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Do It

Apply to be a 20-day Stranger with MIT

Jelena Woehr

Your iPhone

MIT is taking applications to be one of the first to try "20 Day Stranger," an iPhone app that connects you--loosely--with a stranger as far away from you in the world as possible, for 20 days. You'll see your partner's activity, but blurred and anonymized, and you won't be able to contact them with the exception of a single message after your 20 days are over. For instance, you might see that your partner is driving and see images of scenery in Paris, but you won't see their checkin at a specific cafe. MIT and the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics hope this experiment can help to develop empathy for strangers, independent of superficial traits or categories like gender or name.

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  • Anita W

    what an interesting idea! yes. wish they had one for android too

  • Sachi Kobayashi

    Fun project! I wish they had one for andriod.

  • Pat Ingersoll

    This is a whole new spin on immersion learning. I'd be very interested in the results of the research.

  • Nick Heap

    Application submitted - this sounds REALLY cool!

  • Tom Maybrier

    Applied! This should be really fascinating, I hope I'm selected =0

    • Jelena Woehr

      You have to bring your phone in and show it to us if you get chosen!

    • Jelena Woehr

      Good luck! I hope you get in, you'd be perfect for it :)

      • Jody Turner

        Thank you for bringing this to our attention! Fingers crossed!

  • Pattee Fletcher

    I love it - what a way to see the world from the comfort of my phone! I like to try new and tirsky things and this fits the bill.

  • Justin Threlkeld

    This is such a great experiment. I was reading about it last night and recommended a couple of my colleagues check it out.

  • DUIC

    Great idea!

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    great idea wishing I had an iphone, but alas I have a galaxy... however, as a traveler, an avid couch surfer and a Free Hugger, I think this is fabulous. Some of the BEST experiences of my life have been through chance encounters with strangers who ended up becoming dear dear friends!

    • Jelena Woehr

      I'm android too, but I'm almost tempted to buy an old unlocked iPhone 4 on eBay to apply! So fun. I love that they match you with someone as far from you as possible. Really brings to life all the stuff we talk about with "global communities" and all.

      • Kristin Pedemonti

        ha! And yes, it does bring to life "global communities" Traveling as much as I do whether with Storytelling or couchsurfing, I so totally 100% get this! we are All interconnected so much more than we realize!

  • Diego Faria

    Very nice idea. I think the most awesome experiences in life come from meeting new people.

  • Susie Wyshak

    OK this is freakily cool. A voyeur's dream!

  • georgi gala

    In our evolution we need to develop a deeper knowingness + flourishing expression of that which links our humanity.

  • cidip

    It reminds me the Rando Project, that ended a few weeks ago.
    I wish the 20daystranger projet will run on Android phones ;-)

  • Kirsten Browning

    Extremely cool idea. My father is a proud MIT alum, so I think it would be terrific to contribute to this project!

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      I just applied. I love the idea of learning empathy through a stranger's activities.