Talked: “Discovering the future of the world before anyone else” (Part 1), featuring entrepreneur & media producer Hiroto Kobayashi and consultant Atsushi Fukuda
Hiroto Kobayashi and I are the same age, and I have tremendous respect for the activities of Kobayashi which address the needs of our times and are carried out through diverse approaches.
We have engaged in dialogue a few times in the past, but this is the first time we discussed his background before he became a working professional.
His insights below into the inequality of access to information in the era of search engines are especially provocative. I hope you enjoy this dialogue.
Talked:”Discovering the future of the world before anyone else” (Part 1)
Entrepreneur & media producer Hiroto Kobayashi x Consultant Atsushi Fukuda
Kobayashi: “The German philosopher Markus Gabriel has ridiculed the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ as the ‘wisdom of the blind.’ It is easy for people to quickly look things up on the Internet today, but if something containing false information appears at the top of the search results, it will just perpetuate more inferior copies of itself.
There is also a pattern of false information being further circulated by people who believe it to be the truth. Thus, a single piece of information can actually be transmitted in several different ways, and the same applies to variations of false information. If we consider whether someone can profit from posting the truth, it becomes clear that most of the information online is not grounded in the reality of our lives and society.
Let’s put aside the thought of whether a piece of information is in the public interest. Rather, it takes time and effort to post information on the Internet. This is the cost of posting information. Moreover, most of the information posted online has nothing to do with the general public. For this reason, most information posted on the Internet tends to be that which can generate profit through its publication. Conversely, news outlets and official publications that are obligated to report the truth are often trivialized. The reason behind this is that such information cannot be proliferated through variations, making it a kind of information that cannot be further supplemented.
On the other hand, information aimed at harvesting profits such as posts telling others to “read this to become ○○” as well as fake news that seek to boost someone’s reputation at the expense of someone else have brazenly taken hold. This has resulted in an alternate reality that is at odds with our actual society. We need to consider the (physical and psychological) cost of posting information online.
Of course, although there should be a lot of information published in the public interest by volunteers, bad money tends to drive out good money. Moreover, companies can buy search keywords and they are fighting for dominance in the ad tech space. This makes inequality in the access to information a feature of this space where seeking information is very much unlike finding books in a library.”