March 06, 2015

The more you trust someone to be telling you the truth, the more you might come to believe something not true.

Sir, Robert Shrimsley writes on the always incredibly interesting and incredibly difficult issue of finding who are to be trusted for telling the truth… for instance on the web, “Google searches go beyond #Thedress to a bigger truth” March 6.

And Shrimsley refers to a Google research paper proposal to “move away from the wisdom of crowds and back to established authority”.

With respect to “wisdom of crowds”, I fully agree with that as a minimum a major revision is in order since those “crowds” on the web cannot be taken as being real crowds in the traditional sense.

But, on the use of “established authority”, these might neither have much to do with what we think (or hope) they used to be... These now represent more something like network authorities or ideological affinity authorities.

So how would I proceed if Google?

For a starter, and since I know gaming is always a possibility, I would leave the door open for at least 25 percent of pretending Truth-Sayers to be ushered in by Lady Luck, meaning presenting varied opinions from those who have done no merits at all to be telling the truth, picked out by means of a lottery.

Second I would use an algorithm that takes away qualifying points from any established authority that uses incestuous cross-references… meaning the “you quote me and I quote you” kind of affairs.

Third, I would use an algorithm that equally takes away qualifying points from any established authority that conforms excessively with political or ideological point of views held by anyone side of the big divide.

And finally I would end all publishing of possible truths with the following: Warning: the more trusted someone can be to be telling you the truth, the greater the possibility that you fall for something that is not true.