Veritas, Politicus, et Internet

The topic discussed yesterday was interesting compared to previous discussions.  Although we did discuss about the topics of voting and politics in the Internet Age, it was interesting that we moved towards the ideas of truth and trust, and the philosophy behind them.  Today, we will be talking about voting, politics in the Internet, trust, and truth.

Before beginning, I would just like to express my disappointment that there was no clear solutions to the issues that were discussed.  We were able to identify the problems, but unfortunately we were not able to come to an agreement about about a solution.  Nuance makes everything complicated.

 

VOTING

Voting on the Internet would bring in so many benefits to government, yet the risks are substantial enough that for once sticking to the old methods is best (Scott, 2014).  For one thing, it is fast and efficient.  It would save thousands of dollars and hours of time because we would not have to pay hundreds of people to count ballots.  Recounting would not be an issue because we can just feed the ballots to the machine, and it will simply count it again without complaint.  

Another benefit it would bring is access to voting for eligible voters.  People would not need to drive to voting stations, or skip work just to vote.  Registration would not be an issue because a database of eligible voters could easily be created, and people could be verified quickly.  We would suddenly see a rise in voter turnout.  

However, the risks that we could suffer is so substantial that if things go wrong, it could literally destroy a country’s government.  The issue with voting on the Internet is the fact that nothing digital is perfectly secure.  Everyone on the Internet is open to hacking, even with the level of encryption we have today.  What makes an election so appealing to hackers is the level of power they have.  Elections decide leaders, and if leaders don’t do what’s best for nation, it damages and destroys it.  If our 2016 election was done through the Internet, we would probably see more Russian hacking than we saw.  Blockchain technology could potentially make electronic voting possible, but more research and development would need to be done, which it should (Barnes, Brake, & Perry, n.d).  

 

POLITICS IN THE WEB

If you want to save time, the gist is that it becomes dirtier online.  One might think that because we now have so much access to information that everyone can have a nuanced perspective, but the truth is that does not happen unless you actively do it.  Searching for opposing point of views is not psychologically in our favor because we get agitated and even angered when we see something that conflicts with our personal views.  Thus, echo chambers become our intellectual safe havens, and it is in here that our views only grow more radical.  Social media will almost not do anything about this because it is against their financial interest to show things that a user does not like.  Governments would not do anything about this because it benefits them so much to have people believe in their platform, and makes it easier to target those who don’t.  

Political parties make this game dirtier.  I’m not sure who said it in class, but the motto that the parties have adopted seem to be “Vote for me or don’t vote at all.”  Fact check me if I am wrong, but that could be the case with Bernie Sanders and why he did not win the Democratic primaries.  

This ties back to last week’s seminar with Professor Eaves.  Hopefully things will get better and government gets smarter, but honestly, 1984 appears to be our new world in the future.

 

TRUST AND TRUTH

The question Professor Smith asked about trust was an important one.  To be honest, I tend to trust people who have more experience or people whose viewpoints are different from the norm, which can be found in Quora.  However, what Jacob said about trusting the stock market is an interesting one that I should take a look at more.  Overall, though, I would make sure to have a little doubt or question one’s credibility because it is really hard to trust anyone fully, despite how much they say they have good intentions.  Corroborating this is the safer way to go because it somehow leads to some form of the truth.  

What Matty said in class really struck me: “Journalism is perspectives, not facts.”  My friends would trash me for this, but there is truth to that statement.  Journalism is done by humans, and humans have bias within them.  Even if we were to program an AI that could do objective journalism, the fact is that the data it is being fed could contain some bias.  Corroborating our sources is the best method to minimize bias, but it would take work and effort that takes time and our energy.  Maybe humans are innately biased.  After all, our senses are limited and our minds could only perceive so much before we tire out.  We can’t perceive the entire universe to see the truth, but with machines and the Internet, we could get closer to that.  

 

*These links point to resources about external voting.  The first one a video that talks about risks of electronic voting.  The second is an article that discusses how blockchain technology could make e-voting feasible.  

Barnes, A., Brake, C., & Perry, T. (n.d.). Digital Voting with the use of Blockchain Technology[PDF]. Plymouth University. Retrived from https://www.economist.com/sites/default/…

Scott, T [Computerphile]. (2014, December 18).  Why electronic voting is a BAD idea. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3_0x6oa…  

2 Comments »

  1. Mike Smith

    November 4, 2017 @ 7:28 pm

    1

    You’re struggling with tough questions, as we did in the seminar. I’m glad you highlighted comments by others that got you to think from a different perspective. We need more of that in this world.

  2. Jim Waldo

    November 5, 2017 @ 4:44 pm

    2

    A lot of interesting things in this piece…

    I’ll start by suggesting that you might want to see the world in a bit more gray and a bit less black and white– that is, even though there may be bias, there are differences in degree that make a lot of real distinctions possible. I wrote about some of this in my blog for this week; take a look and perhaps we can talk.

    As for voting– it has always been a dirty business, so I’m not sure that the Internet or the possibility of voting on-line will make much of a difference. No matter what we do to make the vote more fair, there are those who try to change it. The constant is human beings, who will try to game the system no matter what the system implementation is.

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