Neurocracy

Project media
A screenshot of the Omnipedia main page on September 28th, 2049, in a light colour scheme: a message from the founder, an excerpt of an article, and a few news items of the day.
A screenshot of the Omnipedia main page on September 28th, 2049, in a dark colour scheme: a message from the founder, an excerpt of an article, and a few news items of the day.
A screenshot of the Omnipedia article on Cariappa-Muren disease on September 29th, 2049, in a light colour scheme: several paragraphs of text alongside a box containing details about the disease; a term is highlighted in the main body with a pop-up displaying a short descriptive paragraph about it.
A screenshot of Omnipedia article on Cariappa-Muren disease on September 29th, 2049, in a light colour scheme: several paragraphs of text alongside a box containing details about the disease; a term is highlighted in the main body with a pop-up displaying a short descriptive paragraph about it.
A screenshot of Omnipedia article on Xu Shaoyong on September 30th, 2049, in a light colour scheme: several paragraphs of text alongside a box containing a headshot and details about the individual.
A screenshot of Omnipedia article on Xu Shaoyong on September 30th, 2049, in a dark colour scheme: several paragraphs of text alongside a box containing a headshot and details about the individual.

Neurocracy is a project started by my good friend Joannes and myself, which has grown over time to include illustrations by Alice Duke along with contributions by Axel Hassen Taiari, Edward Smith, Io Black, Leigh Alexander, Malka Older, and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. It aims to be equal parts interactive fiction and cautionary tale about the intersection of surveillance capitalism, big data, and authoritarianism. This is conveyed through the medium of a futuristic equivalent of Wikipedia known as Omnipedia, in which the reader is presented with articles and information in a familiar format so that they may piece together the history and events of the year 2049.

I wrote a lot of custom code to enable Drupal to behave like a wiki while also making the content itself simple to edit and expand upon. A simulated revision system was implemented to allow readers to jump between different iterations of the same content for chronological in-universe “days”.

Another system was created to allow us to define, manage, and display short pieces of content accessible by hovering over or tapping pseudo-links without leaving the page. Analogous to Wikipedia’s article previews, these pop-ups are displayed as rich tooltips (powered by Tippy.js) on wider screens, while on narrow screens they’re displayed as a panel that slides up into view.

The Drupal administration interface was expanded upon to accommodate the episodic day system, along with multiple user interfaces to manage everything from the pop-up content to various settings.

The first season of Neurocracy has been released. If you want to keep up to date with the project and get involved, visit the promo site for more information.

Press and awards