The View Up Here kicks off its fifth year and Season 9 with a definite listener favourite returning to guest once again - Stephen Lautens. As usual, Mr. Lautens picks his content and this episode is very timely indeed.
Is there any going back? Weaponizing social media and opinion in an Age of Ignorance. With the inescapable presence of seemingly unlimited choices of "news" and "information", the phrase "more is more" has taken on new meaning. No matter where you sit on the spectrum, no matter what you want to be true, what makes you feel correct, in this current environment a source can be found to validate those views. It's moved beyond the chat room and the sub-reddit into the mainstream marketplace.
Fake News works both ways. You need someone to lie and someone to believe the lie. Throw in the incentive of profit and the ever elusive marketshare. Truth becomes a commodity to be shaped, massaged, refocused or simply fabricated. If it sells, it is valid in the new information universe. Not only do we have the tried and true methods of misinformation to suit an agenda, we have the mass gathering and sale of user data for anybody who can pay. Facebook, Google, Cambridge Analytica, SCL and AggregateIQ come to mind. Seemingly individual accounts are part of botnets run by who knows who for who knows what. Entities with a human face are automated algorithmic recorders of reaction and response. To what end? To sell goods, of course. But also to sell entire ideologies, many of which are presented as never before despite complete rejection in the past.
Have people really become that lazy and dependent on being told what to think? Is it because of "convenience" or because their preferred messaging affirms their views regardless of validity? Because it makes them feel they are righteous? The View Up Here and Stephen Lautens venture down the rabbit hole.