News in a Post-Truth
Democracy 2030

Literature research, Speculative Design, Behavioural Design, UI/UX
Ella Cope
Saym Hussain
Jordan Kotler
Esther Maltby
Dr Sam Cooper
Dr Freddy Page
Dr Robert Shorten
A speculative distributed ledger platform that uses a psychologically driven UI to regulate fake news and prevent echo chambers in 2030. The project consists of a report that explores the political, technological and psychological factors that will affect participatory democracy in the UK by 2030, and a speculative design solution - a platform that uses a de-centralised distributed ledger technology to authenticate content and encourages exploration of multiple perspectives.
Political Discourse Online
Political discourse within online spaces is becoming more volatile due to misinformation and targeted advertising. This is testing the integrity of truth online and in extension the efficacy of our democratic system itself. As a result, citizens' ability to make informed decisions is compromised, violating one of the basic principles of democracy.

The future of democracy depends on having informed voters. Therefore, the electorate needs to be aware of the validity of the information they receive in the media. We developed a speculative online aggregate news platform that uses a decentralised algorithm to assess the validity of digital content.
How it works
Anyone can submit content to be published on the platform. However, each publisher has an associated 'credibility score', that evolves and is affected by the authentication results of their previous submissions. This score influences the number of users who consume the publisher's content.

Authentication is executed by randomly selecting a parked car and running an open-source algorithm on its internal computer. Cars are treated as expensive computers to protect the system from cyber attacks, while encryption ensures biases do not influence the authentication. The algorithm identifies information that can be proven true or false and opinions that cannot be proven either way. These classifications fade over time to account for new contradictory information that may emerge and show that the authentication was most valid at the time of publishing. The platform uses Natural Language Processing to assess the viewpoint of submitted content. When users interact with content about a trending topic, they are presented with an Opinion Map. It combines all content about the associated issue grouped by their opinion. This acts as a subtle encouragement to interact with alternative viewpoints.