Building a BS Bubble

We live in the cursed interesting times. The human hive mind of the Internet can drink at this point but is still not able to make the best decisions. Social media has added everyone from your racist uncle to your octogenarian grandmother to the hive mind, but it still relies on every node to verify information.

So in the US, we have a bunch of people trading information that reinforces a narrow world view as true and then allows them to type in all caps, FAKE NEWS at anything they don't find reinforcing that. This isn't some attempt at fake balance here, the far left and the far right are trying to convince everyone that their country is full of Nazis and Muslim invaders by way of Mexico and anything that might have a bit of nuance is being shouted down by the sort of people you wouldn't trust to watch your cat on vacation.

I mean, the obvious explanation is that everyone is making money off your paranoia and confusion. Zuckerberg's talking tour of the US was part exploratory voyage toward running for office, and apology tour for getting rich of misinformation sites making ad revenue off fake stories about the pope endorsing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shoving Bernie in a locker. Okay, so I may have made that last one up.

It isn't going to get any better. There are people counting on you not knowing your shit and being too lazy to do anything about it. Last weeks ransomware attack was likely conducted by North Korean agents using malware gleaned from an NSA leak. This exploited that secret hole that large corporations and government agencies move slower as fondue shit and likely hadn't applied a three-month-old security patch. Hell the NHS in England was still dependant on XP.

Humanity depends on an intricate information network for the economic and social fabric of society, and half the people can barely use it. Misinformation was bad enough when people just believed whatever the TV and newspaper told them. Now instead of having your opinions controlled by access journalism and an army of PR agents, you have to deal with the fact that your Aunt is taken in by some anti-vaxxer nut job peddling that GMO foods make your intestines come pouring out of your mouth.

Information pragmatism is essential at this point. The cycle of outrage and indignation on the left and the right is a siren of bullshit, and we're all living next to the fire station. If you don't learn to tune it all out, you're going to lose your mind.

Photo Credit: melissaclark Flickr via Compfight cc

Mike M

Mike M

I have written various kind of reviews for years. I currently write for Make Use Of. I used to write for Digital Entertainment News, Macgasm, and the Examiner. My day job is as an IT monkey. Follow me on Twitter.