Online "Experts" and Social Conflict

Subject: Online "Experts" and Social Conflict
From: Daniel Engelsmann
Date: 29 Jan 2021

Thanks to social media and internet access becoming widely available, new strident groups posing as experts in politics, science, engineering, medicine etc., are often keen to share their simple free expert advice.

However, there is more to being an expert than finding and reading new information on the internet and then forwarding “your new intel” with a personal remark to “friends” to enlighten them.

There are reasons why doctors, engineers and economist have to study many semesters to achieve graduation. Perseverance and diligence are tested together with intelligence. The work involves questioning specific information critically with simple, and sometimes not so simple, questions and actually working hard to find other independent sources that might undermine or confirm the information.

Real experts share their information willingly and transparently so that others can retrace their investigative steps. Other expert individuals who have found similar new findings that coincide or even that disagree in some way can then collaborate. This simple process validates new findings and eliminates false ones. There is no need to forcefully convince others that one personal point of view is the right one. Intelligence Agencies also use this method, by having multiple intel assets to differentiate between truth and false claims. If only one source or individual is the basis of your expertise, then there is a very high probability it is false.

The personalised filter bubbles that search engines and social networks use derail the true balance of facts and information that are perceived subjectively by its users. Its users are not aware of this filter bubble as they don’t have the means to look outside the box and question what is put in front of them. Isn’t that how propaganda is made effective?

The current world situation has become more complicated as new variables from science, technology, finance and economics have been poured into a constantly evolving human system. Joining up these dots to make one single line of truth may be a nice comforting occupation, but attempting to find the universal equation that will answer all questions is a fool’s errand.

We are in rapidly changing times, with new technology boosting us to new levels of complexity that no one, let alone the majority of humans, can fully comprehend. The resultant uncertainty generates anxiety in many. Looking back in history, this uncertainty is often a starting point for turmoil that turns to rage, polarisation, hatred that can lead to civil or even world war.

Please give at least our current and new generation hope, that we have learned from the past and be able to decipher and shape this new flood of online information to stop this dissemination of hatred and use it wisely in efforts for peace.