Promoting Net Zero

Opinion polarization challenges in disseminating net zero economy policies for a sustainable future

The global race towards net zero carbon emissions will impact almost all aspects of our daily lives, including the balance of foods we eat and the way we travel. Arguably, the only sustainable way of making a behavioural transition on such a large scale is through a collective effort, involving policy change and an increased awareness of our own personal roles, such as lifestyle changes.

One of the most influential and widespread application of machine learning in the media industry (our main channels of communication such as news outlets, streaming platforms and social media) are recommender systems.  As such, they play a significant role in influencing the information we are exposed to and the formation of our opinions. In particular, collaborative filtering, the building block used by most recommender systems, tend to promote the formation of echo chambers (the effect of people only encountering beliefs or opinions similar to their own), exacerbating opinion polarization.

This project aims to better understand ways to inspire transformative policy and lifestyle changes in support of the transition to a net zero economy.  It will address factors affecting the opinion polarization of families and individuals with regards to policy and lifestyle required for a carbon-free economy; and investigate different ways of encoding content diversity in the design of collaborative filters in recommender systems.

Promoting Net Zero has strong overlaps with the TAS Hub and the team will work with HoRRIzon 2.0 to address the links between echo chambers and platform trustworthiness. RRI practices will be embedded within throughout the duration of the project.

Introduction blog,

Start date 1 June 2022 – 31 May 2023 

This project sits with Horizon’s Agile programme (Round 2)