Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “How to separate fact and fiction online | Markham Nolan

  1. Could you perhaps think of a better one?
    I believe it is very possible for a machine to determine if "i used to be a medical doctor" is true. By checking certain facts that must be met, assigning values to those facts depending on if they were met, and then weighing the odds of "i used to be a medical doctor" being true based on those values. I'm sorry but, you make a lousy case.
    I'll go even farther, and say that I think it's wrong to allow emotions to influence what you believe to be true.

  2. You clearly do not get the point, although I know there are people similar to you who also say things like love doesn't actually exist when it is scientifically provable. A machine BY ITSELF doesn't have a way of determining if you're telling the truth. It can't know where to research based on what you told it and it doesn't know how to ask for further details. Aside from research, machines still fail. Methods for detecting lies such as gestures, sweat, and blood pressure are unreliable.

  3. While I agree that its wrong to let emotions influence what you believe is true, emotions are exactly the reason why something may be false. Why do you think pscyhology is such a broken and poorly understood science? Its people like you who think there must be a by-the-book way of doing things, but humans involve so many variables that while there might actually be a literal prediction to human actions, those actions are nearly impossible (or simply unrealistic) to determine.

  4. The levels for the intro are done professionally very close to the "red line" while the audio from the talk is captured live. I think they have video professionals and no audio engineers to spot things like that.

  5. And people believe any shit they read because it follows what they already believe. Like saying that the media is ~deliberately~ lying to people without providing evidence or examples.

  6. it is 12 min passed 12 right now on 12/12/12 just to let you know, I needed to record that somewhere and since I am watching this video I decided to record it here in the comments, hope it is relevant.

  7. Why are you talking about emotions being real? When did I give the impression that I think they aren't? I'm sorry, but I don't think that.
    "A machine BY ITSELF doesn't have a way of determining if you're telling the truth"
    This isn't about determining truth by way of accepting or reject a claim. Once the machine finds that reality confirm "i used to be a medical doctor", then it can determine truth telling. Also, your words on machines gives me cause to not believe what you said about computers.

  8. "emotions are exactly the reason why something may be false"
    I think that you and I have very different understandings of true and false.
    It's almost as if you're talking about what somebody believes to be true/false.

  9. Please take no disrespect from this but I'm actually getting quite annoyed with all the comments about a beautiful intro that lasts for only a few seconds instead of having a proper discussion about the sorts of talks given at TED which are, in my humble opinion, priceless. I got my BA with multiple honors (graduated top 10% of my class) but I didn't learn nearly as much in my 4yrs in college as I have in just a couple of years of browsing the web for precious nuggets of valuable information.

  10. The story about the woman with the pool actually made me think more about how easy it is to stalk people these days than about the use of internet in/to journalism.

    Having said that, I do think this offers an interesting perspective on the developments in journalism.

  11. I disagree: if anything, the internet provides for yet more self-insulation, making it easier for media to lie while cultivating "fanbases". Worldviews become subscription based; totalitarian states like Russia and Iran can easily dessiminate agit-prop through their respective outlets, RT and Press TV.

    The internet has totality destroyed the conception of a public sphere; now all we have are thousands if not millions of cult-like private spheres which we can chose at will to be sucked into.

  12. Very wild indeed. How many others are there out there 😉 Perhaps you might ask a expert.


  13. Exactly, the internet will either by edited by you to suit your prejudices or by automatic advertising/recommendation-bot forces beyond your control. Corporations and authoritarian regimes know this; we know about corporate manipulation, but its disturbing how much Birchers are becoming more and more belivable *after* the end of the Cold War. Look up a book called The Foundations of Geopolitics by Alexander Dugin, popular with the Russian elites, then look at Russia Today's general agenda.

  14. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but to quote the Russian Marxist theorist Boris Kargarlitsky, RT is "very much a continuation of the old Soviet propaganda services", and it knows how to exploit the image of so-called "independent" "alternative" "new" media. Same for Press TV, and others; World Net Daily and Counterpunch have become respectively become their ideological counterweights on the Right and the Left, feeding into a culture of willful, submissive disinformation.

