[Fis] misinformation, a lecture
johnsonmwj1 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 9 23:35:41 CET 2020
I'd like to ask a supplementary question to the problem of disinformation,
partly in response to Stan's video and Terry's response which probably most
of us agree with. Going back to final point in Joseph's provocation,
perhaps we should ask:
What is an institution?
Disinformation is spread by institutions, truth is "reinforced" by
institutions, we have permission to think about these question because many
of us are employed by institutions (or once we're), and the institution of
government appears to be the thing whose collapse we fear the most.
So what are families, orchestras, academic societies, businesses,
friendships (perhaps?), Governments? Each of them has some relation to
information and disinformation (absolutely transparency is a recipe for
system collapse as Bateson noted). Today each has a relation to information
I'm struck by Ashby's remark that "any system which categorises throws away
information" Does the contribution of computer systems to institutions
result in information loss? Is that why they've gone mad?
On Thu, 9 Jan 2020, 18:13 Terrence W. DEACON, <deacon at berkeley.edu> wrote:
> Dear colleagues,
> I am glad that we're having this conversation. It is not just timely, but
> The video that Stan posted of David Barstow's talk at the UC Berkeley
> Goldman School of Public Policy is chilling.
> Please take the time to watch it.
> Whatever else you want to quibble about with respect to the words "truth"
> "reinforcement" "coherence" or whatever
> the danger of not taking this problem seriously is monumental,
> existential, and deserving our serious attention.
> It is the challenge of understanding referential error-correction as
> opposed to the mere rectification of signal corruption.
> And although it is not merely an "academic" issue, it demands serious
> intellectual effort by those of us who study the very nature of
> information. But I fear that we are lagging behind in our theorizing and
> being overwhelmed in the same way that journalists are being swamped by
> spin factories and powerful demagogues. We are still arguing over the
> definitions of information, battling over relativism and meaning, and still
> lack a shared formal analysis of reference, interpretation, and
> informational causality. I see some faint glimmer of hope in progress made
> in encryption and decryption and in the way that blockchain systems help to
> provide a form of encrypted transparency. So even as AI is making deep
> fakes possible and social media enables disinformation to spread far more
> effectively than carefully vetted information, it may also be possible
> to explore how these same tools might be repurposed to provide a kind of
> informational immune system or automated therapies to combat information
> pathogens and information cancers. IS4SI has a role to play in this drama.
> — Terry
> On Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 7:09 AM Mark Johnson <johnsonmwj1 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> "the truth needs reinforcement" is slightly chilling don't you think?
>> Isn't this an epistemological error?
>> Does beauty need reinforcement? Or goodness?
>> So what is this? An institution steps in to defends the grounds for its
>> continued viability and claim to be the arbiter if truth. Its defense is
>> amplified as the uncertainty of its environment increases and its
>> judgements questioned. And its defense if itself (and "truth") increases
>> environmental uncertainty, as (among other things) other institutions
>> defend their competing versions of truth.
>> Positive feedback isn't it?
>> What's lost is not truth, but coherence.
>> On Thu, 9 Jan 2020, 14:44 Stanley N Salthe, <ssalthe at binghamton.edu>
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> Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> University of California, Berkeley
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