Alternative news sources are far from perfect as well, but in an age where everyone is trying to mislead, it forces people who want to be informed to actually take in events from multiple outlets and try to discern where truth lies for themselves. Maybe it's my Slavic upbringing, but I was taught to be sceptical of everyone and everything.
Also, information can't be weaponized cheaply. If one side has access to it, so does the other. They counteract each other. In the end, people still have to discern news for themselves.
Finally, it's quite hilarious to hear news outlets trying to convince us that today we're misinformed, and if only we do a few things to 'fix' the system, we can get to a point where they're our only source of news again.
It’s easy to blame “the media”. It’s harder to look at ourselves, relatives, friends, neighbors, and community and say we haven’t really done anything to incentivize good sources of information to exist.
We pay nothing for quality journalism and expect everything. I’m actually impressed with what we do have at least for now.
If someone wants to be informed, I'd say go out into the world, talk to people and experience things, but even that has its limits (one person can only see so much). You can take in many different sources and try to filter out the noise, but that takes a lot of time. I try to be informed on topics that matter to me but I'll gladly admit that some topics simply don't matter to me so I don't put in the effort.
In the end, maybe this is the inevitable result of our system. It's far from perfect but I still think it's better than some alternatives.
Also, another part of the problem might be how news media implies that by consuming their publications in a few minutes you can be just as informed as the expert who has been studying a topic for years, and how they overinflate people's confidence in what little they know.
Reminded me of the BREXIT vote.
Might have been talking about the Canadian Broadcasting Commission; but I don't know anything about Canada.
> BBC are a statutory corporation, as are Channel 4, but there is no direct government involvement in either.
I found it interesting that there seems to have been something like a minor scandal in 1985 when it was revealed that MI5 was vetting who held BBC leadership positions .
1985 was a long time ago; but there is a history there of quiet coordination between government and BBC. I'd still rather have the BBC than CNN or Murdoch though.
Asking for a security vetting of senior staff isn't so different to BAe (at the time) or a local council asking for one. There'd be a far larger scandal if someone revealed a fascist or communist ended up running the place, no? Hardly interference in programmes...
Agreed on Murdoch. :)
My inner conspiracy-theorist wonders if this is divide-and-conquer, or just the death throes of dying media.
At least this would provide an alternative news source that is not driven by commercial forces, and can focus on what it believes is important, rather than what gets the most eyeballs.
But then the UK tied BBC programme funding to number of viewers (can't find a source, sorry).
But they're nowhere near as bad as the rightwing press: Times, Mail, Telegraph, Sun, Express.
The Telegraph is almost the reverse of state-owned media. Since they pay Boris Johnson more than the office of Prime Minister does, in some ways we're a media-owned state.
Either I was naive, which is very likely, or they lost the high ground along the way. At any rate, the effect is the same for me. I don't trust them any longer. And, I don't think I'm alone.
The most extreme is probably Donald Trump's Twitter account where he and probably some of his associates sometimes publish tweets every half an hour. There is no way that this information is well reasearched, also with 140 (or 280?) characters even if it was the case, it's practically impossible to compress multiple perspectives in that.
Yellow press is not great but better researched and has more perspective. In fact Journalists have to go through difficult tests when they apply for jobs, at least in Germany, often for outlets where people think it's low quality. Of course then they are also news sources like NYT or magazines like New Yorkers with articles that put things in multiple perspectices and are probably often the product of days, weeks or months of work.
That said, if someone wants as unbiased as possible information about the world, then one should read peer reviewed research papers and books published by researchers. But that's really not news anymore.
I was such a bloody idealist. The distinction between democratic populism and mob violence is iffy in practice.
Yesterday a replicated version of GPT2 was published to the wild. I've been playing with the model quite a bit since then and found something unexpected.
If you give it a right-wing US politics prompt, it performs so well that most of the output could pass for a coherent human without any editing. An example prompt would be
> The only way to save America is to vote for Donald trump. The democrats have failed us
If you give it an inverse left-wing variant of the same prompt, it mostly returns incoherent output and sometimes actually flips back to the right-wing narrative. An example would be
> The only way to save America is to impeach Trump. The republicans have failed us
How well this model performs depends on how much training data it had access to. And this model was mostly trained on Reddit comments. So even this early on, OpenGPT is clearly highlighting biases in Reddit comments. Reddit is traditionally known as the bastion of the left, so the fact that OpenGPT is much more effective at generating right-wing propaganda is indicative of something. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess what.
It does need to be an inversion though, not a complete change of prompt.
