Hat tip to Cass Sunstein — October 27, 2016

Hat tip to Cass Sunstein

Sunstein’s book Republic.com came out in 2001, and it anticipated a lot of the “filter bubble” concerns that people mention today — e.g., Vox’s piece on “How social media creates angry, poorly informed partisans”. Sunstein’s book is well worth a read. You can buy it used for a penny plus shipping.

The main thing I took away from Sunstein was the idea of a “general-interest intermediary”: a media source like the New York Times that forces you to read things outside of your bubble. He followed that idea in the direction of government regulation, which I took to be something like the fairness doctrine. It’s not the best idea, but I wouldn’t really hold that against Sunstein: the final chapter of most any nonfiction work is the “what do we do about this?” chapter, and it’s almost always dissatisfying. Sunstein deserves credit for identifying the phenomenon well before anyone else; his book was a response to Nicholas Negroponte’s “Daily Me” boosterism.

Have others read The Filter Bubble? I have not, but it sounds like it covers a lot of Sunstein’s terrain. Can anyone comment on what it adds to Republic.com?