The coming death of facts?

By | February 16, 2018

Aviv Ovadya, chief technologist at the School of Information’s Center for Social Media Responsibility, cautions that technology and social media that can be used to enhance and distort what is real is evolving faster than our ability to understand and control or mitigate it. “I’m from the free and open source culture,” he says. “The goal isn’t to stop technology but ensure we’re in an equilibria that’s positive for people.” Ovadya saw early what many — including lawmakers, journalists, and Big Tech CEOs — wouldn’t grasp until much later: Our platformed and algorithmically optimized world is vulnerable to propaganda, to misinformation, and to dark targeted advertising from foreign governments. So much so that it threatens to undermine a cornerstone of human discourse: the credibility of fact. But what he sees coming next might be even worse.