Monday, 21 June 2021 22:38

The Tesla Autopilot Excuse: How EV Ignorance Created the Perfect Storm for a Misinformation Nightmare

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
A Tesla Model 3 that burned after a crash in April in Texas. A Tesla Model 3 that burned after a crash in April in Texas. NTSB


...put up filters to help themselves maintain the consistency of their beliefs at the expense of their potential correspondence with reality.


"The initial crash reports were also likely more vivid than the drier details of the subsequent investigation, so the availability heuristic might make those initial reports more vivid and accessible in people’s memories when they think about the crash---even if they’ve followed the subsequent reports,” he wrote. 


Emma Frances Bloomfield, Ph.D., an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with an expertise in strategies for combatting misinformation, explained to Teslarati ultimately, misinformation and disinformation travel very quickly because they tend to be compelling and engaging, all while confirming an audience’s biases.


This made the Texas crash a perfect storm of sorts, as it had a compelling event that catered to biases against Tesla and its Autopilot system.


Unfortunately, Bloomfield also highlighted that once misinformation sets in, it takes a ton of effort to overturn. 


“To address misinformation, people can create more complete stories that replace the incorrect one, provide trustworthy authority figures to deliver the message, and not repeat the false information when making the correction," Bloomfield wrote. "You can also emphasize the importance of accurate information to make the best decisions moving forward and highlight how those changes might benefit the audience/consumer.


"We also say, ‘correct early and correct often’ to try and get ahead of the temporal advantage misinformation has and to counter the repetition of the false information,” she wrote.
A Battle Tesla Doesn't Need to Lose


As highlighted by Benning and Bloomfield, misinformation is hard to battle once it’s settled in. And for a lie to settle in, it...