Does the truth matter anymore? For the past several years – but especially since the 2016 US presidential election – Russian hackers, the mainstream media, social media platforms, conspiracy theorists, Twitter bots, U.S. intelligence agencies, and unscrupulous businesses have all been blamed for polluting our information sources with fake news and deceptive information. Anyone can publish anything – sometimes influencing elections, entrapping minors, setting off international crises – and often making money on the side (through advertising). Meanwhile our computers and phones are entered by hackers who may charge ransom to unlock our data or steal our identities to compromise our financial accounts. Nation states are building cyberwar capabilities to disrupt electrical and transportation networks, disrupt industrial production, disable critical weapons systems. Life in the information age seems to be scarier by the day. What happened to our utopian dreams about free information, anywhere, anytime?
Speaker: Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley