Tech Workers Now Want to Know: What Are We Building This For?

Kate Conger and Cade Metz in the NY Times: Across the technology industry, rank-and-file employees are demanding greater insight into how their companies are deploying the technology that they built. At Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce, as well as at tech start-ups, engineers and technologists are increasingly asking whether the products they are working on are being used…

‘Post-Truth’ and the Decline of Swedish Education

Magnus Henrekson and Johan Wennström with an overview of a recent study “‘Post-Truth’ Schooling and Marketized Education: Explaining the Decline in Sweden’s School Quality.” Full copy of study available here. Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline, and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils…

Truth, Disrupted

Sinan Aral in the Harvard Business Review: For the past three years Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, and I have studied the spread of false news online. (We use the label “false news” because “fake news” has become so polarizing: Politicians now use that phrase to describe news stories that don’t support their positions.) The data…

Distinguishing Between Factual and Opinion Statements in the News

From the Pew Research Center: A new poll by the Pew Research Center suggests people are having difficulty telling the difference between fact and opinion. Pew Director of Journalism Research Amy Mitchell said the study “raises caution” around news consumers’ ability “to sort news quickly.” “At this point, the U.S. does not seem to have become completely…

You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to

Professor of philosophy Daniel DeNicola in Aeon: Unfortunately, many people today seem to take great licence with the right to believe, flouting their responsibility. The wilful ignorance and false knowledge that are commonly defended by the assertion ‘I have a right to my belief’ do not meet James’s requirements. Consider those who believe that the…

Searching for Alternative Facts

Searching for Alternative Facts is an ethnographic account drawn directly from Francesca Tripodi’s research within upper-middle class conservative Christian communities in Virginia in 2017. Tripodi uses Christian practices of Biblical interpretation as a lens for understanding the relationship between so-called “alternative” or “fake news” sources and contemporary conservative political thought. “They critically interrogate media messages in…