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Thread: I think fake news is good

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    I think fake news is good

    I've completely swung around on this issue. I think fake news is good. I don't think it ruins anything. What it does it highlights the basic problem with explaining stuff. You have to remove information when describing anything, or it'll be an unmanageable mess of facts. All news, or any story, will in some sense or another always be a lie. Because it has filtered out information the speaker doesn't think is important, for whatever reason.

    The existence of large amounts of fake news makes us think much more critically about what we are reading. The world is messy and contradictory. It's always been.

    It's so easy to think that back in the olden days (pre-Internet news) news was accurate. Nope. It was pretty shit then to. It was just less of it, so we couldn't verify anything.

    What has changed is that quality print media is losing revenue so has to turn to churning out small articles with juicy headlines to chase clicks, rather than fewer well researched pieces. But that's not necessarily evil. It's an evolution. For businessmen and investors getting an accurate description of the world is critical. It's a question of survival for them. So they'll always pay for accurate news. So it won't disappear. It'll just be differently packaged. However that packaging ends up looking like.

    I think in the long run the existence and spread of fake news will lead to an environment of more good ideas being spread and talked about. Which has always been good in general. The economist Richard Florida has done a lot of research on a culture of tolerance for weird ideas and wealth generation. There's a strong correlation.

    I think people who call for regulation of news and wanting some government agency validate it for them is essentially wanting to go back to world of predominantly comforting lies. A world where the mess and chaos of life is hidden. But that's the illusion. That was always the illusion.

    Here's my prediction. We'll see the rise of resources like Snopes. They'll be imbedded in our news sources. Just like Google translate asks if you want to translate a web page, we'll get a configurable service to validate a pieces truth value. Some AI will rate it according to an algorithm telling us that something is 89% true and it's up to us to decide if it's good enough.

    I think that in the long run the rise of fake news will only be seen as a good thing. A transition to a new and better more well informed world. We'll look back in horror at the deluded 20'th century where even the countries with a free press swallow mostly bullshit all day.

    Yay for fake news!

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    the baby-eater
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    Let me see if I understand this: you predict that the spread of fake news will create demand for major tech companies to provide us with services that tell us which news is true. I can see how that could turn out to be evil.

    What I see is that most people are satisfied with the dubious news sources they have ready access to, now. A fact checker that says "this article is 12% accurate and heavily biased" on every Daily Mail article isn't going to dissuade people to stop reading the Daily Mail, it's going to make them turn off the "broken" fact checker.

    For a small minority of people, such a fact checker service may help them build up a defence against fake news. Someone sends you a CNN article? No need to study it, the fact checker says it's only at 34% accuracy. Someone sends you a Fox News article and the fact checker says it's 90% accurate and mostly impartial? You ought to read it even if you distrust the source.

    A transition to a new and better more well informed world. We'll look back in horror at the deluded 20'th century where even the countries with a free press swallow mostly bullshit all day.
    This wouldn't make people better critical thinkers. It's Scepticism-as-a-Service. People would only swallow less bullshit because someone else is doing a better job if filtering the bullshit for them.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    Let me see if I understand this: you predict that the spread of fake news will create demand for major tech companies to provide us with services that tell us which news is true. I can see how that could turn out to be evil.
    Not quite. I predict that the spread of fake news will lead to a world without monolithic Truths (with a capital T). We will give up on the idea of a singular truth and accept truth as being something relative. Which is always was. It's just that we have been shielded from this reality until now. Having complete faith in something being sort of true has great potential for leading to evil. It's best if we stop having complete faith in anything. And instead adopt an attitude of reevaluating our beliefs often.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    What I see is that most people are satisfied with the dubious news sources they have ready access to, now. A fact checker that says "this article is 12% accurate and heavily biased" on every Daily Mail article isn't going to dissuade people to stop reading the Daily Mail, it's going to make them turn off the "broken" fact checker.

    For a small minority of people, such a fact checker service may help them build up a defence against fake news. Someone sends you a CNN article? No need to study it, the fact checker says it's only at 34% accuracy. Someone sends you a Fox News article and the fact checker says it's 90% accurate and mostly impartial? You ought to read it even if you distrust the source.
    Sure. But don't you see how you are essentially arguing for a return to Christianity? Religion has often been used as a tool to make stupid people more manageable. And so are you now. You've just switched one religion for another.

    And besides. It's not like we have a choice. This is where we're heading no matter what we think about it. Fake news isn't going away, no matter how much Facebook tells us they have filtered it out. The problem with partial filters is that it increases the impact of the bullshit that slips through the cracks. I follow several crackpot Facebook groups that churn out bullshit. I read them for the entertainment value. But it's till straight up bullshit, and Facebook lets them stay.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    A transition to a new and better more well informed world. We'll look back in horror at the deluded 20'th century where even the countries with a free press swallow mostly bullshit all day.
    This wouldn't make people better critical thinkers. It's Scepticism-as-a-Service. People would only swallow less bullshit because someone else is doing a better job if filtering the bullshit for them.
    Yes. Both. I think.

