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  • Writer's pictureJohn Rae-Grant

Dissing Disinformation

I've decided to focus on a huge problem in the next phase of my work. The problem of disinformation versus the promise of Trust.

The rise of social media as the dominant source of news for many people, and as the growth medium for memes, has led to a vast decline in objective reality and sensible engagement. I'll be writing about some of the proof points for that assertion later. But for now, take that as the "Why".

I am continuing some of the work that I began in 2004 working on trusted web portals, picked up in 2013 working on Gmail Spam and Abuse prevention, and thought about delving into before coming to DataStax.

With the Generative AI explosion, I am even more deeply concerned about the torrent of exploitation which our tech industry has enabled, even as we’ve delivered lots of change for the better.

Simply put, we have to build Trust into the Internet. I am dedicating my work energy to making that happen.

What might this involve? There are many different pieces.

First, there's Content Authenticity - think "CallerId for Content". How can I see where something I'm looking at came from?

Second, there's Identity - think "reputation, verified sender, certified professional". How can I trust the creator(s).

Third, there's Detection - think "Spam Filter for everything". What protects us from abusive and disinformative posts?

Fourth, there's Engagement Economics - think "clickbait". How do we change the underlying incentives away from fight or flight creating sensationalism?

Fifth, there's advocacy and Regulation - think "oversight". What part does governance have to plan in transforming the Internet?

Finally, there's Infrastructure - think "trust by design". How can we rebuild the Internet from the bottom up to have trust at its core?

I'm researching all of these, and will be sharing thoughts, conclusions and details as I learn more.

Looking forward,


1 Comment

Thomas Jantzen
Thomas Jantzen
May 23, 2023

Great post John.

I might add to your list: Probability of Incursion / Corruption: how do we screen / identify tampering.


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