Lies and Power

In an earlier post about Post Truth, we explored Yuri Harari’s statement that  lies and power are closely linked. Yet, many people have the opinion that we nowadays are living in a new and frightening era of post-truth. We are surrounded by lies and fiction. To explore the question we suggested in our post Post-Truth that you could write down in parallel some unconnected, random questions, statements or observations. Then, you choose the least obvious or most provocative question. That will be your Beautiful Question.

Our efforts

  • Most of the fake news are produced by politicians and governments
  • Today we see a Modern Truth era, where the public directly get messages by public figures and organizations that are not framed, filtered and polished by communication experts, spin doctors and Main Stream Media to make it more political correct and harmless.
  • Fake news has, as advertising on social media, far less influence to modify behavior than marketing agencies will do believe us.
  • Accusing someone about fake news is the new abuse of psychiatry to neutralize criticism . You can’t deny it, because … that is fake as well. (You can’t never win)
  • Fake news is not the problem. That what stays hidden (non-news) is far more scary. Look at the list of known wistleblowers on Wikipedia and you get depressed about the size of fraud, misleading, tax avoidance, manipulation of currencies, gold and silver prices, torture, hidden side effects of medication, cover ups of sexual assaults, etc. What Assange, Snowdon, Manning and other whistleblowers revealed must be the tip of several icebergs. What else is hidden? What do we not know but is vital that we do know?

Our choice

Today we see a Modern Truth era, where the public directly get messages by public figures and organizations that are not framed, filtered and polished by communication experts, spin doctors and Main Stream Media in order to make it more political correct and harmless.

Some explorations

Nowadays we know directly, without interventions of intermediaries (middle man) what statements are made by public figures. They may be impulsive, raw, emotional, biased, momentarily, intuitive, but nevertheless real. Perhaps they are more honest than officially published statements that are mostly careful constructed and consensual validated by different experts and interest groups in a time consuming process. And all rooted within a dominant political of organizational ideology and not necessarily based on values and political judgements, nor upon perceptions of the general public.

We can compare those statements with other utterances of public figures. They are digital, we can store, correlate and analyze them linguistically. We can regard these direct statements via social media as not only intended for the general public, but also as attempts to influence the opposing forces from their (own) bureaucracy. In this regard, you could say that the use of social media empowers public figures when they strive for change.

This is entirely in line with the trend of removing all kinds of intermediaries. People do and can do much more by themselves. Blockchain technology makes “trusted intermediary agents” completely obsolete for determining value (certification, contracts, money transfer, ownership, origin of goods).

Resistance to fake news

Resistance to fake news and post truth comes primarily from the establishment, ie institutions, politicians, captains of industry, academics and NGOs. The story they are trying to tell is punctured and, to make it harmless, is therefore presented as fake news.

Ultra solutions

One measure is to make media companies responsible for passing on fake news. What has led to :

  • Facebook censored a story in a newspaper that criticized climate policy on a request from a competing newspaper, which already applies censorship in-house: climate-skeptic reactions are being excluded there.
  • An opinion in a newspaper based on arguments about abuses in Ukraine was taken out of the air by the EU as fake news.

Fake news filtering is an ultra solution, that is, the solution does not solve the problem, but even reinforces it, making the situation even worse.

Banning certain views in media and making companies responsible for passing on fake news can result in the real problem being ignored. For example, people might agree that there is a climate change, and even that it is caused by humans, but they might disagree about what effect on climate change the proposed policy might have. Censorship instead of an exploration of the issues might result in a standstill with two sides that agree on several aspects regarding each others as enemies and blaming fake news for the problems.

There are, of course, several disadvantages of not factual reporting any false facts. It distorts rational policy design. It undermines democracy. Therefore, we might do a PMI, and then generate ideas to strengthen the Positive points of this development and neutralize or weaken the Minus points.

Idea Sensitive Areas

A few preliminary Idea Sensitive Areas – areas that scream for a good practical idea.

  • Could we shift the responsibility for factual reporting and fact-based discussion from those who have an interest in it to the public? Can we use the public instead of the government or the big tech companies to filter fake news? Could Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technology help with this?
  • Could we design a system that alerts the recipient to the degree of truth of an expression, automatically, based on criteria like:
    • Does the sender have business interests in this decision?
    • Does the sender have political interests in this decision?
    • Does the sender have financial interests in this decision?
    • Is prestige and / or credibility of the sender at stake?
    • Are there any inconsistencies with previous statements from the sender?

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