It Takes a World to End a Pandemic

Great article for discussing the production of scientific knowledge, shared knowledge, and also the new knowledge and technology theme.

Scientific Cooperation Knows No Boundaries—Fortunately

Infectious diseases, it is commonly said, know no borders, and neither does the knowledge needed to fight them. Scientists around the world routinely share information and collaborate across borders.  The current pandemic has scientists working together on platforms such as Slack, and using new tools, such as machine learning, to rapidly detect the novel coronavirus in tests that use large amounts data from multiple sources. This outbreak has demonstrated in real time how scientific understanding can indeed be a global public good.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-03-21/it-takes-world-end-pandemic

Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

People used to think the crowdsourced encyclopedia represented all that was wrong with the web. Now it’s a beacon of so much that’s right.

By the time the internet came into being, a limitless encyclopedia was not just a natural idea but an obvious one. Yet there was still a sense—even among the pioneers of the web—that, although the substrate was new, the top-down, expert-driven Britannica model should remain in place.

https://www.wired.com/story/wikipedia-online-encyclopedia-best-place-internet/?fbclid=IwAR2Mhnm3seT9FNW3CfrAYmvPO2vo5sLueZ66ieHHyG4A2SdaQ-ql8GdLQeQ

Sacha Baron Cohen on social media and truth

ADL International Leadership Award Presented to Sacha Baron Cohen at Never Is Now 2019

Today around the world, demagogues appeal to our worst instincts. Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream. It’s as if the Age of Reason – the era of evidential argument – is ending, and now knowledge is delegitimized and scientific consensus is dismissed. Democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging, as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.

Read the full transcript here

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/22/sacha-baron-cohen-facebook-propaganda

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The post-truth prophets

Postmodernism predicted our post-truth hellscape. Everyone still hates it.

Technology and globalization were making the world infinitely more complicated and that meant more information to process, more dots to connect. And one way to manage this chaos is to lean more and more on narratives that strip the world of its complexity — and often reinforce our biases at the same time.

https://www.vox.com/features/2019/11/11/18273141/postmodernism-donald-trump-lyotard-baudrillard

The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer

Tacit knowledge is knowledge that can’t properly be transmitted via verbal or written instruction, like the ability to create great art or assess a startup. This tacit knowledge is a form of intellectual dark matter, pervading society in a million ways, some of them trivial, some of them vital. Examples include woodworking, metalworking, housekeeping, cooking, dancing, amateur public speaking, assembly line oversight, rapid problem-solving, and heart surgery.

Article Link

We hail individual geniuses, but success in science comes through collaboration

We need to celebrate this collaboration more than ever, because it doesn’t happen on its own. It needs an environment that encourages researchers to build international and interdisciplinary teams, to work in different countries, to attack problems that no one person, or nation, can solve alone.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/30/we-hail-individual-geniuses-success-in-science-collaboration-nobel-prize

 

You’re not as smart as you think you are

Human cleverness arises from distributing knowledge between minds, making people think they know more than they do

The hive mind, with its seamless interdependence and expertise-sharing, once helped humans hunt mammoths and now sends them into space. But in politics it causes problems. Using a toilet without understanding it is harmless, but changing the health-care system without understanding it is not. Yet people often have strong opinions about issues they understand little about. And on social media, surrounded by like-minded friends and followers, opinions are reinforced and become more extreme. It is hard to reason with someone under the illusion that their beliefs are thought through, and simply presenting facts is unlikely to change beliefs when those beliefs are rooted in the values and groupthink of a community.

https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2017/04/08/youre-not-as-smart-as-you-think-you-are