In 10 Years, Nobody Will Be Able to Lie (Part 4)

It has been fun to speculate for the last three posts about the near future, when reliable, unobtrusive lie detectors will be everywhere in our society. However, the sad truth is that most people do not care about the truth.

Throw whatever technology you want into the mix, and we’re still human beings, with most of us bearing emotional wounds whose reopening we want to prevent at all costs.

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In 10 Years, Nobody Will Be Able to Lie (Part 3)

In the last two posts, I’ve suggested that within 10 years, reliable, affordable, unobtrusive lie-detectors will be as much a part of life as smartphones are now. This could take our society in either of two directions: openness as we all learn to stop hiding from each other, or paranoia as we try harder and harder to keep our secrets. As with all the incredible technology coming at us faster than we can imagine, it’s impossible for us, in our relatively primitive world, to predict the social outcome.

Nevertheless, it’s fun to try. This time I’d like to consider the following dystopian question:

Will there be a guild of professional liars?

A certain percentage of today’s population is able to lie so convincingly that they seem absolutely convinced by their own lies. You’ve probably known such people. Even when caught dead to rights, they look you square in the face and tell you it isn’t so. One can imagine that people who can apparently evade their own conscience will be able to fool the external lie detectors of the future.

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In 10 Years, Nobody Will Be Able to Lie (Part 2)

The Singularity refers to that point in the closer-than-you-think future when technology will have so transformed our society that people from today would barely recognize life in the Singularity era. It borrows its name from the singularity at the center of a black hole, where the laws of physics as we know them break down.

In my last post, I forecast one piece of technology that will change society in ways we can’t predict: the ubiquitous, accurate lie detector. Now let’s start to consider how our lives might change when nearly every lie can be detected.

Even if you don’t buy my premise that we’ll have these devices, let’s have fun speculating together, for speculation is all that we can do. In fact, the consequences of these Singularity-era devices are so uncertain that maybe I should only ask questions. Let’s begin with this one:

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In 10 Years, Nobody Will Be Able to Lie (Part 1)

Within 10 years, nobody will be able to lie. Or more precisely, all lies will be detected instantly, so people will stop lying. Can you imagine how that will change society!?

But hold on a second! How is this going to happen?

Think about it: the technology is all here. We’re only waiting for someone to put the following pieces together.

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Dare to Make an Empty Map

1459 Map of the World

Have you ever seen an ancient map? Many of them showed the edge of the Earth, sea monsters, or coastlines that were more imaginary than real. Others, such as the one above, claimed to show the whole world but showed only Europe, Asia and Africa.

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How to Assess a Website’s Trustworthiness, Part 2

In the previous post in this series, I suggested a first guideline for deciding whether to trust a website:

#1: When the website makes a mistake, what kind is it?

What I had in mind was the distinction between honest mistakes, intentional lies, and bullshit, with the last being the worst.

Next up we have this simple idea:

#2: When the website makes a mistake, how do they handle it?

Do they publish a retraction? Do they put it in a place where a reader of the original story is likely to find it? Or, do they leave the original story as-is?

Continuing with the example from last time, Rush Limbaugh was spouting on his radio show about President Obama’s “invasion” of Uganda to fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Limbaugh said this was Obama’s effort to “wipe out Christians in Sudan [and] Uganda.” Limbaugh could not have been more wrong. The LRA were a marauding band of thugs conducting a campaign of rape, abduction, and murder across the region.

I happened to catch this show on the radio and heard a someone call in to set Rush straight.

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Zarathustra Speaks to the Trees

Yesterday, I took a hike in the woods with some philosophically minded friends. I wrote something for the occasion, in the spirit of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

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