By Rob Verkerk PhD* and Paraschiva Florescu
ANH founder; Executive & Scientific Director, ANH Intl and ANH-USA; Scientific Director, ANH Europe
Mission Facilitator, ANH Intl


The Nobel Prize Summit held between 24th and 26th May 2023 in Washington DC showcased how the war against the ‘viral infection’ of misinformation and disinformation is to be fought by academic institutions, the mainstream media, social media companies, and governments. The summit’s title, ‘Truth, Trust and Hope’ is a reflection of a view held by the organisers and their backers. They uphold that unless this war is won, public trust in science is done for. You may not be surprised to learn that cancel culture and artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to play key roles in the battle strategy against ‘scientific misinformation’.  

The great thing is not having a mind”, writes Nobel Laureate Louise Glück, in her poem “The Red Poppy”. And what a great thing indeed, for having a mind is perhaps one of the biggest obstacles in the way of authoritarianism and the hunger of a few for extreme power. People’s minds can be either a tool to further an agenda, or a hindrance to achieving it. It depends from what perspective you choose to look at it. We’ll explore the idea of perspectives throughout the article.

Selected extracts from the Nobel Prize Summit. Share link:

Mouthing off, Beckett-style

The Nobel Prize Summit began by putting the assembled in-person and virtual audience into an almost trance-like state with a performance piece about mis- and dis-information by film producer Smriti Keshari. Warning: don’t be put off by the performer’s disembodied mouth, the words which emanate from it are too insightful to be ignored – this is art, for corporate science protectionism’s sake!

Smriti Keshari - film producer

 “….Were their eyes or ears or nose or memory, playing tricks on them? […] Did they see something that wasn’t there? … What were they to believe?... Disinformation’s web, tangled threads of falsehood spread, truth obscured, misled”. Extracts of the monologue from Smriti Keshari’s performance piece at the Nobel Prize Summit

It turns out Keshari’s piece was inspired by Samuel Beckett’s 1972 monologue Not I that is delivered in a similar way: via an illuminated, seemingly disembodied mouth. Keshari borrowed another idea from Beckett’s work in which the previously voiceless protagonist begins to doubt her ability to find her voice as well as her own memory, coming to the conclusion that “memories could be false”.

Nobel Prize Summit listeners were taken on an emotional journey, which included the 130 years of Nobel prizeworthy discoveries as well as an “experience” of what some may consider misinformation and disinformation.

Reading between the lines

The objective of the performance piece was clearly to show how people can be misled into believing conspiracy theories.

The proposed mechanism for misleading people, which has a cogent scientific basis, involves juxtaposing fear through fear mongering with the exploitation of our innate attraction to the unexpected.  Surprise and anticipation, like fear, are actually primary emotions and therefore are very powerful drivers of human behaviour. With careful calibration of these various factors, people can be led to believe all sorts of things, some of which will turn out not to be true.

While the mechanism is widely recognised, we were concerned about the assumptions being made over who is deploying which type of misinformation or disinformation, consciously, sub-consciously and unconsciously, and to what end.

To be more specific, and by way of example, the scientific establishment represented at the Nobel Prize Summit would likely argue that any view that purported that lockdowns, masks or vaccines did more harm than good during the covid pandemic period (2020 – 2022) should be categorised as scientific misinformation. We would of course disagree, based on our interpretation of the available evidence (see our covid-19 archive for 339 of our articles [at the time of writing] on the subject, many with extensive referencing to the scientific literature).

This example demonstrates just how important it is to recognise the continued evolution of science, particularly when trying to anticipate an interaction between a new virus, the origins of which have been determined to be the result of one of three potential options: zoonotic spillover, or, now more likely, accidental or deliberate release, these last two options involving gain-of-function research.

