There is, these days, a commonly held presumption in favour of knowledge, truth, and the uncovering and dissemination of information. It is rare to find somebody who self-identifies as an obscurantist or who openly espouses obscurantism as a legitimate policy instrument of wide utility (Bostrom, Review of Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 10 (2011): pp. 44-79).
Our communities are increasingly made up of diverse groups with diverse interests and different ways of obtaining information.
Factors that influence our judgments include how the information fits with what we already believe or know, whether it comes from what is considered to be a credible source, and who else believes this information.
The information revolution began in the early 1990s. The information we process at work has steadily increased.
The information revolution has spread across the world and the flow of information has become unmanageable.
Additional research in the science of decision making suggests that information fatigue can lead us to make poorer decisions.
As we strive for the latest information that gets texted, tweeted, or come to us from media to help us arrive at a decision, we tend to give greater weight to the most recent information and let it overwrite valid information that may have been received earlier.
Our brain does not process the information properly in the subconscious, because new information or opinions keep arriving.
It reaches a point where the torrent of raw data causes overload and we just have to reach a decision by thinking over what we know without additional information.
New communications tools can contribute both to information overload and the rapid spread of misinformation.
The Internet and other communication innovations transmit information that doesn’t distinguish between well-researched information and opinion not based on fact.
Misinformation comes in many semblances. It can come from social media or from works of fiction.
Misinformation is also spread for a variety of reasons and some of it because people like to pass on information that is likely to stir up an emotional response in the recipient.
Sometimes misinformation is spread deliberately.
Research has shown that people continue to rely on misinformation even when there are clear retractions, with retracted misinformation affecting people’s memory, inferential reasoning, and decision making.
Will better access to more information solve the problem? It probably not but maybe it helps us getting the necessary information for the decision that we need to make if we ask these questions: Who is the author? What are their credentials? Where is the information published? How old is the information? How is the information presented? Is the information believable?