Belief and Misbelief Asymmetry on the Internet
FOCUS Series in Information Systems, Web and Pervasive Computing
Publication Date: December 2015 Paperback 148 pp.
This book discusses the media, beliefs, the news, the Internet, etc. but it should not be seen as yet another critique of the media system, exploring with indignant fascination the idea of a machination against truth set up to serve a society of domination. These kinds of theories, whether they pertain to conspiracy theories or, more subtly, to a self-styled “critical” way of thinking, have always seemed to be the expression of a form of intellectual puerility. This is not to say that attempts at manipulating opinions do not occur, or that our world is free from compromised principles, or indeed corruption; far from it, but none of this is the key issue.
In fact, reality can somehow be even more unsettling than those myths, however sophisticated they may be, that envisage the media system hand-in-hand with industry, science, and so forth, all in agreement so as to lead the “people” away from the truth. It is more unsettling because the processes described in this book and that allow falsehood and dubiousness to take hold of the public sphere are boosted by the development of IT, the workings of our minds, and the very nature of democracy. And finally, it is more unsettling because we are all responsible for what is going to happen to us.
1. More is Less: Mental Avarice and Mass Information.
2. Why Does the Internet Side with Dubious Ideas?
3. Competition Serves the Truth, Excessive Competition Harms It.
4. What Can Be Done? From the Democracy of the Gullible to the Democracy of Enlightenment.
About the Authors
Gérald Bronner is Professor of Sociology at Paris-Diderot University in France. He is a member of the Academy of Technologies of France and the author of numerous books. He has won several prizes, including the prestigious EUROPEAN AMALFI PRIZE For Sociology and Social Sciences.