Fake news - it's eeeeverywhere! A lie can nowadays successfully beat a path half-way around the world before the truth gets a chance to put its trousers on.
If you're a Facebooker or a Twitterer, then you're constantly getting bombarded with important-sounding stuff that begs to be taken seriously by you, but which is, frequently, counter-factual - it's just some bozo who hasn't got enough hobbies, sitting in his Mom's garage, getting sweatily excited about the latest professionally-presented item of b*llshit that he's concocted and which he wonders "How many millions of weak-minded people out there will BELIEVE this stuff before anyone at all notices that it's utter drivel?! Fun, fun, fun." ...Except that it's not much fun for the rest of us.
How good are your filters? How do you know what to believe and what to disregard?
On Saturday 16th September, 2001 (yes - 5 days after The World Changed Forever), I arrived at Brussels airport (with scissors and a pen-knife in my hand-luggage, which no security officer even queried with me - but that's another story for another day) and I made my way to the auditorium where I was scheduled to spend the afternoon collecting my degree certificate and enjoying a speech to be given to us by the wonderfully erudite, now late, Umberto Eco (who was also there to accept a certificate - an Honourary Doctorate). The thrust of what Eco had to share with us that day was on the theme of "How can we know what's true and factual and real in The Internet Age". This was way back then! Eco saw all of this even in the early days: we all now have instant access to vastly more information than any people have ever had in history; much of it is entirely false, or partly false, or out-of-date before its writer even posted it: how effective are our filters? THAT was what worried Umberto Eco, 5 days after a bunch of mass murderers who'd only ever read one book in their lives killed 2,996 Muslims, Christians, Jews, Jains, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and atheists. If ignorance and bigotry can achieve such horror, what greater horrors can mass, willful, unstoppable, streamlined, ubiquitous ignorance and bigotry bring about?
Eco was worried, back then, about this important problem. So, my question to you, 21st-Century Folks Of (what used to be) The Future: how's all of that working out for y'all? How good are your filters?