Inspiration

CITiZEN allows you to grow beyond your bubble and interact with people from other groups you would not ever have come into contact with otherwise.

Confirmation bias is a problem. Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are the root of systemic flaws in our society. Racism, sexism, and many other forms of discrimination continue to be serious human rights challenges all over the world.

Studies have shown interpersonal contact is one of the most effective ways to overcome prejudice. If one has the chance to interact with people with different backgrounds, it has been proven to open their minds to different points of views.

Social media today is digitally segregating communities. Communities of different backgrounds stay apart and don’t interact with one another as much. Staying within our own circles ends up reinforcing confirmation bias.

Our service lets you learn and interact with people of all backgrounds from all over the world. IBM Watson Personal Insights helps pair people with similar interests.

"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

How I built it

  • Node.js backend with express
  • HTTP routing for client access to APIs
  • websocket.io for text communications
  • WebRTC for videocalls
  • IBM Bluemix/Watson (Personality Insight w/Twitter API, Translate, and Cloudant)

Challenges I ran into

  • Moving from local hosting to heroku
  • CORS and http vs. https mismatch

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • My previous projects with websocket had trouble staying alive, but not this one.
  • Learning about routing and AJAX

What I learned

  • A much better library for websockets
  • AJAX requests
  • HTTP routing in node
  • WebRTC mechanics
  • NoSQL databases (Cloudant)
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