Information School Assistant Professor Jevin West and Biology Professor Carl Bergstrom went on a pair of local radio shows recently to discuss their “Calling Bullshit” class.
On KUOW radio’s “The Record” with Bill Radke, West discussed “fake news” and encouraged media consumers to watch out for things that sound “too good to be true.”
“We ask the students to question their source: Who’s telling me this? How do they know it? And what do they have to gain from it?” West said.
Radke asked which is developing faster: society’s ability to produce fake news or its ability to identify it.
“That’s exactly why we developed this class,” West said. “I work in the area of data science and machine learning, and everyone’s got an idea on how to fight fake news with technology, and I’m sorry but that is a tough, tough task for AI.” The spirit of the class, he said, is to inform people how to be better at filtering information, and that’s an area where educators can help.
West and Bergstrom also appeared on KIRO radio’s morning news show with Dave Ross. They discussed how charts and graphs can be used to manipulate data, and how people can be taught how to spot misinformation.
“Our exercise is not meant to tell everyone that everything is (false or misleading) … that’s giving up,” West said. “What we’ve got to do is show people that there is a right answer, and you can find it.”
Read about the KIRO appearance and listen to the broadcast at MyNorthwest.com.