“We say, “Doesn’t this fish taste delicious?” or “Doesn’t that painting look beautiful?” but we never know what the experience is like in another person’s mind. ”
– David Eagleman
Our perceptions are shaped by previous experiences – ours and others – and by emotions, by beliefs and religion.
And, by circumstances and things that, sometimes, seem to “just happen”.
Who would have guessed?
Only 19 days ago, the prime minister of Finland stated that “there’s no need to worry too much right now”. Today, less than three weeks later, the country is about to be closed.
How could this happen?
The first COVID-19-case confirmed in Finland was on January 29th, 2020. Who would have guessed that in less than three months we would end up seeing this day, when the borders of Finland are about to close?
This should not have come as a surprize though. Only within EU, already nine countries have started quarantine: The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain have announced they would close borders to all foreigners. Outside of the EU zone, for example, Norway has done that too.
Shall we panic or shall we not?
Shall we take this seriously or shall we not?
It really depends whom you ask.
Some have said that the panic is larger than the case itself, yet they’ve ended up taking harsh actions afterwards.
Some consider it’s not their case.
“Patrons sit outside a bar along the Venice Beach Boardwalk Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Young and healthy people have a lower risk of contracting Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus—but public health experts told Forbes they should still stay home as much as possible because it can still present a risk to them, the U.S. health system and at-risk populations.”
– Rachel Sandler, Forbes
“I think social media communication is very much reflecting our fears and concerns with the virus, and this should be no surprise. As people struggle to learn more about it, to cope with the disruptions and seek to understand how they should deal with it, they are using social media to accomplish those goals and to express their fear and uncertainty.”
– Jeff Hancock, Stanford, Prof. of Communication
Meanwhile in Italy: “Authorities have been working to set up hundreds of intensive care beds in a specially created facility in the Fiera Milano exhibition center but are still waiting for sufficient respirators and qualified personnel.”
– James Mackenzie, USNews
Whom should we believe?
The epidemia and media around it demonstrate how differently the world is perceived.
Much of our world today is segmented into filter bubbles with a seemingly infinite amount of organizations constantly profiling us to filter the content (such as news articles) we see based on what we are algorithmically pre-determined to like. Moreover, the way we’re fed is also a result of our own decisions: what we’ve liked, what our friends have liked, and, what we’ve decided not to see, navigating what’s ‘most relevant content to me’.
If I could see what you see
In light of this, we seek to develop a dynamic visualization that exposes the bubble effect and speaks to the greater relationships that exist between filter bubbles. This may not be necessarily about being for or against a particular issue, but rather, how demographic or geographic information influences and colors the media we are served on the issues; and, maybe the way our own decisions shape the content, too. Ideally, the visualization allows you to step outside of your individual bubble and directly step into the bubbles of others around the world and experience their views firsthand.