In the book Factfulness, Hans Rosling explains the way in which the media has distorted the way humans view the world. There are many types of media that plague our world such as fake news and advertising-driven media. Factfulness helps us think about biases in media and how to spot them. Rosling emphasizes the importance of separating fact from fiction when it comes to forming our opinions.
3 Biases to Debunk
First, Rosling argues that we need to stop trying to divide the world into groups. The East vs. West mentality divides the world and separates people. Rosling calls out our need to see things in black and white. It’s easy to blame a group separated from ourselves, but in reality we all share this planet. We have been led to believe that Westerners are developed while Eastern countries aren’t. This has created an us-vs-them mentality which contributes to biases to preserve inaccurate narratives.
Second, Rosling argues that population growth is exaggerated by our society and is most likely to naturally level out. These misconceptions of exponential population growth are instilled in us from early on in our lives. However, science shows us that like any other population, once there are too many humans, our resources will not be able to sustain us and our population will drop. However, this is unlikely to happen in the near future because the UN’s projections for population growth show us that our population growth is already declining. One cause is the growing tendency of having fewer children or no children at all.
Thirdly, Rosling advises us that the best way to avoid bias and see things for how they really are is to look at things from multiple perspectives. When we use one angle to look at things, our opinions become flawed. When we don’t seek out other perspectives we are choosing to look at things as only black or white. By being exposed to multiple viewpoints we are about to understand the full story and come to a much better understanding. We can then conclude what is factual without our biases getting in the way.
Factfulness is important with the power of media growing in our modern world. There is so much information out there and so much of it is unreliable and heavily biased. The spread of misinformation is harmful and could even be dangerous. For example, when it’s time to vote for politicians, it’s important that the people have access to reliable information. Without it, we could be voting for someone who goes against what we believe and want. That’s why it is so important for us to keep in mind how different sources of information can be misleading and hold bias. When we keep these in mind and are critical of what we are being told, we are choosing to be mindful for a better world.