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Sydney | Nick Enfield | Design Principles for Truth

  • Golden Age Cinema 80 Commonwealth Street Surry Hills, NSW, 2010 Australia (map)

In this age of ‘truth decay’, we hear about the rise of a post-truth era, the spread of fake news, the ills of social media and the new infosphere.

In this talk, Nick Enfield will describe the roots of the problem, some of its key features, and some directions for designing ways to overcome it.

Three points will come to the fore. First, we need to recognize that language has different functions, which can sometimes work against each other to compromise the veracity of information: our statements are sometimes genuinely intended to inform, but at other times they merely signal our allegiances. Second, we need to recognize that our own cognitive habits and limitations play a role in truth decay. We urgently need to promote new forms of cognitive literacy, beyond gestures to critical thinking. And third, our polarized us/them culture is in part fostered by our values around knowledge, evidence, and our own limitations. As individuals and as a society, we need to prioritize intellectual humility.

Get ready for a very thought provoking morning at the beautiful Golden Age Cinema in Surry Hills.

About the speaker

Nick Enfield is the Professor of Linguistics and Head of the Sydney Initiative for Truth (SIFT) at the University of Sydney.

His research on language, culture, cognition and social life is based on long term field work in mainland Southeast Asia, especially Laos. His recent books include Natural Causes of Language, The Utility of Meaning, Distributed Agency, and How We Talk.

Nick has published widely in linguistics, anthropology, and cognitive science venues, and has written for the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, and Science. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Royal Society of New South Wales, and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Date and time:

Thursday 15th August The talk starts at 8am sharp. We encourage you to arrive around 7:30am to enjoy free delicious coffee in the beautiful new rooftop terrace Paramount Recreation Club where you can get to know other curious thinkers and start the morning inspired


Free but limited. Available from 7am Wednesday 7th August on our Eventbrite page

Want to ask a question?

If you've got a question, a problem, or a project you want some great minds to think about - send a question on slack, twitter or email us and we'll ask the group at the end of the talk. 

About Rising Minds:

Rising Minds explores the intersection of technology, business and culture through a free monthly speaker series hosted at intimate venues in Sydney, London and New York.

But more than that, Rising Minds is about true connection - and connecting in a time when this seems more important and more challenging than ever.

For 60 minutes of unplugged sharing, we invite you to expand your thinking - in the company of curious minds and fuelled by great coffee. Rising Minds is a space where speakers share a little more of themselves, where guests ask exciting and vulnerable questions where connections are made beyond the room — but there too.

Whether you’re a regular or a newbie, extroverted or introverted, a CEO or a student - We invite you to pop in, enjoy a great coffee and connect with other curious thinkers. We're excited to rise with you.

Welcome to Rising Minds.

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A huge thank you to our event sponsors.

Coffee sponsor: Mobile Experience, who'll be keeping us caffeinated on the morning at Paramount Coffee Project.

Venue sponsor: Golden Age Cinema & Bar, who provide our fabulous venue

Earlier Event: 25 July
Sydney | Hold Tight!