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【Aeon】纷纷扰扰,真假难辨


和信息时代说再见:当今世界,名气才是王道

笔译、口译、同声传译

 

译者:王津雨 & 邵海灵

校对:徐嘉茵

策划:邹世昌

 

 

Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now

和信息时代说再见:当今世界,名气才是王道

 

本文选自 Aeon | 取经号原创翻译

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There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it. What makes this paradoxical is that the vastly increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous. Rather, it renders us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced.

有这么 一个关于知识的悖论,它并未得到充分重视,却在先 进且高度互联的自由民主国家中起着关键作用:流通的信息量越大,我们就 越是依赖所谓的“声誉机制”来判断信息的价值。其自相矛盾之处在于,如今我 们获取的信息和知识的渠道虽然有了显著增加,但这并 没有让我们的认知变得更为自主。恰恰相反,它使得 我们在面对信息时,更加依 赖他人所作的判断和评估。

 

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today. It is the gatekeeper to knowledge, and the keys to the gate are held by others. The way in which the authority of knowledge is now constructed makes us reliant on what are the inevitably biased judgments of other people, most of whom we do not know.

我们与 知识的关系正在经历着根本性的转变:从“信息时代”转向了“声誉时代”。在此阶段,信息只 有经过别人过滤、评估和评价后,才会具有价值。从这个角度来看,声誉已成为当今社会集体智慧的核心支柱。它是知识的守门人,但门的 钥匙掌握在他人手中。现在构 建知识权威的方式让我们依赖他人作出的判断,但其中 多数人我们并不认识,那些判 断也不可避免地带有偏见。

paradigm shift 范式转移,是指一 个领域里出现新的学术成果,打破了 原有的假设或者法则,从而迫 使人们对本学科的很多其本理论做出根本性的修正。

collective intelligence 集体智慧,简称集智,它是一 种共享的或群体的智能。在网络时代来临之前,集体智 慧就一直活跃在生物学、社会学、计算机科学、大众行为学等领域。随着Web 2.0的崛起 和社会性软件的普及,集体智 慧这在社交网络服务、众包、分享、评论和 推荐等领域也得到了广泛应用。

 

Let me give some examples of this paradox. If you are asked why you believe that big changes in the climate are occurring and can dramatically harm future life on Earth, the most reasonable answer you’re likely to provide is that you trust the reputation of the sources of information to which you usually turn for acquiring information about the state of the planet. In the best-case scenario, you trust the reputation of scientific research and believe that peer-review is a reasonable way of sifting out ‘truths’ from false hypotheses and complete ‘bullshit’ about nature. In the average-case scenario, you trust newspapers, magazines or TV channels that endorse a political view which supports scientific research to summarise its findings for you. In this latter case, you are twice-removed from the sources: you trust other people’s trust in reputable science.

我来举 些例子说明上述悖论吧。如果有人问,你为什 么相信现在正在发生巨大的气候变化、且该变 化会严重伤害地球上未来的生命,你可能 给出的最合理答案会是,你相信 相关信息源的声誉,你经常 从该源头寻求关于地球状况的信息。在最理想的情况下,你相信 的是科学研究的声誉,并相信“同行评议”是个合理的方法,它能从 关于自然的那些错误假设和满篇的胡说八道中甄选出“真理”。而一般情况下,你信任的是报纸、杂志或电视频道,这些媒 介拥护支持此类科学研究的政治观点,会为你 总结科学研究的成果。在此情况下,你和信 息源之间就转了两道弯:先是别 人去信任享有声誉的科学,你再去 相信别人所信任的东西。

peer-review 同行评议,从广义上说,是指某 一或若干领域的一些专家共同对涉及上述领域的一项知识产品进行评价的活动。目前国 内讨论较多的是狭义的同行评议,即作者投稿以后,由刊物 主编或纳稿编辑邀请具有专业知识或造诣的学者,评议论 文的学术和文字质量,提出意见和判定,主编按 评议的结果决定是否适合在本刊发表。

