Consilience Project

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= "a non-profit media organization that aims to catalyze a cultural movement toward higher quality sensemaking and dialogue".

URL =

Project co-founded by Daniel Schmachtenberger et a. The project won't go live before 2025 and is currently in its fundraising and preparation phase.


Contextual Quote

Consilience Definition: “In science and history, consilience is the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can "converge" on strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are in agreement, the conclusion can be very strong even when none of the individual sources of evidence is significantly so on its own.”


Description

"The Consilience Project is a non-profit media organization that aims to catalyze a cultural movement toward higher quality sensemaking and dialogue — the essential foundations of a functional democratic society.

Our goal is to restore the health of our information commons by helping educate people on how to improve their information processing so they can better detect media bias and disinformation while becoming more capable sense-makers and citizens.

To accomplish this, we’re building a novel type of educational news resource that covers what is happening in the world, how the various parts of the media landscape are covering what is happening (particularly addressing distortions), and increasing people’s ability to make sense of complex issues by highlighting our processes for doing so. In addition to the content we create, this will become home to a generative community that we will grow through innovation prizes, facilitated dialogues, partnerships, and curated forums.

The aim is to change the trajectory of the public sphere from the radical descent of recent decades to an ascent towards a culture capable of participatory governance."

Details

"The Consilience Project combines a novel approach to creating essential public information (news and educational resources) with wider movement building through innovation prizes and partnerships.


Our content strategy has three primary pillars:

  • A novel form of News aimed at providing maximum situational awareness and insight on the most consequential topics, as clearly as possible, with a rigorous process not just for accuracy but also for bias correction;
  • MetaNews, or sense-making about what’s happening in the media landscape itself, particularly where there are highly polarized narratives trending in consequential ways;
  • Education in media literacy, civics, and critical sense-making skills so people become better equipped to notice and be more resilient to misinformation, propaganda, and biased narratives, and more capable of making sense of complex topics.


Our movement catalyzing strategy involves:

  • Innovation prizes for well-designed projects addressing any aspect of improving public sense-making and dialogue: improving incentives in journalism, countering social media algorithm bias, better public education in civics, improving academic science and peer review, countering narrative and information warfare, etc. The aim is to facilitate traction for many projects that can collectively support the cultural renaissance needed.
  • Sense-making forums where experts and people with deep knowledge are engaged in good faith processes to generate shared understanding and insight on important topics.

Curated resources of the best publicly available research tools, data sets, news sources, fact and bias checking sites, and educational resources.

  • Our Aim

The societal benefit we are designing this for is to decrease polarization and tribalism, decrease outraged certainty on all sides, and increase the quality of public sense-making and good faith civil discourse, towards a civilization that can actually coordinate effectively and solve problems.

The benefit for individuals is resilience to media manipulation, increased capacity to understand the world, including the views of other people, access to a community of earnest and capable thinkers seeking to make sense of critical topics together. All of these serve to increase personal agency and the capacity to meaningfully participate in improving the world.


Status

Project status: "We have assembled the core team including world-class intelligence analysts, researchers, and media professionals, and are launching our first product in Q1 of 2021."

The project is purely non-profit funded — we won’t allow ads, put our information behind paywalls, or accept capital that seeks to influence the nature of the content in any way. We believe that the information commons needed for effective civil society needs to be incorruptible and supported as a public good.


More information

Podcasts (audio) and webcasts (video)

  • The following podcast was the first public conversation mentioning The Consilience Project. The conversations on the Rebel Wisdom channel that became named 'the war on sensemaking' played a role in this project coming into focus.

David Fuller, the host of this dialogue and founder of Rebel Wisdom, has had a career in Journalism, at the BBC and otherwhere, and is working on adjacent projects to improve the quality of journalism and engagement in the public sphere. He is an advisor to this project.

The War on Sensemaking V - The Consilience Project , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v5RiMdSqwk&t=3786s


  • This next one was on The Jim Rutt Show - the dialogue explores The Consilience Project and many adjacent topics about societal sense-making in more depth.

Jim Rutt was the Chairman of the Santa Fe Institute of complexity science interacting with many of the world's leading thinkers on topics critical to understanding the world and making better choices regarding solving complex societal challenges. He was a part of the founding team there that came to be known as Game B. (This was after a successful career in business and technology as the CEO of Network Solutions.)

Jim is both an advisor and a donor to The Consilience project and has very generously been giving me regular CEO coaching, and active help with introductions and hiring.


The Jim Rutt Show - Better Sensemaking , https://www.jimruttshow.com/daniel-schmachtenberger-2/?


  • This last piece is a conversation that explores current issues regarding polarization and breakdown in sensemaking in the public sphere, particularly in the US, and discusses The Consilience Project in that context.

RP Eddy is the founder of Ergo, a premier private intelligence organization, and was a member of the National Security Council spanning three administrations. He is an Advisor to The Consilience Project and Ergo is an allied organization helping with sense-making in domains they have expertise in.

RP Daily , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_wPQCU5O6w