Promoting Net Zero – Recommender systems

Towards sustainable public engagement via responsible recommender systems

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.

Despite the ubiquity of information sources and influx of content, subjective and unregulated software such recommender systems play a significant role in 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. This exacerbates opinion polarization, which is inherently embedded in our communities even before recommender systems are introduced into our daily lives.

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.

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

Start date 1 June 2022 – 31 May 2023 

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