Back in January of this year, I woke up in my cabin with the vision of a news aggregator app that grades articles based on their their slants but also pairs them to a specific topic so that us “normal” people can actually understand what is happening in the world. At this point in time, the Tax Bill had just been signed into law. The Right claimed that it will help 95% of American citizens while the Left claimed it wouldn’t affect 95% of Americans. I was thirsty to find the actual “truth”, trying to see through the immense amount of bias and rhetoric on both sides.
I, along with some fantastic friends and former colleagues, embarked on the journey to explore this idea. We looked at our many competitors, and found that none had the conviction nor premise that we did. Further, none of our family or friends had even heard of our competitors. I’m not sure why – as several of them have some really great features and seemingly pure intent. But, we decided to go for it anyway.
We formed our core principles based on the beliefs that: each of us are individuals with very different perspectives and beliefs, and that none of us are better or more correct than others. Here at gnomi, we love that we live in a world where each of us have different opinions and perspectives.
The values of our company came naturally then and are as follows:
* Respect: Respect for the fact that everybody has different opinions.
* Fairness: From our algorithms to our curation of topics and selection of articles, we use the exact same approach for both left and right topics. We strip out sources and authors from the articles prior to grading. Our utilization of statistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence aids us in remaining completely unbiased and fair.
* Privacy: While we want to leverage data to enhance our readers experience, we purposely do not collect Personal Identifying Information (PII). We want our readers to feel secure and private with their information.
* Limits: We don’t intend to be all things to all people. We believe that a lot of people have become disillusioned with news because of the rhetoric. Those same people also don’t have a lot of time to research. For these reasons, limited, concise, easily consumable information is important.
* Positivity: Our goal in general, is to have a positive influence on society. We believe that by identifying the (extreme) slant in today’s media and increasing the visibility of the other side of the news, we can shift the conversation in society today from division to unity. The result, hopefully, is a lot more respect and less rhetoric.
With these values in place, the journey began. We spent a lot of time on deciding what our system should do. After figuring it out, we added team members, selected a development shop and began the journey. And it is a journey. This wasn’t easy nor quick. And, it still isn’t over. Even with the framework for the initial version of gnomi set, we know of dozens of enhancements that we want to add in the future. If we can positively influence society the way that we hope for – there are going to be hundreds more features to be completed. This is a journey.
In creating gnomi, one of the tasks was to find a great company and app name. After a lot of potential names and exploration, we landed on gnomi. “gnomi” is the Greek pronunciation of the word “opinion”. Greek was important to us, as it is a language of the ancients, the founders – the intellectually curious. The word “opinion” means something to us, as well. Everyone has their own opinions, which we want to embrace and elevate. And, of course, “gnomi” works well with “know me”, which is exactly what we want to do with our values portrait, a feature that will outline your own personal slant on topics.
Each of you have expressed interest in our project, which we have really appreciated. This blog is to update all of you about where we are. As the title states, it’s almost GAME TIME!
The app is functional as intended per our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) specifications. We are working on making the app perform even faster, which should be completed 10/19. Features that you should expect:
* 3-5 Daily Federal Topics
* 1-3 Articles, per side, on each Topic
* 0-2 State/Special Topics, depending on the amount of daily readers in your area.
The algorithm is solid, both from the human graders and AI perspectives. We continue to add statistical tests to ensure quality and balance. With every Article we grade, our Machine Learning (gnomiML) gets better. We have automated the collection of individual ‘grades’ and assigning the final SlantID, or the grade that we give articles based on their slant. We have automation in scouring tens of thousands of articles each day for finding relevant and diverse articles. Currently, our curators use a manual process in final selection of topics and articles.
Everything, though, comes down to adoption. We really appreciate any help in promoting gnomi or ideas on how to increase the awareness. We are actively building our social media following – so please follow us on:
A big thing I ask of each of you though – when we do launch, please download and use as quick and as often as possible. Then, most importantly, provide us feedback. It is imperative that we amend any bugs or issues as quickly as possible. I also appreciate hearing suggestions on how to make the application better and more useful. At this time – we are hoping for gnomi to be available in the app stores on Tuesday, October 23rd. We are pushing for earlier, but I think that will be the date. We want to get it out there during this election season.
We are so excited about taking our shot at having a positive influence on society. This has been an incredible journey, and we want you along for the ride with us!
– John Long
Founder and Chairman of gnomi