Obama on News Algorithms: At Some Point You Just Live in a Bubble

In the first episode of the new Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, former President Barack Obama reflects on political tensions and life after the White House, and Dave visits Selma with Representative John Lewis.

Obama: One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts. What the Russians exploited (but was already here) is that we operate in completely different information universes.

Letterman: I was under the impression that Twitter would be the mechanism by which truth was told around the world.

Obama: If you are getting all your information off algorithms being sent through a phone, and it’s just reinforcing whatever biases you have, which is the pattern that develops… And that gets more reinforced over time.

That’s what’s happening with these Facebook pages where more and more people are getting their news from. At a certain point you just live in a bubble. And that’s part of why our politics is so polarized right now. I think it is a solvable problem, but I think it’s one that we have to spend a lot of time thinking about.

Letterman: It seems like a valuable tool that has turned against us.

Source: Netflix