Smart technology (probably) isn’t making you dumber

Technology usually has more pros than cons, but every benefit still carries some risk.

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  • A new paper in Nature Human Behaviour states that technology is not making us dumber.
  • The authors believe smart technology changes how we engage our biological cognitive abilities.
  • While fears are likely overblown, technology addiction and memory problems still need to be addressed.
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Fighting online misinformation: We're doing it wrong

Counterintuitively, directly combating misinformation online can spread it further. A different approach is needed.

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  • Like the coronavirus, engaging with misinformation can inadvertently cause it to spread.
  • Social media has a business model based on getting users to spend increasing amounts of time on their platforms, which is why they are hesitant to remove engaging content.
  • The best way to fight online misinformation is to drown it out with the truth.
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Bellingcat is transforming investigative journalism with open-sourced information

The independent news collective is teaching a new generation of journalists and citizens to spot the stories in plain sight.

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  • Bellingcat has used open sources, such as satellite maps and social media posts, to unmask Russian spies and solve mysterious plane crashes.
  • The independent news collective blends the investigative methods of citizen journalism with the guidelines of a traditional news outlet.
  • It hopes to make open-source investigative techniques mainstream, setting an example in our era of vast data and "counterfactual communities."
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    Could playing video games be linked to lower depression rates in kids?

    Can playing video games really curb the risk of depression? Experts weigh in.

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    • A new study published by a UCL researcher has demonstrated how different types of screen time can positively (or negatively) influence young people's mental health.
    • Young boys who played video games daily had lower depression scores at age 14 compared to those who played less than once per month or never.
    • The study also noted that more frequent video game use was consistently associated with fewer depressive symptoms in boys with lower physical activity, but not in those with high physical activity levels.
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    How your social media data can become a ‘mental health X-ray’

    In the future, you might voluntarily share your social media data with your psychiatrist to inform a more accurate diagnosis.

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    • About one in five people suffer from a psychiatric disorder, and many go years without treatment, if they receive it at all.
    • In a new study, researchers developed machine-learning algorithms that analyzed the relationship between psychiatric disorders and Facebook messages.
    • The algorithms were able to correctly predict the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders with statistical accuracy, suggesting digital tools may someday help clinicians identify mental illnesses in early stages.
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