New World Same Humans #53 – Audio Version

  
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Welcome to New World Same Humans, a weekly newsletter on trends, technology, and society by David Mattin.

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What is true? It’s a question that’s easy to ask, but seemingly ever-more difficult to answer.

A networked world has, as the 20th-century media theorist Marshall McLuhan predicted, created a Global Village: a single cultural space available to anyone with an internet connection.

But that village has enacted a paradox. In bringing us together, it’s pushed us apart. Rather than creating a single story that we can all believe in, it’s allowed a million and more narratives to bloom.

I was reminded of all this by two news items this week.

Donald Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial. A chapter closes, but the US remains as divided as ever. Is it possible to reunite the American people around a shared baseline understanding of their socio-political reality?

Researchers at the University of California created deepfake videos that fooled the most advanced, AI-fuelled deepfake detectors. A reminder, then, that while 21st-century media is already a hall of mirrors, it’s set to become a whole lot more confusing.

So this week, reflections on the future of truth, media, and the shared culture we inhabit. Or to put it another way: The Reality Crisis and How To Fix It.

If you prefer to read this week’s instalment, go here for the text version of New World Same Humans #53.


Links in this week’s instalment

1. A January YouGov poll of US Republicans found that 30% had a favourable view of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that the US government is secretly controlled by a deep-state network of powerful Satanists.

2. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer – the world’s largest survey of trust in government, business, and media – found trust in all news sources, including social media, has fallen to record lows: 53% said they trusted traditional media.

3. The recent GameStop meme stocks debacle showed how we can still be caught unawares by new and unexpected viral dynamics.

4. The emergence of broadcast technologies and the totalitarian systems of the 20th-century are intertwined stories.


Ghost in the network

Thanks for reading this week.

The future of truth remains uncertain. There’s just so much we don’t yet understand about the behaviour of information and people inside a networked world.

All I can promise is that New World Same Humans will be watching the evolution of the infocommons every step of the way. And seeking to understand what it all means for our shared future.

If that mission speaks to you, there’s one thing you can do to help. Share!

Remember, our community becomes more useful to each of us as it becomes larger and more diverse. So if you know someone – a friend, relative, or colleague – who’d make a great addition, why not forward this email and encourage them to sign up? Or share New World Same Humans across your social networks with a note on what makes it valuable.

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Your membership of this community means a lot; and that’s the truth. I’ll be back on Wednesday. Until then, be well,

David.


David Mattin is the founder of the Strategy and Futures Research Unit. He sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Consumption.