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The Scarcest Thing in the World

The Honest Broker – Ted Gioia: “Everybody is trying to kill it—criminals, technocrats, politicians, you name it. Not long ago, Disney was the only company selling a Fantasyland, but now that’s the ambition of every tech empire. The trust crisis could hardly be more intense. But it’s hidden from view because there’s so much information out there. We are living in a culture of abundance, especially in the digital world. So it’s hard to believe than anything in the information economy is scarce. Whatever you want, you can get—and usually for free. You can have free news, free music, free videos, free everything. But you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. And it was never truer than right now—when all this free stuff is starting to collapse in a fog of fakery and phoniness. Years ago, technology made things more trustworthy. You could believe something because it was validated by photos, videos, recordings, databases and other trusted sources of information. Seeing was believing—but not anymore. Until very recently, if you doubted something, you could look it up in an encyclopedia or other book. But even these get changed retroactively nowadays. For example, people who consult Wikipedia to understand the economy might be surprised to learn that the platform’s write-up on “recession” kept changing in recent months—as political operatives and spinmeisters fought over the very meaning of the word. It got so bad that the site was forced to block edits on the entry. There’s an ominous recurring theme here: The very technologies we use to determine what’s trustworthy are the ones most under attack…”

The gold standard is trust, not information. A single trustworthy voice is worth more than ten thousand bot-written articles. Our society as a whole hasn’t figured this out yet. But nothing prevents you from taking prudent steps on your own. Find those trusted voices—nurture them, support them, and spread the word.”

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