02AI  At first, I thought artificial intelligence was the panacea for stupid people. Nope — although heaven knows we need one. Read the headlines of any newspaper or tune in to any radio news cast and you would swear we are living in Bizarro World.

For those who are not familiar with Superman comics of the ’40s and ’50s, Bizarro World was a fictional universe where people, places and situations were weirdly opposite of their normal posture or expectation. Sort of like Pitt Dickey’s articles on any given day. Just kidding, Pitt.

Seriously, it should concern all Americans when the truth becomes subjective and elusive. It should concern all Americans when wordsmithing becomes a finely tuned skill used to redefine justice and when it becomes an instrument used to sidestep the truth.

Social media is probably the mother of fake news and the worst thing to happen to humanity when it comes to communicating and disseminating trust and integrity. And, unfortunately, it’s here to stay — regardless of consequences.

Today, we spend way too much time on social media. Computers, iPads and iPhones rudely intrude on our lives so frequently that we are becoming conditioned to it. Last week, I attended the funeral of a dear friend. The church was filled with friends and family. The service was beautiful and touching. Then, the benediction was interrupted by not one, not two, but three cellphone alarms going off simultaneously. You could feel the collective sense of embarrassment. That’s the world we live in.

For many, social media has, unfortunately, become their sole source of information. They scan, read, like, comment and then share like mindless robots that are void of critical thinking and coerced into being a participant in the cycle of misinformation.

It’s this misinformation that shapes our opinions, manipulates our actions and influences our decisions. This should concern us all.

Fake news manipulates our point of view, influences our values and compromises our morals. Recently, I found out there are companies that specialize in developing AI that can create fake news, making it difficult — if not impossible — to fact-check content. Fake news is becoming an unregulated, profitable, dirty business.

So, this begs the question: who can you trust? Well, I don’t have that answer. I, for one, will advocate for laws that forbid and punish the perpetrators of any proven manipulative and illegal actions disseminated via social media.

And, since you are reading this article, I can only assume you have keen critical thinking skills and are a remarkable judge of character. So, this being the case, thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. No fake news here — and we are surely not anonymous.

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