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Cutting Loose From Ghost Nets: Reestablishing trust and common ground in perilous waters

Format: Papers, RSD12, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Helen Avery

Feedback loops are among the core notions in systems thinking – and the various fields of theory and practice that draw on it, including systemic design. We use these notions to develop methodological approaches, conceptualise processes, assess the adequacy of solutions, and anticipate how the design object may interact with its immediate surroundings and beyond. In my presentation, I discuss the recent explosion in the accessibility of AI-driven technologies from the perspective of information loops, impacts on knowledge production systems, and the implications for our methodologies, as well as for the wider landscapes within which we act. These do not only involve the inertia, rigidity and lock-in effects of visible structures and vested interests but also the more insidious entanglements of drifting ghost nets.

Design traditions anchored in situated, lived experiences, localised knowledge and materiality are powerful assets in the new global landscapes. Crucially, our international community of systemic design practice allows us to access wide interpersonal networks that help interpret information that would be otherwise de-authored and opaque. Nevertheless, as a community, we need to develop our own criteria for assessing the plausibility of information impacting the current or future behaviour of the wider systems. We also have to ensure that we do not miss weak signals (Ahlqvist & Uotila, 2020) that can drown in the amplification of white noise while we develop new forms of common grounding and values in co-creative design work that do not depend on an assumption of trust and good-will as an obvious point of departure.

KEYWORDS: trust, expert knowledge production systems, information loops, horizons of time-place and scale

RSD TOPIC: Methods & Methodology

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Citation Data

Author(s): Helen Avery
Year: 2023
Title: Cutting Loose From Ghost Nets: Reestablishing trust and common ground in perilous waters
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/reestablishing-trust-common-ground
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 30 September 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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