Why I Believe
Reading social information accurately is an essential skill, and one most of us devote an immense amount of effort to practising. So far, so familiar. But the information suffusion of digital culture has introduced something new into this ancient psychological equation: a whole new level of reliance upon social information; and a whole new set of hazards and anxieties around errors, manipulation and cascades of influence.
Read about how fake news is one of the grand challenges of our time. Consider the spread of an item of misinformation through a social network. They also, however, possess a far simpler method of evaluation, which is to ask what other people seem to think.
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When we are confronted with a blizzard of unfamiliar material, we often seek cues from other people as to what to believe Credit: Getty Images. In fact, this is often the most reasonable response, so long as we have good reason to believe that others have access to accurate information; and that what they seem to think and what they actually believe are the same.
The automation of this observation is one of the foundational insights of the online age. User traffic, reviews, ratings, clicks, likes, sentiment analyses: what people are thought to be thinking makes the digital world go round. And these currencies of reputation, unlike money, are only enhanced by usage. The public signal is all.
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How to handle an infostorm? In a social situation in the real world, a false consensus can be dispelled by publicly sharing trustworthy new information: an official announcement in our hypothetical crowded theatre; a confession of confusion by someone who started a rumour.
Online, the notions both of universally trusted sources and universally accessible announcements are problematic, to say the least. Infostorms, like actual storms, are the products of climatic conditions — symptoms of something far larger. And different climates can produce very different results.
Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning. Astronomers knew the Earth was round, but few people believed it. It is widely believed that the virus originally came from monkeys.
She found it hard to believe that he was a real businessman. Scientists believe a cure for the disease will be discovered soon. There is no reason to believe that he is not telling the truth.
Believe & elsiedreamer (@elsiedreamer) • Instagram photos and videos
I honestly believe he really loved her. We were led to believe we could make a large profit. American definition and synonyms of believe from the online English dictionary from Macmillan Education. This is the American English definition of believe.
View British English definition of believe. Change your default dictionary to British English. View the pronunciation for believe.
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