Friday, 16 December 2016

Netflix Binge: Lying and Disinformation

So I'm binge watching documentaries in Netflix (worth the monthly subscription!), and there are a lot of my top picks that I want to share! This post features films about lying and the spread of disinformation in the digital age.

(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies explores the human tendency of lying, interweaving social experiments by behavioural scientists Dan Ariely and his team, with interviews of (remorsed) people who were in scandals of varying notoriety. It follows the art of deception from animal evolution to human creativity; from individual rationalization to conformed social acceptance; from guilty white lies to numbed and distant criminal activities. Perhaps understanding the science of being dishonest can explain why people are still capable of spreading lies, despite access to information and technology should make it easier to prevent lying...

...Which leads us to Merchants of Doubt from the book with the subtitle "How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming". The subtitle says it all, but perhaps it's worth noting that despite exposes on propaganda and other sinister disinformation tactics, the art of lying also gets more sophisticated and its consequences more widespread.

I guess the best way to shield oneself from the lies and deceit is to fight ignorance coupled with a strong moral code. Even if the smartest person can know everything, if he falls back to basic human flaws and tribal norms, he becomes a victim and a tool for The Spread Of Ignorance.

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