The larger discussions, from what constitutes a nutritious diet to what actions will best further U.S. interests, require conversations between ordinary citizens and experts. But increasingly, citizens don’t want to have those conversations. Rather, they want to weigh in and have their opinions treated with deep respect and their preferences honored not on the strength of their arguments or on the evidence they present but based on their feelings, emotions, and whatever stray information they may have picked up here or there along the way.
Hofstadter argued that this overwhelming complexity produced feelings of helplessness and anger among a citizenry that knew itself to be increasingly at the mercy of more sophisticated elites. “
Credentialism can run amok, and guilds can use it cynically to generate revenue or protect their fiefdoms with unnecessary barriers to entry. But it can also reflect actual learning and professional competence, helping separate real experts from amateurs or charlatans.
Experts are often wrong, and the good ones among them are the first to admit it…. Yet these days, members of the public search for expert errors and revel in finding them—<b>not to improve understanding but rather to give themselves license to disregard all expert advice they don’t like.<b>
The convenience of the Internet is a tremendous boon, but mostly for people already trained in research and who have some idea what they’re looking for. It does little good, unfortunately, for a student or an untrained layperson who has never been taught how to judge the provenance of information or the reputability of a writer.
Libraries, or at least their reference and academic sections, once served as a kind of first cut through the noise of the marketplace. The Internet, however, is less a library than a giant repository where anyone can dump anything. In practice, this means that a search for information will rely on algorithms usually developed by for-profit companies using opaque criteria. Actual research is hard and often boring. It requires the ability to find authentic information, sort through it, analyze it, and apply it.
Government and expertise rely on each other, especially in a democracy. The technological and economic progress that ensures the well-being of a population requires a division of labor, which in turn leads to the creation of professions. Professionalism encourages experts to do their best to serve their clients, respect their own knowledge boundaries, and demand that their boundaries be respected by others, as part of an overall service to the ultimate client: society itself.
Dictatorships, too, demand this same service of experts, but they extract it by threat and direct its use by command. This is why dictatorships are actually less efficient and less productive than democracies (despite some popular stereotypes to the contrary). In a democracy, the expert’s service to the public is part of the social contract.
Too few citizens today understand democracy to mean a condition of political equality in which all get the franchise and are equal in the eyes of the law. Rather, they think of it as a state of actual equality, in which every opinion is as good as any other, regardless of the logic or evidentiary base behind it.
#DunningKrugerEffect #metacognition #democracy #science #academy #fakenews #conspiracytheories #politics #idiocracy #InformationTechnology #Internet
Everybody’s talking about deepfakes in 2020, that’s not something we were talking about in 2016, maybe even in 2018.
more on news literate in this IMS blog
Filters have never been more prevalent – and it’s leading some people to have fillers, Botox and other procedures. What’s behind the obsessive pursuit of a flawless look?
The phenomenon of people requesting procedures to resemble their digital image has been referred to – sometimes flippantly, sometimes as a harbinger of end times – as “Snapchat dysmorphia”. The term was coined by the cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho, founder of the Esho clinics in London and Newcastle.
A recent report in the US medical journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery suggested that filtered images’ “blurring the line of reality and fantasy” could be triggering body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a mental health condition where people become fixated on imagined defects in their appearance.
A 2017 study into “selfitis”, as the obsessive taking of selfies has been called, found a range of motivations, from seeking social status to shaking off depressive thoughts and – of course – capturing a memorable moment. Another study suggested that selfies served “a private and internal purpose”, with the majority never shared with anyone or posted anywhere – terabytes, even petabytes of photographs never to be seen by anyone other than their subject.
However, a 2017 study in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications found that people only recognised manipulated images 60%-65% of the time.
more on social media in this IMS blog
Computer Scientists Demonstrate The Potential For Faking Video
As a team out of the University of Washington explains in a new paper titled “Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from Audio,” they’ve made several fake videos of Obama.
Fake news: you ain’t seen nothing yet
Generating convincing audio and video of fake events, July 1, 2017
took only a few days to create the clip on a desktop computer using a generative adversarial network (GAN), a type of machine-learning algorithm.
Faith in written information is under attack in some quarters by the spread of what is loosely known as “fake news”. But images and sound recordings retain for many an inherent trustworthiness. GANs are part of a technological wave that threatens this credibility.
Amnesty International is already grappling with some of these issues. Its Citizen Evidence Lab verifies videos and images of alleged human-rights abuses. It uses Google Earth to examine background landscapes and to test whether a video or image was captured when and where it claims. It uses Wolfram Alpha, a search engine, to cross-reference historical weather conditions against those claimed in the video. Amnesty’s work mostly catches old videos that are being labelled as a new atrocity, but it will have to watch out for generated video, too. Cryptography could also help to verify that content has come from a trusted organisation. Media could be signed with a unique key that only the signing organisation—or the originating device—possesses.
more on fake news in this IMS blog
Fake news infographics
The Global Critical Media Literacy Educators’ Resource Guide
Students will be introduced to exercises, experiences, and assignments, which focus on developing student’s classroom engagement, empowerment, critical awareness of media, civic engagement, and adoption of a social justice agenda. The guide enables students to work with faculty to produce GCMLP Webpage content, which can be consumed by the public to help expand citizen’s understanding of key events and processes in the global society. Furthermore, participating students will be granted academic and employment opportunities through the GCMLP, so they can be equitable participants in the 21st century economy.
more on fake news in this IMS blog
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Report: Digital Natives ‘Easily Duped’ by Information Online
By Sri Ravipati 12/07/16
Researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Education assessed middle, high school and college students on the their civic online reasoning skills, or “the ability to judge the credibility of information that floods young people’s smartphones, tablets and computers.”
The Stanford History Education Group recently released a report that analyzes 7,804 responses collected from students across 12 states and varying economic lines, including well-resourced, under-resourced and inner-city schools.
when it comes to evaluating information that flows on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, students “are easily duped” and have trouble discerning advertisements from news articles.
Many people assume that today’s students – growing up as “digital natives” – are intuitively perceptive online. The Stanford researchers found the opposite to be true and urge teachers to create curricula focused on developing students’ civil reasoning skills. They plan to produce “a series of high-quality web videos to showcase the depth of the problem” that will “demonstrate the link between digital literacy and citizenship,” according to the report.
The report, “Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning,” can be found here.
more on information literacy in this IMS blog:
The Library Information Technology Association (LITA) (http://www.ala.org/lita/) listserv has great exchange of information on the phenomenon “fake news”. Excellent ideas and suggestions were shared:
Here is a link to the Twitter hashtag application: https://twitter.com/hashtag/fakenews?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Ehashtag
More on activism, civil disobedience in this IMS blog: