mfioretti: post-truth*

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  1. Il problema “vero” non sono le bufale o la post verità, ma le persone, i cittadini, il loro essere facilmente condizionabili…la loro eterodirezione e “predisposizione” – socialmente e culturalmente “costruita” attraverso l’educazione e i processi di socializzazione – al conformismo e/o alla “sudditanza per abitudine culturale”, come avrebbe detto Étienne de La Boétie.

    Il problema è e continua ad essere lo stesso: si discute tanto, con sempre maggiore frequenza e insistenza e si pongono tutte le questioni, inerenti la rivoluzione digitale e la società della condivisione (1996), l’informazione e la condivisione/distribuzione delle informazioni e delle conoscenze, in termini di gestione dell’emergenza attraverso “strumenti” e “applicazioni” più o meno sofisticati e complessi (algoritmi, piattaforme etc.) – oltre che di leggi e codici deontologici, linee guida, manifesti – che devono orientare, guidare, indirizzare il lettore, l’ascoltatore, il telespettatore, l’internauta, il cittadino ma anche il giornalista e/o il comunicatore. Con un approccio che è a metà tra il determinismo tecnologico e il positivismo giuridico. Ebbene, al contrario di quanto discusso, attuato e praticato (tutte condizioni necessarie ma non sufficienti), bisognerebbe ripartire proprio da quei fattori considerati, al di là dei proclami e degli slogan, meno importanti e decisivi: dall’educazione e formazione critica della Persona anche nel suo ruolo di lettore, ascoltatore, telespettatore, navigatore, ma soprattutto di “cittadino” che non è soltanto “consumatore” (logica e strategia di lungo periodo).
    https://www.agendadigitale.eu/cultura...e-lo-stato-di-salute-delle-democrazie
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  2. For Mueller’s findings to have any effect, they will have to break some part of the basic dynamic on the right. Here’s how it works:

    Pundits and yellers in right-wing media compete to freak out the base and reinforce its allegiance to Donald Trump. The base leans on politicians. And most elected GOP officials are in seats safe enough that they fear a primary challenge from the base more than a Democratic challenger. The only way to stave off a primary is to pay obeisance.

    That’s why Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are leaving the Senate. They no longer have any control over what their constituents believe or want, and their constituents believe and want increasingly ugly things. Sen. John McCain is saying all the right things now, but back when he faced his own Tea Party challenger, he sprinted right as fast as he could.

    GOP politicians cannot (or feel that they cannot) cross the base. And the base is currently being lied to about the Mueller investigation at a furious pace. The entire right-wing machine has kicked into high gear, led by the president himself, furiously throwing out chaff about Comey, Mueller, Obama, Hillary, the dossier, the uranium, the emails, and whatever else.

    What if we find out Trump is guilty and just can’t do anything about it?

    As long as the base is convinced that Mueller is an agent of the deep state (or whatever), it will punish any Republican politician that strays from the pack and criticizes Trump. For a GOP officeholder, standing up for democratic integrity could mean sacrificing reelection in 2018 or 2020.

    As long as Republican politicians are frightened by the base, the base is frightened by scary conspiracies in right-wing media, and right-wing media makes more money the more frightened everyone is, Trump appears to be safe. As long as the incentives are aligned in that direction, there will be no substantial movement to censure, restrain, or remove him from office.


    There is no longer any settling such arguments. The only way to settle any argument is for both sides to be committed, at least to some degree, to shared standards of evidence and accuracy, and to place a measure of shared trust in institutions meant to vouchsafe evidence and accuracy. Without that basic agreement, without common arbiters, there can be no end to dispute.

    If one side rejects the epistemic authority of society’s core institutions and practices, there’s just nothing left to be done. Truth cannot speak for itself, like the voice of God from above. It can only speak through human institutions and practices.

    The subject of climate change offers a crystalline example here. If climate science does its thing, checks and rechecks its work, and then the Republican Party simply refuses to accept it ... what then?

    That’s what US elites are truly afraid to confront: What if facts and persuasion just don’t matter anymore?

    Donald Trump has the power to hold on to the presidency, as long as elected Republicans, cowed by the conservative base, support him. That is true almost regardless of what he’s done or what’s proven by Mueller. As long as he has that power, he will exercise it. That’s what recent history seems to show.

    Democrats do not currently have the numbers to stop him. They can’t do it without some help from Republicans. And Republicans seem incapable, not only of acting on what Mueller knows, but of even coming to know it.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe US institutions have more life in them than I think. But at this point, it’s just very difficult to imagine anything that could bridge the epistemic gulf between America’s tribes. We are split in two, living in different worlds, with different stories and facts shaping our lives. We no longer learn or know things together, as a country, so we can no longer act together, as a country.

    So we may just have to live with a president indicted for collusion with a foreign power.
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi...1/2/16588964/america-epistemic-crisis
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  3. Un fatto falso che pronuncia una verità vera. È uno dei grimaldelli più usati, da secoli, per scassinare le coscienze.

    Se lo mettete in mano al Pentagono ne escono cose molto raffinate. Se lasciate fare a degli amateur vi ritrovate con la notizia che Obama è nato in Kenya: fatto falso che però, indubbiamente, dà un design molto funzionale alla sensazione, per molti nettissima, che quell’uomo, nero, liberal, pacifista e mite fosse la negazione di tutti i principi e valori degli Stati Uniti e pertanto non avesse diritto a diventare Presidente. Chi usa la parola post-verità tende a sottolineare come nel mondo del web simili operazioni abbiano assunto una velocità, una forza e un coefficiente di penetrazione senza precedenti e che questo segnali appunto il passaggio a una nuova epoca. Anche qui, la cecità è spettacolare: chiunque capirebbe che una bufala al telegiornale quando il web non c’era e quando c’era un solo telegiornale era immensamente più efficace e veloce di una bufala lanciata oggi in rete: oltre tutto era molto più macchinoso smentirla o contrastarla.

    Eppure non lo si vuole capire, e allora arriviamo alla domanda più importante: se la post-verità è una bufala, qual è la cosa vera a cui sta dando voce, sta offrendo un design, sta consegnando un packaging efficace?

    Paradossalmente, il nuovo statuto della verità rende piuttosto inessenziale quella skill particolare che era conoscere la verità: ignorarla almeno in parte sembra produrre risultati migliori.
    https://thecatcher.it/post-verita-baricco-4445471b2c65
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  4. Facebook’s entire project, when it comes to news, rests on the assumption that people’s individual preferences ultimately coincide with the public good, and that if it doesn’t appear that way at first, you’re not delving deeply enough into the data. By contrast, decades of social-science research shows that most of us simply prefer stuff that feels true to our worldview even if it isn’t true at all and that the mining of all those preference signals is likely to lead us deeper into bubbles rather than out of them.

    What’s needed, he argues, is some global superstructure to advance humanity.

    This is not an especially controversial idea; Zuckerberg is arguing for a kind of digital-era version of the global institution-building that the Western world engaged in after World War II. But because he is a chief executive and not an elected president, there is something frightening about his project. He is positioning Facebook — and, considering that he commands absolute voting control of the company, he is positioning himself — as a critical enabler of the next generation of human society. A minor problem with his mission is that it drips with megalomania, albeit of a particularly sincere sort. With his wife, Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg has pledged to give away nearly all of his wealth to a variety of charitable causes, including a long-term medical-research project to cure all disease. His desire to take on global social problems through digital connectivity, and specifically through Facebook, feels like part of the same impulse.

    Yet Zuckerberg is often blasé about the messiness of the transition between the world we’re in and the one he wants to create through software. Building new “social infrastructure” usually involves tearing older infrastructure down. If you manage the demolition poorly, you might undermine what comes next.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/ma...n-facebook-fix-its-own-worst-bug.html
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  5. The argument against such efforts is very simple: They would damage our society and stifle technological progress. Post-truthism is a very natural, inevitable, and in many ways desirable stage in the evolution of human society. Even the current craze for fighting truthiness is an example of the post-truth world in action. Contrary to popular opinion, truthiness is not a novel phenomenon, it is just that recently it has intensified, and has caught increased public attention.

    Over the ages, we have been freeing ourselves from physical constraints. There are more of us than ever before, we live far longer, and clothing, shelter, and food needs are becoming ever less pressing, to the point that there are more people who are obese than those suffering hunger. Human physical labor has also been declining, replaced first by animals, then by simple machines, and today increasingly by sophisticated robots.

    More recently, we have started freeing ourselves from further constraints. Information technologies have been freeing us from routine mental work, and AI promises much more progress in this area.

    The natural next step, after freeing ourselves from all this physical and mental drudgery, is to free ourselves from dependence on cruel, inflexible reality. We may never reach a completely post-fact world, but we can come far closer than ever before. Historically, Homo sapiens has shown a greater appetite for humbug than for facts, as Charles Mackay, P.T. Barnum, and others demonstrated long ago 1, 8 » . But cold facts often intervened, whether in the shape of a saber-tooth tiger or the growling of an empty stomach. Now we can push reality much further away and live in our dream worlds.

    Lest you recoil at this notion, recall just how important humbug has been to human progress. Silicon Valley is famous, among other things, for its "fake it till you make it" mantra. But this is just the most refined form of an ancient practice that has been key to the success of innumerable scientists and engineers for centuries. Promoters of new technologies usually offer promises of costs, of time to deliver, and of performance.

    Just how often has even one of those three promises been met? For some of the dismal statistics on this score, in well-established technologies to boot, see 3 » . In order to advance technologically, we apparently need the public and decision makers to repeatedly fall for the promises of honey-tongued promoters, to enter analogues of the Steve Jobs "reality distortion field." An effective fake news detecting method could easily destroy the illusions that progress is based on.

    Homo sapiens is not just a deeply irrational species, it is a herd species. Although groupthink is universally deprecated, it is an essential element to the functioning of most organizations. The best teams appear to require their own "reality distortion fields" to be effective. Sports teams have to be psyched up for best play, to be convinced they can win no matter what the odds. Similarly, teams of programmers apparently have to be led to truly believe that modifying code to make the employer's web page load a tenth of a second faster will revolutionize the world. Could such processes survive exposure to effective reality checks?

    It is not only sports teams and high-tech startups that depend on groupthink that is at variance with reality. Scholarly research is at its essence a series of echo chambers, with specialties establishing their own societies, journals, and conferences. Incoming students are socialized and absorb the reigning dogmas, which prepares them to fiercely resist any novel ideas that threaten the consensus, and to ignore or distort inconvenient facts. Often this degenerates into pseudo-sciences or glass bead games, as the frequently tenuous connections to reality are diluted.

    Even at its best, the modern academic research process produces very unreliable results. Historians of science and technology have known this for ages. Today it is being systematically explored through careful studies of the peer-reviewed literature, cf. 11 » . But that is simply how progress occurs, apparently the inevitable adjunct to the herd nature of our species. As Max Planck famously opined, and as the example of Einstein's refusal to accept the reality of quantum mechanics confirms, "a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." That new generation then goes on to establish its own orthodoxy, by building up its own echo chamber. Do we dare throw a monkey wrench into this process?

    It seems far better to follow the natural and inevitable path. Politicians and marketers have been pioneers in moving into the post-truth world and will certainly not be stopped from exploiting it. Let's not allow them to monopolize it! Let's develop better methods for individuals and groups to create their own illusory worlds, deciding on their visions of reality. Video game, virtual reality, and the even more recent augmented reality technologies should be among the building blocks. The methods currently being developed and deployed to fight truthiness should also yield variants that promote it. Tools to construct the webs of trust that are promised to provide reality checks can be designed from the start to enable construction of alluring virtual worlds far removed from reality.

    Let's not be deterred by inveterate pessimists. There might be some dangers, but society has managed to deal with negative side effects of many technologies that were attractive enough. For example, the number of cars is still growing explosively worldwide, even though they are involved in over a million human fatalities per year. We will surely manage to deal with the problems posed by truthiness. Any irremediable disadvantages of the post-truth world should be a small price for unleashing all the creativity that has lain dormant!

    Of course, such a world will involve competing realities. It will also be based on obfuscation and attempts to fool others. But cheating others and detecting cheating is just what people are best at. Evolutionary psychologists argue that this was key to the development of human intelligence, and support this by data showing that the more intelligent a species is, the more social cheating it engages in 12 » .

    The future of this train of thought points to has many attractive features. In particular, it suggests that fears of technological unemployment are exaggerated. Yes, more and more of our current jobs will be automated. However, it has long been obvious that there will be plenty of jobs in providing geriatric care. The post-truth world promises plenty of additional jobs confusing others (assisted by information systems tools, of course, which will increase the demand for technologists and social scientists) and penetrating the misdirections and obfuscations of others.

    It is not only society at large that will benefit from such developments. So will individuals. We will finally have a solution to the privacy problem. Technology is enabling the collection of increasingly detailed and intimate information about us, and many organizations, commercial and governmental, are determined to collect it. So, in spite of much hand-wringing and many well-intentioned efforts, the disappearance of privacy appears inevitable.

    But in a post-truth world the erosion of privacy will not be a serious issue! We'll just select which of the myriad "facts" about us in the databases are to matter. It is a very natural development. It has some precursors, such as the Japanese notions of honne and tatemae, which distinguish between a person's inner feelings and desires and the public face. Think of each person being represented by multiple avatars, with the most appropriate one chosen for each occasion.

    If we insist on establishing solid grounding in facts, we will run incalculable risks to individuals. To paraphrase Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Homo sapiens is not ready for the unvarnished truth. Human life depends not only on fooling others, but also on fooling ourselves, and the ability to do so could be impaired by many of the methods being developed to fight truthiness. There would be some benefits, of course. Had that iconic tech hero, Steve Jobs, been more grounded in reality, he surely would not have spent a year trying "alternative medicine," and might be alive today. But had he been more grounded in reality, would he have achieved anywhere near as much as he had?
    http://ubiquity.acm.org/article.cfm?id=3061712
    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2017-04-10)
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  6. This is a technological problem. It requires us also to think realistically about how people understand and share information in the digital age: feelings are as important as facts. Identity is as much a motivation as integrity. These are not necessarily ‘bad’ things. But they are not how mainstream news media and politicians used to think about information.

    As I’ve written elsewhere, there is a commercial and technological context to fake news, but ultimately it is a political issue. We have to understand ideologies of information. For anyone dealing in information, ethics is now not an add on. It is integral to the information economy. Trust is the currency of networked media. Around fake news we have a remarkable opportunity to get it right.

    Firstly, we have to get this in perspective. I think a lot of the reaction to ‘fake news’ has been a moral panic. Much of what we – and Trump – calls fake news or post truth or filter bubbles – is simply what we disagree with or feel threatened by. I’m not sure we’d be having this debate amongst ‘liberal elites’ if Hillary had become president and the UK had voted to Remain.

    In the UK, fake news has had less purchase. Possibly because we already have a partisan media and our public is used to journalists, politicians and other communicators bending the truth to suit agendas. That’s not a bad thing if its transparent. Opening up news media to more diverse perspectives and sources allows for a more robust, diverse debate where the public has more say.

    But the best debates that produce the most sustainable policy outcomes must at some point return to reality. Democracy needs evidence for accountability. There may not be a single truth, but there are such things as facts.
    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/2017/03/...st-thing-thats-happened-to-journalism
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  7. If your level of numeracy is so abysmal, you aren't qualified to be a professional journalist. I know it may hurt to read this, but it's the truth. Nobody without a working understanding of arithmetic or statistical and logical reasoning can properly inform the public. Not knowing such basic stuff is the equivalent of confusing adjectives with adverbs, or of being unable to build coherent written sentences.

    We've all been in this situation and the solution isn't to deny that it's a problem, but to work quickly to solve it. So get to work. You must learn this stuff. Right away. It isn't magic. Stop with the I'm-not-good-at-Math bullshit. Here are some books to get you started, sorted from basic to more advanced
    http://www.thefunctionalart.com/2017/...arent-qualified-to-be-journalist.html
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  8. essendo di fatto venuto a cadere il consenso collettivo sulla gerarchia delle fonti, mancano anche i criteri per mettersi d’accordo su cosa sia vero e cosa sia falso. La parola “fact-checking” è così diventata un lasciapassare per confutare le opinioni che non ci stanno a genio, e magari legittimare tentazioni di “filtraggio” dei social media.

    La teoria secondo cui la banca J.P. Morgan accompagna e dirige l’attività dei governi nazionali risale nientemeno che a Karl Polanyi, che nella Grande Trasformazione (classico della storia economica scritto nel 1944 e pubblicato da Einaudi) descrive il ruolo dell’alta finanza nel coordinamento dell’ordine monetario e geopolitico ottocentesco. Questa influenza sotterranea, incarnata secondo Polanyi prima dai Rothschild e poi dai Morgan, è servita a garantire un secolo di prosperità (enorme sviluppo economico e il più lungo periodo di pace nella storia umana) sbloccando le resistenze dei singoli stati nazionali. Ma d’altra parte, sempre secondo lo storico ungherese, questo stesso fragilissimo equilibrio commerciale ha posto le condizioni per le grandi guerre del Novecento.

    “Distintermediazione” significa anche che questa stessa lettura di Polanyi, che qui rimetto colpevolmente in circolo, potrà essere distorta e semplificata al punto di servire a qualche narrazione cospirazionista o persino antisemita. Ed è appunto questo meccanismo perverso che caratterizza la nostra Era del Sospetto: ovvero un accesso alla conoscenza che produce dei veri e propri “shock informazionali”. Questi shock risultano dall’assimilazione non-strutturata di un’enorme quantità di dati, frammenti di sapere che si organizzano secondo nuove logiche mostruose.

    Così ad ognuno di noi, poveri diavoli ed emeriti costituzionalisti, pare d’intravedere dietro alle verità ufficiali i frammenti di altre verità più profonde: ed è da questa visione appannata, come in uno specchio, che sorge il sospetto generalizzato che ci mette gli uni contro gli altri.

    Possiamo salutare l’avvento della post-verità come una grandiosa rivoluzione che ha abbattuto l’oligopolio dell’informazione: ora non ci resta che da fare i conti con la crisi che ne consegue.
    http://www.prismomag.com/era-del-sospetto
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  9. Come mai, proprio mentre Matteo Renzi lancia "il kit anti-bufale", i sostenitori del Sì si mettono sullo stesso piano di quelle pagine che diffondono false dichiarazioni di Agnese Renzi sul voto al referendum o sulle tanto combattute bufale? Tutto questo avviene proprio pochi giorni dopo la meravigliosa inchiesta della Stampa sulla "Struttura di Propaganda" web del Movimento Cinque Stelle, poi risultata una clamorosa bufala quando l'account incriminato come centro della struttura di propaganda è risultato essere utilizzato dalla moglie di Renato Brunetta, senza alcuna relazione con Grillo, Casaleggio e i suoi. E proprio ieri Buzzfeed ha pubblicato un'analisi del web grillino e della diffusione di bufale in Italia.

    Tutto ciò esiste, al di là delle cantonate giornalistiche, ma come la storia delle pagine Facebook "gentiste" a favore del Sì dimostra, si tratta di un fenomeno tutt'altro che limitato al Movimento Cinque Stelle. L'utilizzo del web in modo spregiudicato, falsificatorio e con una demagogia che spesso sconfina nel complottismo, nel razzismo e nell'antisemitismo taglia trasversalmente le maggiori forze politiche, e, anzi, oggi vede proprio nella campagna referendaria del Pd un nuovo salto di qualità.

    E proprio quando, dopo la Brexit e la vittoria di Trump, tutti gli osservatori, i commentatori e gran parte della politica ci mettono in guardia dai pericoli di un certo modo di fare comunicazione politica, della "post-verità" che ci allontanerebbe dal prendere decisioni ponderate e consapevoli, scopriamo che la pratica di parlare alla pancia e con la pancia appartiene a tutti. Perché evidentemente chi si occupa di politica pensa che la gente sia fondamentalmente scema, che non serva coinvolgerla ma convincerla, con qualsiasi mezzo.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.it/claudia-...urce=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#
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