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    Fake News Has Become an Existential Threat | Tech Buzz

    The scene in A Few Good Males with Jack Nicholson going off on
    handling the truth has been coming to thoughts approach too usually of late. Sadly, that is the world we live in proper now, and social media is on the coronary heart of it.

    I lately observed a headline that implied lots of people
    had taken exception to one thing Gal Gadot, the girl who impressively portrayed Surprise Girl within the film of the identical title, tweeted about Stephen Hawking. I fell for it — solely to find that the clear majority of parents really supported what Gadot had tweeted.

    I am unable to converse for you, however I’m so bored with being lied to. So, this week, I’ll cherry decide a few of the issues that simply aggravated the hell out of me final week and debunk them. You see, I feel you’ll be able to deal with the reality. I additionally suppose that if just some of us continually work to debunk pretend information, then perhaps — simply perhaps — the reality actually will set us free.

    I will shut with my product of the week: Snopes, one of many few web sites you’ll be able to go to to seek out out if that e-mail or social media put up is actual earlier than you help the liars by spreading it to your folks.

    No Bigotry in Gal Gadot’s Tweet

    Gal Gadot is the girl who performed Surprise Girl in probably the most highly effective films ever created with a feminine lead, and probably the most profitable films ever launched. Stephen Hawking was a real-life superhero who didn’t let his excessive disabilities cease him and completed extra in his lifetime than 99.9 p.c of able-bodied people handle to do.

    Upon Stephen’s dying, Gadot posted what seemed to be a respectful, heartfelt tweet:

    To this point, round 53Ok individuals have favored the tweet — but the media experiences have centered on the small fraction of individuals, counted within the a whole lot, who took exception to it. Some claimed it was bigoted in opposition to disabled individuals, whereas others attacked Hawking’s views on faith or his positions on Israel.

    The issue for me is that the headline that drew me to the tweetstorm was “Individuals aren’t thrilled with Gal Gadot’s tribute to Stephen Hawking.” But the statistics point out that round tens of 1000’s had been thrilled with the tribute and a really vocal few hundred weren’t — some who drifted considerably afield of the tweet to take exception to it.

    So, whereas the headline is correct in a way — as a result of some individuals weren’t thrilled — the actual fact is massively bigger variety of individuals supported it than took exception to it. Additional, it obfuscated the truth that a major variety of those that took exception to it had invented causes that had nothing to do with the tweet.

    Saying “Most Everybody Appreciated Gadot’s Tribute Of Hawking” simply would not pull sufficient clicks, I suppose. Maybe the extra correct “A Handful of Assholes Accuse Gadot of Being a Bigot” was too lengthy?

    Fishy Findings on AMD Safety Issues

    The media reported that CTS Labs had discovered a sequence of significant safety issues with AMD’s processors. This report was dumped in the marketplace and on AMD on the identical time, earlier than being vetted. It moved AMD’s inventory down — and but simply taking a couple of minutes to look into CTS Labs ought to have raised pink flags.

    CTS Labs
    is staffed with ex-spies and one ex-spy hedge fund supervisor. The agency does not even seem to have the talents wanted (microprocessor engineering) to find the questionable safety exposures that had been reported. Apparently, whereas the safety issues had been actual, their significance was not. The issues paled in opposition to the problems
    reported by more credible firms on Intel’s components again in January. (Intel even
    faces a class action lawsuit tied to this mess.)

    Whereas I feel it’s probably Intel is behind the misinformation (AMD is believed to be taking vital share for the time being), equally credible is
    Linus Torvalds’ opinion that the CTS Labs report was an unlawful try to control AMD’s inventory value. Nothing says we won’t each be proper.

    In the long run, whereas the safety issues are actual, they’re apparent and simply preventable. An analogy could be saying your automotive has a safety flaw as a result of should you depart it unlocked with the keys in it in a foul a part of city, it is going to be stolen. Within the case of the CTS Labs claims, in accordance with Torvalds, a programs administrator must be criminally negligent to permit these flaws to turn into a risk.

    Whether or not Intel is behind the questionable report or it was an try to control AMD’s inventory value, the issue is that it was taken at face worth by a bunch of reports providers that unfold it with out vetting it — doing vital injury to AMD buyers and AMD itself only for clicks. That is crap.

    The best headline, “Unknown Safety Agency Tries to Smear AMD,” would have been much more attention-grabbing and sure not induced hurt to the market.

