Knowledge is Power – Critical Reflection

Sir Francis Bacon famous saying ‘Knowledge is Power’ was born from the 16th/17th century’s, when those how could read and write were able to publish their thoughts free, allowing their knowledge to be currency. However, we are now all publishers because of the internet, and the majority of us can read and write. Is knowledge still power?

‘Advertisers persuade. Political parties spin and misrepresent’, is this knowledge, creativity, disease, or ignorance? Whatever it is, it works in the digital world. Jimmy Kimmel’s digital experiment of ‘Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire'( showed that without even sharing the video, it managed to get millions of views; unbeknown at the time, it was in fact a hoax that was constructed by Kimmel revealed at a later date. He gave it no exposure, the content of the video made it powerful; knowledge of youtube, and what videos are popular is important, but reading ‘A Brief History of Time’ by Stephen Hawking wasn’t.


People have manipulated photographs to make people think a certain way. The FBI although seemingly credible, showed people how Bin Laden might look by merging him with a Spanish politician. Also Narciso Contreras manipulated one of his photographs in Syria to remove a video camera in the bottom corner of the image, associated press fired him because of his breach of trust ( Furthermore, 20% of contests for the world press photo of the year wear band because the exceeded the post-production rules.


Some uses of manipulation are used without caution, but others are used in a manor that make photo distrust media, some are punished severally, but others aren’t. Artists are celebrated because they test the limits of manipulation and challenge journalists that use it. Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps merge photographs together in an extreme to show how photography can not be trusted. They famously merged a photograph of an explosion and Tony Blair seemingly taking a selfie. It has ‘become the definitive work of art about the war that started with the invasion of Iraq in 2003’, because it incapsulates peoples thinking about Blair’s relation to the war.

Photo Op,kennardphillipps,2005,book repro file

Luis Von Ahn speaks about the need for a programme that stops the computer from accessing information. Captcha creates a puzzle that a computer can’t comprehend so people don’t get spam or hacked. It shows how human interaction is still superior to computer programmes.

Instagram got rid of thousands of accounts because they weren’t actually personal accounts, they were computer generated to help people get more followers.

This lecture showed how digital media can be used as a tool for deception, because people have the ability to share things easily to their networks and spread things that aren’t even credible. The hoax is tool that has been repeated again and again (Derbyshire fairy, Jimmy Kimmel, etc) because of its effect on online communities.


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