This month’s discussion of truth in a so-called post-truth world will be the biggest event of the year for Columbus Futurists.. It will be huge! The biggest audience ever, the best ideas ever! And this will be our report after the event, whatever actually happens! (Hopefully, obvious satire …)
Why? Because we have entered an age where truth has become a highly personal matter – my truth and your truth don’t have to match. At least, that’s what some people contend. Some people rely on alternative facts.. Facts that aren’t quite true – or might be radically off the generally accepted truth – but are still facts, We might think of them as “aspirational” facts. They may or may not be true, but they are seeking more support in the polls.
The challenges to “truth” and “facts” – ultimately a challenge to “authoritativeness” – is of particular importance to Futurists, and anyone interested in trying to grasp the possibilities of the future. It is confusing.
- “Fake news” has come to mean both fictional stories generated to mislead, AND real stories whose veracity is called into question because someone uses the label. We have experienced outrights mendacity, compounded by a semblance of a bureaucratic structure which seeks to back up and strengthen the falsehoods.
- Recently, there are reports of a forged NSA document being shopped to news organizations as a trap – to tempt them into publishing news about a document that then is shown to be fake, in order to ruin news credibility (Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, 7/6/2017).
Without confidence to rely on generally agreed sources for accurate information, how can one project the evolution of that information into a possible future?
There have been many pieces written on this subject – sorting out those which deal with the substantive issues can be a challenge. Here a few you might consider – if you find others that you have found useful, please feel free to share:
- What makes a truth a reliable truth? How much truth is necessary?
- We are facing a “crisis of authority.” What makes a source reliable?
- How can false information be identified?
- What tools do we have – or need – to navigate the Sea of Veracity?
Some articles to consider:
- The revolt of the public and the “age of post-truth” (The Fifth Wave, by Martin Gurri) (consider reading the comments also)
- A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia (NYT)
- Google, democracy and the truth about internet search (The Observer)
- The year that wasn’t: 2016 as told by 120 fake news stories (CNET)
- NPR Reporter Tracked Down a Fake-News Creator; Here’s What She Learned (KQED News)
- Inside a Long Beach Web operation that makes up stories about Trump and Clinton: What they do for clicks and cash (LA Times)
- Four tricky ways that fake news can fool you (TED)
- Here’s How to Fix Facebook’s Fake News (Daily Beast)
- The Ultimate Cure for the Fake News Epidemic Will Be More Skeptical Readers (Scientific American)
- Maddow to news orgs: beware of forged Trump Russia documents! (MSNBC)
Not just politics:
- Moves by DeVos, Florida legislature concern science educators ( Education Dive)
- Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning (Stanford History Education Group)
Another great discussion in an exciting agenda emerging for our meetings this year. Hope to see you in the future!
(Some discussion notes attached in a Word doc.)