In the digital era, lies and misinformation travel faster than everImage Credit: throgers
I think that we can all agree that one of the most important parts of the CIO job is the ability to take in and process a large amount of information in order to understand the importance of information technology. It is our responsibility to determine what is important and what we can ignore. However, it turns out that the person in the CIO position also has to have the ability to detect B.S. when it shows up. In our digital age false information in the form of nonsense, rubbish, and fake news can show up at any time, we’ve got to be able to detect it. How good are you at doing this?
Just Exactly What Is B.S.?
In its most basic form, B.S. is a form of persuasion. It attempts to impress the listener while at the same time using a blatant disregard for the truth. In order to implement B.S,, someone can use statistics, language, and charts. These days B.S. can appear just about anywhere including science and politics. What CIOs need to understand is that B.S. is different from lying. The difference comes from the fact that liars know what the truth is and they simply push it aside. People who are creating B.S. don’t care about what the truth is at all.
The arrival of social media now allows B.S. to move faster and farther than ever before. Studies have shown that false news travels faster than the truth. What CIOs need to realize is that data can be manipulated to make false statements. What CIOs need to do is to learn how to spot and then refute B.S. False information spreads in a number of different ways. Sometimes people spread B.S. unknowingly. However, sometimes people simply do not care if the information that they are spreading is false or not. They are interested in passing on information that reflects the views and values of their organization. The fancy name for this type of action is “tribal epistemology”. The internet is especially vulnerable to the spread of B.S. Website algorithms have been shown to favor salacious stories. Additionally, millions of computer programs that play the role of a real person are used to spread false information.
So when do people make use of B.S.? It turns out that people are most likely to use B.S. when they feel as though they are under an obligation to have an opinion about something that they know nothing about. Additionally they will use B.S. in this sort of situation when they feel as though they are not going to be challenged on what they have to say. Additionally, B.S. can be used to strengthen a weak argument if you own up to own up to its weaknesses. However, B.S. has been shown to weaken a strong argument. As a CIO you will be most prone to believing B.S. when you are tired. You will also be susceptible when the information comes from someone who shares your views.
Why Do We Fall For B.S.?
When a CIO hears a false claim that is repeated even if it is only one time, they will be more likely to let it override any prior knowledge that they may have had about the subject being discussed and they will start to believe it. This is called the “illusory truth effect” in which repeated statements are thought to be more truthful than statements that you have just heard for the first time. Scientists believe that this happens because it is easier to process information the second time that you have heard it. As humans, it can be time consuming and difficult to access information that we have stored away and so we’ll often go with what is good enough.
CIOs can fall for B.S. when they fail to think analytically. People who are more skeptical and analytical are more likely to be able to spot B.S. One of the big problems with B.S. that CIOs have is that they are not bothering to think about things as much as they should. Whenever a CIO hears something, the very first thing that they need to do is to check the source of the information. Is the person who is telling you something an expert or are they in a special position to have unique knowledge? You also have to ask yourself what the person telling you something has to gain from telling you it.
I shouldn’t even have to tell you this, but if someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. All of us suffer from what is called “confirmation bias” which means that we are more likely to believe something that confirms something that we already know. The hardest B.S. for a CIO to spot is the type that we agree with. A good way to find out if someone is B.S.ing you is to simply ask them a question. People are more likely to B.S. you when they think that they can get away with it. By asking a question you will get them thinking critically and the B.S. should stop.
What All Of This Means For You
We live in a world of information. As we wade through the sea of information that we are confronted with each day, we need to realize that some of it is legit and some of it is B.S. As CIOs we need to develop the skills that are needed to be able to spot B.S. and not allow ourselves to be fooled by it.
B.S. is a form of persuasion. People who use B.S. to try to convince us of something don’t care about the truth. The arrival of social media now allows B.S. to move faster and farther than ever The internet is an especially good tool at spreading B.S. People are most likely to use B.S. when they feel as though they are under an obligation to have an opinion about something that they know nothing about. You can be fooled by B.S. when you are tired or when the information comes from someone who shares your views. If we hear a false claim multiple times, we will start to believe it. CIOs can fall for B.S. when they fail to think analytically. If you hear something that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
In a perfect world everything that you heard would be true and there would be no B.S. For a variety of reasons, we don’t live in a perfect world. What this means for CIOs is that you need to always have your B.S. detectors on. People will be trying to fool you all the time and you need to be ready to determine when what you are being told is not true so that you don’t fall for it.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™
Question For You: What action do you think that a CIO should take when they detect B.S.?
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