Salon.com staff writer Farhad Manjoo talks about his new book, True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society, which contends the Internet promotes belief over fact.
Perhaps countering this view is Mike Godwin, formerly counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and now general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, and Zo (Connie) Spencer, brilliant, witty, and fearless blogger (www.humorlessbitch.com) on all things political, personal, and involving high-tech.
As usual, everyone is invited to participate in the discussion- The Berkeley Cybersalon
Michael Godwin is an American attorney and author. He was the first staff counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the creator of the Internet adage Godwin's Law. In July 2007 he became general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation.
Farhad Manjoo is an author and a staff writer for Salon.com.
Manjoo graduated from Cornell University in 2000. While there, he wrote for and then served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Daily Sun student newspaper. Before taking a staff position at Salon.com, he wrote for Wired News. Manjoo frequently writes on new media, politics and controversies in journalism.
Manjoo is the author of the book True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, published in March, 2008.
Why is Zo Spencer on this panel? She may be a fine writer, but good god - listening to her ramble away at the mic is agonizing. I have no idea what any of her speech was about. Get to the point, please.
Anyway, Manjoo and Godwin are great. ***** if you skip the Zo Spencer bits.
This recent work by Manjoo is very important, in fact, critical, to the success of our new means of communicating with each other, minus a once-all powerful, centralized and tightly governed, network. It is perhaps too academic? BUT, in order to have a valid theory of communications, Info/message "A" needs to be sent to receiver, "B" via some media, "C." Relevant to this discussion and crucial to this process is point A, the information, which, if it's sheer gibberish, destroys the process entirely. Dangerous beyond words to describe, this level of MISinformation, spread into the very fabric of our society, would amount to a fatal viral infection and this new media would become what Edward R. Murrow most feared for the fate of commercial TV: nothing but lights and noise in a box.
Sadly, in addition to this, Manjoo correctly notes that we far too often seek out info/POV which props up our own preconceptions and prejudices. Nothing will prove more critical to preserving the very integrity of this link of one to another than a vigorous vetting, via some sort of system still to be resolved, for filtering out the gibberish, mendacity, and a mind-control level of propaganda, with the identity of those special interests completely concealed.
Our collective obligation is to become far more vigilant than some casual "caveat emptor" to all, and presume a society governed by laws and not by sheer mass manipulation will result. I applaud his efforts and the work of so many others to supply us with some kind of remedy, of which I can offer none.