We decode the social effects of media to put their power to good use.

Current Projects

Our work is collaborative by necessity and by design. Contact us if you'd like to participate or start a new project.

Project Ratio

Redesigning our info ecosystem to improve political discourse

Vulnerabilities in our information ecosystem are creating a crisis in our democracy that is deeper, older and more systemic than fake news or filter bubbles. Project Ratio seeks to address this crisis. In addition to advancing fundamental understanding of information production, consumption, and comprehension, Project Ratio will bring together tech and media companies, academics and engineering talent to pursue solutions around three core questions: (1) What are the shortcomings in our current information ecosystem and our collective goals for improvement? (2) What conditions, mechanisms and interactions support, or impede, rational political discourse? (3) What social practices and tech can be built to establish, improve and grow these mechanisms at scale? Equal parts research effort, tech incubator, and alliance, Project Ratio is the work of Duncan J. Watts and David Rothschild of Microsoft Research and is currently in development. Early project phases focus on building innovative systems for data collection and experimentation, and collaborative cross-sector networks.

REBUILDING LEGITIMACY IN A POST-TRUTH AGE

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Project Ariel

A deep foundation for climate stability

The Dalio Foundation and filmmakers Paul Dalio and Kristina Nikolova want to understand how to invest in and make narrative media that get beyond the polarities of the climate change debate, in order to establish a deep foundation for climate stability within our culture’s collective psyche. We're helping them map the current state of that psyche—and media's role in shaping it—with regard to climate change and, more fundamentally, alienation from nature. Our approach blends media analysis, social listening, social network analysis, cultural analysis and surveys, with input from experts in climate science, and its communication, decision science, and related fields. Project outputs will shape media projects, currently in development, and the design of the Foundation’s climate program and media investment strategy.

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VR Action Lab

An emerging medium optimized for social effects

Typically, activists use whichever communication tools are at hand to pursue their goals. Rarely has a medium been deliberately developed to maximize its power to make social change. Until now. The VR Action Lab joins together activists, researchers, virtual reality (VR) media makers and hardware makers to discover, refine, and disseminate learning, in regard to the medium’s unique affordances for movement building and social change making. Cross-group collaboration and experimentation are integrated throughout the media making process, from discovery and conception through to production, testing, and deployment. In addition to generating compelling VR content, and sustained, strategically important efforts within one activist community, the Lab will output generalizable insights and resources to support the effective integration of new media tools into existing social change work. The Lab is a collaboration with Screenwriters Colony and others.

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