One Significant Way Human Trust is Significantly Flawed

I had a discussion the other day that reminded of something I had noticed decades ago (and had also discussed with people back then).

The difference between then and now boils down to this: whereas decades ago I thought this was something that we could and should fix, today I am quite doubtful whether it is something that can be fixed at all. Anyone who has ever been foolishly speeding down a highway in (or on) some vehicle and who all of sudden encounters slippery road conditions would only strongly “hit the brakes” if they were severely inexperienced. In many cases, turning things around on a dime is simply nearly impossible. I now believe the issue I was reminded of a few days ago is one of those cases which simply cannot be changed, and can only be accepted as one of those well-known “laws of nature”.

The issue has to do with human trust. Maybe not exclusively, but quite certainly humans have developed some very particular trust mechanisms over the millions of years in which our species has evolved. One such mechanism is the way trust is based on visual information — I spoke with a friend today about the way (for example) facial recognition is important and he supported this notion (and I consider him to be quite a specialist on the topic). Our species has evolved to be very dependent on visual data.

There’s just something different about receiving information from a human being with a face rather than an avatar with a photo.

Josepha Haden-Chomposy, “WordPress — In Person!” (WordPress Briefing #12, ca. 10:15 [ ] )

Since our brains are hardwired for being so strongly focused on visual data, many long-standing information technologies are also based on visual data. Although Josepha doesn’t quite put her finger on it, I believe what she is referring to is that whereas “in-the-flesh” humans are convincingly real and authentic, any visual representation can easily be manipulated and fake.

This divergence between things we perceive as trustworthy (yet which we perhaps ought to be skeptical of) and the technological manifestation of manipulative efforts (used in a wide variety of propaganda technologies to influence our thinking and behavior — and which perhaps ought to be considered distrustworthy because they are inherently meaningless and empty) seems to be a fundamental flaw in human beings.

This flaw is so deeply ingrained in our mental makeup, that perhaps we cannot even fight against it. If the fake is indiscernible from the real, then fooling naive people will continue and remain rampant, quick and easy as child’s play. Millions of years of evolution cannot simply be reversed overnight.

Any information technology strongly based on visual information ought to be interpreted as distrustworthy (which means “worthy of distrust“) — in sharp contrast (and completely opposite) to the way human trust mechanisms have developed through millions of years of evolutionary development. This should give any rational thinking person significant pause (to think about the current situation humanity is now in).

PS: yes, this has a LOT to do with “Social Business Regulation: Introduction & Socio BIZ Rule #1” [ ]


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