NLP founder Alan Miller on avoiding the looming information dystopia
In a new and widely praised piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, News Literacy Project founder Alan Miller explores the many reasons for today’s information crisis and explains what everyone from journalists to educators and news consumers can do about it.
Miller describes how conspiratorial thinking and hoaxes have gone mainstream as trust in institutions has dropped precipitously, traditional media outlets have struggled financially, and social media platforms have become a gathering place and megaphone for extremists.
He argues that without a shared foundation of facts, “we are on the path not only to an information dystopia, but very possibly to autocracy.”
Still, Miller finds cause for hope and outlines ways to push back against an information dystopia, including regulating social media platforms, doubling down on the tenets of credible journalism, and supporting news literacy education efforts. The need is urgent, he writes.
“NLP is working to change the culture in ways like the evolution in attitudes about smoking, drunk driving, and littering. The difference is that it took a long time to achieve those societal shifts, and there isn’t much time,” Miller writes. “Democracy barely survived the stress test it underwent after the 2020 presidential election. America may not be so fortunate next time.”
Read the piece here.