We support an open marketplace of ideas wherein the best ideas emerge through civil, rational, and intellectually honest conversation. Our community values support these ideas, but we're also explicitly designing our platform to promote and reward specific types of content and engagment.
Social media has created a world where news propagates with little regard for how truthful or intelligent it is. Content creators are rewarded for stretching the truth to reinforce narratives of one side's moral virtue while generating outrage about the other side's lack thereof. On top of that the ability of anyone to chime in with their thoughts has degraded the conversation. Thinklab is reversing this trend through news communities that are curated by subject matter experts respected amongst their peers. These 'thought leaders' are selected by a carefully designed algorithm. The intent is to minimize 'fake news', raise the quality of conversation, and create an environment where civil, rational, intellectually honest public discourse can flourish.
There's two major business models at play with regard to rewarding the work of public intellectuals and scientists: the advertising model and the publish-or-perish system of academia. We believe both systems create significant perverse incentives. Thinklab is developing a new model. We want to help individuals, non-profits, and governments distribute funds to public intellectuals and scientists in a way that aligns their incentives with the best interests of society as a whole. For example, while the advertising model discourages people from tackling controversial topics, we might want to explicitly reward people for engaging difficult topics in a way that's intellectually honest and civil. A lynchpin of this system will be an algorithm that distributes funds based on various forms of peer assessment/response. But it won't be random people on the internet you have to impress -- it'll be the people that hold expertise and are respected within our community.
It's been 30 years since the advent of the internet, yet many in the scientific community are still publishing their research behind paywalls. What does that tell you? The incentives are not there. Thinklab wants to help science funders create incentives for a more Internet-native model of research.