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There is a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge from 'information age', moving towards the 'reputation age'.
This shift involves valuing information only if it has already been filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. From this perspective, reputation has become a central pillar or gatekeeper of collective intelligence. We become reliant on biased judgments of other people.
If you are asked why you believe in, for instance, the big changes in climate, you might answer that:
In a civilized cyber-world, people must know how to assess critically the reputation of information sources.
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In the earlier times, conspiracy theories were a convenient way to cover up the inadequacies of the government, and putting a set of helpless people as a scapegoat, cloaking the misdeeds or mismana...
The organic and unpredictable nature of conspiracy theories had led many researchers to investigate the cause of the phenomenon.
Every society has its own, unique anxieties and obsessions, and the conspiracy theories that gain good mileage are the ones that tap into these primal fears.
Example: Many people fear vaccination of the children due to fears that the mass drive to vaccinate such a large population has some ulterior motive, like a mass medical experiment. The dodgy past record of the health care system, and the fact that the vaccination is free of charge, of course, adds fuel to the fire.
We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.
Our existence is invaded by science and technology as never before. For many of us, this brings comfort and rewards, but this existence is also more complicated and sometimes agitated.
Our lives are full of real and imaginary risks, and distinguishing between them isn’t easy. We have to be able to decide what to believe and how to act on that.
“Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”
We often feel overwhelmed when we are exposed to a large volume of information. We also rely on secondary knowledge that does not come from any external source.
To put it another way: rightly...
Infostorms are like actual storms: they are a product of climatic conditions. Different climates can produce different results.
The more we understand the chain of events that led to a particular view, the better we are equipped to appreciate it if we are skeptical or take into account other perspectives.