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Futurist: Ways to Improve the Information You Consume on the Internet.

I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.

Finding, evaluating and using the information you find on the internet can be hard.

Finding, evaluating and using the information you find on the internet can be hard.

So much information, so much disinformation .

As a futurist, many things have influenced my thinking over the years. One of the biggest is growing up in a household of a scientist and caregiver. There are two sides to every issue: the human and data sides. My mother taught me to care about and consider that person in their setting. My father was a proponent of the science education model known as the inquiry model. It teaches you the inquiry model to use questioning.

The inquiry model is about asking questions. Questions we ask and consider. That question then goes into a testing framework, and if it passes the initial testing, it moves from question to hypothesis. To this day, as a technologist, I still apply both of those principles. First, I often find myself looking at things that are well beyond the technology horizon. Then, using the skills I learned from my parents, I try to make that future technology easy to comprehend. So for today, my thesis is simply the impact of data and automation on the technology world around us.

This concept that both parents led helped me understand the value of trust and verification. That is why the conspiracy speculation sites make me nervous. Conspiracy speculation on the Internet covers both the extreme right in the extreme left. But unfortunately, the people that read that data trust and don't verify the information. I have read and produced my blog for many years as a technologist. I produce and share articles on Hubpages as well. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of every single one of my articles will notice it says to the best of my ability. It is to the best of my current knowledge. Of course, some things change, and some things ultimately are never verified. But I would say the best thing to do for any person considering the information they find on the Internet is to follow the simple rule of trust but verify fully.

Author's Note: I believe the impact of MI (Machine Intelligence or AI) and Machine Learning (ML) on the integrity of the information on the Internet could be huge.

Garbage in, garbage out still applies. And there is a lot of garbage on the internet.

This verification means you find the source of the data and check it. A great example in society today is those who are called climate change deniers. They grab hold of single or sometimes multiple facts, but none of those facts are connected. A great example is that historically on planet Earth the temperature has risen to the same levels where we are now many times in the past. However, the reality of that change is that it normally occurs over a thousand years or even ten thousand years. The rise of the last Ice Age didn't happen in one hundred years. It happened over ten thousand years. So you have to look at the facts yet verify whether the information includes a good or valid source. It's an application of that simple rule trust but verify.

Trust but verifying isn't hard to do; it is very simple. You look at the information and find another source with the same or similar information. If you see two sources, keep looking for a third, fourth, and so on. The more sources you have, the more likely the information is true. Then you go back and check the validity of the sources. Doing this does not require a Ph.D. (Doctoral Degree). You ask questions, look for answers and then verify the source of the answer. I would also start by not searching conspiracy sites. In fairness to scientists, none of those conspiracy suppositions is anything other than suppositions. None are questions, and very few are even close to being a hypothesis. Not a single one of them has come close to a test. There's no structural way to test some outlandish claims on the many conspiracy supposition sites.

I understand that verifying the information you get takes a little extra time. However, the reality is you can be much better off if you test that information. When you read a conspiracy supposition, ask yourself why it is that. What is the impact of that? What is the source of information? Is it a good source? These things resolved, often walking away from some of the more outlandish conspiracy suppositions very quickly. Information and communication are the responsibility of the listener, reader, and speaker. A speaker who intentionally uses this information has no intention of providing good information to people. Or worse, they have the disinformation, believe it to be real, and share that information repeatedly. I always tell people I will end business today; the Internet is a vast ocean of information. But you are on a 50-foot tower. Your job is to dive headfirst into that pool of information. However, that pool of information is murky, and you cannot see the bottom. You don't know if it's 6 inches deep or if it is 60 feet deep. It is 60 feet, and you'll be able to dive in head first easily. Sadly if it's 6 inches deep, diving headfirst will be the last thing you ever did. Information in the integrity of that information is the responsibility of the speaker, the writer, the reader, and ultimately, the person who hears it.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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