A Possible Pandemic and a Certain Infodemic

As the world comes to terms with the public health and economic threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, governments, organizations, and the general public are aggressively searching for knowledge in order to assess the risk and make decisions on the best course of action.  In an effort to get the necessary information, the vast majority are turning to any number of online sources.

Internet sources of news are immediate and they are abundant; they are also biased to varying degrees and depending on the source, possible carriers of misinformation and disinformation.  As information consumers, we are also biased in numerous and different ways, and this shows itself in how we research, the information sources we choose, and how we process what we find.

In the quest for timely and trustworthy information about the emerging health crisis, an additional challenge, the “Infodemic”, or as it is defined by the New Oxford English Dictionary, “a surfeit of information about a problem that is viewed as being a detriment to its solution”, is also emerging.

At TII, we believe that now more than ever, effective OSINT and Critical Thinking skills are absolutely essential, not just for identifying threats and assessing risks such as the ones we are now facing, but also for making the best possible decisions under often difficult circumstances.

To this end, we have been developing essential Critical Thinking curricula for all of our training programs over this past three years.  We are focusing not just on how to effectively find information online, but also how to properly think about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and what we are seeing as a result.

With regard to the emerging global health crisis, we have been providing relevant OSINT-powered “information triage” services to select clients so as to empower them to mitigate risk and make better decisions in uncertain times.

We have also been taking proactive measures to ensure the safe delivery of our training programs both remotely and in person, with Standard Operating Procedures now in place to ensure the safety of class attendees and our staff.

Further, and supported by our existing computer based training platforms and programs, we have been increasing the live delivery of our training curricula through various teleconferencing mechanisms to significant success.

In this newsletter, we continue with our series of Critical Thinking articles and delve into the issues around some of the factors that can psychologically limit us when processing information, drawing conclusions, and making decisions.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and invite you to contact us anytime at contact@toddington.com.