The Death of Information
Or how to find something rock solid when nobody believes anything anymore
I hate headlines like the one above.
I bristle when I read overwrought announcements of The Death of the Author or The Death of the West or The Death of the Artist or (my least favorite) The Death of Jazz. And all the rest.
But my headline is absolutely deserved.
Information is not just dead, but already starting to rot. It smells even worse than the artist, and that’s saying something. You can probably sniff out the stench from where you’re sitting.
We all saw it coming, In fact, I recently provided a list of 30 signs of a coming “Information Crap-pocalypse.” But it’s not coming anymore—it actually arrived.
It happened last week.
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If you have any doubts, just look at public debate over the unfolding tragedy in the Middle East.
I’m not getting into the politics here—as many of you know, I find the current state of political discourse broken, especially how it forces participants into combative binary oppositions and mindless cheerleading for “their team.”
My team is red hot. Your team is diddly squat.
But I did make a statement of my views on the Israel-Palestine conflict (which I include at the bottom of the article for those interested)—although many will be disappointed because it’s a statement of principles and moral imperatives, not a geopolitical manifesto backing my red hot team.
Hey, that’s how I roll when it comes to politics these days. And if you read to the very end of this, you will know why.
The key point here is that, no matter what your allegiance, the death of information is your mortal enemy. Believe it or not, this is larger than politics.
Just consider what I heard last week, while trying to stay on top of events.
“You can’t trust video—huge tech teams are creating fake videos to influence public opinion.”
“You can’t trust photos, they aren’t real—AI created them.”
“You can’t trust CNN.” “You can’t trust Fox.” “You can’t trust the BBC.” “You can’t trust the New York Times.” “You can’t trust CBS News.” “You can’t trust [fill in the name of your favorite media outlet].” Etc.
“The stuff on social media isn’t reliable—it’s just bots.”
“You can’t believe that Wikipedia article. They’ve taken over Wikipedia.”
“Don’t believe the firsthand accounts. People say they were there, but who knows?”
“You can’t believe the White House.” “You can’t believe the United Nations.” “You can’t believe the CIA.” “You can’t believe Matt Busby.” “You can’t believe [fill in the name of your favorite organization].” Etc.
Here’s the saddest part of the story. I can’t disprove any of those statements.
That’s because I can’t disprove anything anymore. You can’t either.
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