Nov 18, 2016

Proof of thought

This interesting analysis by Buzzfeed shows how fake news spread via Facebook during the US elections. I routinely get updates through WhatsApp claiming a whole variety of things that sound logical and true at the outset but doesn't withstand close scrutiny.

The democratization, the reach, and the simultaneous contraction of the written word have not only allowed, but really incentivized us to write quickly, catchily, without a particular need to think deeply about what we are saying. The incentive is in joining and being the loudest voice in the conversation, and not in contributing to it meaningfully. The measurement is shareability, not integrity.

When you have bad actors and trusting readers you end up with a cocktail for catastrophe.

Unquestionably there are benefits to democratizing information flow. Government and big media houses controlling the dissemination of information is proven to be flawed, detrimental if not disastrous.

However, shifting or decentralizing the power seems to have had no effect on the ultimate issue. That of profiteering in some form by some people by distributing false information. Yes, it has unlikely winners, but the same losers.

Perhaps we should come up with a proof-of-thought system in social media, proportional to the sphere of influence, topic, tone etc...  Some sort of incentive to thinking.

November 18, 2016