  15. this is a nice idea for movie or TV series where every episode the hero must find truth about a tweet or clip from YouTube

  16. Um… Absolutely fantastic, until the last few points. I'm pretty sure that computers will become intelligent, in just about every sense of the word.

  17. You wouldn't verify it, because the term is being used unscientifically / uncritically. It's like saying "you're ugly and that's a fact". Well.. no it's not a fact, it's an opinion.

    So, saying "I'm better than you and it's the truth"… well no, It's not "the truth". It's your subjective an unverifiable claim.

  18. 3:45 he gets to the goddamn point
    Otherwise, quite good.
    …except the "truth isn't binary" bit. Truth IS binary: if you unpack a statement enough, you can determine for certain which parts are completely true and which parts are completely false. There's no in-between.

  19. I think his conclusion does not reflect the exposition he made… I truly believe that our view of the world and things is subjective, but he didn’t talk about that…

  20. i disagree. what if it's an identical bridge somewhere else? what if the location is authentic but the color has been adjusted? is that authentic? it boils down to something very subjective, which is what [i believe] the speaker meant by "human".

  21. This was a great talk, some pretty cool detective work there! I think it's important we all learn to use at least some basic fact-checking before we jump to conclusions on stuff online.

  22. This is because, while you can find truth out there, it doesn't mean that is the same truth for everyone. What that truth represents to each and everyone of us is quite different to a very individual perspective.

    He also meant to say that while there is information, there isn't a "truth machine", but tools to find it in our own, as humans.

    Or at least that's what I think. =P

  23. I think that perhaps, to him, when something goes from a fact to a truth it changes for him, into something more representative of a belief rather than reality. He wants to make truth personal and subjective. I strongly disagree with this mentality.

  24. No, he calculated "fact" (or, if you prefer, trivial truth). He can take that distilled fact, along with other similar and related facts, and then try to determine truth from it (whether some of the sources are ignorant, passing on hearsay with all of the fidelity of the classic children's game, revealing previously unknown biases or outright lying), along with truths at other levels. Facts are merely clues; some are red herrings, and some are dogs that failed to bark in the night.

  25. I do understand what you mean. But, for example, in social sciences, you can fully apreciate how a truth isn't always the same truth for everyone, even if it is "similar. For example, europeans have as bad economy, is great economy in most other places in the world; just as you could have got an increase of 5% in taxes in europe, nobody likes that, but truth is (see what I did there?), some other places, with different "truths" find a 2% way too much to afford a living, a 5% would be nonesense.

  26. Yet, it is completely untrue in natural sciences. When you have gravity dictating that objects fal at 9.8m/s^2, it changes for no one and nothing, and if it changes, it changes for everyone. But I hardly doubt he was referring to such truths and facts, as journalism is mostly another social science and/or a derivative of such (i.e. communicology). Y'know?

  27. Nice talk, but i don't agree, at the end, when he says that algorithms are "binary, yes or no, black or white".

    Many algorithms work by assessing a certain level of certainty, and not by giving a "black or white" answers.

  28. Both investigations he described can be automated and performed by computer programs. It may take a few years before such programs take over human verification but it's going to happen. While these investigations are satisfying when they work out I am quite sure a lot of time gets wasted going nowhere and revealing nothing. There is also a great level of information asymmetry that amplify urban news and are blind to rural news. In India for example less than 1% of its population is online.

  29. Excellent talk about how to filter 'fact' from 'fiction' in the ocean of online contents. A must see one for the aspiring journalists and everybody should see this talk. Highly recommended.

  30. You're doing the same thing he is doing. I talk of that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. You're talking of justification, which is inherently subjective. You make it subjective by asking if it was justified.

  31. Thanks for all the comments on the talk, folks. Interesting that the majority are focused on the closing statement about truth, and whether or not it is in fact binary or subjective. Happy to answer any specific questions arising from the talk here, so do drop me a line.

