September 29, 2022

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Science and journalism is a matter of method – Corriere.it

From Daniel Manca and Gianmario Verona

How can the risks of using information be stopped in a digital and post-Covid world where social media is rampant? The ability to communicate and a sense of responsibility are needed

JScientists know this. The study of reality, phenomena, events, the world, a continuous development. Science helps put the clues together in a kind of picture of a moment of knowledge. Unfortunately, Knowledge is an ever-evolving film. And that this critical rationalism, as a result of the studies of Karl Popper, had turned into a kind of extreme skepticism which at that time troubled the philosopher himself. Radical doubts about the origin Information, viral epidemics caused by misinformation that travel on the web at the speed of light while the media and politics stubbornly ask scientists to make sure they can’t give it away, if not contextualized at the moment. Question: But in a digital world and a post-Covid world where science, politics, and media are increasingly and will be increasingly intertwined, how do we avoid informational information?

The recent blockbuster “Don’t Look For” is a great opportunity to reflect on the topic. A bewildered astronomy professor from a high school, thanks to a fierce doctoral student, discovers a comet that will wipe out humanity on Earth in six months. However, their awkwardness in communicating is not focused on the media’s attention, the constant search for likes, or the interest of the President of the United States, who was first concerned about managing a scandal linked to her appointment to the Supreme Court, and then only concerned. To use the news as a collective distraction weapon. Far from fiction, Adam McKay’s film describes the novelty of this pandemic as scientists are brought up every day to describe and comment on today’s realities and whose claims are paradoxically amplified by social media and often used by politics. road.

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But beyond the movie and the epidemic, In a post-Covid world, science will play an increasingly significant role in setting the political agenda: The pillars of the next generation of EU are the technological challenges of environmental transition and digital transformation and the technological dominance of US and Chinese multinational corporations which is also becoming a political issue with Europe playing the role of regulator. We must add to all that social networks will have a greater influence than ever before in determining the work of the media, which are abandoning print and transforming themselves into content platforms.

What then is the role of science and the media in a context in which everyone has a voice and where our trust is effectively pulled by the jacket of right and left, which without any other ideologies relying on scientific facts (the culprit/non-guilt of the vax/no-vax of the film) pandemic)? How do we believe science when the media tends to exaggerate the opinions of some skilled scientists rather than comment on the more boring empirically proven evidence?

Let’s begin by noting that science is incapable of communicating with masses other than its reference society, Allowing you to publish search results thanks to the precise process of Peer review On the basis of specialized conferences and technical journals. Basic and often ambiguous language: Scientists are jokingly said to speak Ancient Greek because of long statistical mathematical equations filled with alpha, beta, and gamma. When a scientist is involved in the dissemination of his work it is well suited to the social media game that promotes those who are best able to communicate independently of the content being transmitted and those who produce the most exciting news without assessing its actual value, the good truth check of the traditional media base. The latter, in a world where ads on the web travel more from likes to followers than from content moved, finds themselves in competition with influencers and sites that have been deserted from the masses.

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Starting with science, it will be appropriate, first of all, to learn to communicate more effectively while naturally maintaining his own goals and independence. We witness this in part with some scientific journals publishing the findings on Twitter, with some universities offering PhD courses for teaching (and thus also for communication because modern teaching also requires the ability to communicate). , with some scientific journals. which provides an executive summary along with the academic summary of the essay. But perhaps all this will not be enough if we limit ourselves to isolated cases and need to be more courageous, assuming that it is necessary for society as a whole to embrace the communicative potential of the research findings. And we must always remember the basic distinction between facts (strong evidence from a scientific point of view) and opinions (scientists’ ideas not supported by empirical data) and the danger of using the latter when the source is a scientist.

And what about the media? In journalism schools it is taught with a certain assumption that while in the last century analog has dominated, the journalist was identified by the fact that he wrote or worked for a means, in the third millennium, in the digital age, to define journalism as a method. A method similar to the scientific method. Starting from a basic principle: contextualizing information. The same applies to science and scientists. But did all this happen and did it happen? Not much in this epidemic. Unfortunately, here’s the space The third orgasm, the social media that is instantly capitalizing on you by converting whoever shoots bigger or who said it better into a trend on Twitter.

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It is desirable that the web be organized at least one day at least marginally. But the web will always be an infinitely empty space We must act to stop information risks that are increasingly probable in the future. It is up to those who think they are more accountable, in the more approximate and most meaningful sense of the Italian word responsibility. This is for scientists and journalists.

Jan 4 2022 (change on Jan 4 2022 | 22:50)