together rather than push them further apart. This is an example of AI being used in the service of democracy and unity as opposed to more sinister uses which seek to mine personal data for commercial or surveillance purposes.
Our first HiveMind exploration will address the complex topic of sugar and obesity in New Zealand and what we should do about it. To help everyone take part we have developed a resource base of research and articles, including identifying potential perspectives from across the political spectrum and possible action based on each perspective.
We believe potential solutions can come from all sides of the political spectrum and from the understanding and compromise between such perspectives. This is the inherent value of the HiveMind.
We look forward to this first exploration and warmly welcome you to get involved and invite anyone else who may be interested in this issue or in trialling the new discussion approach.
Click here to take part in the discussion and to read perspectives on Sugar and obesity
Click here for facts and research on Sugar and obesity
Click here to find out more about Hivemind and the software we are using
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If you believe public discussion in the news media is important, please consider supporting the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism crowdfunding campaign. Your support will help make more initiatives such as this possible in the crucial election year in 2017.
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