Verbosity vs Veracity – My ford foundation submission
The newfound hyper-connectivity afforded to us by the internet is perhaps the largest uncontrolled sociological experiment of all time – With a profound gap between our ability to receive information vs readily gauge its veracity.
Let's build an open-source, distributed annotation and reputation platform, such that the community may identify subject matter experts, annotate, rank and rebut content everywhere on the web.
In a world of fake news, we as a species have embarked upon what may be the largest uncontrolled sociological experiment of all time. As our newfound ease of communication increases, so too is its quality and veracity necessarily on the wane.
Our ability to reason effectively about the world around us hinges on our ability quickly gauge the veracity of the increasing volume of information presented to us – Social media platforms and news organizations are forced by their incentives to optimize for eyeballs, not for wisdom or for rational discourse. This has profound impacts on society, epistemology, and frankly the future of our species.
My idea: create and widely distribute a web-browser plugin and a distributed-database service which can empower ordinary people to annotate content over every part of the internet. Rather than merely upvoting or downvoting, they could appraise quality in various aspects, and attach argumentation explaining their appraisal. Each annotator would possess a unique identity, and would themselves be appraised by their peers for wisdom and accuracy in given subject-matter areas.
The key to success lays in creating a broad-base of credibility of the algorithm, and (to the minimum extent possible) its minders. Platforms like Kialo.com seek to address similar problems with purpose-built venues for debate – The problem is that this takes a lot of time, and people won't come to you, you have to go to them. Lurking in every news article, tweet, facebook post, and advertisement is an opportunity for crowd-sourced appraisal and argumentation; Creating emergent wisdom which are only possible with a better algorithm than social media and news platforms are currently incentivized to offer.
–Let's reform the filter bubble on the basis of veracity rather than popularity–