The problem today is we trust too much, not too little

Unthinkable: Is our faith in algorithms creating the basis for a counter-Enlightenment?

Algorithmic selection has created a new and unaccountable type of expert: a piece of code that may not even be understood by its programmers. Photograph: Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

Algorithmic selection has created a new and unaccountable type of expert: a piece of code that may not even be understood by its programmers. Photograph: Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

Do you feel disoriented by the world today? Powerless? Unsure who to trust? The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard would empathise. Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards, he wrote – and that was before the internet came along and completely hobbled us in this maddening game of mental catch-up.

In journalism, the sense of unmooring is palpable. Media outlets once provided the “first rough draft of history”. But what is their role today when anyone can publish their own “rough draft” instantly on their phones?

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