An invaluable guide to the underlying machinery and technology that controls modern society – and a roadmap to navigate it. Foreword by social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind.
How Tech Amplifies Discontent and Disrupts Democracy―And What We Can Do About It
by Tobias Rose-Stockwell
Legacy Lit/Hachette US, July 2023
(via Park & Fine)
Throughout history, new technologies have disrupted our capacity to make sense of the world, from the printing press to the telegraph, from radio to television. OUTRAGE MACHINE explores the serious recent disruption caused by social media, and how it has triggered an urgent society-wide crisis of trust. Drawing from deep historical context, as well as cutting-edge research, author, designer, and media researcher Tobias Rose-Stockwell shows how social media has bound us to an unprecedented outrage machine, training us to react rather than reflect, and attack rather than debate.
Rose-Stockwell expertly illustrates how social media platforms were unintentionally designed to reward outrage and penalize tolerance, leading to distorted public conversations that live at the extremes and deepen political divisions. Pulling from extensive personal experience in tech and media, he exposes the triggers and tactics used to exploit our anger, unpacking how these technologies hack our deep tribal instincts and cognitive biases. These tools have now become opportunistic platforms for authoritarians and a threat to democratic norms everywhere.
But this book is not just about the problem. OUTRAGE MACHINE situates social media within a historical cycle of intense conflict and emerging tolerance. Using clear language and powerful illustrations, this book reveals the magnitude of the challenges we face, while offering realistic solutions and a promising pathway out.
Tobias Rose-Stockwell is a renowned media researcher and strategic advisor to Jonathan Haidt’s organization, OpenMind. Tobias’s work has been featured in major outlets such as The Atlantic, FastCompany, Quartz, Medium, NPR, the BBC, and many others. In his role as a media researcher, he has advised the directors of Gannett, one of the largest news organizations in the country, and was also a guest lecturer at Stanford University. He has been honored with the Unsung Hero Award by the 14th Dalai Lama for his work helping to rebuild essential infrastructure in Cambodia. Tobias lives in New York.
Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. He lives in New York City.