Practising rational thinking in a digital age

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  • The rapid advancement of the technological age has made the world more connected and essentially smaller. Thus, it can be likened to a global village. The north of the village immediately knows anything that happens in the south, and just like that, the East and West have updated news of each other in a split second.
    The media chooses to broadcast or print topics of mass public interest and the general public is made aware in real time. This also presents people the opportunity to make instantaneous reactions based on their interests, beliefs and understanding.
    Modern technology not only allows news and information to reach the public quickly, it also allows faster facilitation of responses and information from and between people. Alas, whether for a humour, satire, trickery, political motive, or personal attacks, there is also the advent of fake news or partial truths composed of only the facts that a person wants to see.
    The flood of misinformation makes it more difficult for a person to make informed decisions or understand things clearly. This in turn can lead to increased disagreements and conflicts. This dividing agent can even be seen in people of the same faith and compassion.
    What we all need is better digital literacy so that we can filter out disinformation, spot fake news, and check from multiple sources to make rational and informed choices. We should always check for the source of aparticular news item to see if they are reliable and trustworthy and how authentic their information could be.
    There is also the issue of who should be accountable for the accuracy of information. Digital platforms make information available to every person with an Internet connection, but should they be responsible for fact-checking everything that pops up on their platform?
    Facebook is a good example, as being a global platform it will have an ocean of information from all sorts of cultures and languages from around the world. But if a person makes a false statement through their platform (such as companies making exaggerated claims of their products) is it up to Facebook to fact-check and take it down or are the people expected to be educated enough to tell right from wrong?
    And what if a young lad were to meet a potential mate on Tinder but it turns out he was being catfished with a false profile picture or the person intends to extort or blackmail him. Should he have known better or is Tinder responsible to have made sure nothing bad was to happen? These are ongoing debates on freedom of speech and better accountability that all of us need to weigh in on.
    In this modern world diluted with all sorts of information, both necessary and possibly useless, we need to make more use of our rational thinking if we want to avoid being the targets of entities with ill intentions.
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