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Here’s 13 Ideas to Fight Fake News – and a Big Problem With All of Them

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Will humans or computer algorithms be the future arbiters of “truth”?

Today’s infographic from Futurism sums up the ideas that academics, technologists, and other experts are proposing that we implement to stop the spread of fake news.

Below the infographic, we raise our concerns about these methods.

Here's 13 Ideas to Fight Fake News - and a Big Problem With Them All

While fake news is certainly problematic, the solutions proposed to penalize articles deemed to be “untrue” are just as scary.

By centralizing fact checking, a system is created that is inherently fragile, biased, and prone for abuse. Furthermore, the idea of axing websites that are deemed to be “untrue” is an initiative that limits independent thought and discourse, while allowing legacy media to remain entrenched.

Centralizing “Truth”

It could be argued that the best thing about the internet is that it decentralizes content, allowing for any individual, blog, or independent media company to stimulate discussion and new ideas with low barriers to entry. Millions of new entrants have changed the media landscape, and it has left traditional media flailing to find ways to adjust revenue models while keeping their influence intact.

If we say that “truth” can only be verified by a centralized mechanism – a group of people, or an algorithm written by a group of people – we are welcoming the idea that arbitrary sources will be preferred, while others will not (unless they conform to certain standards).

Based on this mechanism, it is almost certain that well-established journalistic sources like The New York Times or The Washington Post will be the most trusted. By the same token, newer sources (like independent media, or blogs written by emerging thought leaders) will not be able to get traction unless they are referencing or receiving backing from these “trusted” gatekeepers.

The Impact?

This centralization is problematic – and here’s a step-by-step reasoning of why that is the case:

First, either method (human or computer) must rely on preconceived notions of what is “authoritative” and “true” to make decisions. Both will be biased in some way. Humans will lean towards a particular consensus or viewpoint, while computers must rank authority based on different factors (Pagerank, backlinks, source recognition, or headline/content analysis).

Next, there is a snowball effect involved: if only posts referencing these authoritative sources of “truth” can get traction on social media, then these sources become even more authoritative over time. This creates entrenchment that will be difficult to overcome, and new bloggers or media outlets will only be able to move up the ladder by associating their posts with an existing consensus. Grassroot movements and new ideas will suffer – especially those that conflict with mainstream beliefs, government, or corporate power.

Finally, this raises concerns about who fact checks the fact checkers. Forbes has a great post on this, showing that Snopes.com (a fact checker) could not even verify basic truths about its own operations.

Removing articles deemed to be “untrue” is a form of censorship. While it may help to remove many ridiculous articles from people’s social feeds, it will also impact the qualities of the internet that make it so great in the first place: its decentralized nature, and the ability for any one person to make a profound impact on the world.

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How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible

Under the current global financial system, billions of people do not have access to quality assets. Here’s how decentralized finance is changing that.

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Infographic: How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible

Did you know that a majority of the global population doesn’t have access to quality financial assets?

In advanced economies, we are lucky to have simple options to grow and protect our wealth. Banks are all over the place, markets are robust, and we can invest our money into assets like stocks or bonds at the drop of a hat.

In the United States, roughly 52% of people are invested in the stock market – but in a place like India, for example, this portion drops to a paltry 2%. How can we make it possible for people on the “outside” of the financial system to gain access?

Breaking Down Barriers

Today’s infographic comes to us from Abra, and it shows how decentralized finance could make investing a more universal phenomenon, especially for those that don’t have access to the modern financial system.

It lays out four key obstacles that prevent people in developing markets from investing in quality financial assets in the first place:

  1. The Geographic Lottery
    Where you live plays a massive role in determining your ability to build wealth. In advanced Western economies, the average person is much more likely to be invested in financial markets that can help compound wealth.
  2. Financial Literacy and Complexity
    Roughly 3.5 billion adults globally lack an understanding of basic financial concepts, which creates an impenetrable barrier to investing.
  3. Local Market Turmoil
    Even if a person is mentally prepared to invest, local market turmoil (hyperinflation, political crises, closed borders, etc.) can make it difficult to get access to stable assets.
  4. The Cost of Investing in Foreign Markets
    Foreign assets can be pricey. One share of Amazon is $1,800, which is realistically more money than many people around the world can afford.

In other words, there are billions of people globally that can’t take advantage of some of the most effective wealth-building tactics.

This is just one flaw in the current financial system, a paradigm that has created massive amounts of wealth but only for a specific and well-connected group of people.

Enter Decentralized Finance

Could decentralized finance be the alternative to open up access to financial markets?

By combining apps with blockchain technology – specifically through public blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum – decentralized finance makes it possible to get around some of the barriers that are created by more traditional systems.

Here are some of the innovations that are making this possible:

Smart contracts could automate transactions and remove intermediaries, making investing cheaper, faster, and more accessible.

Fractional investing could allow partial or shared ownership of financial assets by using tokenization. This would make expensive stocks like Amazon ($1,800 per share) available to a much wider segment of the population.

Location independent investing is possible through smartphones. This would make it possible for people in remote parts of the developing world to invest, even without access to nearby financial institutions or local markets.

Like the internet with knowledge, decentralized finance could reshape the world by making financial access universal. Who’s ready?

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How Much Data is Generated Each Day?

By 2020, there will be 40x more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe. See how much data gets added to the mix each and every day.

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How Much Data is Generated Each Day?

View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here

You’ve probably heard of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabytes.

These data units are common everyday amounts that the average person may run into. Units this size may be big enough to quantify the amount of data sent in an email attachment, or the data stored on a hard drive, for example.

In the coming years, however, these common units will begin to seem more quaint – that’s because the entire digital universe is expected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020.

If this number is correct, it will mean there are 40 times more bytes than there are stars in the observable universe.

A Crash Course in Data

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it gives us a picture of this new data reality.

Before we get to how much data is created each day – both now, and in the future – it’s worth getting acquainted with how data scales in terms of units.

AbbreviationUnitValueSize (in bytes)
bbit0 or 11/8 of a byte
Bbytes8 bits1 byte
KBkilobytes1,000 bytes1,000 bytes
MBmegabyte1,000² bytes1,000,000 bytes
GBgigabyte1,000³ bytes1,000,000,000 bytes
TBterabyte1,000⁴ bytes1,000,000,000,000 bytes
PBpetabyte1,000⁵ bytes1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
EBexabyte1,000⁶ bytes1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
ZBzettabyte1,000⁷ bytes1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
YByottabyte1,000⁸ bytes1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes

There’s no doubt that data literacy will only become more important in the future, so make sure you know your zettabytes from your yottabytes!

A Day of Data

How much data is generated in a day – and what could this look like as we enter an even more data-driven future?

Here are some key daily statistics highlighted in the infographic:

  • 500 million tweets are sent
  • 294 billion emails are sent
  • 4 petabytes of data are created on Facebook
  • 4 terabytes of data are created from each connected car
  • 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp
  • 5 billion searches are made

By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day!

If you think the above information is fascinating, see what happens in an internet minute.

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