Not only is there still no consensus on the origins of the virus, populations have also been exposed to the virus, in its multitude of different variants and sub-variants, as well as to genetic vaccines, to vastly different, and often overlapping, degrees. Then, one has to factor in the paucity of long-term data that comes from the deployment of novel mRNA or adenoviral vector technologies that had never been trialled or used at scale previously. Plus the fact there has never before been an attempt to halt a pandemic through mass vaccination so there’s little in the way of epidemiological history to draw on. Put this ‘moving feast’ together and you have, at best, huge scientific uncertainty, where population-wide findings have little or no relevance to individuals, especially when applied to different groups of people at a different place and time.

And uncertainty appears to be something the mainstream scientific establishment, health authorities and their media propagandists appear to avoid at all costs: it seems it’s too confusing. More to the point, confused people aren’t easy to control.

Vaccinologist Geert Vanden Bossche PhD, who we recently interviewed, has consistently argued, using his theoretical and empirical knowledge of immune responses to vaccines, that such an approach was folly and has been the major reason that so many immune escape variants have been induced. In his newly released book, 'The Inescapable Immune Escape Pandemic', he argues that a sudden and much more serious outbreak could still emerge if ongoing C19 vaccination programs are not decommissioned.

>>> Speaking Naturally: immune escape with Dr Geert Vanden Bossche

This uncertainty inevitably – and rightly should – invite a diversity of opinions, not only about what was actually happening with this moving feast of a global experiment, but also over how to measure and assess what was working and what wasn’t. We uphold that the subversion of early treatments with multi-target therapeutic agents, the censorship of dissenting scientific views, the propagandisation of the mainstream, myopic and flawed narrative, and the deprivation of civil liberties, were potentially illegal based on a distorted and trumped up perspective of the available science. A ‘single truth’ version of the cherry picked science that was frequently referred to, confidently, as “the science”.

While many cases have been initiated in the courts in multiple jurisdictions around the world, the courts – being part of the establishment – have yet to determine the extent to which government-backed strategies in many countries exceeded the rule of law being based on widespread scientific deception (pseudoscience). But it is likely just a matter of time, as the continually emerging science moves ever closer to showing the degree to which deception occurred.

Take for example how the Phase III C19 vaccine trials were publicised, with the Pfizer press release, stating 95% efficacy and no evidence of greater harms in the treatment compared with treatment groups (it actually stated that 90% of the serious adverse events occurred in the placebo group). By contrast, a comprehensive analysis of available trial data by Peter Doshi and others, published in the BMJ, found “a 36% higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group”. This dissent, including Doshi’s publication of an open letter to the CEO’s of Pfizer and Moderna, are absolutely in the interest of good science, as well as being in the public interest.       

We argue that the globally managed pandemic response aimed to deliberately manipulate the public and make it submissive to carefully construed master plans (e.g. SPARS Pandemic Scenario, 2017; and Event 201, October 2019) that would instil fear in the public, aiding coercion and control.

We saw this manifest through the use of behavioural science, nudges and – wait for it – misinformation. Yes, misinformation isn’t just issued by ignorant people like ourselves who’ve chosen to live and work outside the mainstream scientific and medical establishment.

It’s also used as a weapon to mislead by the establishment; see our article published in March this year which exposes the establishment’s challenge against scientific misinformation.        

Act Two

With the audience having been mesmerised by Keshari’s performance piece and likely moved into a suggestive state, the Nobel summit’s next act was illusionist Eric Mead (view performance). Mead, an illusionist, used various demonstrations to try to convince us that our minds are so geared to recognising specific patterns of information that we should not trust our own senses.

His demonstrations reinforced how easily our eyes, ears, and others senses can be deceived. He proffered that an individual’s certainty over something factual is an illusion – one experienced in the mind of the individual. That everything you think you’re certain about you should start to question. Before the next speaker, the host reflected: “We’ve just seen how crazy perception can be. How accurate is our recall and how can we put our trust in that?”.

Eric Mead. Source: Nobel Prize Summit

With these ideas in our minds – an audience skeptical of the summit’s intention was left wondering who is really being duped.

