Monday, April 13th 2020

Better Facts

The age of the opinion as fact has dawned. So how do we protect objective reality?

Stories stick

For tens of thousands of years, humans have used stories to efficiently inform our perception of reality. Stories help listeners to accept and dismiss facts at the expense of interpreting those facts ourselves. In the information age, the rate at which stories can evolve has been massively accelerated. Now, many versions of the same story can easily survive because 'retelling' them has become practically effortless (e.g. sharing). The oral tradition that once helped humans understand the world and unify tribes through opinion can now be leveraged to edit perceived reality.

Story Telling at Scale

The stories told to billions of individuals come from a shrinking set of digital information providers. This consolidation of narrative is helping to cluster opinions around a smaller number of accepted truths. When a human brain's tendency to distort reality in order to fit biases is combined with the availability of information today, tribes of opinion can easily form around isolated islands of information.

Managing information

The brain's ability to detach from objective reality is a biological artifact we must overcome or we risk the loss of truth itself. However, centralized sources of truth are dangerous and easily abused. There is no perfect solution yet.