stephen colbert

stephen colbert

DatSyn News - The true truthiness against Truthy

19h ago
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If I told you that the next potential surveillance/censorship project the US would throw at its citizens would be called “truthy”, would you laugh? Indeed, “truthiness” is a word that has been lying around since the mid-19th century, and was essentially dead up until US comedian Stephen Colbert picked it up again and gave it the definition of a disproven “truth” that just won’t let the facts get it down – or as Google puts it, “the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even it not necessarily true.” Back to the project thingy though – what exactly am I talking about, you ask? Well, the University of Indiana has begun a study of Twitter to “study how memes spread on social media. A meme is a transmissible unit of information, such as a hashtag, phrase, or link.” Some of us may also know memes in the form of captioned images following a certain theme – while memes, these are actually called such in reference to memetics, while also being an example of broader memes in general. Trippy. The study’s already done some things over the course of its duration, including building a social bot detection system. Most people frequenting comment sections, forums, boards like Reddit or social media sites know what a bot is – bot is short-hand for robot, and in the social sense, refers to a computer algorithm meant to manipulate readers or simply spread whatever information its programmed to spew. Many are easy to spot, others, surprisingly, can be much harder – and do in fact seem like actual people. They’re versatile buggers, and as pointed out in the New York Times, have been used for a myriad of things, from flirting with people, to swaying elections and meddling in the stock market. So that’s interesting. The study also looked into the evolution of memes by studying how viral hashtags were spread from their early into late stages vs. non-viral hashtags. But, that isn’t particularly troubling – rather, its interesting. Where is all this stuff about Orwellian language control that I talked about? Well, just ask Ajit Pai – in a co-ed piece on The Washington Post, Pai wrote about how a large part ($1 million) of Truthy’s funds came from a federal organization – the National Science Foundation, whose mission it is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense.” - See more at: http://www.datsyn.com/article/3145/2014/10/23/The-true-truthiness-against-Truthy#sthash.9bc65Bn7.dpuf