The Beehive Encyclopaedia: What is “The Truth”?

The sad truth is there is no truth. There is only our perception of the world and everything in it through our senses – which can often misguide us (see the myth of perception) – and the tools we build to maximise their reach. How do we then determine what is true if there is no truth?

The best (and only) we can do is determine how loyal an account of events is to that which we can measure, verify and observe through our senses (what we know as “facts”), and how objective and tested was the process to connect those verifiable facts into theories. Imagine, for example, a newspaper says that Putin signed a secret treaty based on the fact that an expert verified his signature and someone made a video of it, and that it is later discovered that the signature was forged by a very sophisticated expert and the video was manipulated (by AI?). Still, the newspaper did not incur in misinformation, as it relied on the best available information at the time, produced by the best tools available to verify it.

We have therefore been asking ourselves the wrong question. The question should not be “what is true” or “what is false”, but rather “what is the probability to which we can trust a statement”? How serious, professional and objective was the process to verify it?

Luckily, if the truth is an aspirational goal, there are rather concrete ways of finding out whether we should be sceptical of a sourceand when we might be reading misleading content. There is also Beehive, with its Smart User Ratingtm system and proprietary Trust

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