This fragmented response to a major world event speaks to a worrying trend that bodes ill for other crises we could face in the 21st Century, from future pandemics to climate change. In our post-truth age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make sure everyone is well-informed. In other words, even if it was clear how to save the world, a degraded and untrustworthy information ecosystem could prevent it from happening.
In a recent report published by the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, my colleagues and I argue that this change is no less than a threat to global security itself. The terms “national security” or “cyber-security” will be familiar. But we argue that more attention ought to be paid to “epistemic security” – because without it, our societies will lose the ability to respond to the most severe risks we face in the future.
Psychologic manipulation by Governments, Religion, and marketing have made a public aware of fraud and power grabs. Selective enforcement and unneeded laws add fuel to the fire of ignorance and rejection of information. Freedom of speech means just that we can say anything. But leaders addressing the public can not be less than perfectly clear and honest. In the zest to gain power and money all our leaders have compromised honesty and integrity. One size does not fit all so why manage the world like all people are equal?