Truth 2.0

Arianna Huffington makes some predictions of what comes next for the Internet and I sure hope she’s right. A few excerpts:

  • “An online tool that makes it possible to instantly fact-check a story as you are reading it — or watching it on video. Picture this: It’s last summer and you are reading or watching a story about health care, and Sarah Palin or Betsy McCaughey is prattling on about death panels. Instantly, a box pops up with the actual language from the bill or a tape rolls with a factual explanation of what the provision in question really does. And this is a non-partisan tool. So when, in the midst of the legislative debate, President Obama says “I didn’t campaign on the public option,” the software will fire up and instantly show you where support for the public option appeared in his campaign plan, and clips of all the times he mentioned it in public after he got elected.
  • A .com innovation that immediately provides a reader or viewer with the background knowledge needed to better understand the data and information being delivered as news. The powers-that-be — both political and corporate — have mastered the dark art of making information deliberately convoluted and indecipherable. For them, complexity is not a bug, it’s a feature.
  • Our future tool will also automatically simplify needlessly complicated laws, contracts, and linguistic smoke screens. So when a politician or Wall Street CEO performs the usual verbal gymnastics in an attempt to befuddle and bamboozle us, his words will immediately be translated into clear and precise language. It will be Truth 2.0.
  • In the future, software will be created that allows us to pull the curtain back on the corridors of power and see who is really pulling the levers. A great early iteration of this was provided by the Sunlight Foundation during the recent health care summit. During its live streaming of the discussion, the Foundation offered a dose of transparency by showing, as each of our elected officials was speaking, a list of his or her major campaign contributors. It was simple, powerful, and spoke volumes about the extent to which many players in the summit were bought and paid for.

I think this will happen because it can happen. I hope this scares the shit out of the politicians and power-brokers.

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