Monday, August 07, 2017

"The Marketplace of Ideas Is Experiencing Market Failure"

"Information is everywhere, but good information is not. Why? Because the barriers to entry are so low. In the Middle Ages, when paper was a sign of wealth and books were locked up in monasteries, knowledge was considered valuable and creating it was costly. To be sure, there was some flat-earthy nonsense locked up in those tomes and religious and political rulers used their claims to knowledge as political weapons. Today the challenge is different. We now live at the opposite extreme, where anyone—from foreign adversaries to any crackpot with a conspiracy theory—can post original 'research' online. And they do. Telling the difference between fact and fiction isn't so easy. A few months ago, one of my graduate student researchers included information in a paper that I found oddly inaccurate, so I checked the footnotes. The source was 'RT'—as in the outlet formerly known as Russia Today, a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. Stanford students aren’t the only ones struggling with real fake news. In December, the Pakistani defense minister rattled his nuclear saber in response to an Israeli tweet. Except the Israeli tweet wasn't real."

Amy Zigart at The Atlantic identifies "three paradoxes" of technology that led to the rise of Donald Trump.

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