Stop reading or watching news, now!

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

I grew up working in technology and education and quickly realized over the years that just like:

“A Good and Honest teacher who is best placed to teach can’t garner resources to build a school, similarly a Good and Honest Journalist who is best placed to deliver authentic news can’t setup a news agency or bureau”

So that’s where the money problem kicks in, it always does!

Without getting into names, a quick research about the shareholding pattern of famous newspaper brands and news channels will tell you that most of them are significantly owned by persons with business interests and political affiliations. Do you think that there is a conflict of interest?

If you have ever watched news lately, you will realize that it would consists of news delivery, stories and panel discussions. While all the three can be manipulated and influenced, the worst is the panel discussions because of three reasons:

  • Anchor chooses sub-optimal panelists who don’t have direct knowledge or influence over a subject so she / he can dominate the conversation by raising the voice and not improving the quality of arguments
  • Structure of the panel discussion is not to achieve an outcome but drive an agenda and influence audience view points
  • Anchor time / panelist time ratio is highly skewed with judgemental statements by anchor and not effective moderation

Now let’s have a look at the newspaper:

  • Poor quality content with eye catching headlines but lacks depth
  • Significant ad / content ratio with hampers readability
  • Paid op-ed and financially influenced editorials with lacks independence

Don’t even get me started on the whatsapp and social media motivated news which is primarily video content driven. Since I work in the area of Artificial Intelligence, I can’t stress enough how easy it is now to create Deepfakes or fake video, manipulated content without context, create content automatically from varous sources without authnetication.

“It is possible to create a video of you having coffee with Donald Trump and doing a press release discussing policy matters using AI and distribute it”

So, you might say what to do? Where to look for news?

Well, in my view look for only facts around you and use your own intelligence to interpret facts. Discuss with people you trust and be careful before you form any beliefs, opinions or prejudice.

“Collective crowdsourcing of stupidity is far harmful then limited intelligence”

How to get facts?

  • You can look at government websites for facts, circulars, notices etc.(although you can argue they maybe hacked or manipulated as well but that’s your best bet)
  • You can use Right to Information Act to ask for specific information if you wish to know
  • Always ask for source, context and verifiable address of any content (text, video or images) Don’t believe any data or graphs (it is human to subtly develop trust on numbers when someone quotes them)without checks
  • Cross question yourself and see if the story holds consistent
  • Look for independent journalists but with a pinch of salt to filter out any targeted activism

In the end, For the love of God, please don’t waste time in consuming unwarranted content and conventional news, please use this time to effectively upskill yourself and enrich your soul!

Carpe Diem!