Occasionally, this time of year, we might drop in an April Fool. All right, that might have been yesterday, today or tomorrow depending on where you are in the Earth’s timeline when you read this editorial. Considering that depending where you live in the world and when the first of April happens, there’s a three day date relatively speaking. Whatever, the problem is we’ve tended to be rather too convincing in the past and either people believed or didn’t react to them. Maybe our honesty precedes us or you just trust us too much.
The problem now is with so many proclamations of fake and real news circulating, how can anyone tell the difference on 1st April anymore? Sort of takes the fun out of it when real news is taking a nosedive all of its own and people proclaiming that they don’t believe anything or even more ridiculously believe fake or misinformed news as gospel. There has to be something wrong with the educational system when people can’t tell the difference or don’t develop a level of cynicism to anything suspect.
So let’s talk truths instead. Are we that good at telling the difference between truth and lies and things in between? Our ability to believe in the possibility of fantastic beasts, albeit alone and not in breeding herds has to be one of them. Out in the wilderness, some things might be possible but less so infringing on where Man has grown his territory and then you would have to wonder why signs like bones or pooh hasn’t been found. The possibility does exist because new species are found all the time but they don’t tend to be creatures of any particular large size anymore. Logistically, there has to be life out there in the galaxy but extra-terrestrials checking us out from time to time could be seen to stretch things, too. It’s a long trip without being detected in some way. But even those who study UFOs will tell you they tend to sieve reports given to them to remove those that have been misidentified before thinking unknown or extra-terrestrial. Odd sky phenomena always leaves the chance one day that it might be actually be flown by an extra-terrestrial on a tourist trip. With so many people carrying phones incorporating cameras, you would think the number of recorded UFO sightings would have gone up but hasn’t. Maybe their heads on down on the screens and not in the skies.
Oddly, if a news report of sasquatch in a flying saucer landed outside of the White House tomorrow I think most of us would shake our heads and change the channel and maybe check other news channels for confirmation, especially on April Fool’s Day. Some of us might enlarge the picture and look for CGI in the anti-aliasing (that’s the TV stuff that ensure the pixels don’t look blocky although the joins are better these days) where the sasquatch hair is concerned as a giveaway but I doubt if that would be true evidence. Many would want to see the creature in person to really believe it. If they show an empty White House lawn or the sasquatch is a short guy and the flying saucer a wooden prop then you would have to consider this might be fake news, especially if accompanied by a certain president. Any of us particularly savvy might well consider this as a distraction from something else happening and probably check the world news on the Net to see what else is going on or likely to happen. The right hand must work out what the left hand is doing or is it the other way around? What if you’re ambidextrous?
Whatever, it’s now possible to have an April Fool all day every day and be confident that you will be in a situation when you can fool everyone all the time or have no one caring beyond what’s happening on their own doorstep.
Even so, when many news channels share the same news source, it can make misinformation easy to circulate. Any verification from other sources would come later. At least, I hope they still do. Saying that, one news service in the USA doesn’t even go that far but no one bats an eyelid, largely because there’s an indoctrination that all news channels are truthful even if they have their own agendas. After all, they can’t all be wrong deliberately, can they?! Keep watching out for that sasquatch.
Logistically, the Internet is also making a mess of the news and if there are any reforms that need to be made it is the means to verify what is accurately reported. I’m saying ‘accurate’ deliberately. What people might say can vary from what they consider a self-truth, short of libel or even including that, to misinformed information that they perceive as a truth and been fooled or misguided. This is different to a major environment event like an earthquake, volcano eruption or an oil slick amongst other things. As you should realise by now, in a world where white lies as a means of protection of others can live happily in a world of lies. It’s a confusing world where we need more truths to balance things out and a confirmation process that can be trusted.
Oddly, not all countries have similar laws of libel or slander and often depend on a lot of money to defend your name from, shall we call them, untruths. You would think that an actual truth could be proven in such situations but that would make things too easy. Sometimes, I really do wish we had the handy portable AI lie detectors that were so prevalent in AE Van Vogt’s ‘Null-A’ books that could discern the truth simply by touching them. You only need an extra brain or a belief that you are the Sleeping God to confuse them and I doubt if that happened very often. Truth and honesty should always have a factual basis.
Even so, any news item should be capable of verification against a level of truth called facts. If your background knowledge is reasonably sound or you know which sites to have encyclopaedic knowledge on particular subjects, then things can always be looked up against historical knowledge, especially those related to organisations involved and a country’s laws. That is, of course, assuming you have the time or interest to do so. With the Internet, a lot of the news is there in small byte chunks to be quickly read, absorbed and move on. It isn’t there to give you all but the basic information, even in a concise manner. If anything, it is more akin to televised news where information is given in 5 minutes. At least with newspapers, you can get some more in-depth knowledge on bigger subjects. It does pay to study things in depth. It all helps with the evaluating process.
Then we go back to the Internet. Considering how much of a technological protocol it is, you would have thought by now that some bots would have been designed to scan information for accuracy, check across other sources for verification and flash up on-screen an accuracy rating as to how much you should trust or believe the information given. No doubt someone one would work out a way to hack that at some point or even fool such bots but it would be better than what we currently have. It could certainly be used to verify some news information by asking the people being reported on as to whether something about them is true no matter how embarrassing it might be for them or give the chance for a response or denial. Reliable news sources would up the accuracy level and a sign of death against any of the so-called fake news that gets distributed out there. It might slow down the speed news is flashed on the Net but at least you know some effort was taken to ensure it was truthful.
News needs to be accurate or at least contested publicly when it is obviously wrong and denounced. Having a level of honesty out there enforces what we trust. If we can believe reviews or assessments of products then it certainly needs to be extended to real events. You’ll be telling me next that advertisers don’t lie or misinform about their products.
Thank you, take care, good night and never forget the sasquatch stole that flying saucer.
A Zen thought: Life in a cloud takes a whole different meaning these days.
Observation: There is one major problem with the mothership arrival in ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’, how did the humans know that they would need a multi-colour light box to communicate with the aliens?
Observation: I wonder what Donald Trump would do if he saw the 1982 TV series ‘Whoops! Apocalypse’. He’d probably side with President Johnny Cyclops and wonder why his portrait isn’t in the White House somewhere and investigate the attics.
Feeling Stressed: Wait until the modem in your computer dies.