Sifting through on-line information

March 31, 2021

Super-quick piece today:

This piece, from February, is good on how to think about how we encounter information on-line, and what sort of engagement is best undertaken on-line. 

It recommends a process known as SIFT: Stop; Investigate the source; Find better coverage; Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.  As the author puts it, "the goal of SIFT isn’t to be the arbiter of truth but to instill a reflex that asks if something is worth one’s time and attention and to turn away if not.”

The strategy of “lateral reading,” which sounds like something the “foxes” do over the “hedgehogs” in Philip Tetlock’s work on Superforecasting.  This may be a good method for dealing with very "noisy" and low-significance yet signal-rich fields of data, like current events and wide-horizon comprehension.  I still think that there is something called "deep understanding," and that appreciating this may require more concentrated modes of attention, and narrower, less laterally-aware modes of inquiry, interpretation, and understanding.  

There is a point to swimming on the surface, and maybe there's a point to deep dives.  Maybe they're different things.

Stay well everyone.  It's a rainy day here, which is not great; but it's at least Wednesday, and Easter is coming.