How technology disrupted the truth, Katharine Viner | The Guardian | 12 de julio de 2016
“We are in the midst of a fundamental change in the values of journalism – a consumerist shift. Instead of strengthening social bonds, or creating an informed public, or the idea of news as a civic good, a democratic necessity, it creates gangs, which spread instant falsehoods that fit their views, reinforcing each other’s beliefs, driving each other deeper into shared opinions, rather than established facts.
Above all, the challenge for journalism today is not simply technological innovation or the creation of new business models. It is to establish what role journalistic organisations still play in a public discourse that has become impossibly fragmented and radically destabilised”.
Kick this rock: Climate change and our common reality, Michael P. Lynch | The New York Times | 5 de junio de 2017
“We now disagree not just over things like whether God exists or if abortion is morally permissible, but over the size of crowds, basic budget math, the safety of vaccines, Russia’s involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee — and whether the fact that the climate is changing is something to worry about. The causes of those divisions are complex, but one is surely the increasing personalization of our online lives.
Almost everything we encounter on the internet — from our Facebook newsfeed to the ads you see when reading this article — is personalized to fit our interests. That’s wonderfully convenient. But it also speeds up polarization by feeding into the basic human susceptibility to confirmation bias. (“I’m right; everybody says so.”) The result is the now familiar feeling that the left and right are really living in distinct realities. It is as if there is no point of reference, no rock to kick because our information bubbles — our epistemic worlds — are constructed to fit our political bias. But while technology plays a part, we shouldn’t overstate its role. Ideology also matters. And the ideology that matters here is the increasing rejection not of common reality itself but the value of caring about it. Part of the thought is that we don’t really need to find common ground with those who disagree with us because, after all, they’re just wrongheaded idiots”.
After the fact, Jill Lepore | The New Yorker | 21 de marzo de 2016
“Michael P. Lynch has been writing about this topic for a long time, and passionately. The root of the problem, as he sees it, is a well-known paradox: reason can’t defend itself without resort to reason. In his 2012 book, “In Praise of Reason,” Lynch identified three sources of skepticism about reason: the suspicion that all reasoning is rationalization, the idea that science is just another faith, and the notion that objectivity is an illusion. These ideas have a specific intellectual history, and none of them are on the wane. Their consequences, he believes, are dire: “Without a common background of standards against which we measure what counts as a reliable source of information, or a reliable method of inquiry, and what doesn’t, we won’t be able to agree on the facts, let alone values. Indeed, this is precisely the situation we seem to be headed toward in the United States.”
Why Trudeau is like Trump, Stephen Marche | Bloomberg | 8 de septiembre de 2016
“Here’s the foremost of Trudeau’s lessons so far: If you can control the viral space, traditional politics don’t matter.
Virality provides one of the greatest political covers ever. While Trudeau was being photographed with the pandas, Canada quietly approved a sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that made it the second-biggest arms dealer in the Middle East. During Elbowgate, an assisted suicide law was passed that should have been hugely controversial. Instead of discussing the medicalization of death, Canada’s public media were obsessed with how forcefully the prime minister had brushed aside one of his colleagues and whether he apologized too much.
For people who trust technocrats, who believe in government, the new virocracy is somewhat utopian. But there’s something intensely undemocratic about it as well. Issues aren’t debated as they once were. Instead, there’s a froth of social media and beneath it, almost invisibly, the business of government by experts.”
Facebook is eating the world, Emily Bell | Columbia Journalism Review | 7 de marzo de 2017
“The largest of the platform and social media companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and even second order companies such as Twitter, Snapchat and emerging messaging app companies, have become extremely powerful in terms of controlling who publishes what to whom, and how that publication is monetized. There is a far greater concentration of power in this respect than there ever has been in the past. Networks favor economies of scale, so our careful curation of plurality in media markets such as the UK, disappears at a stroke, and the market dynamics and anti-trust laws the Americans rely on to sort out such anomalies are failing. The mobile revolution is behind much of this.
But we ought to be aware, too, that this cultural, economic, and political shift is profound. We are handing the controls of important parts of our public and private lives to a very small number of people, who are unelected and unaccountable. We need regulation to make sure all citizens gain equal access to the networks of opportunity and services they need. We also need to know that all public speech and expression will be treated transparently, even if they cannot be treated equally. This is a basic requirement for a functioning democracy”.
Diego Beas es experto en política estadounidense. Es autor del libro La reinvención de la política: Obama, internet y la nueva esfera pública (Península).