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Posts Tagged ‘skepticism

I enjoy the Wired series of YouTube videos where experts critique examples of their work as represented on TV or the movies.


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The video above featured a robotics expert who shared his thoughts on how tinsel town represented robots and other forms of artificial intelligence.

This and other episodes in the series make me wonder: Might expertise tend to lend itself to skepticism? By the same token, might cynicism be a function of ignorance?

The most stubborn people I know tend to be novices who cling on to basic ideas or old assumptions. They might ask questions, but they do not seek answers that might contradict what they already know. This reinforces ignorance.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most respectable experts are humble and admit that the more they know, they less they are certain. They remain open to processing new information. If they are experts at all it is not their content knowledge but their strategies of thinking.

 
There is a line that divides skepticism from cynicism. It was succinctly captured in this tweet.

A skeptic is critical desires change to be meaningful and powerful. A cynic is likes the sound of their own voice.

A skeptic fact-checks. A cynic checks progress.

A skeptic often asks hard and new questions. A cynic often relies on easy and tired answers.

A skeptic is a model for learning. A cynic muddles in ignorance.

Both are not easy to work with, but one is worth having around. The problem is: Some people cannot tell the difference.

This excellent YouTube series on media literacy ends with the episode below.


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The episode focuses on what lies ahead. As it does so, it builds on what was stable, remains stable now, and will be stable in the future.

The future of being media literate is being skeptical. This does not mean that we cannot enjoy watch we hear, read, or watch.

It does mean that we do not take the easy way out. Being skeptical means being aware of our own bias and identifying the bias in media. It means establishing context and being critical “going in” instead of just reacting when “going out”.


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