#FakeNews: Bad for business and your mind

The rise of fake news creates a critical confusion that extends buying cycles and devalues trust in all institutions. Corporations have trillions of dollars tied up in trusted brand value...
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Buying cycles are already very long in the IT industry. With the rise of fake news and general mistrust in corporate media content of all kinds -- those buying cycles will get longer.

And sales and marketing costs will skyrocket for IT companies.

As an IT buyer relying on high quality information from your peer groups won't help much because their information sources will be also be considered suspect. Unless they have direct experience to report which will be scarce.

In the fake news future just ahead -- even the truth looks fake. And reality becomes just one story line in a future collection of virtual realities -- each one a potentially indistinguishable fiction.

Without reliable and trusted information:

  • Not just commercial buyers but consumers will delay purchases.
  • Businesses won't have good information for investment decisions.
  • Shareholders won't have a clear view into investment risks.

The winners are...

The winners will be special self-interest groups -- a variety of organizations with nefarious agendas. They'll do very well in a fake news future and will learn to operate with impunity. Because even if outed, the truth will look fake.

It's bad for the economy and fake news is also bad for your head.

"The point of modern propaganda... is to exhaust your critical thinking"

It's a haunting line from a recent tweet by Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion and Russian political activist.

"The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth."

Exhausting media...

The non-stop media channels everywhere you look -- now look back at you. And very soon every display near you will have a message specifically for you.

The most advanced technologies of persuasion are coming to a screen near you. Personalized 27-7.

Will your thoughts and opinions truly be your own? Will they be based on truth or biased by others?

What's the solution? How do we escape fake news and the exhausting never-ending intrusions of influence?

There is a solution that grew out of the 1960s and 1970s when mass media was flexing its muscles and taking a massive cultural toll by trying to exhaust people's critical thinking around civil rights and the Vietnam war: People turned it off, turned away and turned on. The attention became Be. Here. Now.

Original ideas and original thoughts require that you take the time to have original experiences -- experiences that are unique and unmediated -- un-media-ted through the experience of others.

And that includes having an original experience of yourself. It is why meditation and mindfulness practices are so important to creating original ideas and thoughts.

Critical thinking is a limited resource and we could use plenty more of it in every human endeavor. Machines can't do it for us.

AI is a list of responses to a list of inputs -- it is not a critical thinking machine. We have to do the critical thinking but the machines will be able to help us fight fake information with sourcing, verification and authentication -- they are very good at those tasks. And they don't get exhausted.

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