It was also a reminder of how gaslighting works psychologically. Gaslighting, as defined by Domina Petric MD, is “...a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception and sanity”. The abuser’s aim is to break the “victim’s introspective mirror so that the victim starts to doubt in oneself”. Gaslighting, while having become the norm in recent times for those cast to the margins of society because of their non-acceptance of the narrative, is an extremely dangerous form of abuse that can lead to poor mental health, self-doubt, self-blame and negative self-judgment, even post-traumatic stress disorder. We would posit that during the covid era, the public at large has been chronically exposed to this dangerous form of psychological manipulation – not that this possibility was ever considered at the Nobel summit.

Throughout the 3 days, different speakers, from scientists, to philosophers, laureates and artists, continued to try to implant and solidify within the audience the idea that we – the great unwashed public – are inadequate in our capacity to determine “truth” and that our minds are weak, vulnerable and untrustworthy.

Elizabeth Loftus, memory researcher at University of California, told us that she can implant false memories within our brains and make us believe that something happened when, in fact, it didn’t; blurring the lines between reality and imagination. By the end of her talk, the audience was left doubting each individual’s reality. The audience had been shifted towards a common acceptance that 'we' need 'them' to help 'us'.

Dr Elizabeth Loftus. Source: Nobel Prize Summit

A more surprising speaker in the Nobel summit line-up was ex-Google employee and Big Tech critic, Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, whose work we’ve long found to be inspiring in its attempt to reduce tech addiction in young people. Harris contrasted our “paleolithic brains” with “god-like technology”, suggesting our brains are not matched with the way computers, mobile phones, social media and other tech influences our brains. He claims that our inadequate, maladapted brains combined with what he described as “medieval institutions” making it difficult to solve the problems created by social media and the Big Tech sector in general.

Us and Them: can our sense of belonging co-exist with dissent?

The sense of ‘belonging’ was a recurring theme throughout the summit, but the subtext was that the intent was to develop systems that would ensure as many people as possible would subscribe to a monolithic view of science in relation to covid-19 and climate change. That almost defines authoritarianism, if not totalitarianism.

Belonging is indeed a key behavioural trait of human beings, recognised as a fundamental human need that is necessary for survival, wellbeing and quality of life. It is the need to connect with others, to align with a certain identity, to feel part of a group or a system.

Isn’t this the very point? Surely we don’t all need to choose to belong to the same group – and those who feel we do, who might also argue they support diversity, only do this from a very limited perspective. So they may be great advocates for ensuring there's no discrimination with respect to ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or neurodivergence, but they remain intolerant of the full spectrum of diversity in scientific or political viewpoints, or health choices.

Baldly, it’s OK to identify as ‘genderfuck’ (yes, this is in the Wikipedia listing of gender identities but it’s not OK to use ivermectin for the early treatment of covid-19 in place of an mRNA vaccine.


You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it. 

- US Food and Drug Administration, Twitter, Aug 2021

It seems that speakers at the Nobel Prize Summit wanted the audience to have blind faith in these vaccines, and ignore the fact that the conference occurred only a little over a month after the publication of one of the most definitive studies of C19 mRNA vaccine effectiveness during different waves (including different SARS-CoV-2 variants) of the pandemic, carried out on Cleveland Clinic employees. With respect to the most recent wave and Omicron variant (XXB), the “risk of COVID-19 also increased with time since the most recent prior COVID-19 episode and with the number of vaccine doses previously received”.

Peter McIndoe, the creator of a satirical conspiracy movement, suggested that conspiracy theorists are simply people looking for a way to belong.

McIndoe thinks that the solution for conspiracy theorists is to be shown that “the other side also welcomes them in” and that way “we’ll be closer to the shared reality that we all want”. Sadly, this is only a form of false belonging. It also ignores that we might have a problem with the values, the ideals, and the science being used by “the other side”.  

The explanation that McIndoe offered is a massively undeveloped assessment of what really happens between social groups with different values, concepts or ideas.

