Last week, President Obama spoke to the nation about gun rights, and his ideas for how to solve gun violence in America. In the days since, the airwaves have been full of pundits reacting to his proposals, claiming to know what the “average American” thinks. They cite polls and surveys, but anyone who follows this blog know that polling instruments are riddled with problems, from distorted samples to social biasing.
To tap American sentiment in a more direct manner, researchers at Unanimous A.I. used a method called “Artificial Swarm Intelligence”. Unlike polls, where everyone responds in isolation, swarms are real-time systems where everyone “thinks together” as a unified intellect. Enabled by a online platform called UNU, swarming enables rapid negotiation among the participants, converging on solutions that best reflect their collective will.
So, what do Americans think about gun control? We asked a swarm of 50 volunteers from forums such as Reddit. Questions appear on everyone’s screen at the exact same time. Then, users work together to reach an answer, everyone using their own little magnet to apply pull on the same puck (see videos below). Answers emerge in just seconds…
A mix of Democrats and Republicans, from diverse locations, it’s a wonder they could reach consensus. But they did. That’s the magic of swarming – instead of showing where people disagree (as polls do), it reveals solutions that best satisfy the group. Here are the results…
QUESTION #1: What is the most effective strategy to prevent mass shootings?
QUESTION #2: What should the US government’s position be on guns?
QUESTION #3: People on the NO-FLY list should be able to buy guns (Agree or Disagree)?
QUESTION #4: What are the odds that Congress Strengthens gun control in the next few months?
What do the results say? It seems that American sentiment, when looking across parties and regions, sees stronger gun laws as the best path for reducing gun violence. At the same time, Americans have no illusions that Congress will take any steps in this direction. Thus, it seems that Americans believe that things are likely to remain unchanged. Is the swarm correct? Only time will tell, but we will be tracking and keeping this blog updated.
Want to be part of a swarm? Now you can – swarms are forming to explore topics of all kinds, from politics and sports, to movies and music. If you’d to be a BETA TESTER for the folks at UNU, just fill out the form below.