Authors: Ted, Laura, Jess
- People need credible information to make decisions that rely on information from their environment.
- But it’s getting harder to know which information to trust.
- We use mechanisms like consensus, raw evidence and professionals. Sometimes this fails – we get conned and overwhelmed.
- We should explore how people who share information and build credibility and how consumers can verify it.
Why do I rely on credibility?
I need to make decisions, and I need good information to make those decisions.
Therefore, I need to know what my local, national and global environment looks like.
- “I need to decide what movie I’m going to see with my friends”
- “I need to decide the best way to spend my money on consumer goods, charity, etc”
- “I need to decide which politicians I vote for”
Key reason: I lack credible information
We have plenty of information with which we can make decisions, but not all of it is good. Therefore the problem we’re trying to solve is having credible information.
- Anyone can make content, and so much already exists.
- We can’t verify most of it and can’t even tell if it’s real!
- This problem will be amplified due to generative AI.
How do I determine what’s credible?
Three ways to determine what’s credible
Credible information appears in at least three forms. But each one has its issues.
- Form: “common knowledge”, voting blocs, communities.
- Issue: Artificial consensus created by echo chambers.
- Form: photo, video, textual, biometric data, metadata?
- Issue: How do we prevent it from being corrupted or misrepresented?
Professional truth seekers
- Form: Journalists and Data professionals
- Issue: How do we make sure they do their jobs?
I can be an individual or part of an organisation
- When the BBC wants to report the weather, they trust meteorologists.
- Government organisations, e.g. Statistical Bureaus, Police.
- Independent orgs that produce data (housing data, market research)
How do individuals decide?
- There’s a degree of spoon-feeding
- Sometimes through independent research of varying quality. Can we support user research and curiosity?
What does the problem of credibility look like in practice, when credibility fails or isn’t there?
People can make decisions against their own interests.
- Voting based on false promises and false information.
- People trusting bad actors (con men, unlicensed physicians).
- Making plans that get subverted by reality.
- People failing to make decisions at all due to uncertainty.
Aspects of credibility to explore
- Contextual credibility: could someone’s authority/credibility be more visibly nuanced when they speak on things?
- Buildable credibility: Is it possible to build credibility over time? How, and what would be necessary for this to happen?
- Could both of these be applied to individuals and organisations, respectively?
- How could we leverage networks to establish trust and build personal credibility of journalists/content contributors/sources?
- How could this credibility be presented in a way that helps people feel comfortable that the way they interact with, enjoy, understand, act on insights is appropriate for the level of trust they have, and where it fits on a spectrum of art/fiction/true story/fact.
- Can contributors indicate/suggest/verify the credibility they feel that should be placed on their own content and could it be buildable, contextual, topic-related, altered according to the forum for conversations etc?