 

Or, take an even more uncontroversial truth that I have discussed at length elsewhere: one of the most notorious conspiracy theories is that no man stepped on the Moon in 1969, and that the entire Apollo programme (including six landings on the Moon between 1969 and 1972) was a staged fake. The initiator of this conspiracy theory was Bill Kaysing, who worked in publications at the Rocketdyne company – where Apollo’s Saturn V rocket engines were built. At his own expense, Kaysing published the book We Never Went to the Moon: America’s $30 Billion Swindle (1976). After publication, a movement of skeptics grew and started to collect evidence about the alleged hoax.

或者再 来看一个更为不争的事实(我已在 别处做过详细论述):有一种论断称,1969年并没有人登上月球,整个阿波罗登月计划(包括1969年至1972年间的6次登月)全都是假的——该论断 已位列最为臭名昭著的阴谋论之一。其始作俑者比尔·凯恩就 职于洛克达因公司下的出版机构,而正是 该公司生产了阿波罗土星五号火箭的发动机。凯恩自 费出版了一本书,名为《我们从未登上月球:美国高达300亿美元的惊天骗局》(1976)。该书出版后,阴谋论 者们开始发起运动,收集这场所谓“闹剧”的证据。

 

According to the Flat Earth Society, one of the groups that still denies the facts, the Moon landings were staged by Hollywood with the support of Walt Disney and under the artistic direction of Stanley Kubrick. Most of the ‘proofs’ they advance are based on a seemingly accurate analysis of the pictures of the various landings. The shadows’ angles are inconsistent with the light, the United States flag blows even if there is no wind on the Moon, the tracks of the steps are too precise and well-preserved for a soil in which there is no moisture. Also, is it not suspicious that a programme that involved more than 400,000 people for six years was shut down abruptly? And so on.

地平说 学会是现在仍在否认登月事实的团体之一。按它的说法,登月事件是在沃尔特·迪士尼 的支持下和斯坦利·库布里 克的艺术指导下,由好莱坞打造而成。它们提出的“证据”大多都 基于对不同登月图片看似精确的分析。影子的 角度与光线方向不符;月球上没有风,美国国旗却能飘扬;月球土壤不含水分,但脚印 的痕迹过于精确且保存得过于完好。而且,一项涉及超过40万人、长达6年的项目突然被叫停,这难道不令人怀疑吗?凡此种种,不一而足。

 

The great majority of the people we would consider reasonable and accountable (myself included) will dismiss these claims by laughing at the very absurdity of the hypothesis (although there have been serious and documented responses by NASA against these allegations). Yet, if I ask myself on what evidentiary basis I believe that there has been a Moon landing, I must admit that my evidence is quite poor, and that I have never invested a second trying to debunk the counter-evidence accumulated by these conspiracy theorists. What I personally know about the facts mixes confused childhood memories, black-and-white television news, and deference to what my parents told me about the landing in subsequent years. Still, the wholly secondhand and personally uncorroborated quality of this evidence does not make me hesitate about the truth of my beliefs on the matter.

绝大多 数我们认为理智的、知道自 己在做什么的人(包括我在内),都会对 这些荒谬的假说一笑置之,对于上 述论断也会不屑一顾(尽管NASA已经严 肃而详尽地驳回了这些指控)。然而,如果扪心自问,我对登 月事实确信不疑,又是凭的什么证据,我也不得不承认,我的证 据同样经不起推敲,而且我 也从来没有花费过哪怕一秒钟,去揭穿 那些阴谋论者积累起来的种种反证。我自己 对这些事实的认知,无非是 童年时代懵懂的记忆、黑白电视的新闻,再混杂 一些之后几年里父母给我灌输的关于登月的事情,以及我 对父母那种笃信不疑的敬重。然而,尽管所 有这些证据都是二手的,我也从未亲自证实过,但对于 我在这件事上的信念,我仍然 一点也不怀疑它的真实与可靠。

 

My reasons for believing that the Moon landing took place go far beyond the evidence I can gather and double-check about the event itself. In those years, we trusted a democracy such as the US to have a justified reputation for sincerity. Without an evaluative judgment about the reliability of a certain source of information, that information is, for all practical purposes, useless.

