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Conspiracy Theories Are Spreading As Fast As Coronavirus


Here’s The Psychology On How To Ignore Them



First comes news.
Then comes politicization. 
Then come the conspiracy theories. 
It’s a predictable cycle, but it’s poised to be especially bad this time around.


As Coronavirus conspiracy theories begin to circulate, it’s important to protect yourself from the misinformation. 
















Best Practices


Conspiracy theories - the 4 basic filter test 




Here are four techniques to help you separate truth from hearsay.


#1: Facts. Just the facts.

First, it’s important to be sensitive to the type of information you’re exposed to. And that doesn’t mean just paying attention to credible news sources (although that’s a good start). More than that, it’s about arming yourself with the actual numbers and data so that you can reach your own conclusions regarding the severity of the threat. For instance, it may provide some comfort to know that the worldwide death total is, at present, less than 8,000 — still much lower than the number of people who die each year from the flu. Worldometers.info is a good place to follow the facts, as are the statistics provided by the World Health Organization and the CDC.



#2: Use consensus as a guidepost.

The great British statistician, Sir Francis Galton, was famous for many things. He discovered the concept of correlation. He popularized the idea of “regression to the mean.” He was also Charles Darwin’s half-cousin.

One of his observations, however, is particularly relevant to the Coronavirus pandemic. It occurred in 1906, when he was at a county fair and witnessed a competition in which 800 people attempted to guess the weight of an ox. Being a man of statistics, Galton tested how accurate people were in their guesses. He found that, while any single person’s guess might not have been all that accurate, the average of all 800 guesses (1,197 pounds, to be precise) was a mere pound shy of the correct answer (1,198 pounds).

Galton took this as a sign that a natural wisdom emerges as more predictions, expectations, and viewpoints are taken into account. It’s how markets work. So, when it comes to Coronavirus, try not to be unduly swayed by any one voice or analysis. Rather, listen to all voices and perspectives, and know that the truth will most likely be found in the middle.



#3: Don’t overthink it.

Many of you are probably familiar with “medical school syndrome” — the tendency for medical students to start believing they have the illness they are studying. This syndrome provides a useful window into the perils of becoming overly engrossed in a given topic, especially when it relates to one’s health and well-being. There’s a real danger in over-educating yourself on Coronavirus and all of its possible implications. Psychology studies have shown, for instance, that fixating on a given problem can lead to inferior decisions. If the movie A Beautiful Mind taught us anything, it’s that a fixated mind is a fertile ground for conspiracy theories to take root.

Sound judgments and decisions, on the other hand, are often made by putting time and space in between you and a given problem context. In the case of Coronavirus, disconnecting from the news might help quiet the mental chatter and give you the perspective needed to decide how best to protect yourself.



#4: Trust in probabilities.

For whatever reason, some people are more comfortable with ambiguity than others. Psychologists refer to this personality trait as “tolerance for ambiguity” — and it has been shown to predict a number of real-world outcomes. People who exhibit a higher tolerance for ambiguity, for instance, worry less, are more open to new experiences, and tend to perform better in business settings.

In times like these, it’s important for everyone — especially those who are less tolerant of ambiguity — to understand that it’s okay to feel a certain degree of uncertainty over Coronavirus. The truth is that we are still in the early stages of the fight against COVID-19 and so much remains unknown. It’s best to stay as cognitively flexible as possible as the situation evolves. If you don’t, you run the risk of buying into premature or false explanations for a still-inexplicable phenomenon.


link to this section https://lnkd.in/fyqUw-U#TOC-Best-Practices









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Many people are confused this morning. How come Trump's claims of a conspiracy have now evaporated? They saw endless reports and confirmations in their news feed, so why did nothing happen and Trump agree to the transition and go golfing again? There is a simple explanation.

Algorithms control what a person sees in their Facebook feed. If you have always believed Trump, then all your feed recently has supported his and Giuliani's fabrications, and all your friends have been as angry at the election result as you have been. Once again, although you have been absolutely certain of the situation, now there is a void. When you have spoken to others, they have insisted you are delusional. But are you, and is it your fault?

This new world of ours is far scarier than most people think. The undeniable fact is people are being sold bespoke reality. What they see is catering to their tastes. Very simply, a Trump supporter is fed one reality, and a Biden supporter, another. This is not because the algorithms are programmed for politics; the algorithms are programmed for profit, and this is how they make everybody happy. If you insist that all work shoes should be brown, then they are always brown, and if you believe the opposite, then all shoes on your screen will be black. The platform doesn't care what you believe, the goal is that you buy a pair of shoes. The customer is always right. As long as the customer is happy.

This is not a conspiracy theory. This is that rare thing today, the truth. When you open a device and enter the virtual world, you are provided with your own virtual reality, one custom made just for you. It's not real, its purpose is to herd and control by managing moods. Today these platforms aren't data mining, they are selling corporations their ability to alter your behaviour. They brag they can make you do things and trick you into buying things. I am not making this up. This is where we are at.

When a Biden supporter speaks to a Trump supporter, there are always fireworks. Living in a tailor-made reality doesn't fit as well outside the Internet. What is a perfect echo chamber online becomes Babel in the real world. Like orthodox religion, such beliefs don't travel well. Are believers insane? They appear to be. When I was a boy, I believed England had won WWII on their own. That all the British Empire needed to prevail was a bulldog pipe, an upper-class accent and a single Spitfire. It had to be true, I'd seen all the films. Was I mad? Perhaps, but then so was everybody else. What the algorithms do today is not much different to what the films, TV, and books did to us back then. Just more so now. Much, much more.

Is technology changing the meaning of being human? WIll the profit motive intentionally lead us to civil wars? I don't know, but I do know it doesn't care. Like something from a dystopian science fiction story, the machines haven't been programmed for empathy. The machines are programmed to be psychopaths and won't care if you kill yourself, as long as you clicked something before you did. And how much money are we talking about? Cents not dollars is what drives them. Manipulating you for cents is their business.

How can we, as a species, remain true to ourselves when we are surrounded by lies? That must be the philosophical question of this century. Empathy, understanding, tolerance, logic and common sense are under attack. If you don't look at your phone for an hour, it will start to beep. Information confirming bias will start reaching out to you. It won't stop until you interact. The machine is relentless. It won't stop until you surrender.

Those who believe Trump won the election are being told exactly that all day, every day. On the other side, nobody is seeing the dismal performance of the Democrat party, and Bernie Sanders no longer exists. AOC is either the bright future of the party or the enemy of democracy, depending on what the algorithms think will generate the most clicks. Israel having secret meetings with Saudi means war or peace, and your opinions and conclusions are decided for you.

Anybody that believes Trump's retreat means things will go back to normal hasn't been paying attention. There is no normal anymore. The endless lies of today are not owned by one liar, they belong to the virtual machine and can be quickly replaced by others. There will be plenty of others. When Covid goes, climate change will replace it. The subject matter is not important, controversy and anger are; they are the energy that drives the machine. They are all that matters. Getting irate reactions is the objective; algorithms are not ideological. 

Understanding the environment is, hopefully, the first step in coming up with a solution. We either end up killing each other or having a better understanding of the new environment we all live in. Hating each other in the name of a few more cents for third parties is madness and, if we accept that is the truth, then we are all mad now. How do we return to sanity? That is the question.



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S.T.O.P Start TObserve Purposefully

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