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SESSION 6 Making Sense: Information, Disinformation, or Misinformation? A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.

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Presentation on theme: "SESSION 6 Making Sense: Information, Disinformation, or Misinformation? A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions."— Presentation transcript:

1 SESSION 6 Making Sense: Information, Disinformation, or Misinformation? A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions

2 Taking technology too far?

3 The Last Word on Cloning EALTH/02/14/ t/index.html “It took the researchers 188 tries to clone just one kitten. Cc is two months old and "appears to be completely normal."

4 Man held on Internet sex counts: Sydney Morning Herald /0202/20/ A The 39-year-old from Wainuiomata, near Wellington, New Zealand faces extradition to Australia on sex charges involving a 14-year-old girl he met in an Internet chatroom. It was alleged the man initially began communicating with the girl through an Internet chatroom, which led to regular contact. He then allegedly travelled to Perth, where the offences took place between January and June New Zealand Detective Sergeant Grant Atkin said: "This is just another example where people on the Internet are not who they seem, and are using the Internet to prey on young girls everywhere. This is a reminder to all parents that they should be more vigilant about what their children are doing on the Internet."

5 Session Objectives Key Questions: How do recognize and establish quality on the Internet? That requires understanding: What is information? How do we know? What is truth? What is quality?

6 BRYCE HOFFMAN THE SAGINAW NEWS A demonic face stared out from the smoke at the World Trade Center, newspaper readers nationwide say. A front-page photograph on more than 13,000 copies of Tuesday's Saginaw News has prompted some to believe that Satan himself presided over terrorist attacks on the United States. The picture, shot by an Associated Press photographer, captured the features of a seemingly demonic face -- eyes, nose, mouth, beard and horns -- as it emerged from the billowing smoke over the World Trade Center, observers say.


8 Can we believe what we see? “




12 The deepest questions of human existence: What is knowledge and how do we come to know anything? (epistemology)  (web content) What really exists and how is reality organized? (metaphysics / ontology)  (web organization) What is the right thing to do? (ethics)  (work practice / access) What characterizes art and aesthetic experience? (aesthetics)  (web design) What are the deeper implications of technological and cultural / social interactions with the world? (social informatics)  (technology utilization)

13 What is information? Write down your definition.

14 What is information? Professor Michael Buckland Information as Thing Information as Process Information as Knowledge ~buckland/ ~buckland/thing.html

15 What is information? John Perry Barlow “Computers can crank out new data all night long without human help, [but] only a human being can actually recognize the meaning which separates information from data. Information … consists of data which have been passed through a particular human mind and found meaningful within that mental context” Barlow, J. A taxonomy of Information. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science, June-July, 1994, pp

16 What is Information? Professor Nicholas Belkin SCILS - Rutgers “The structure of any text which is capable of changing the image structure of some recipient” belkin/belkin.html

17 What is Information? Professor Carol Kuhlthau SCILS - Rutgers An active personal process …fitting information in with what one already knows and extending this knowledge to create new perspectives” “Seeking Meaning” Ablex, 1993, p.4

18 What is information? Prof. Brenda Dervin “Information is the sense created at a specific moment in time-space by one or more humans” “All information is subjective; it is a personal construction created by human observers” “People’s use of information technology are part of steps people take to make sense of world around them”

19 Is this information? Suppose that S is a Noetherian scheme and that G is a group scheme which is finite and etale over S. This note shows that G- torsors for the qfh topology coincide up to isomorphism with torsors induced up from the etale topology over such schemes S, in the sense that the obvious comparison function between isomorphism classes of torsors is a bijection. This is the non- abelian analogue of a comparison theorem of Voevodsky which identifies etale and qfh cohomology for coefficient sheaves represented by finite etale abelian group schemes. The method of proof is to show that the qfh stack completion of the group scheme G induces a local weak equivalence of classifying simplicial sheaves for the etale topology.

20 Is this information?



23 What is the “information” of information technology?

24 The Information in I.T. To process information electronically, data are stored in a computer in the form of binary digits, or bits, each having two possible representations (0 or 1) If a second or more bits are added to a single bit of information, the number of representations is increased, resulting in many different combinations of 0 and 1. Eight bits is called a byte; a byte has 256 possible combinations of 0s and 1s.

