Reflection & Synthesis on Truthiness

I’d like to clus­ter my thoughts and struc­ture them into four cat­e­gories. One is what I will call foun­da­tion­al issues. Second, a few words and obser­va­tions regard­ing meth­ods. Third, a few areas of appli­ca­tion that we touched upon this morn­ing, and maybe also high­light­ing one or two that we haven’t talked so much about but that I think are increas­ing­ly impor­tant. And then final­ly also as a segue to the fol­low­ing ses­sions, a few words about poten­tial points of inter­ven­tion.

Ethan Zuckerman on Truthiness

When you’re look­ing at some­thing as big as these ques­tions of ver­i­fi­a­bil­i­ty, truth, truthi­ness, dis­in­for­ma­tion, so on and so forth, I find myself now try­ing to pick apart the ques­tions we talked about this morn­ing from the per­spec­tive of tractabil­i­ty. So let me use that to sort of frame a cou­ple of the con­ver­sa­tions we’ve had and then a cou­ple of things that haven’t come up, and then see if I can sort of push us for­ward a lit­tle bit into where we go this after­noon.

Biases Abound

I’ve expe­ri­enced first hand the chal­lenges of try­ing to cor­rect mis­in­for­ma­tion, and in part my aca­d­e­m­ic research builds on that expe­ri­ence and tries under­stand why it was that so much of what we did at Spinsanity antag­o­nized even those peo­ple who were inter­est­ed enough to go to a fact-checking web site.

The Science of Why We Deny Science and Reality

What is it about our brains that makes facts so chal­leng­ing, so odd and threat­en­ing? Why do we some­times dou­ble down on false beliefs? And maybe why do some of us do it more than oth­ers?

Wendell Potter on Deadly Spin

Today, because of the dig­i­tal media, big com­pa­nies are able to get their pro­pa­gan­da direct­ly to their tar­get audi­ences, as I was able to do. They can and they do pub­lish and dis­sem­i­nate their own press releas­es, and their own stud­ies, and their own posi­tion papers. All this means that the con­sumer is often, if not most of the time, at a big dis­ad­van­tage.

Sleepwalking into Surveillant Capitalism, Sliding into Authoritarianism

We have increas­ing­ly smart, sur­veil­lant per­sua­sion archi­tec­tures. Architectures aimed at per­suad­ing us to do some­thing. At the moment it’s click­ing on an ad. And that seems like a waste. We’re just click­ing on an ad. You know. It’s kind of a waste of our ener­gy. But increas­ing­ly it is going to be per­suad­ing us to sup­port some­thing, to think of some­thing, to imag­ine some­thing.