The spread of the novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2 is having a massive influence on our connected world. Schools are being shut, quarantines are in effect, and airlines have cancelled certain flight routes. So where are we getting our information from? If it’s from Facebook then some secret algorithm designed to maximize advertising revenue is deciding what we see. This does not make for a well-informed citizenry. There are also forces at play that want people to panic. Some misinformation may be designed to push stock prices up or down so profits can be made. Other forces see panic as a way to destabilize competing or warring nations. The digital information sphere is constantly being manipulated and we should understand this and find ways to counter the post-truth machines.
For my own understanding of the COVID-19 disease I start with centres of networked expertise — WHO, CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada. I trust these sources, and if you meet people who don’t, then avoid close contact with them.
I also get information through my trusted networks and communities. For example, Nicolas Granatino is a member of our Perpetual Beta Coffee Club and we have met in person. One of his companies has set up a feed of some of the most trusted sources regarding this outbreak — Corona Virus Outbreak Feed. In addition, he puts out a daily synthesis on Substack — Daily Brief 2020-03-11. This is a mix of machine and human filters.
Having trusted filters is essential for everyone in a global networked society. Developing these filters is a core part of personal knowledge mastery, a discipline that is becoming critical to make sense of our world.