If it is so easy to design what is false, how can we design the systems of truth?
We, the Living, are co-existing in a truly fascinating time, where the creation and deletion of information are constantly in the continuum. Information is the basis of our lives, from health to electricity, social media to architecture. The decline in trust towards media, government, businesses, and expert opinions jeopardises our existential foundation. My interest began with the question, “Why does my family believe everything that they see? what’s going on, and where do I begin with understanding why?”
The research dives deep into the analysis of the existing systems of generation, channels and consumers of information, and different points of dysfunction through internal and external mechanisms. These methodologies led to my primary research question: “How might we establish a social behaviour that promotes mutual trust and shared understanding between powerful institutions and the people they represent?’ This research is especially important as India’s research and interventions on information dysfunction are at a nascent stage and have room for improved and long-lasting interventions.
Given the nature of the research—to provide direction to possibilities of the future—I used the futures cone (Voros, 2003) to challenge assumptions, biases, and mindsets and to speculate possibilities. My research led me to connect with stakeholders who work in the field of information dysfunction across different verticals of work and identified three key opportunity areas and leverage points that were floating between citizen and education-related interventions, and systems and societal. The opportunity ideas were then designed to become tangible intervention areas with a focus on playfulness and citizen engagement and subsequently tested with the targeted stakeholders.
The system’s study started with trying to understand the current state of information dysfunction in the world, major trends, events, and consequences of the same. The entire mapping can be found on the Kumu board used for this project. https://embed.kumu.io/06eda366324e0050556be9d912c88425
Figure 4: For a detailed overview of the Media Literacy proposal, see the presentation, Interventions: Attempts at grappling with misinformation.