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A speculative exploration of (dis)belief

This metaphorical essay discusses the epidemic of misinformation, disbelief and hate going around the web. Where did it start? What let it happen? How can we call this?

This essay identifies the phenomena as the Gook.

The Gook is slimy. It is pervasive, and the more we fight it, the more it foams. 

In this essay, techno-sociologists, designers and thinkers put together an idea arsenal for us to fight the Gook.

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Insights for a more inspired post-Covid reality

'The Gook' is a collaborative project mapping out a genealogy of the current erosion in our systems of belief. From the crash of 2008 to Big Tech's lack of transparent "terms and conditions"; from the pervasiveness of social media and lack of privacy to the rise of fake news as central political agent in service of populism. 

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Book structure

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Speculative Epistemology


5 What the Gook is 8 Is the Gook real? 10 Liquefying institutions 16 Who does the Gook affect?




Metaphorical Ecology


22 How could this happen to us? 26 Timeline of the Gook 29 A map of roles — Opponents — Expoiters — Exploits 36 What does it do to people? 38 The Gook wants to eat 42 Design flaws




Institutional horror exercises


46 The futures, confidential 48 The Gook assimilates us 51 A sanitized reality 54 Domestication




A crisis of Simulation


57 Liquifying simulations 58 The stability of the moving image 64 With God, but without TV 69 Everything possible




Speculative solutions


73 Tools of imagination 76 How might we...? 82 Barriers and Pathways 86 Timeless principles




Conclusion


94 What was this all about? 97 Academic contributors 104 Design contributors 109 References 120 Acknowledgements





DESIGN

Dystopias, solutions and escape routes 

Designers working with big technology companies are invited to highly provocative thought experiments on speculative design.

 

Strategists and thinkers are providing a foresight of possible, plausible, and preferable futures when it comes to the way we interact with the new, upcoming simulations that compose our world and our beliefs.

CONTENTS

Reclaiming complex conversation

Politically interested parts capitalize on the complexity of certain topics to dismiss them completely — the umbrella term "identity politics", in which important topics may be dismissed at the expense of relevant agendas, such as equality of gender, race and culture.

 

Similarly, postmodernism has become a strawman that is deemed as "anti-science", or prone to "absolute relativism"; assertions never actually took place. But who is checking the sources?

ACADEMIC RESEACH

Diverse techno-sociological perspectives 

Academic contributions from techno-sociologists affiliated to accredited Universities around the world and working with tech giants from the Silicon Valley and beyond.

 

Theory meets practice for reflective, easy-to-cite and to-the-point contributions from these talents' current research projects.

Layouts are mock-ups of the final project.

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Become a contributor

We are a community of forward-thinking authors, researchers, technologists and designers.

 

The book has a registered ISBN and should be peer-reviewed. Contributions may be Academic (150-500 words) or as part of the community of practice (workshop outcomes).

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For commercial partnerships or distribution, please send a message.

Katzen001_edited.jpg

A speculative exploration of (dis)belief

Putting together a substantial book requires meticulous planning, hard work, and financial resources. There are many ways to get involved with the project.

 

You may be able to contribute with an article, host a talk, donate to a library or school — or simply get a copy. Whatever your action is, we assure you it will be rewarding.

PRE-ORDER

The book will be available on Spring 2022.

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