For us, on 'this side', a much clearer explanation comes from knowledge of two distinct mechanisms. The first is the widely recognised consensus in social psychology around ingroup bias, referred to (even) by Wikipedia, as in-group favouritism, in-group–out-group bias, intergroup bias, or in-group preference. Such group allegiances form the basis of prejudice. In its most severe manifestation, prejudice may extend to genocide, as shown by one of the world’s most prolific genocide researchers, psychologist Ervin Staub.  Staub has demonstrated that history has shown repeatedly that the in-group ideology can be one that is false, Nazi Germany and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge being just two relatively recent examples.

The second mechanism relates to ‘mass formation’, depicted so coherently by Matthias Desmet in his of-the-moment treatise, 'The Psychology of Totalitarianism' (2022). Desmet demonstrates, referencing decades of work on crowd psychology, how individual behaviour can be influenced by large groups of people – the mob, the crowd, the in-group – who are strongly aligned to particular ideologies and dogmas. Again, not ones that are necessarily right, politically, socially, or scientifically.

With some irony, because Desmet dared relate mass formation to the recent uptick in authoritarianism whereby authorities have used covid-19 as a justification for increased control of populations, he has been widely cancelled, dare we say, by institutions and media outlets keen to not upset the apple cart of their in-group.

Going back to Indoe’s proclamation, given that membership of the in-group is driven in part by our innate belonging need, surely it cannot be said that the need for belonging explains conspiracy theories. That’s because there is no evidence to suggest that the belonging need is an exclusive trait of conspiracy theorists, who are clearly members of an out-group. In reality, group preferences are at work, both for in-groups and out-groups, and it is the subject matter, the evidence, concerns, values or beliefs associated with different groups, that ultimately act as drivers of preference for one group or another.  

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

"In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility". - Eleanor Roosevelt

In his famous work on the mechanisms of genocide, 'The Psychology of Perpetrators and Bystanders' Ervin Staub considers that the basis of mistreatment of subgroups (and out-groups) starts with the differentiation between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Once this division is made, it is easier to start blaming the other group for difficulties and employ tactics of scapegoating and discrimination. Furthermore, with this division, it is also much easier to devalue and dehumanise ‘them’, in this case, the conspiracy theorists, a disparaging term now used to describe anyone who threatens the main narrative or brings dissenting opinions to the table.

Not one speaker at the conference suggested that some who are labelled conspiracy theorists have been gaslit and wrongly made scapegoats. We think this is very telling as to the real intent of the summit.

Cancer survivor Melissa Fleming from the UN Department of Global Communications brought a concrete example of ‘us and them’ thinking and conspiracy theories to the table by relating it to Ty and Charlene Bollinger’s The Truth About Cancer page. The Bollinger’s were featured in The Disinformation Dozen report compiled by the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

Melissa Fleming. Source: UN Department of Global Communications

She opined that bad actors like the Bollingers have been spreading “ugly lies” and that she felt she would not have been giving this presentation if she had followed the advice of the community advocating natural remedies for cancer when she herself had Stage III cancer. Fleming states that Bollinger is “infecting” the minds of millions, and that there are other examples of many being infected by conspiracies, such as refusing vaccines. On this basis, she declared war on misinformation, concluding “We vastly outnumber the haters”, seeming oblivious that she’d fallen into the divisive us/them narrative. Fleming also pronounced her views as “truth” because they were backed by the establishment, deaf to the notion that the establishment has been consistently wrong on issues around covid-19 (see our Table 1 in Rob Verkerk’s piece from March, “Don’t trust their plan to rebuild our trust in science”).  

Forget the 'scientific method', we’ll make up a new one!  

A revealing discussion was held by a 3-person panel of Nobel Prize laureates, namely Saul Perlmutter (Physics, 2011), Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine, 1993) and Donna Strickland (Physics, 2018). The purpose of the panel was to explore the ‘scientific method’ and the role of discourse.

Source: FEATURE: Don’t trust their plan to rebuild our trust in science

Strickland recognised that there is a peer review process amongst scientists where there are 'conversations', conferences and therefore discourse. However, she emphasised that scientific communication was no longer largely between scientists; the digital information age now meant scientists are required to communicate with the public, informing them of their work and teaching them about the relevance of their findings.

The discussion focused a lot on children (yes, get them young!) and, Roberts, refreshingly, suggested that critical thinking should be part of the curriculum in schools. “Let them question the teacher, there’s nothing wrong with questioning the teacher...” said Roberts. The conversation then moved to the scientific process which is where “we argue with each other, we have disagreements, then we test it”. So far so good.

Strickland then brought up a practical example of how, during the covid pandemic, people got confused about whether masks were effective or not. She indicated, rightly, that the confusion was due to there being a “science experiment in real time” and that “something was tried, it was tested […] and usually we have time to get to the final answer before we broadcast it, but because scientists were trying to save lives, we were broadcasting as we went”.

Strickland went on to say that the public frustration could have been avoided had people been made more aware of the scientific process, and that failure (i.e. type I or II errors in testing the null hypothesis) is a key part of it.

Roberts then came out with a classic that seemed unforgivingly ignorant of the recently released Cleveland Clinic study, when he set forth, as follows: “The Surgeon General in Florida thinks that vaccines are bad. I mean, where on Earth did he get his degree? I do not understand it. Maybe we should close down that university that educated him”, to which the audience burst into laughter. Umm – more unbridled silencing of discourse and cancel culture. While the audience was being encouraged to think critically on one hand, the other hand was spoon-feeding the ‘truth’ – or at least a form of someone’s truth.

"The Surgeon General in Florida thinks that vaccines are bad. I mean, where on Earth did he get his degree? I do not understand it. Maybe we should close down that university that educated him."

- Sir Richard Roberts PhD, FRS (Nobel Laureate, Physiology or Medicine, 1993)

Roberts’ interim (not final) ‘solution’ was the creation of a “factual database” where people could go and check whether something they had heard or had developed a belief in was either true or false. The unspoken subtext was that neither the network of fact-checkers nor Wikipedia was doing a good enough job. This database would create a sort of “gold standard” and – whoopee – Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be used to facilitate the creation of this. He didn’t say who was to program the AI, but we can guess. Exactly how Roberts’ hybrid fact-checker/Wikipedia on AI-infused steroids was going to convince those who had access to different information was anyone’s guess.

But let’s back up a minute. Since when, and how, and by whom, is 'truth' established? As we have seen over millennia, there is no absolute Truth, there is only established knowledge at the time, which can and will change. Who decides what fact is for Roberts’ factual database?

More ‘solutions’ for the war on disinformation came from a panel on the second day of the summit. Dr Anna Harvey, President of the Social Science Research Council, offered her belief that the “problem” leading to public confusion over scientific ‘truth’ relates to the diversity of opinions within the scientific community. Harvey made reference to former head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr Anthony Fauci, suggesting that the struggles he had during the AIDS and covid crises were when “consensus on the medicine [and] the science” was contested by “one or two” scientists with dissenting views who were elevated by the media and given the “equivalence of experts”.

Dr Ann Harvey. Source: Social Science Research Council

Harvey argued that if non-scientists were to be shown the high “degree of scientific consensus that exists” and this was also contrasted with the much lower level of dissent, people could be readily persuaded to go with the majority (i.e. the ‘in-group'). "Lay people", she remarked, are unable to distinguish between reliable journals, and those that are not so reliable. She upheld that even if 98% of the scientists agree on something, there will always be “one or two scientists holding dissenting views” and the problem is when the media elevates these dissenting views. Again, no reference, to the established fact that the establishment got it wrong on covid, over and over again (see our piece published on our website last month, ‘Why misinformation bans are misinformed and dangerous’), something that is inevitable when paid-for science tries to claim certainty on a very uncertain scenario that is in effect a scientific moving goalpost.   

