Sunday, October 25, 2009

Role of B.S. in Advanced Society

B.S. is a deeper philosophical topic than it might seem at first glance. Two interesting books contemplate the matter: B.S. and Philosophy (2006) and On B.S. (2005).

What is the role of B.S. in advanced society? Since it exists, it must have some role, possibly related to conflict reduction and social lubrication. A second reason for B.S. could be the complex values hierarchies in which individuals and societies operate. Social pressure and belongingness may trump truth as values. When someone is asked a question, the presupposition is that he or she may be able to answer and the inclination of the person asked is to try to respond even if a misrepresentation, e.g.; B.S., occurs.

These authors and others agree that B.S. has proliferated from the past to the present. Given that, what could be said about the future, is B.S. likely to increase or decrease? In the short term it will probably continue to increase but could then be reduced in the longer term with the advent of more advanced technology.

Personalized hypertargeted B.S.
On one hand, technology is increasing the detectibility of B.S., suggesting that B.S. could go down in the future. On the other hand, information is continuing to explode, providing more potential venues for B.S., suggesting that B.S. could go up in the future. B.S. is like spam or commercials, growing, but simultaneously control mechanisms are also growing to mediate interactions. Although B.S. could be more insidious, less detectible and even desirable when it is highly personalized and hypertargeted such as marketing is starting to be now.

Politicians replaced by Artificial Intelligences
Considering fields ranging from science, with a zero-low tolerance for B.S., to politics, with a high tolerance for B.S., it is possible in the future that it would be desirable to replace people in high-B.S. professions with Artificial Intelligences. This would solve the agency problem and special interests control overnight. Policy debates could be resolved by running a million different permutations via virtual simulation varying every parameter of a given policy change such that overall utility is maximized.

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