Three years ago, in confronting the post-truth machines, I wrote that we cannot let the algorithmic overlords control the conversation. Education on the nature of disinformation is essential. This is what new media literacy should focus on, not just understanding the latest tools and platforms.
Meanwhile, in Canada, we observe that conspiracy theories abound in the public mind.
New Abacus Data polling reveals some pretty sobering findings on the state of the Canadian political landscape. According to the survey, 44 percent of Canadians now believe that a secret group of elites is controlling elections, recessions and wars. Thirty-seven percent are inclined to believe the racist “white replacement theory”. The poll also found that 13 percent think Bill Gates is tracking us with microchips, while another 21 percent are unsure if he is actually doing it but believe such things are possible. —Policy Mag 2022-06-18
It looks like the forces that promote the strategic and purposeful production of ignorance are winning. Even our mainstream political parties are promoting insurrectionists like the highly organized convoy protesters.
“I have been involved in major planned and unplanned incidents in this country, across this country, and internationally,” he said. “The level of organization, the level of counter-intelligence, the level of logistics, the level of planning, the level of financial resources, the level of commitment – individually and collective – was on a scale that I had not experienced.” [ex-Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly] —Globe & Mail 2022-06-02
Our natural stupidity is becoming a threat to our democracy.
“The only people maintaining their smarts are the few people willing to constantly exercise their smarts. Meanwhile, we have a population that is becoming more out of shape and lazy with their own mental faculties … The bigger problem is that other humans are aware that it can make us dumber and they are opportunistically exploiting our natural stupidity to influence our behavior.” —Natural Stupidity is more Dangerous than Artificial Intelligence 2017-10-17
It’s time to collectively wake up — and pre-bunk — these threats to our democracy.