    Scott Pruitt Unlikely to Be Named Legal professional Common

    Granted, that is on the political aspect, however the quantity of pretend information popping out of the present administration is so overwhelming that some, like Invoice O’Reilly, have coined the time period
    Trump fatigue.”

    The most recent rumor driving a number of of us nuts is that President Trump goes to switch embattled Legal professional Common Jeff Classes with embattled Scott Pruitt. The one downside with this “rumor” was that
    its origin apparently is none apart from Scott Pruitt.

    That alone ought to be certain that Scott Pruitt is not going to turn into lawyer basic. Earlier than media sources gleefully unfold this crap round, they a minimum of ought to hunt down the supply. I recall a number of years again when there was a rumor surrounding the man who was to be the following HP CEO, which was being unfold by the rumored HP exec. He was not made CEO, and he ultimately was fired — maybe a minimum of partially for spreading the false rumor (he by no means was a contender).

    Maybe the precise headline right here is “Scott Pruitt Commits Profession Suicide.”

    Fb’s Faux Information Brought on Genocide

    I feel is it vital to level out that false information has penalties. In a United Nations report by Investigator Yanghee Lee, Fb exercise was cited as one of many causes of
    genocide in Myanmar. More and more, governments have been discovering that Fb generally is a great tool to additional their agendas — and if that agenda is killing individuals, so be it.

    You may recall that Hillary Clinton
    recently called out Facebook as one of many key causes of her loss, charging that it principally had labored as an agent for Russia through the 2016 marketing campaign.

    I’m nonetheless amazed that the federal government can say each that Russia interfered with the presidential election and that it didn’t change the end result, and not using a full audit. The irony is that an audit would have proven Clinton gained, however the Republicans tried to do an audit and the Democrats blocked them.

    Granted, Fb clearly says that
    Russia didn’t impact the election — and naturally, Fb, which might be culpable if this weren’t true, is not precisely essentially the most trusted supply for this conclusion.

    Briefly, the large quantity of pretend information already has had a fabric affect on many individuals’s lives and, because the United Nations has identified, could also be liable for ending a considerable variety of them.

    Wrapping Up

    It is not simply Trump fatigue however pretend information fatigue that issues me. There’s a lot false info floating round that it’s having a fabric affect on the standard of our lives — and for a few of us, how lengthy these lives will probably be (I did warn you). Our incapability to separate what’s actual from what is fake shortly has turn into an existential danger. Faked information promotes anger, pointless fights and inventory market swings. If we do not get our arms round this quickly, each individually and collectively, I am anxious about our survival.

    I will depart you with one other
    powerful movie clip, this one from A Time to Kill, which focuses on the worth of reality. We’ve got misplaced that worth and desperately have to recapture it, as a result of the lies have turn into an existential risk.

    Apparently, or mockingly, they really
    may kill Facebook first. I am slowly coming round to the view that the one option to save ourselves is that if social media networks die first.
    I am hardly alone, which does not converse effectively to Fb’s long-term survival.

    Now excuse me as I overview the most recent UFO sightings.
    Oh crap…

    Snopes is our biggest protection in opposition to a number of the pretend information that’s on the market, and it’s neither staffed nor funded to take this sort of essential load. Nonetheless, I’ve made it a behavior to at all times test Snopes earlier than passing on a juicy tidbit.

    Snopes logo

    The most recent was a buddy sending me an e-mail that confirmed one of many Columbine mother and father surprised Congress with a plea in opposition to gun management. Apparently, what was false wasn’t the content material however the context. Some of these items is getting actually laborious to truth test. Nonetheless, Snopes
    called out the false conclusion very properly, and I wasn’t fooled (and did not go on the largely false story).

    At the moment a few of the “tales” that Snopes is refuting embody:

    You realize it’s really nearly beginning off the day going excessive 50 City legends on the positioning simply, so you’re forward of the pretend information.

    By the way in which, probably the most attention-grabbing this week was that
    a GOP candidate did call one of the Florida massacre survivors a skinhead and a lesbian (and apologized). Sadly, nonetheless, the reality might be much more shocking than the fiction.

    As a result of it helps me keep away from changing into a part of the pretend information downside, Snopes is my product of the week.



    Rob Enderle has been an ECT Information Community columnist since 2003. His areas of curiosity embody AI, autonomous driving, drones, private know-how, rising know-how, regulation, litigation, M&E, and know-how in politics. He has an MBA in human assets, advertising and pc science. He’s additionally an authorized administration accountant. Enderle at the moment is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the know-how business. He previously served as a senior analysis fellow at Giga Data Group and Forrester.
    Email Rob.

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