We live in the Information Age. The whole world is fueled by information; it's a new global currency.
But for how long?
The cost of creating information is zero. As a result, the amount of information in the global circulation grows exponentially. So does the difficulty level of information source's traceability (its origin and veracity). Hence, unsurprisingly, the average value of a quantum of information drops significantly - these days, it's not a challenge to produce and pass the data (regardless of distance, size, and hardware), but to find a credible source of information to extract and digest.
There are many reasons, some of which are related to technological progress:
- ubiquitous content personalization (that encapsulates us in unique information bubbles, which we are not even fully aware of)
- nearly free-of-charge access to limitless Internet
- the omnipresent ad-based content consumption model
- cheap personal, always-online devices
... but some of them are sociological derivatives of technical capabilities:
- it pays off to play bold and to claim high ("we have the best product! we are global leaders! this is shockingly unique!") - due to the complexity of global markets and knowledge asymmetry (information != knowledge)
- the best way to raise the effectiveness of marketing is to push stronger (more ad space, more campaigns, more facetime); with the capability to reach the global population, there will always be some idiots who click the bait
- when it comes to information (globally), what matters isn't just the volume but also velocity - it spreads so quickly and virally that emendation (or even thorough verification) is not an option (and that effectively kills all accountability)
- it's not possible to be an expert on everything - so charismatic bullshitter can build an incredible career based on buzzwords and faux-expertise
That's why the next era should be the Veracity Age.
In the global junkyard we call the Internet, the information is nearly worthless. What has REAL value is a validated, objective, traceable (to the source) bounded piece of immutable information - in good old times, we were calling it "the truth" (lat. veritas).
I firmly believe that it will become a (very profitable!) product itself. That has already started happening as more and more people:
- ... want to hear facts, not biased opinions, filtered through the optics of various political worldviews
- ... even when it comes to opinions (which are subjective by nature), would like to hear honest, fact-based reviews and assessments instead of (directly or indirectly) sponsored content
And they are eager to pay for it (as long as you prove the truthfulness of "the truth").
It won't be easy. In some conditions, even the "relative truth" due to its common acceptance becomes a foundation you can build a lot of upon (which makes it more a "belief system" than "the truth").
But in the end, only "the true truth" is absolute and universal. The value proposition here is immense, and I expect (and long for) a wave of new businesses that will provide "truth" as a service (sooner or later). It's too early to tell how this will look alike. I think the digital identity will be at its core, but if we really want to solve the root causes of the issue, it's definitely far from enough ...