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

Tom Feltwell, Gavin Wood, Phillip Brooker, Scarlett Rowland, Eric P. S. Baumer, Kiel Long, John Vines, Julie Barnett, Shaun Lawson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherACM Association for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Print)9781450367080
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Hawaiʻi Convention Center on the island of Oahu, Honolulu, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameCHI '20
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 2020
CountryUnited States
Internet address


  • viewpoint diversity
  • smart home technology
  • echo chamber
  • pushy device
  • socio-political discussion
  • filter bubble
  • Nolan chart
  • selective exposure

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