Seeing is believing…. Or so that is the way it has always been in the past. Today, however, in an age of mechanical manipulation, our once most trusted sense has severely declined in worth.
The question plaguing this technological generation has become:
Can we really believe anything we see?
Is visual evidence today even worth anything considering how easily it can be altered? As a result of the incredible advanced technologies that exist today, manipulations can be so convincing that there is no way for the average person to recognize it has been changed in any way. Take for example the baby-snatching eagle video that went viral. Only after receiving millions of hits did skeptics debunk the hoax that this video really was.
There are tons of examples like these seeing as the average person has access to devices, such as Photoshop, and 3D animation programs, necessary to engage in these kinds of manipulations. I took a seminar class in my previous semester (CS402 with Professor Finn) dedicated strictly to the topic of visual evidence. The existence of such a course in itself is proof that this is a topic worthy of some serious consideration.
In a world where citizens are an integral part of media and what makes headlines, there is often public outrage when they find out they are deliberately duped for the amusement of others. An additional example of an occurrence like this was with Lonelygirl15. Unsuspecting audiences everywhere were fooled into buying into the seemingly innocent reality of this bored, goofy girl’s vlog only to find out she had an entire production crew behind the making of it and she was just an actress. Reactions to this ranged from disappointment to downright anger.
This goes to show that as much as we know we have to be cautious about what we believe on the Internet many people do still believe much of what they see and they expect personal blogs and vlogs to be genuine and truthful. Seeing as Lonelygirl15 is several years old now, I wonder if this has taught Internet users that anything from pictures to written blogs to personal youtube videos that appear genuine can potentially be frauds.
So…. If we can believe what we read, hear or see… what can we believe?
Looks like modernity is breeding a generation of skeptics.....