It's a general theme with this model though. When you try to get it to do left-wing propaganda, it has a tendency to flip back to right-wing because of the bias in the training data.
> Reddit is traditionally known as the bastion of the left, so the fact that OpenGPT is much more effective at generating right-wing propaganda is indicative of something. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess what.
There are so many ways to interpret this: 1) Reddit may not be such a bastion of the left as you think (several posters claimed so here) 2) Just because a story is right-wing doesn't make it propaganda. 3) Reddit could be a left-wing bastion, and therefore share right-wing propaganda to mock it or hate on it. Just like right-wing sites like to highlight all those "Dear White People: Please Stop" stories by Salon et. al.
Please, give me a pair of left/right wing variants of the same general concept that you think are not 'poor' and lets have a look at what that yields.
Otherwise stop saying the inversion is poor or malformed.
Bad programming and poor data!
Or do you have other thoughts?
> Reddit is traditionally known as the bastion of the left
Hardly. If anything that was Tumblr. Reddit was always a free space for the far right, and only the most extreme examples have been banned.
Any time someone posts core right-wing views like anti-abortion sentiment or even support of homeschooling, they're downvoted into the ground. Atheism is a default sub. Opponents of gun control are downvoted. etc.
Tumblr is alt-left. A different beast entirely.
No they're not.
> Atheism is a default sub.
Reddit got rid of default subs years ago.
> Opponents of gun control are downvoted.
Not to mention, none of this is "left-leaning". Maybe in the SV bubble, it is, but not in the real world.
The only thing in your entire comment that's not opinion and the only thing worth answering for the rest of the readers.
Despite there no longer being default subs, most of the userbase is still subscribed to default subs. Which drives activity to them. Which causes new users to subscribe to them.
The top 10 subreddits by activity are: askreddit, politics, funny, pics, awww, worldnews, todayilearned, relationship_advice, amitheasshole, memes. 8 of them were defaults. This isn't going to change any time soon as there's a positive feedback loop perpetuating it.
I think that Wendell Berry's "Standing by Words" is relevant
> In his keynote essay, Berry argues that “we have seen, for perhaps a hundred and fifty years, a gradual increase in language that is either meaningless or destructive of meaning.” Furthermore, he continues, “this increasing unreliability of language parallels the increasing disintegration, over the same period, of persons and communities.”
Mom talks about how TVs weren't even a thing when she was a girl. She remembers seeing the first one in the store. Back then they only broadcast for a few hours in the evenings.
Now you can't ride a bus without someone watching TV on their phone.
Nothing on those screens is real. Not even HD surround sound Nature shows are actually real. We are living in a hyper-mediated world.
Align yourself with reality, it's nice out here.
Hard to infinity divide and recombine labor in the ‘real world’ of butchers, bakers, construction, grocery stores, mechanics, retail, bus drivers.
Whereas movies, television, streaming, toys, video game tie-ins need a lot of busy people.
I see much more work in software and hardware and security and seo and e-commerce and recommendation engines and social media.
Haha. You had me going for a minute.
Everyone seems to talk a lot about governments, but at some point we may need to explore whether being informed about non-government entities may be just as important in this context.
I would argue that being informed about government is important for preserving a democracy, and being informed about industry is important for preserving a free market. Information inequality threatens the integrity of any system that relies on a group to make decisions, whether it’s a town hall meeting or a shareholder event. By the vote or by the dollar. It creates inefficiencies that are exploited by the information-wealthy.
As regrettable as it is to think this way, I am not sure there is a technological solution to the problem of misinformation. In the very near future we may only want to connect to the internet for entertainment, irrespective of truth. Critical thinking will still be alive, but anyone who engages in it truthfully will probably limit their thoughts to people, things, and events in their immediate surroundings.
Later, when we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll have another chance to be honest with each other.
I think there is a need of tracking it the same way we track software bugs. I thought Tristan Harris's Ledger of Harm's was a good attempt. Looks like this author is doing a similar thing. Should all be merged into some kind master list that software architects can stay aware of.
The idea of a "9/11" Test, getting software devs to think about how their tools and features will be used during a 9/11 type event is a good suggestion.
I had a boss once who would ask the team, 'how would the most shadiest character you personally know, use this proposed feature?'.
I mean society is based on trust and faith, with that kind of reasoning you'll only come up with the most paranoical and authoritarian design schemes.
I have a f2p game and it is unbelievable how clever some of the free players are at figuring out ways to get everything for free.
You have my curiosity.
In this case, you should be paranoid because we know darn well there are shady people out there trying to get you.
How many times a day does your phone ring and it's some scammer?