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Lightning Talks: Test Your Perception Gap and the Angry Uncle Chatbot
Two quick takes on tools to help you communicate
The Technology for Social Cohesion conference brought together technologists, peacebuilders, and academics to discuss polarization created by platform design problems, and also the use of technology to help peacebuilding professionals. The lightning talk session included two examples of the latter: an online Perception Gap quiz, and the Angry Uncle Chatbot.
Watch the video here.
Julia Coffin and Calista Small from More in Common want to strengthen democratic societies against polarization and division by finding common ground. One way they are doing this is with a quiz: The Perception Gap.
Users take a quick quiz to identify their biases and misperceptions about “the other side.” In the end, you get a measure of your personal perception gap. By giving a personalized approach to the problem, the project hopes to point out how Americans have a distorted understanding of people with different beliefs.
Based on surveying 2,100 Americans, More in Common’s quiz found that while people believe that 55% of Republicans and Democrats have extreme views, the reality is closer to 30%.
Take the quiz here to find your personal perception gap. Does it match up with what you thought it would be?
Angry Uncle Chatbot
Watch the video here.
Tamerius wanted to help people to navigate dinner conversations with relatives who have differing views. As the title suggests, it’s like prepping for discussions with your angry uncle, parents, grandparents, or cousins who are far right or far left. The chatbot gives you tips and tricks on how to avoid turning discussions into debates.
First, you choose which political lean you’d like to talk with – conservative or liberal. It then takes you through a pretend triggering discussion, offering a choice of responses at each step. It’ll point out common communication mistakes, like maybe it’s best not to mention facts and figures at that moment. It will also advise you on how to respond to keep a productive conversation going and congratulate you when you get it right.
The truth is few of us are communication experts. But online tools like the Perception Gap and the Angry Uncle Chatbot give can help us become more aware of our own biases and communication styles. Better conflict starts on an individual level.