National Academy of Sciences president, Marcia McNutt, suggested it would be helpful to offer the public “quick consensus” from the scientific community so that they can see “this one is a done deal, everyone agrees”. Isn’t this exactly what they did, while trying to cancel dissent, to give the illusion that 'everyone agrees'? She offered, “That would be very helpful to the public to understand that when science comes to consensus it is with extraordinary evidence and it’s not just based on a whim.”

What McNutt and others seem to ignore is that science, and definitely emerging science, is never a 'done deal'. You can very rarely apply a time limit to the knowledge that emanates from the sausage machine that employs the scientific method and determine that an arbitrary threshold of knowledge has been reached, after which no dissent or challenge to the 'consensus' will be tolerated. Imagine if Copernicus’ heliocentric view of the planetary orbits had never been allowed to challenge Ptomely’s established geocentric theory? Or we believed what medical doctors and related advertising told the public about the safety of cigarette smoking in years gone by? 

We’ve attempted to crystallise the views over the role of discourse in the scientific method into two figures (Figure 1, A and B). Figure A shows the apparent ‘consensus’ position put forward by the Nobel Prize Summit presenters; once an arbitrary threshold of knowledge has been achieved through the use of the scientific method, further scientific discourse is both unnecessary and confusing to the public. One has to assume that further scientific exploration will only be explored by dissenters. To us this is scientific dogma, not the scientific method.

By contrast, Figure 1B depicts the approach we argue is necessary if good, open, progressive science is to be valued. Here, ongoing dissent, as and when it emerges, will always help fine tune or modify the prevailing scientific view, even beyond the point where certain milestones in knowledge acquisition and scientific agreement have been reached.  

Figure 1. A: the silencing of dissent following general scientific agreement, that also limits further scientific exploration. B: ongoing scientific exploration and discourse, even following initial agreement over specific scientific knowledge.

Closing down discourse at an arbitrary point will sound the death knell, in our view, to real, independent, progressive science that enables us both to better understand the world, within and beyond planet Earth, but also how to solve our many challenges.

This is especially the case in the following three scenarios:

  • In medical research when so much mainstream medical science is funded by vested interests (principally directly or indirectly by pharma/vaccine companies and related interests) that often involve reporting biases, false findings, or the non-publication of negative results
  • Where prejudices are endemic in academic and other institutions, against non-pharmaceutical, non-technology based health solutions. This is particularly the case with prejudices against low cost, unpatented, natural health solutions, as reflected by mainstream media-facing organisations like Sense About Science in the UK, and Science-Based Medicine in the USA
  • In areas of emerging, and therefore uncertain, often rapidly changing science, two of the most notable examples being the central topics of the Nobel summit: covid science and climate change. Given that science has now become so heavily politicised, it seems there is very low tolerance of uncertainty. So much easier if you just tell everyone to blindly 'follow the science' (mask up, take your jab, stay at home, get behind digital IDs, buy your EV, etc.) which you pretend is black and white, when you know it is actually infinite shades of grey. When you’re forced to change your mind, there’s no need for a mea culpa. Such is the scale of the mass formation that's on the journey with you.  

Nobel misinformation battle tactics

Following are three of the key tactics revealed during the course of the Nobel summit that we think we should all take careful note of.

  1. Badging system for ‘trusted’ scientific journals

Asa Wikforss, professor of theoretical philosophy at Stockholm University believes that the lay public, or, we presume, marginalised scientists who’ve been labelled as conspiracy theorists, are simply incapable of discerning what is good or bad science. We get confused over which sources are reliable. Taking a leaf out of the World Health Organization's (WHO) book with its new ‘infodemic’ initiative, Martin Chalfie, Chemistry Laureate, referred to the infodemic in his talk at the Summit, saying that there is “so much noise” out there making it hard for people to find the right information. Yes, we agree, we live in an information age and not everyone is handling it with ease.  So apparently we need help. The answer? A badging system that will show which journals are the ones you can trust, and we can guess, if this initiative gets the thumbs up, the ones carrying the most big pharma-funded research like The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine will be among the first to get badged. Perhaps they should talk to whistleblower and ex-editor of the NEJM, Dr Marcia Angell, before they decide?

