The cheap-talk phenomenon occurs everywhere on social networks when people discuss about complex problems like global warming, immigration issues, racism, meat over-consumption, war, politics and vaccinations. Therefore nowadays Internet is full of “fake experts” always judging and providing solutions about every hot topic I mentioned above. Because of the social networks role, the influence and the resonance of poor opinions is pretty amplified.
On the other hand, this behaviour seem to be encouraged by most of populist parties. Populist parties and populism representatives are nowadays strong because they are good at talking cheap. Explaining things in hindsight is pretty easy and also on this, they’re damn good at it. Given the actual socio-cultural context, they just add some falsehoods, and here it is a good recipe to attract consensus.
Regarding explaining things in hindsight, the most common example is football. Everyone can talk about football after watching a couple of matches, right? Have you ever heard the old say “after the match everyone is a good coach”? Well, this is a great example of discussing about patterns that are coherent in retrospective: it’s pretty easy after a match judge tactical decisions, so the day after, everyone of us can be a great coach.
We know that correlation doesn’t implies causation, and even if some phenomenons or behaviours appear correlated to us, this doesn’t mean that they are direct causes of the current state: that’s why soccer is a bar talk. Again, populist parties are good at make people believe that correlation implies causation, and everyone with the “right informations” can be an expert. The web is also playing a fundamental role in this: in my opinion this is an amplification of the well known attitude “even my cousin can do it, reading a guide on Internet”. We are simply shifting from this perspective to another one (wider and more dangerous):
From this perspective, everyone can be a politician, a pilot, a doctor or a coach, and nowadays it seems legit to make people decide, vote or take important decisions through the web (despite their domain knowledge). Looking at the Italian situation, for some populists a web-based direct democracy seems to be a kind of panacea, but I think that just looking at Facebook or Youtube hate-comments you can have an idea of whom’s hands we are putting our future into.
In my opinion is not so unbelievable to imagine a dystopian future in which shallow judgement (based on the assumptions of “the coach of the day after effect”, amplified by social networks, and encouraged by populisms arising) can fragment our humanity as whole.
Pretty pessimistic maybe, but I think that all of this is lowering our anticipatory awareness and the role of this mass-consumption (but questionable) information (that was supposed to contribute to human advancement) is moving us away from what is our clan-type sense making.