25 Bits and Bytes r o s t o d

26 The Information Problem “The information explosion …. Is to a great extent an explosion of misinformation and badly organised information. The digital revolution has only made the problems more acute” (Gell-Mann)

27 “Access to vast amounts of information is not the whole answer. The power to discover the right information quickly and easily, to separate nice-to-know information from need-to-know information is essential if superhighway users do not drown in electronic junk information.... An information flood does not necessarily mean that people become informed” (Kehoe, 1993)

28 THE TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE Information Misinformation Malinformation Messed up information Useless information (Burbles, 1997)

29 Disinformation VS Misinformation Disinformation: Deliberate attempt to mislead or deceive, resulting in inaccurate information Misinformation: An honest mistake Result: availability of inaccurate information

30 Disinformation Arises whenever the process of information is defective: Lack of objectivity eg. Propaganda Lack of completeness eg. Lack of evidence Lack of pluralism eg. Range of viewpoints Floridi, 1996

31 Disinformation Involuntary Disinformation: caused by some form of technical mishandling of information: lack of updating, software virus, hacking, lack of knowledge  Unpremeditated creation of disinformation Voluntary Disinformation: deliberate manipulation of information



34 Misinformation Where information is not accurate because of honest / unknowing misrepresentation of facts: Simply got facts wrong Facts wrong because they are out of date Sloppy documentation Linked information not accessible


36 The information challenges 1.Being able to interact with this information and construct new understanding 2.Knowing that the information you decide to engage with is quality information

37 Deciding what to believe Source 1: “there is a significant and alarming correlation between abortion and breast cancer … having an abortion raised a woman’s risk of contracting breast cancer 50% on average” Source 2: “A study on induced abortion and risk for breast cancer discusses whether an association exists, but the findings are not conclusive. Further research is needed to interpret the results”

38 What is “truth”? Something that corresponds to fact or reality? Static reality that can be discovered through science? Statement that is generally believed to be true? Accuracy in description or portrayal? Adherence to a standard or law? Unique for each individual? Truth is a function of a socially constructed communication system?

39 What is truth? Knowledge that corresponds to reality? Knowledge produced by dialogue and debate amongst experts? Knowledge produced by dialogue and debate amongst all interested parties? Knowledge produced by coherent means? Logical means?

40 What is truth? Only one truth? Multiple truths? (Relativism) No truth, only interests and power? Universals? Theories and concepts based on culture, social groups, etc?

41 Creating Meaning Information on the Net represents people’s versions of reality, past, future, knowledge, culture, ideology, power Need to develop skills to look critically at information and to question and challenge the world of ideas on the net

42 Creating Meaning Making clear the ideologies and ideological workings of texts Making explicit the belief systems inscribed in texts To enable people to read the world and the word - past, present and future (Misson, 1998)

43 Why ? Seductiveness of technology: Internet addiction, time, cost Integration of different media: cognitive load: multiple media vs multi media Captivating media hype shaping expectations: “the answer is in there” Plausible presentation of of false / misleading information: wysiwyg Everything looks authentic as an official publication

44 Why ? Invisibility of web authors: unknown authorship Assertions sourced in other unreliable sources; origins of information less direct Boundaries blurred between rumour, gossip, credible, authentic Information stands without a functional context: Indicators of credibility found in traditional sources removed Indiscriminate inclusion of material

45 Why? Complexity of organization and linkages Volume and speed of access Potential for passive and isolated interaction Poorly organised information with limited advance organisers Indiscriminate inclusion of material Noise / overload: bells and whistles to show designer’s flair Naïve users: believe it is filtered, accurate, and like library materials

46 Features of Electronic Texts Iconic language: content, index, system and browser Mixed genres - multiple text types are integrated Navigational inefficiencies Predisposition to play / entertainment Visual literacy demands Hyperlinking rather than linear

47 Empowering the User: Mind over Matter and an Eye for Detail

48 Providing people with …. the critical skills and information handling skills to assist them in making decisions about:  what to believe  what to doubt  what to pay attention to  what to care about

49 Quality Evaluation: An Evaluation Model A = Author: Reputation and specialist knowledge? P = Purpose: Why written; does it fulfill stated purpose? P = Physical Format: Do multiple medias complement text? A = Arrangement: Logical sequence, argument, evidence? R = Recency: Up-to-date? Revised? reviewed regularly? A = Accuracy: Can accuracy be established? Can biases, opinions, viewpoints be distinguished? T = Treatment: Does the level of disciplinary and technical language assume the reader is an expert? U = Use: Does the format facilitate use? S = Scope: Is subject coverage broad or limited to specific area? Balance of breadth and scope with detail?

50 Key Readings: Brave.Net.World: The Internet as a Disinformation Superhighway? by Luciano Floridi, 3/2001Brave.Net.World: The Internet as a Disinformation Superhighway? On Evaluation of WWW Resources by Kay E. Vandergrift and Lin Lin, 3/2001On Evaluation of WWW Resources Establishing and Maintaining Trust in Online Systems by Claire McInerneyEstablishing and Maintaining Trust in Online Systems

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