Anton Savage: Misinformation is about to be turbo-charged, and we need to be ready for it

25th Apr 2024
Share this blog post:

Originally published in the Business Post.

The crowdsourcing of truth may be popular with the likes of Elon Musk, but it will be a disaster for the rest of us

We are on a precipice. The exponential growth in the sophistication of AI, combined with the accelerating descent of moral oversight within the tech giants, is rapidly bringing us to a point where truth will no longer be an objective reality but rather a consensus crowd-sourced from those who are loudest, most vile and most hateful.

X owner Elon Musk has long touted such a model, suggesting that his app’s system of mob regulation is the route to factual accuracy.

We have been experimenting with crowd-sourcing fact for two decades now and have definitively proven it not to work. Wikipedia was originally created in the belief that an open-access encyclopaedia would allow the world’s hive mind to create constantly updated fresh and accurate insights into almost everything.

The idea works to some degree for immensely popular, academically researched non-contentious topics. For anything else it is an object lesson in how half-assed inaccuracy is easy, whereas real data is hard. I have a Wikipedia page. I have made no input to it ever. The most recent version of it makes roughly 19 assertions about me. Nine of them are wrong.

The crowdsourcing of truth is popular with Elon Musk because it is cheap, and because it allows him to tout the specious notion that his X platform is somehow a bastion of free speech. It is not.

Click here to read the full article.