The Solution for Echo Chambers

Cave

Satire.

There you go. That's the answer for those with a shorter-than-goldfish attention span. Continue reading though if you actually want to learn something.

As many users hope to depend on computer scientists to solve the problem of echo chambers and fake news, the main moral conflict at play is the fine line for freedom-of-speech and internet censorship. To what extent can algorithms "clean up" posts before this filtering starts affecting the true nature of the digital ecosystem?

So instead, let's turn to satire.

Satire is the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the content of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

In a sense, satire is fake news. The proverb does go: "if you can't beat them, join them".

Media outlets that have mastered this literary device are The Onion and The Beaverton.


The Truth Spectrum

The very truthful graph below outlines the scale of usefulness and truthiness of information being consumed. The theory is that all information falls somewhere in between the spectrum.

As seen, both satire and fake news falls towards the inaccurate side of information, but produces vastly different effects. As the purpose of satire to to critique a topic based on a level of truth (if you get it).

Machine Learning

Now the issue is the distribution of satirical articles. Does algorithms and machine learning interpret satire as it is or can they distinguish that it's satire? 

The unfortunate answer is: Yes, algorithms can detect sarcasm.

Machine learning research has been able to predict sarcasm on social media to a shockingly 87.2% accuracy in the CUE-CNN sample. Which may have already beat out the human percentage in detecting sarcasm.

Modelling Context with User Embeddings for Sarcasm Detection in Social Media

However, not all is lost.

Critical Thinking

Satire has an incredible ability to stimulate critical thinking and moral reasoning. Because the intent of satire does not always get interpreted as is.

This study on the "Irony of Satire" showcases that individual political ideology affects the interpretation of satire due to it's vague nature.

The entertainment effects of satire allows for engagement in a deeper context analysis. Making viewers and readers second guess their thinking and often pointing out blatantly missed perspectives. Which is guaranteed to offer more brain activity and perspective than the next Arthur meme.


Until 2017 Friends.

So yeah, this concludes The Digital Literacy Project. Hopefully you found some value out of the articles. Subscribe below to stay updated with a ton of new projects launching in 2017. Or don't. Whatever.