Anti-Social Networking.

Online it’s harder to judge integrity. You lack those face to face indicators which have evolved over millions of years. Despite that this add on lie-detector for Skype is a worrying development. I know such technology is already used by insurance companies to detect potential fraud. But I think the solution to bridging the online trust-gap is simpler: spend more time getting to know people.

6 comments

  1. Simon Baddeley says:

    Seriously I doubt this technology will stay the course. In general the technologies that last are ones that extend rather than substitute. Thus most famously the lever extends the arm, the wheel the leg. The telescope and the microscope extend the eye, as do X-rays. Radio extends the voice and the ear. The trouble with this particular lie-detector is that it seeks to substitute for that part of the brain that makes judgements about someone via the sound of their voice. I suspect brain plus ear can do that better, especially given human capacity for learning. The jury is still out on lie-detectors – by phone or direct. They can produce hard-copy read-outs of stress which a court may see as better evidence than an experienced witnesses’ judgement on its own. There are a lot of technologies where its is unclear whether they extend human capability or replace it. We could do well to keep a continuous watch on many as we seek a sustainable socio-technical economy. What do you thing of the machinery of intensive agriculture. On the one hand it displaces rural settlements of people holding a rich range of farming skills and knowledge. On the other hand it frees millions from the drudgery of growing their own food and makes great cities viable – for the time being.

  2. Simon Baddeley says:

    Seriously I doubt this technology will stay the course. In general the technologies that last are ones that extend rather than substitute. Thus most famously the lever extends the arm, the wheel the leg. The telescope and the microscope extend the eye, as do X-rays. Radio extends the voice and the ear. The trouble with this particular lie-detector is that it seeks to substitute for that part of the brain that makes judgements about someone via the sound of their voice. I suspect brain plus ear can do that better, especially given human capacity for learning. The jury is still out on lie-detectors – by phone or direct. They can produce hard-copy read-outs of stress which a court may see as better evidence than an experienced witnesses’ judgement on its own. There are a lot of technologies where its is unclear whether they extend human capability or replace it. We could do well to keep a continuous watch on many as we seek a sustainable socio-technical economy. What do you thing of the machinery of intensive agriculture. On the one hand it displaces rural settlements of people holding a rich range of farming skills and knowledge. On the other hand it frees millions from the drudgery of growing their own food and makes great cities viable – for the time being.

  3. nick booth says:

    Thanks Simon. Software like this may become popular as an attention substitute. If people feel there is too much going on for them to pay proper attention, they could rely on this or similar to alert them to the things which they believe deserve their attention. Think of it as the personal equivalent of an intensive care unit – only when the alarms start going do peole jump, and it’s the machines that decide when we should be alarmed.

  4. nick booth says:

    Thanks Simon. Software like this may become popular as an attention substitute. If people feel there is too much going on for them to pay proper attention, they could rely on this or similar to alert them to the things which they believe deserve their attention. Think of it as the personal equivalent of an intensive care unit – only when the alarms start going do peole jump, and it’s the machines that decide when we should be alarmed.

  5. Simon Baddeley says:

    “…and it’s the machines that decide when we should be alarmed.” e.g. It’s a “computer says …” tool. Hm. I think we should have a little check list – widely circulated, which allows us to assess a new technology to see if it replaces human skill or extends it. Modernt video players are a famous case. I am not technically illiterate – but I would rather use my brain and judgement to do what the programming array on a video tries to do instead. Similarly I dislike digital rheostats or tuners because finger tip control and torque evolved over millenia is just better. See as an ironic example of trying to build human skill into a machine, the research being done at Reading Uni on programming prosthetic hands to achieve this level of sensitivity, instead of either crushing an egg or dropping it. If that’s complicated imagine what you’d have to do to replace our capacity for trust (a subject which as you know I’ve studied for 30 years – between politicians and managers using video (see my Flikr set on ‘Constructing Trust’ to which you have access)

  6. Simon Baddeley says:

    “…and it’s the machines that decide when we should be alarmed.” e.g. It’s a “computer says …” tool. Hm. I think we should have a little check list – widely circulated, which allows us to assess a new technology to see if it replaces human skill or extends it. Modernt video players are a famous case. I am not technically illiterate – but I would rather use my brain and judgement to do what the programming array on a video tries to do instead. Similarly I dislike digital rheostats or tuners because finger tip control and torque evolved over millenia is just better. See as an ironic example of trying to build human skill into a machine, the research being done at Reading Uni on programming prosthetic hands to achieve this level of sensitivity, instead of either crushing an egg or dropping it. If that’s complicated imagine what you’d have to do to replace our capacity for trust (a subject which as you know I’ve studied for 30 years – between politicians and managers using video (see my Flikr set on ‘Constructing Trust’ to which you have access)

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