May 21, 2012

G.I.G.O., or how I coined the phrase Fiction-Based Truth

The tech-savy among you will recognize that the above acronym stands for "garbage-in-garbage-out" and refers to a consequence of bad programming. In other words, if the algorithm is bad, the answer is bad. It applies to people just as much as machines. To wit:

I unwisely waded into a comment thread on FB today. It started so innocuously: a humorous and satirical post by a friend who was lampooning a certain extreme segment of one political party, me adding additional bite to the satire. Then it partly devolved into the predictably shrill flame war wherein people who agree far more than they disagree vilify each other mercilessly. But that's not what is frustrating. What was truly disheartening was realization that the vast majority of the voting public is paying misinformation. Whether it's coming from cable news, or talk radio, or who knows where, most people have their facts utterly wrong and are utterly convinced about the conclusions that they draw from their falsehood. It's data-driven misguidance in the worst way. Truthiness leading to knowiness. I'm calling it Fiction-Based Truth.

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