Truth Machines and Open Networks

Yak Wax (
Thu, 5 Feb 1998 13:32:02 -0800 (PST)

Truth Machines and Open Networks

Although I’m sure this would make a nice tie-in with Jim Halperin’s
“The Truth Machine” I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment. Well I
can, but that wouldn’t be fair.

Imagine for a minute that the Internet is thriving, and for
organisational purposes we now “mirror” real-life events, places and
people inside the computer. Mirroring a real world event, place or
person inside the computer is basically the autonomous production of
meta-information (see This information can be
easily organised by agents. For instance, if I go and fill my car
with petrol the transaction can be automatically made. This is
because somewhere within the network environment I’ve created a piece
of information stating that I used the pump. This just happens to be
the way the World Wide Web is progressing (and if you don’t believe me
ask the W3C.)

All this information is then linked together and presented in a
“machine-readable” fashion. As the potential of these “mirror worlds”
is realised, more and more information will be created on the network.
Eventually, every single thing you do will be stored on the network.
As is the nature of the Internet, all this information will be stored
in an “open” format (encryption and fast machine-based organisation
doesn’t mix) on a non-centralised network. What this means is that
anyone can find out anything about anyone at anytime. And therefore
it is impossible to lie (falsifying one piece of information means
falsifying *every* piece of information, as is the nature of complex
hyperlinked networks.) Concerns that this may lead to lack of privacy
are, to an extent, correct.

Solving crime becomes easy. Actually, “crime” ceases to exist.
Seeing what caused the crime is just as easy as seeing the crime
itself. Secrecy is no longer possible, as I’ve said this is
*absolute* truth, if something is happening we will know about it. At
first this may mean the “moral majority” goes on the rampage, but
where to? There neighbours, their local politicians, their own homes?
How long will it take them to realise that their morals have become
overwhelmed by this new-found openness? How long before we all become
tired of making petty judgements? Besides, who can say what I do is
wrong when I clearly see that they indulge in it every night at 8:00PM?

Of course, you’re going to have to forget “Intellectual Property
Rights.” If it’s been thought of, it need never be thought of again
(only improved on.) A completely “open” economy (or Open Market) has
already made a small emergence on the Internet (with several freeware
products.) Software will be the first to undergo this transition,
because it can already be easily copied and distributed (piracy is a
good thing.)

So would you mind giving up privacy for absolute truth?

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