Amplify signal, reduce noise

Fake news, a fairly unheard of term if not an entirely alien concept up until a few years ago, is polluting our channels of communication. Certainly, history is full of blatant lies told for ulterior reasons, so this is nothing new per se. Also, a lie can travel across half he world while the truth is still putting on its slippers, but these days it is unlikely that the truth will even wake up before the lie has circumvented the planet a number of times. 

Spreading lies has never been easier or less costly and this trend is not likely to reverse any time soon. In fact, the opposite is quite likely. Amusing so called Deep Fakes are likely to morph into serious character assassinations in the near future and with the speed at which lies can now coast the ether waves, truth might as well not bother getting up at all. The asymmetry between the cost of creating and spreading a lie versus the cost of countering it is far too heavily weighted in favour of the former.

Again, it is our ancient programming which is getting the best of us. Because believing means spending less energy than doubting, and our brains are all about conserving energy. We want to believe. We are believers first, and skeptics only when proven wrong in a sufficiently energy expensive way to warrant reprogramming our minds.

This makes spreading lies particularity pernicious, because as everyone knows, where there is smoke there is fire! And once we are convinced of something or other, almost no amount of evidence will wash away our lingering, subconscious suspicions. So what to do? Accept that we live in a post truth world or take some responsibility, if not for what we believe then at least for what we share as truth?

The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.”

Nate Silver

 

Taking the outmost care to not share unverified information that might harm someone else, even if that someone is someone we do not particularly like, seems to be a standard we should all try to uphold. It is, after all, an extrapolation of the basic rule of conduct on Crowdpol, to not threaten or abuse another. Spreading lies about other people is a clear cut case of abuse after all. 

  We’re designing an intuitive and easy to use system to harness both collective and machine intelligence to evaluate all content on the site for its relevance and factual basis honor 

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