Truth

OVERVIEW

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to tell fact from fiction on the internet. Social media makes it easy to share information at light-speed, and lots of people don’t want to spend time investigating the credibility of every article they read online. Even the credibility of some peer-reviewed science journals is being challenged. Fake news has been a well-publicised problem in in 2016 and 2017, and could erode public trust in news sources and further polarize political parties.

DANGERS

  • It may become increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction online as fake news is spread more and more by social media, clickbait, and bots
  • Technology could be used to manipulate photos and videos until it becomes almost impossible for the public to determine the credibility of a source
  • In the far future, as VR becomes indistinguishable from reality and as people start connecting their brains directly to computers, it may become possible to trick people into thinking that they are living in the real world when they’re actually living in VR

CURRENT STATUS

  • Almost half of the news Americans shared on Twitter in the days before and after the 2016 US election was fake
  • 64% of Americans think fake news causes a lot of confusion
  • Facebook admitted that hundreds of pages with Russian ties were used to intentionally spread incorrect information during the US election period
  • False information influenced the vote for Brexit
  • Realistic avatars can already be used to show real people giving fictional speeches
  • 51% of “tech experts” don’t think the internet’s fake news problem can be resolved in the next decade
  • An ineffective peer review system is listed by scientists as one of the top problems in science today. Scientists are not properly incentivized to review the work of others.​
  • Deepfakes could become a national security threat
  • Apps may be able to flag fake videos
  • The News Literacy Project is teaching kids to spot fake news
  • Here is an infographic ranking science news sites