  32. This is prettymuch what i do when i'm trying to add outdoor webcams into the webcams.travel layer in Google Earth (i'm mostly doing traffic cams). I've found that some of the most useful landmarks are street-poles, as they cast long "here i am!" shadows which also indicate the time of day by their angle, they can also be easily seen in Google Streetview for a cross-reference. I can generally find the camera location to within a few centimeters 🙂

  33. It dependes on whether you differentiate between truth as a state and truth as a noun. A singular 'truth', is an empirical fact, but 'the truth' is something else, and is often a triangulation of subjective views, each of which may be true to the beholder.

  34. With due respect for a generally good talk, saying that truth is "fluid" and "Human" is NOT a skeptical, scientific stance, and is conducive to the mystic bullshit that permeates YT and the legion religious nutters who think that believing something makes it true. Reality is truth, and reality is independant of human perception. Societal progress depnds on less hoo-hoo sound bites and more honest realism.

  35. Such as the truth of the stories in the Bible, creationists, and intelligent design or the truth of fossil records, carbon dating, and the scientific method. There is no one fact that makes either perspective "the truth," but both sides will explain their view as "the truth" and not an opinion. And that, is the truth.

  36. 1:45 From a journalistic perspective people should hear the truth, not what we want to hear. The fact that journalists are reacting to the audience instead of providing good journalism is why people are NOT watching mainstream media anymore. Almost all mainstream journalism today is pathetic since they don't do any amount of significant research. Popular heavily tweeted information is usually uninformed BS.

  37. There is only one truth; never try to confuse delusion, ignorance, or misunderstanding with truth, lest you be the morons at Fox news.

  38. It's the high frequencies that really get me, more so than the actual volume. It's also much worse on laptops than with proper speakers.

    It's great to see that many other people think so, too.

  39. Twitter is the worst news source ever. It's not so hard to establish your credibility which makes it very easy to manipulate.

  40. Agreed the worst example of this is people not getting their children inoculated because of the fear that it's a cause of autism. Where do they get most of the disinformation? — The internet.

  41. I liked the way he ended his presentation.It's true we have great tools on the net but we must exercise caution and intelligence to find the truth.

  42. unfortunately YouTube censors a massive amount of video content under "may contain" flagging. In fact it is a machine doing the flagging, and one may wonder who programs it, to delete so much content. Question is how much content is deleted while he is talking?

  43. Can you please provide the credible sources that allowed you to come to this decision?

    I'm not going to believe something I read online just because it sounds good.

  44. Some great information from a fascinating TED Talk.

    But, I have to ask, was anyone else reminded of the protagonist from Burn Notice?

  45. "Truth is never binary"
    LOL!? NEVER binary you say?
    4<3 True/ False?

    Yeah, jingoistic phrase that makes sense in the context he's speaking of but not exactly true. I think…

    I think the saying should be "Truth is never binary, except when it actually is…"

  46. That's good journalist work, but the flip side is that it's scary to see how much info you can get, on the internet, based on limited chunks of information.

  47. I'm going to discover ways to get laid. My friend has begun dating a ten mainly because 60 days ago he signed up to an internet site named Master Attraction (Google it if you wish to know more.) I'm green with envy since I would like to fall madly in love as well. How come it's so hard? I'm going to have a look at this Jake Ayres guy's information. Odd point is, my friend previously had no joy with girls. How do you improve that rapidly? His lady's like a model!

  48. here's an idea.. have a rating system similar to ebay,, everyone posting gets a rating , if your always posting FAKE NEWS , then it would reflect that in your rating,

  49. Fascinating! I really enjoyed this TED Talk. It's scary how much people use the media. I wonder how many videos are being posted on YouTube right now.

  50. ya markham things he knows everything, just look in a damn encylopedia instead of your stupid free internt tools you STewrgi
    i am better than you

  51. You can tell YouTube is pretty desperate for funding as they're slipping in two commercials in now before the clip starts instead of just one.

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