I need help: working out what is true and what isn't on the Internet- Part II

As a follow-up to the discussion we started in the previous post about how human beings have evolved and acquired the capacity to "sense" what is a harmless truth and what is a dangerous lie in order to guarantee the survival of the species, we take our reflections one step further by considering how we can evolve to guarantee our survival in these new environments in which we now live through modern technology.

How To Detect and Learn What is Truth and What Is A Lie on the Internet?

So, how are we to handle the lies and half-truths in the era of social technology? How are we detect and learn what is truth and what is a lie on the Internet? How are we to cope with the fabrications and rumors outside our immediate community?  How are we to learn how to separate information from opinion?   How are we to learn how to differentiate between conspiracy theories and counterintelligence?  How are we to shield our identity from misuse and abuse? And, the million dollar question: How will technology evolve to protect us from it in this and other situations?

In spite of the undoubted inestimable help provided by our cultural and evolutionary baggage, it would seem that our personal skills for navigating this particular ocean need to adapt and evolve faster than ever before in our genetic and cultural history. We could probably use a little help from technology here, though it appears that technology itself is lost in its own evolutionary environment as it tries to grasp the scale the problem and contain the malware, pirates and all the other baddies in this movie.  I think we are barely scratching the surface of the problem lurking out there in this era of social information where intuition and critical thinking are no longer going to be enough to help us make decisions and go forward. We are going to need more certainty about the news and information that reaches us or is shared with us. The way I see it, this is particularly going to affect the media where automated information and data control infrastructure systems, shape decision-making, provide data and intelligence that governments and organizations share and that form the basis of complex decisions. In a more direct way, it might also affect important political and social information that impacts on our lives and may be controlled or manipulated by governments, organizations and/or unscrupulous tycoons; or on a smaller scale, by "well-intentioned" internauts who recommend a particular product or hotel through the use of clamorous pop-ups.  To protect ourselves from this new environment, I think we need to reinforce social participation, to create a civil society that is vigilant, strong, dynamic and caring and is underpinned by strong, free and independent technology that can defend us and help us contain this unstoppable tsunami of information. That is why researching and developing technological tools, or "vaccines", to combat technology itself is so important. And if we are already starting to develop tools and technologies like PETs (privacy enhancing technologies)  to protect our identity, then we should also start developing tools and technologies to protect ourselves from biased, non-verifiable information or to limit what the electronic world knows and stores about us. 

If it is already difficult to deal with the gossip we come across in our everyday lives, how are we to deal with the propagation in nanoseconds of malicious, erroneous or manipulated news that is imprinted on the global collective mind and cannot be verified before it is broadcast or uploaded? I have no answers to these questions, but I am certain that we will learn how to find them and that we will use technology to do so.

Just as we learned to detect a lie in the words or facial expression of our fellow human beings, now we need to learn to trust in technology to save ourselves from it.