They have experimented with using this to get answers about where to eat in Los Angeles if you’re a vegan, or to find the best barber in Brooklyn. But the potential could be much larger than its creators realize.
What would happen if we applied this crowdsourcing technology to providing relationship, life choice and even professional advice?
- Should I marry my girlfriend?
- I feel trapped in my small, rural town. Should I move to a big city?
- I am feeling very anxious due to a recent job loss. What can I do to get through this?
- I have been offered a promotion, but I am not happy with my work environment. Should I take it?
- What great business ideas need investment funding in Sub-Saharan Africa?
Crowdsourcing answers to questions like these could help many people, especially those who are in situations where they are cut off from the input of people who could otherwise give the key advice they need.
The answers to each question would filter through the many users around the world, then be rated and passed back, with the best answer reaching the person who asked it. For example, a woman might ask “Should I move in with my boyfriend?” If she had followup questions to ask, the chat could continue as long as needed until she was satisfied and could see the right path forward. She could introduce nuances about her personality and situation into the chat until the answer is tailored perfectly for her.
In this era of increasingly fragmented, stratified and self-referential communities – whether online, in the media or in real life – a tool like this could help us reach out to people well outside our sphere of influence who have the experience or wisdom to give us the best advice. If none of my friends are married, how helpful is it to ask them for advice about marriage? But there are many people, both in happy long term marriages and divorced, who could shed much better light on my situation.
This crowdsourced chat functionality could be integrated with a social media component, helping people to meet others who are aligned with their life situation based on the answers they give and receive. This would be a new way for us to find commonalities and real human connections based on what we are going through RIGHT NOW, regardless of whether we come from the same country, race, class, etc. It would create a robust source of bridging social capital. Without new tools like this, we will increasingly find ourselves in echo chambers of the limited thoughts shared by those closest to us.