Look at someone in the eye who has no idea what's going on. What do they look like?
Are they anxious, afraid, overwhelmed, or apathetic? Are they unmotivated, reactive, and stressed out of their mind?
Now imagine ten years in the future, and that's how everyone looks.
Why? Because, ten years from now, no one is going to know what's real. No one is going to know what's going on.
Fake news is just the beginning. Have you heard of diplomacy manipulation, polity simulation, automated laser phishing, human puppets, reality apathy, or post-truth society?
If you haven't, I recommend you read this article by Buzzfeed, detailing the threats that artificial intelligence and machine learning are making, even now, on our collective future: https://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/the-terrifying-future-of-fake-news?utm_term=.naKWnnxKm#.ckDMwwExR
But here's the silver lining:
The rise of reality-distorting technology opens a huge market for The Truth. Once people are fed up with not knowing what to believe, they are going to CRAVE truth, which means we are going to need technology that verifies whether videos, images and audio are true or not.
We need "truth-telling technology" that allows you to paste a link to a video, image or audio clip, and it then analyzes that content. This truth technology tells you if the content has been manipulated or not, and you can relax, knowing what to think and how to react.
And this technology shouldn't just be available for people to use when they want it. It should be adopted by every media company that wants to be taken seriously.
Before a website or news company shares a video, it should run that video through the "Truth-teller." They might even watermark the video with something like TT, Truth Told, or PP, Pinocchio Proof.
Even YouTube should run it. "Viewer Caution: This video contains manipulated content."
This truth-telling tech will probably spark a war between technologies. Fake videos will become more and more difficult to detect, and the truth-telling tech will get better and better at detecting manipulated content.
Which is why the truth telling tech might even have it's own website, where the community gathers to agree on what's real, backed by this truth-telling technology.
The War for Reality:
As the parallel lines of reality and fake news edge closer and closer together, we need companies that use AI and machine learning to tell us the truth.
As humans, we need to know what's real, or our reality won't only be fake, it will be Post-Fake. It will cease to exist.
Forget War of the Worlds. The War for Reality is coming, and it is real.
If you don't believe it, if you're not sure yet, if you don't know what to believe, you've already lost.
Don't despair. It's still early. You've only lost the first battle. Together, we can still win the war.
But first we have to fight.
How do we fight?
Insist on a single, collective reality we can all agree on. Insist on technology that supports the truth, because without it, our world, our economy, our whole governmental system, has no foundation, and we as a people will collapse.
What we do inside our heads, what we imagine, the fantasy worlds we create, the alternative realities we inhabit, go for it, let's entertain ourselves with movies and stories and daydreams, that's our right as humans, but if our penchant for fantasy spills over into the real world, and we rob ourselves of a collective reality, where no one knows what's real, then life as we know it won't be real either.
At best, it won't be real because it will be a memory of the past.
At worse, it won't be real because it's the end of the world, and no one knows the difference.
That might sound ridiculous, but just imagine.
Imagine what will happen in a world where no one knows what's real anymore. Do you see the riots, the panic, the FUD, the chaos? Imagine what "Reality Uncertainty" will do to the individual psyche, and what that will do to the global hive-mind. Imagine what Reality Uncertainty will do to governments, economies, law, private property, sports, and so on. Governments will be undermined, people will lose faith in any authority, no one will feel secure, only the rich will afford protection, who even knows who won the Super Bowl, markets will crash or pump and dump, and everything will lose all meaning.
Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
What he didn't say is, "With great imagination comes great responsibility."
Imagination isn't only more important, it's more powerful than knowledge. Imagination can fake knowledge. Now that we're more aware of this, thanks to social media, we need to fight against imagination's dark side.
Try it. Imagine a world where nothing is real.
In this world, nothing is real because we can't tell the difference anymore. When people can't tell the difference between what's real and what's not real, they go crazy. Earth will become the insane asylum of the universe (right now it's just the loony bin).
Imagine this world, and you will see the future that is coming for us.
Now that you see it, you know we have a choice: Do nothing, and find ourselves imagining a time when life still made some sense, or act now, and keep it real.
The New Enlightenment:
Reality apathy could trigger a second Dark Ages, some sort of Technological or Post-Tech Dark Ages, but if we look at history, we'll see that just as the dark ages gave rise to the renaissance, fake news and the infocalypse will probably produce a secondrenaissance.
At the forefront of this second enlightenment will be companies that authenticate reality. Companies that tell people what's true, and what's false.
It won't be easy, but the truth rarely is.