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Is Digital Culture Responsible for Post-Truth Politics?

I’m going to argue today that even while we know post-truth pol­i­tics is hav­ing a ter­ri­ble effect on our polit­i­cal cul­ture and our role as cit­i­zens, it’s curi­ous­ly dif­fi­cult to com­bat it because of a set of beliefs about what pol­i­tics is, and about the Internet and the way it enables ordi­nary peo­ple to have a voice. And the­se beliefs inter­sect with a pre­vail­ing anti-intellectual anti-elitism which asso­ciates knowl­edge, dis­cern­ment, and truth with snob­bery and pow­er.

Who and What Will Get to Think the Future?

There’s already a kind of cog­ni­tive invest­ment that we make, you know. At a cer­tain point, you have years of your per­son­al his­to­ry liv­ing in somebody’s cloud. And that goes beyond mere­ly being a mem­o­ry bank, it’s also a cog­ni­tive bank in some way.

An Xiao Mina at Biased Data

When we think about net­work graphs and we talk about how the net­work effects that make up an impor­tant part of how social move­ments and how infor­ma­tion is dis­trib­ut­ed online, there’s this assump­tion in those visu­al­iza­tions that every node in that net­work is equal. But very often, and you can slice data in many dif­fer­ent way, the lan­guages that we speak actu­al­ly lim­it the net­works that we have access to and that we’re inter­act­ing with. 

Biased Data Panel Discussion

I think that we need a rad­i­cal design change. And I might ask if I were teach­ing an HCI class or design class with you, I would say, How are you going to design this so that not one life is lost?” What if that were the design imper­a­tive rather than what’s your IPO going to be?

@congressedits: Politics + Wikipedia + Twitter = ?

I think there’s a set of bizarre indi­vid­u­als in the Capitol build­ing that once they real­ized that @congressedits was there and had a lot of fol­low­ers, they were adding the­se crazy things to Wikipedia. So in this case somebody’s say­ing Rumsfeld was an alien lizard.

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