Author Topic: A Post-Information World?  (Read 874 times)

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Offline Super Dude

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A Post-Information World?
« on: October 22, 2012, 09:49:19 PM »
This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. We often discuss here how confirmation bias has allowed us to cherrypick news sources and the like, and basically choose truths that conform to our worldviews (yes, granted we have Fact Check, but I digress). And it's not even just political facts anymore; the fundamental of truths of religion, science, and whatever the hell we want can all be tailored to our personal needs by a quick Google search. And if you don't like what you see in one hit, you can always go back and do another search. So here's my question to you: do we now, thanks to the Internet, live in a world in which access to information is rendered meaningless by our freedom to totally accept or reject it on arbitrary criteria? Or perhaps more disturbing, thanks to the Internet, is it now impossible to determine what is the "real" truth, due to the double-pronged challenge posed by information producers with their own biases clashing with the biases of the consumer?
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Offline Rathma

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 10:02:13 PM »
Wikipedia v.s. Conservapedia

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 12:16:14 AM »
I basically agree.

If you go to National Review, Salon, and Reason, you'd swear their writers literally live in different worlds.  Not that each of them look at the same news and have different opinions of that news.  I mean each of the sites exists in a different dimension and we can somehow see content from all of them due to some rift in the fabric of space time.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 03:04:12 AM »
Wikipedia v.s. Conservapedia

I stumbled upon the conservapedia entry for "liberal" once.... I had to double check to make sure that this was indeed a serious site, and not a brilliant satire. It was hard not to laugh at their ridiculous, cartoonish depiction of a "liberal."

Offline Super Dude

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 05:33:59 AM »
Case in point, the post-debate articles currently on RCP's front page:

Obama Wins on Style and Substance - TIME
Romney Won Unequivocally - FOX
How Romney Outsmarted Himself - The New Republic
It's Clear Which Candidate Is Behind - Red State
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Offline rumborak

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 11:15:59 AM »
I would open this up even wider to include a fundamental problem of capitalism. Reading news that go against your natural bias is uncomfortable, and few people do it voluntarily. The wide-spread availability of "designer news" makes it even easier for people to ignore uncomfortable news, whereas back in the day the options were far fewer, and so a single newspaper was forced to incorporate a lot of viewpoints, and at the same time expose that collection of viewpoints to a lot of people. So, in essence the increase in choice is actually detrimental.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 11:23:27 AM »
It's just basic psychology. We tend to more easily accept information that confirms are worldviews. And, in the words of Mark Twain, "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

So, nothing really new here IMO. The internet is going through a process where it's shedding its initial utilitarian baby skin and catching up with the rest of society.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 05:15:47 AM »
And again, from Real Clear Politics.

America Has Finally Seen the Real Obama
Why the Auto Bailout Matters
Liberalism Is in an Advanced Stage of Decline
Romney's Economic "Plan" Is a Sham
Obama's Petty & Small Campaign
Moderate Mitt Wouldn't Make It Past Jan. 20

Can anyone guess which articles come from where, without cheating? And in fact I want you to guess, to know what your first instinct tells you about each, even if you think you might be wrong.
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Offline Orthogonal

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Re: A Post-Information World?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 03:23:49 PM »
I would open this up even wider to include a fundamental problem of capitalism. Reading news that go against your natural bias is uncomfortable, and few people do it voluntarily. The wide-spread availability of "designer news" makes it even easier for people to ignore uncomfortable news, whereas back in the day the options were far fewer, and so a single newspaper was forced to incorporate a lot of viewpoints, and at the same time expose that collection of viewpoints to a lot of people. So, in essence the increase in choice is actually detrimental.

This is not a "fundamental  problem of capitalism", but a consequence of human nature. Economic/social system has really nothing to do with it. If I take your argument to it's conclusion, then you are saying to improve the quality of news we need to decrease choice by de-capitalizing (consolidation or non-private or heavy regulation?) the news industry? How would you propose we roll this back? The only possible solution short of a change in human nature, would be for the entire news industry to be State controlled or State sponsored. If you think the bias and collection of views are limited now, then you aren't familiar with the history of State controlled news because it is very detrimental to news quality.