Asa Wiforss. Source: Nobel Prize Summit

Anna Harvey (Social Science Research Council) proposed the use of a rating for the credibility of scientific journals, the score giving consumers an index of reliability, similar to the NewsGuard iniative with regard to news websites.

Given we saw little discussion that helped us learn to trust those in the existing scientific establishment who will be responsible for the rating parameters, we were unmoved by this suggestion. To us, it seems little better than match fixing when it comes to horse racing or cricket. 

  1. Changing social media algorithms and reward systems

This option was particularly favoured and, accordingly was discussed in depth. Apparently, social media algorithms that have cancelled so many dissenting scientists and organisations, are the problem because they – wait for it – favour mis-/dis-information over truth. Many claims were made during the Summit that during Covid, algorithms favoured fake news and that the information ecosystem was “killing people”. The solution? Invest in an algorithms that give preference to ‘truthful’ facts, rather than spurious ones. Again, who is the arbiter of truth? Who decides and how? Bottom line: prepare yourself for an even greater distortion of balanced information on social media.

Dr Sylvie Briand, director of the Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness for the WHO, suggested looking at why people share mis-/dis-information by using social and behavioural science. She went on to say that careful listening should come first, and that technology and AI can be used as a tool to “develop better social listening tools” so that authorities can know in real time what are the public’s questions and concerns. This approach is aligned with the thinking in the proposed Article 17 from the WHO’s ‘Pandemic Treaty’ which advocates in clause 1b, conducting “regular social listening and analysis to identify the prevalence and profiles of misinformation, which contribute to design communications and messaging strategies for the public to counteract misinformation, disinformation and false news, thereby strengthening public trust.” This can be interpreted as implying a mechanism that moves towards gagging freedom of speech.

Briand said the WHO have already developed a tool for this suitably named “EARS” (Early AI-supported Response with Social Listening) that does not only monitor questions and concerns of the public, but also sentiments, for example anxiety and anger. As we’ve already mentioned, emotions are powerful.

In a recent article talking about AI, Yuval Noah Harari states that “in a political battle for minds and hearts, intimacy is the most efficient weapon and AI has just gained the ability to mass produce intimate relationships with millions of people”. Harari further states that intimacy is a power that can “change our opinions and worldviews”. 

  1. Prebunking and ‘corrections’

Sheldon Himelfarb, president and CEO of PeaceTech Lab (an organisation with the mission to “use the power of technology, data and media to save lives and promote peace”) thinks AI is a tool that must be used for addressing the exploding and existential threat to the planet of mis-/dis-information. Through AI, content can be flagged before users “go down the rabbit hole” (also known as prebunking). Secondly, AI can flag up “inaccurate information” and provide corrections at the exact moment when users are provided with mis-/dis-information. That way, the issue is tackled from two sides – preventing the unwanted information reaching the platform in the first place, and, if it does reach platforms, then making sure there are 'corrections' issued so that 'users' are aware that it is “inaccurate”. The UN encourages this idea and believes that pre-empting (or prebunking) along with continuous monitoring is necessary to compete with the disinformation at its earliest emergence. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, professor of communication from the University of Pennsylvania added, “We may need some type of regulation […] We can use AI to single out unreliable information […] and change the reward systems on social media platforms”.

Sheldon Himelfarb. Source: PeaceTech Lab


If you wish for an enlightened, pluralistic, curious and innovative society, one that welcomes and embraces different views and perspectives, don’t expect the mainstream scientific establishment, flaunted at the Nobel Summit, to be involved. As other areas of emerging science are beginning to show – the field of quantum mechanics being a particularly pertinent example – we need to look beyond a single truth or even reality.

