How Do We Make Truth Faster Than Falsehood?

James Walpole/ September 12, 2019

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

A lot of people complain about fake news, but I’ve spent enough time in my career trying to debunk it that this is personal. And I don’t just want to accept that clickbait articles, rapid conclusion-jumping, uncharitable interpretation, and uninformed soapboxing are inevitable human behaviors.

I’d like this state of affairs to end in my lifetime. I’d like to play a part in ending it. I like truth so much that I’d really like to strap a rocket booster to it and make it not only more solid and more long-lasting than falsehood, but faster too.

But how?

I know that misleading journalism, gossip, and deception will always be attractive for some people in some times. But I do believe there must be ways to make falsehood, oversimplifications, and ungrounded accusations more obviously costly than the alternative.

How can technology help here?

Maybe it’s gamification: gamifying the fake news-busting business. Maybe you get some kind of cool internet karma points for pointing out shoddy thinking or writing.

Maybe it’s using the economics of clickbait against itself: writing juicy, controversial headlines about the scandalous controversial headlines of fake news (e.g. “New York Times Caught Oversimplifying Complex Issues”).

Maybe it’s a browser plugin like AdBlock that incentivizes you to read articles before sharing/summarizing based on the headline. Or something like the Brave browser, which builds in an incentive via cryptocurrency tokens.

I don’t know the exact answer, but you can be damn sure that I’ll be rooting for just about anything that can make the truth faster in the years to come. We need it.

Photo by Gesina Kunkel on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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