Posts Categorized: Democracy

the internet and democracy

I got off Facebook about 10 years ago. I know that this has had no impact on the company or its business model. When I saw in 2007 that Facebook was selling user information, I knew I could not stay on the platform much longer. But the lure of network effects, where it takes almost… Read more »

countering populism

I would say that populism is the first refuge of a scoundrel and a literate, engaged, and networked citizenry gives no such refuge. But education alone is not the answer to the constant outrage we are witnessing as many societies polarize on political lines. Even highly educated people can be bigots, racists, and misogynists. Society’s… Read more »

cracking the chambers

Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Utah Valley University describes two related but distinct phenomena of collective human behaviour — bubbles and chambers. An epistemic bubble is what happens when insiders aren’t exposed to people from the opposite side. An echo chamber is what happens when insiders come to distrust everybody on the outside…. Read more »

free cities attract creative individuals

Why have certain cities fostered creativity over time? “First, the protection of personal and economic freedoms changed the local culture, making it more receptive to innovations and new ideas. Second, the new institutions also changed incentives, through a more meritocratic and inclusive social environment, but also by encouraging works of art and innovations that would… Read more »

sensemaking in a liquid world

The printing press changed the world. It introduced new forms of expression and enabled better and faster information sharing. Print enabled individual interpretation of the bible and resulted in the questioning of the established Christian church and later the Protestant Reformation. Written manuscripts became obsolete luxury items. A new public discourse was enabled by print… Read more »

confronting the post-truth machine

post-truth (adjective) Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. —Oxford Dictionaries On Twitter, Tim Dickinson described four different types of distributed ‘fake news’. ‘Fake news’ is lazy language. Be specific. Do you mean: A) Propaganda B) Disinformation C) Conspiracy… Read more »

beyond a binary society

Binary thinking is a lower level form of cognitive understanding, as put forward by Kieran Egan, which he calls Mythic Thinking. More complex forms of thinking are: Romantic, Philosophic, and Ironic. But binary, or mythic thinking, is an easy sell. It appeals to our emotions which we developed as children. Binary thinking blinds us. It’s… Read more »

the challenge of the network era

“There’s no room for argument about whether hate-filled internet message boards encourage real-world violence: they do, and none more so than 8chan. It normalises racism, misogyny, and extremism – and helps turn nightmarish, loud-mouthed talk of action into reality.” —Destroyer of Worlds This examination of the 8chan online community shows how anonymity can breed a… Read more »

the status quo

In understanding the shift, I wrote that as we make this transition — from a market-dominated to a network-dominated society — the confusion of post-modernism clouds our vision of a positive future. The traditional political Right wants to go back to the Pre-modern Era — dogmatic, faith, truth — while the traditional political Left wants… Read more »

“the strategic and purposeful production of ignorance”

“You will not achieve an informed public simply by making sure that high quality content is publicly available and presuming that credibility is enough while you wait for people to come find it. You have to understand the networked nature of the information war we’re in, actively be there when people are looking, and blanket… Read more »