我自己 所能收集并核实的关于登月的证据,远不足 以成为我相信登月的理由。那时候我们相信,像美国 这样的民主国家,其诚信 度理当是声誉斐然的。但,如果对 某一信息来源的可靠程度没有做出过评判,这一信 息就没有任何实际的用途。

 

The paradigm shift from the age of information to the age of reputation must be taken into account when we try to defend ourselves from ‘fake news’ and other misinformation and disinformation techniques that are proliferating through contemporary societies. What a mature citizen of the digital age should be competent at is not spotting and confirming the veracity of the news. Rather, she should be competent at reconstructing the reputational path of the piece of information in question, evaluating the intentions of those who circulated it, and figuring out the agendas of those authorities that leant it credibility.

当我们 试图抵制当今社会铺天盖地的“假新闻”和其他 有意无意制造出来的虚假信息时,必须把 从信息时代到信誉时代的根本转变考虑在内。一个数 字时代的成熟公民所应做到的,不是发 现并确认新闻的真实性,而是重新认识并判断:“声誉机制”在这一 新闻产生和流通的过程中起到了怎样的作用。一个成 熟的公民应该评估他人传播这一信息的意图,找出那 些为其背书的权威机构都在谋划些什么。

 

Whenever we are at the point of accepting or rejecting new information, we should ask ourselves: Where does it come from? Does the source have a good reputation? Who are the authorities who believe it? What are my reasons for deferring to these authorities? Such questions will help us to get a better grip on reality than trying to check directly the reliability of the information at issue. In a hyper-specialised system of the production of knowledge, it makes no sense to try to investigate on our own, for example, the possible correlation between vaccines and autism. It would be a waste of time, and probably our conclusions would not be accurate. In the reputation age, our critical appraisals should be directed not at the content of information but rather at the social network of relations that has shaped that content and given it a certain deserved or undeserved ‘rank’ in our system of knowledge.

每当我 们准备接受或拒绝新的信息时,都要问一问自己:这个信息是哪来的?其来源的声誉可靠吗?哪些权威机构相信它?而我遵 从这些权威的理由是什么?这样的 问题会帮助我们对现实有一个更为准确的把握,而非直 接去检验这一受争议信息的可靠程度。在高度 专业化的知识生产体系中,试图依 靠自己的力量去调查信息的真实性——比如接 种疫苗和自闭症之间的关联——那是行不通的。这样做只会浪费时间,而且我 们的结论很可能也不准确。在声誉时代,我们的 评判对象并非信息的内容,而应该 是产出这些内容的社会关系网,并在我 们自己的知识体系中给它一个值得或不值得信任的“评级”。

 

These new competences constitute a sort of second-order epistemology. They prepare us to question and assess the reputation of an information source, something that philosophers and teachers should be crafting for future generations.

这些新 能力构成了一种二级认知论。有了这些能力,我们就 能对信息来源提出质疑,作出评估。哲学家 和教师也应致力于在未来一代的身上打磨这样的技能。

 

According to Frederick Hayek’s book Law, Legislation and Liberty (1973), ‘civilisation rests on the fact that we all benefit from knowledge which we do not possess’. A civilised cyber-world will be one where people know how to assess critically the reputation of information sources, and can empower their knowledge by learning how to gauge appropriately the social ‘rank’ of each bit of information that enters their cognitive field.

正如弗雷德里克·哈耶克在《法律,立法与自由》(1973年出版)一书中所写的:“文明的 存在乃是基于一个事实,即我们 都在从并不属于我们的知识中获益。”在一个 文明的网络世界,人们将 会知道如何批判性地评断信息来源的声誉,也能学 会合理估量进入他们认知领域的每一条知识所具有的社会“评级”,从而为 他们的知识注入真正的力量。




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