The Argumentative Art of Hiroyuki is a Symbol of the Times” – Ryosuke Nishida on “How to Deal with the Net | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Argumentative Art of Hiroyuki is a Symbol of the Times” – Ryosuke Nishida on “How to Deal with the Net

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Ryosuke Nishida, Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, School of Liberal Arts Research and Education / photo by editorial department

With the rise of social networking services and online news, in addition to television and newspapers, the amount of information we see in our daily lives has dramatically increased. At the same time, there are many people who have been burned by flames, criticized, or swallowed up by conspiracy theories by believing the information that floods the Internet.

How should we deal with this flood of information? We asked Ryosuke Nishida, 39, associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Liberal Arts, who has focused on a wide range of fields, including media strategies in politics, and who has attracted attention for his tongue-wagging with the “King of Debate,” Hiroyuki Nishimura, 46.

–What do we need to do to properly deal with the flood of information on the Internet?

One thing I can say is that we need to have a sense of detachment from the fact that human beings are just like that. They think, they are biased, they are angry, and they are ……. I think it is important to accept that human beings have primitive human emotions.

The maximum amount of time we have at our disposal is 24 hours a day, and the amount of time we have at our disposal has not changed much, and our cognitive abilities have not evolved much either. Even if you handed a smartphone or PC to someone a few decades ago, they would have faced the same problems and hurdles.

So what has changed from the past? I feel that we are now in an era where everyone is seeking information with disparate “anxieties,” and then being driven by those anxieties to seek information further. In the past, if you kept up with popular TV shows and music, you could keep up with tomorrow’s topics at school and work. Newspapers and magazines were also like that. But nowadays, there is less and less of that kind of “it’s all right if you just hold on to it” information.

The same is true for job hunting. Even if you want to get into a good company, you don’t really know what kind of company is “good. Even if you get into a “good company” according to the old standards, it may go out of business. In the past, when people knew that they were safe at a company like a bank or an electronics manufacturer, they did not have to make many mistakes. Well, in such a society, once you make a mistake, you will be in trouble.

Simply consuming information is not the answer to anxiety. I know that you are probably looking at your social networking timelines. Although the absolute amount of information flowing in and the amount of information available is increasing, the percentage of people who are able to digest the information and make use of it has not changed much.

When we obtain new information, we have to judge whether it is correct or not, so even if we increase the amount of input alone, we will accumulate “insecure data” at hand and fall into a vicious cycle of being covered with more and more insecurity.

Under these circumstances, I have the impression that more and more young people want to be “objective” and “neutral. But I think we should remember that human beings are biased from the start. Being neutral is also a choice of position.

–The word “argumentation” is all over the Internet. The epicenter of this trend is undoubtedly the words and actions of Hiroyuki. Why are “Hiroyuki followers” increasing, and is “debunking” actually catching on?

I believe that the art of debunking is symbolic of the current era. For example, I don’t think anyone would be pleased if I debunked someone. But when Hiroyuki debunks someone, everyone is happy, right?  Please try to think of a reason. …… I am a faculty member at a reasonably well-known university, so I may seem somewhat authoritative. I’m not a good person to be around, and I’m not a very nice person to be around. It is not surprising that many people would think that it is natural to know things or to be strong in arguments, but not Hiroyuki.

Hiroyuki is a kind of success story for young people who are dissatisfied with the current era. Although he has no authority, he has succeeded in his Internet business and has enough money so that he doesn’t have to work anymore. I am a little envious of him, too (laughs). He seems to be knocking down all the sensible people and authorities that appear on TV.

By the way, speaking technically, he is often in the position of asking questions. He’s on the side of pressing for answers, and almost never on the side of being pressed. If you look closely, it’s not even an argument. It’s just pointless time. But the more reasonable people end up facing Hiroyuki’s questions. University faculty, politicians, and so on. Even so, if you can record even the slightest expression of anger or unfaithfulness on their faces, you have “defeated the argument,” and Hiroyuki has won. That’s enough applause.

If the MC was beaten to a pulp, it would not look good on the show. It doesn’t matter what you do with the message, angles, etc.

To sum up, it is not “debunking” but just “debunking by Hiroyuki-san” that is in vogue. Rather, I have the impression that “debunking” is going downhill in the public eye.

In the past, debate programs titled “Heated Debate! but now they are almost nonexistent, or they have been moved to time slots that elderly people watch, or to BS programs. The reason for this is simple: they can no longer get the numbers they used to.

Most of the “debates” on network TV programs these days seem to be based on respect, with the speakers reaching consensus (agreement) with each other, saying things like, “I like this idea,” or “Yes, that’s right,” and so on. I can’t help but feel drowsy when I watch programs that only say “I agree” in a congenial manner, as I used to watch debate programs in the Heisei era. It is the opposite of the debate boom.

To be continued in Part 2〈 Why do people fall for conspiracy theories?  The Future of Humanity as Predicted by Ryosuke Nishida, Associate Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology.

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