Ray Dalio on Society, Fake News, and Staying Wise in a Digital World | Exploring Markets

Ray Dalio on Society, Fake News, and Staying Wise in a Digital World

As the Internet grows, and especially social media, the world's access to news and information increases at exponential rates.

It is remarkably easy to open an account on Twitter or Facebook and start sharing ideas, links, photos and video. Never in the history of man has news and information been so easily accessed and created. While this sounds remarkable and almost like a period of enlightenment, it also comes with several potentially severe repercussions. What could be so bad about this?

Let Ray Dalio explain. 

Below we've included 5 excerpts from Dalio's latest piece on fake news, the Wall Street Journal, and what this means for society. You can read Dalio's entire post by following the link at the bottom of these 5 bullet points:
1. "As Martin Baron, the Washington Post'sExecutive Editor, said in reflecting on the problem, "If you have a society where people can't agree on the basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?" Distorted pictures lead us to make bad decisions. In my opinion, if people don't correct such inaccuracies and don't fight against this problem, continued distortions in the media will prevent the public's accurate understanding of what is happening, which will threaten our society's well-being."
2. "The Associated Press said that only 6 percent of Americans surveyed have “a lot of trust” in the media. A recent Gallup study showed that Americans' trust in the media has dropped to an all-time low, with only 32 percent of those surveyed saying that they have either a “fair” or “great deal” of trust in the media. That compares with 55 percent having such confidence in 1999 and 72 percent in 1976."
3. "The failure to rectify this problem is due to there not being any systemic checks on the news media’s quality. The news media is unique in being the only industry that operates without quality controls or checks on its power. It has so much unchecked power that even the most powerful people and companies are afraid to speak out against it for fear of recrimination. In fact, I presume that I will be widely attacked in the media for what I am saying here."
4. "About six weeks before the Wall Street Journal story by Rob Copeland and Bradley Hope came out, we were contacted by Copeland, who was “fact-checking” and seeking information about Bridgewater. Many of the things he was asking about were downright wrong, so we were presented with the choice of either cooperating with him or allowing the incorrect information to go out. Because we’ve had a history of Copeland and Hope writing misleading stories about Bridgewater even when we cooperated with them, we were inclined to not engage with them because we expected that they might again distort whatever we said. Copeland however insisted that they wanted to “reset the relationship” to present an accurate picture of the firm."
5. "We explained that what we are doing in systemizing management decision making is the same thing we have been doing for 30 years in systemizing our investment decision making, which is to collectively agree on good principles for making decisions and to express them in computer code. This allows us to input the relevant data and for the computer to process it according to our mutually agreed-upon criteria. We explained that we are doing this because we have learned that this principled and systemized decision-making process allows us to get above our emotional attachments to our own conclusions and focus instead on deciding what our decision-making criteria should be, which ultimately leads to better decisions because computers can process these criteria in much better ways than humans can."
Read the rest here: The Fake and Distorted News Epidemic and Bridgewater's Recent Experience With The Wall Street Journal by Ray Dalio