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    the baby-eater
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Not quite. I predict that the spread of fake news will lead to a world without monolithic Truths (with a capital T). We will give up on the idea of a singular truth and accept truth as being something relative. Which is always was. It's just that we have been shielded from this reality until now. Having complete faith in something being sort of true has great potential for leading to evil. It's best if we stop having complete faith in anything. And instead adopt an attitude of reevaluating our beliefs often.
    Personally, I feel like the internet did that for me.

    Before the internet, the news depth and diversity was just awful, so challenging ideas were less accessible. Some of the most damaging misinformation comes from long-established newspapers and TV networks.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Sure. But don't you see how you are essentially arguing for a return to Christianity? Religion has often been used as a tool to make stupid people more manageable. And so are you now. You've just switched one religion for another.
    No, I don't understand how you think I argued that. It seemed like you were the one who was arguing for this new "religion" where big tech tells everyone what's true.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    And besides. It's not like we have a choice. This is where we're heading no matter what we think about it. Fake news isn't going away, no matter how much Facebook tells us they have filtered it out. The problem with partial filters is that it increases the impact of the bullshit that slips through the cracks. I follow several crackpot Facebook groups that churn out bullshit. I read them for the entertainment value. But it's till straight up bullshit, and Facebook lets them stay.
    That's a good point about partial filters.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    No, I don't understand how you think I argued that. It seemed like you were the one who was arguing for this new "religion" where big tech tells everyone what's true.
    Back when the church decided what was true nobody needed to argue about it. Just as the main public intellectuals 100 - 30 years ago decided what the bias of all the major newspapers should be.

    Now there's no official line to hold. Its completely fractured.

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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    No, I don't understand how you think I argued that. It seemed like you were the one who was arguing for this new "religion" where big tech tells everyone what's true.
    Back when the church decided what was true nobody needed to argue about it. Just as the main public intellectuals 100 - 30 years ago decided what the bias of all the major newspapers should be.

    Now there's no official line to hold. Its completely fractured.
    100 - 30 years ago (at least in the U.S.) newspapers were not all giving the same slant on the news. There were competing newspapers. I found it useful to read both a left leaning and a right leaning newspaper to try to figure out what really happened in any situation.

    The problem with the identification of "fake news" is that people have become so partisan in their thinking that they see anything that favors the opposing partisan side as not true or 'fake news' so give it no consideration. It is kinda a propogandists dream. The left has come to assume that anything from the right is a lie and the right has come to assume that anything from the left is a lie... and alternately, anything they hear from their side is true.

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    Deus Meumque Jus
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    To me it sounds a bit over-simplified to call fake news a good thing. Probably it has, and will continue to have, both negative and positive impacts.

    I think what we're really talking about isn't fake news, but a higher quantity of unregulated information that can move further and faster, and be targeted at specific populations. This ability is creating very real, covert warfare around the globe. So I think that's generally a bad thing, and needs to be stopped.

    On the other hand, new information and ideas are seeping into totalitarian states which spurs human rights in these regions.

    But on the whole information is now being weaponized, and that's definitely a problem. It's easy to think that because we have all of these fancy devices and technical abilities that we can overcome this, but maybe we can't and weaponized information is a very serious, and very new problem.

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    I think you are part of the global Zionist conspiracy to control the world. In fact I am sure of it.

    Can you proves otherwise? The world is watching.

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    I think fake news is good
    That's just what they want you to think.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Is false, fake, news (reports) even news?

    Think of it this way:

    There are signals, singular, like a specific audio frequency and there is noise, multiple random frequencies, noise. Both exist all the time in an acoustic field.

    A sensor is placed in the field, its purpose to process signals. If one provides a sequence of pulses of information (single frequencies) at a very low level of it is place through a system that also generates a certain level of noise. The observer is asked to report only signals.

    Observers can successfully perform this task if the signals are a bit more apparent in the noise existing in the acoustic field and in the receiving detector.

    However if one introduces a bit of noise during the non signal intervals the observer often report the signal is continuous. In effect fake news is reported all the time if there is bits of random stuff mixed in with the actual signals. The only way to reduce this effect is to better control random information in the information chain.

    Now you have a the basis for a protocol for controlling fake news noise in an information stream.

    Treat fake news as noise and control it using standard noise reduction processes.

    How about some solutions along the lines of this analogy.

    One can: restrict noise in channel, increase the signal to noise ratio of actual information in the channel, buildup better detectors by improving the quality of their detectors.

    Now its up to you to apply these thoughts.

    Actually if one wants to go along with Dr. Zoidberg one would improve the qualities, increase signal to noise ratios, in the detector.

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