Say goodbye to the information age: it's all about reputation now - Gloria Origgi | Aeon Ideas
Assessing 'fake news'
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Paradox of knowledge
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.
From Information to Reputation
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.
Reliant on reputation
If you are asked why you believe in, for instance, the big changes in climate, you might answer that:
Assessing 'fake news'
Empowering your knowledge
In a civilized cyber-world, people must know how to assess critically the reputation of information sources.
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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.
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Living in the age o doubt
We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.
We now face risks we can’t easily analyze
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.
Marcia McNutt - Geophysicist
“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.”
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We are all currently going through a challenging period: while fighting the pandemic, we are also trying to stay positive and read only useful articles on the topic.
However, we should ...
The origin of real vs. fake information
When reading an article, you might want to consider checking its source. It is very often that journalists reinterpret the original findings according to their own point of view.
Then, another aspect worthy of your attention is the fact that truth will most probably appear in multiple articles, while fake news is bound to be found on only one or two websites, messages and the kind.
Checking the source of your news
Being positive that you can trust articles on topics as important as the current pandemic is of great relief.
This is why you should try reading reports that include comments from the study authors as well as articles that do not intend to present data in a certain manner, in order to manipulate the public.