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.
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The increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous.
Instead, it makes us more dependent on other people's judgments and evaluations of the information that we are faced with.
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.
When there is no official information, or if the official statement is vague, a certain gap is formed, and that ambiguity and mystery, along with mistrust of ‘official information’ combines into a conspiracy theory.
The official explanations of certain unexplained events like a mysterious plane crash or a sudden celebrity death are often inadequate and full of holes, providing space for the conspiracy theories to grow.