The protagonists of globalisation, an incremental process that now extends well beyond trade and into the political, social, economic, agricultural and health systems of our planet, is heralding a new catchcry: it’s a shared reality, the domain of ‘One Health’, and that apparently means one opinion, one truth.

As Eric Mead, the illusionist at the Summit, demonstrated but failed to clarify, 'magic' or illusions only work when you observe the act from a specific angle. Change your perspective, the angle from which you establish your worldview, guess what? The world looks different. Different perspectives, a diversity of voices, and an independent and transparent scientific method that can extract the stuff that really sticks regardless of the vigour of the challenge, are what are really needed.

Maria Ressa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her efforts “to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”, capriciously claimed that the only place where different people believe in different realities is an insane asylum. Her logic ran as follows: “Without facts, you can’t have truth, without truth you can’t have trust, and without trust, there is no shared reality”.

Maria Ressa. Source: Nobel Prize

Whose truth, and whose reality, we find ourselves asking? And does she really want us to trust science that is controlled by one of the dirtiest and most corrupt industries the world has seen?   

While unity and the sidelining of misinformation and disinformation was the central theme of the Summit, the summit was was also full of contradictions. We heard about the importance of the scientific method and the need for discourse, yet those very advocates of the scientific method were busy trying to eliminate dissent which they see as the solution to building trust.

It was as if there was recognition, on one hand, that science as a methodology, that had developed to help us better understand the world around us, needed to be true to itself, yet, on the other hand, the presenters also knew they needed to follow a particular score. One most of the academics had wholeheartedly bought into, probably given that their continued funding depended on it. The score dictated that dissenting scientific views on covid and climate change at least, should be relegated to the trash heap. 

Many spoke about the importance of a democratic society, in contrast to totalitarian regimes, yet those same people do not see the threat to democracy caused by the withdrawl of civil liberties, including the dramatic rise in censorship and restriction of free speech since the covid pandemic broke courtesy of a lab leak over 3 years ago. Or that authoritarianism, the prelude to totalitarianism, is on the march, wiping out democracies. As the Economist’s Democracy Index revealed for 2022 (download full report here) only 8% of the world’s population now live in “full democracies”.

Some 37% live in flawed democracies, 18% in hybrid regimes, while the rest (also 37%) face authoritarian regimes.  

We were told critical thinking is important, if not vital, yet are we to put this aside when it comes to controversial issues, like covid and perhaps soon climate change, that threaten to remove hard-won civil liberties, so that we can be spoon-fed ‘truths’ from allotted ‘experts’?

What about some of the things that didn’t get airtime in Washington, such as scientific independence, transparency, the due exposure of conflicts of interest, and tolerance of scientific dissent, all of which, we feel, could go a long way towards restoring trust in science.    

>>> FEATURE: Don't trust their plan to rebuild our trust in science

We’ll continue to fight to protect and promote natural health, which we consider to be an inalienable right. To do this, we support diversity of dialogue and discourse, and we like to foster critical thinking, even over knotty issues which are laced with uncertainty. Freedom of expression, autonomy and self-determination are all prerequisites for being able to manage health through natural means, in turn allowing us to build or maintain our strength and resilience.

Never before has such strength and resilience been so necessary, as we face the threats of psychological and manipulative forces, artificial intelligence programmed to defend the interests of the status quo, a barrage of new-to-nature chemicals and electromagnetic wave forms, collapsing social and economic systems, and political systems that are fixated on controlling us, as pawns in their game.

Had Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and the benefactor of the Nobel Prize, been present at this Nobel Prize Summit, he might have seen what we saw: the lighting of the fuse of a bomb that has the capacity to destroy science as we knew it.

Dissent is our only hope if we are to avoid a world in which corporate-sponsored pseudoscience becomes a pseudo-religion, masquerading as ‘truthful’ science.    

>>> To watch recordings of each of the sessions over the 3 days of the 2023 Nobel Prize Summit, click here

>>> Read 'Free Speech's Grim Future' from the team at ANH-USA


>>> Visit for our complete curated covid content of the coronavirus crisis

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