Legal information is of interest to legal eagles. However, a business move by Casetext may cause pain at professional publishing shops operated by LexisNexis and Westlaw. Both companies pride themselves on their technology savvy. But a four year old company may have become the little engine that could run over executives napping on the train tracks. Read more.
The article titled The Rise of Fake News Amidst the Fall of News Media on Silicon Valley Watcher makes a convincing argument that fake news is the inevitable result of the collective failure to invest in professional media. The author, Tom Foremski, used to write for the Financial Times. He argues that the almost ongoing layoffs among professional media organizations such as the New York Times, Salon, The Guardian, AP, Daily Dot, and IBT illustrate the lack of a sustainable business model for professional news media. The article states,
People won’t pay for the news media they should be reading but special interest groups will gladly pay for the media they want them to read. We have important decisions to make about a large number of issues such as the economy, the environment, energy, education, elder healthcare and those are just the ones that begin with the letter “E” — there’s plenty more issues. With bad information we won’t be able to make good decisions. Software engineers call this GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out.
Whole way in which information and society are organized has changed. From stovepipes to networks — growing power of audience and authentity. This is a threat to the whole Westphalian order of nations (i.e. top-down “because we say so” hierarchical authority). State-owned media now setting the new standard for message delivery while the Western media is collapsing for lack of viability of the advertising – print – broadcast models. Western media is spending too much time on minutia of single events and not enough time on framing, context, and meaning.
“It is time for schools to come down from the ivory tower…and start engaging with the public, doing news analysis, data dives, informing the public [in ways that] the media cannot. . . . This is an opportunity as well as a responsibility.”
I joined the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) well over 3 years ago with a very specific mission and mandate: to develop and deploy next generation humanitarian technologies. So I built the Institute’s Social Innovation Program from the ground up and recruited the majority of the full-time experts (scientists, engineers, research assistants, interns & project manager) who have become integral to the Program’s success.
To help citizens navigate their way towards informed choices amidst the flood of political messaging, we will be building on journalism partnerships to present digital library reference pages for political ads. Our journalism launch partners include Politifact, FactCheck.org and the Center for Public Integrity.
Google is considering putting itself in charge of online truth, in order to assist users in an age of information overload. The web giant would rank search results based on each site’s ‘truth score’ instead of its popularity level. Read more.
This contribution to the “Mindfulness & Compassion” conference is focused on where the moral compass of integral mindfulness points. Being integrally mindful is about taking mindfulness off the meditation cushion and infusing all dimensions of our life with it; not only the life of you and me, but also of collective entities, such as organizations, networks, nations.
I should begin by emphasizing that our knowledge of ISIS is extremely scant. We know close to nothing about ISIS’ social base. We know little about how it made its military gains, and even less about the nature of the coalitions into which it has entered with various groups—from other Islamist rebels in Syria to secular Ba‘athists in Iraq.
Sensationalist accounts of “shari‘a justice” notwithstanding, we do not have much information about how ISIS administers the lives of millions of people who reside in the territories it now controls.
Information about the militants who fight for ISIS is likewise scarce. Most of what we know is gleaned from recruitment videos and propaganda, not the most reliable sources. There is little on the backgrounds and motives of those who choose to join the group, least of all the non-Western recruits who form the bulk of ISIS’ fighting force. In the absence of this information, it is difficult to even say what ISIS is if we are to rely on anything beyond the group’s self-representations.
Spy the Lie‘s techniue and informal logic work together to help us disinfect our infospheres from crap, bilious bombast, media-babble, disinformation campaigns, pseudoevents, and bad information of every stripe. These days common sense itself doesn’t cut it. We need tools!
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In fact, we computing professionals have unwittingly made infopollution much worse by increasing storage network capacity and bandwidth without a corresponding advance in filtering capability. We’ve turned big data into big dada.
Ibrar Bhatt, shares some of the insights he has been been able to discover in his research work for his forthcoming PhD thesis (“A sociomaterial account of assignment writing in Further Education classrooms”) for the University of Leeds.
In his short blog analysis he first comprehensively defines the new emerging content curation space, and then he highlights
the relevance this may have, once it is validated and acknowledged, in allowing students to explore the creation of reports and the development of new work assignments in a new light.
Viewers of graphs, beware! Data visualization has been around for a very long time, but it has become ubiquitous since the onset of Big Data. Now, the Heap Data Blog warns us to pay closer attention in, “How to Lie with Data Visualization.” Illustrating his explanation with clear examples, writer Ravi Parikh outlines three common ways a graphic can be manipulated to present a picture that actually contradicts the data used to build it. The first is the truncated Y-axis. Parikh writes:
“One of the easiest ways to misrepresent your data is by messing with the y-axis of a bar graph, line graph, or scatter plot. In most cases, the y-axis ranges from 0 to a maximum value that encompasses the range of the data. However, sometimes we change the range to better highlight the differences. Taken to an extreme, this technique can make differences in data seem much larger than they are.”
The example here presents two charts on rising interest rates. On the first, the Y-axis ranges from 3.140% to 3.154% — a narrow range that makes the rise from 2008 to 2012 look quite dramatic. However, on the next chart the rise seems nigh non-existent; this one presents a more relevant span of 0.00% to 3.50% on the Y-axis.
The usefulness of computer aids to intelligence analysis (“tools”) depends a good deal on what sort of ‘intelligence’ you are talking about. Intelligence is information that has been subjected to a process of research and analysis to determine its relative accuracy and relevance. When trying to determine if “analytic software” can help this process it is necessary to look at the kind of information that is being processed.
In the field of technical intelligence, i.e. SIGINT, there are a number of “tools” that are very useful. Most of these so-called tools are retrieval programs of various sorts that allow the analyst to manipulate the data in various useful ways and some of these capabilities go back over ten years ago (clustering and linking related bits if information and geographic displays using GIS). The most important unclassified technical advance impacting on analysis today is the availability of authentic data mining programs for the analyst. Data mining is NOT simple data retrieval, as many birdbrains claiming to speak for the IC appear to believe. Data mining proper uses a suite of sophisticated algorithms capably of detecting hidden patterns and trends, finding anomalies that may not be apparent, and even changing the original query structure to reflect retrieved information. Oracle has such a program based on the Oracle relational database that has been around in one form or another for at least 15 years. Data mining obviously would be effective against “big data.” The problem with all this is that these tools are designed to make research and analysis easier especially when dealing with large amounts of unevaluated information. As “anonymous” observed they cannot replace an engaged and target smart analyst.