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How the control and manipulation of information helps to maintain control, influence and money

Andrea Barros, Sylvia MacSpadyen, Aisha Simpson, Hannah Karunakar and Umar Shaikh

We are living in one of the most polarizing times in history, from politics to public health, social media to foreign wars, with every new and relevant event filtered through the prism of our cultural war. The erosion of trust in media, government, business and expert opinion threatens our democracy. Our research team sought to investigate ‘how might we re-build a society with shared truth and trust between institutions of power and citizens?’ This research takes an in-depth examination into the systems of information generation: how information acts as a commodity to further the interests of traditional media; the role of big tech government actors and experts; how narratives amplify the agendas of these actors to maintain power; how the business of money and control the attention economy through clicks, views and votes. Our team applied research methodologies of causal layered analysis, iterative inquiry, stakeholder influence maps, system story loops and case studies designed and summarized in a Gigamap for problem visualization. We envisioned our future state using two design methods: The Three Horizons and an intervention wheel. The results from our research identified four key leverage points or places to intervene that balanced between systems, societal and citizen interventions.


Pre-proceedings drafts are available for review. The corresponding paper number is at the end of the title.




Citation Data

Author(s): Andrea Barros, Sylvia MacSpadyen, Aisha Simpson, Hannah Karunakar and Umar Shaikh
Year: 2022
Title: Systems of Information Dissemination
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 211
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 1 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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