Don’t be afraid to question information from the network

The Learning at Scale (L@S) Special Interest Group included presentations from two members of the Knowledge Media Institute at The Open University. Professor Anna De Liddo and Research associate Tracie Farrell shared their exciting work about  Contested Collective Intelligence and  Mis(sing) Information on Tuesday, October 12th. 

Professor Anna De Liddo presented her recent research on Collective Intelligence infrastructures. Collective intelligence (CI) is defined as the capacity to solve complex problems collectively. CI research seeks to develop the conceptual foundations and sociotechnical infrastructures to improve the ability of a group of people to act more intelligently than any person or machine would do individually. She shared her findings based on real-life applications of intuitive online technologies to help people think critically and build consensus about complex topics that create conflict and social division.

Tracie Farrell wrapped up this dual session hosted by the L@S SIG. She discussed the role of human values, ideologies, and events on how we become misinformed. Universal Human Values refer to the criteria used to select and justify actions to evaluate people and events (The Schwartz Theory of Basic Values). She shared exciting approaches her research team has taken to detect misinformation and fact-check from a values perspective, particularly Schwarz’s value scheme. One of them included a preliminary study that examined the Values and Truth perception of 97 participants who reviewed ten online stories without fact-checking and after fact-checking them.

Both presentations highlighted the role of the internet in preserving the roots of socio-political division. As Prof De Liddo said:

Fake news and social media bubbles filter our reality and have the power to entrench us on one side of the argument and prevent us from understanding others’ views.

We have the power to access tremendous information online. Still, we must be critical and be aware of the existence of a fake reality online that might keep us trapped in a loop of misinformation.

Professor Anna De Liddo and Tracie Farrell agree that technology can help us assess, make sense, and think critically of the information around us if used well. It can also afford computational tools to help us identify and remove misinformation in specific online communication channels. See, for example, the work done by The fact checking observatory for tracking misinformation online (Twitter: @fc_observatory).

If you want to know more about the speakers’ great work focused on developing awareness and criticality in the digital age, make sure you watch the recording of the session here!

The next L@S SIG will be held on December (Specific date TBC). Don’t hesitate to contact for an invite and to be added to the L@S mailing list.

All are welcome!