The Oracle Problem Hits America Hard

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Believe it or not, there's an explanation for what's happening in American society on a quantum level, from the popularity of crypto-currency, to our social and political divisions and even the insurrection at Capital Hill: America Has "The Oracle Problem."

It occurred to me the other day, America is suffering from, "The Oracle Problem" and it isn't just affecting dingbats who want to get rich quick with imaginary digital money. It's affecting tens of millions of people and creating a huge division in our society.

For those who aren't aware, "The Oracle Problem" is a philosophical/economic/social/technical issue involving "trust."

The basic concept is: In any exchange, trust is necessary in order to make such an exchange legitimate and comfortable.

The value of this has appeared when there's talk of "trustless money of the future" - the idea that for crypto enthusiasts, government is a bad guy, and cannot be trusted, so they need some alternative form of debt/value that doesn't depend on needing to trust the government will act responsibly or ethically. With Bitcoin, "math" rules the network, not "corrupt politicians" [supposedly].

Unfortunately even in the crypto situation, you still have to trust somebody. Instead of it being government (which in most countries is representative and ideally continually evolving to meet the needs of society), you end up trusting "the code", which is basically written by anonymous people who haven't necessarily demonstrated they are trustworthy. So whether anybody wants to admit it or not, with crypto, there's still a lot of "trust" that's needed: trust that miners are operating properly, trust that the software and hardware you're using to maintain your accounts is not corrupt, etc. Instead of putting your trust in a centralized entity that you have influence over, with crypto you put your trust in a bunch of random, anonymous people.

Nowadays, the information age has backfired on us. Our desire to have more and more sources for data has created a huge signal-to-noise ratio. This has resulted in things like cryptcurrency being somewhat accepted as legitimate, despite the fact that when you examine the actual evidence, it really does not offer any advantages over existing systems.

Likewise, our ability to pick and choose whatever narrative you want to believe, and then find somebody online "verifying" it, isn't limited to Ponzi schemes. It's affecting 70+ million peoples' perception of reality, from whether or not Covid is not worse than the flu, to the notion that the election was "stolen" from Trump.

America has an Oracle problem.

A vast amount of people no longer know who to trust any more.

When for every news network saying one thing, you have another network saying something different, you have a "trust" problem.

When the network that claims to be "fair and balanced" continually spouts lies and misinformation, you have a "trust" problem.

We saw the implications of this distrust manifest during the 2020 election, culminating in a large group of rabid Trump supporters actually attack the US Capital. Their "oracles" insist that the narrative they espouse is the one true reality.

So what can be done about this?

As a society we need to agree on who and what we can trust.

America traditionally had systems in place to help command proper trust: The Fairness Doctrine with radio and television. Public TV and radio stations also helped. Taking the private interest/commercial element out of news and information resulted in more fair and honest data being fed to the population. This has been systematically going away since the early 80s.

We have to have a standard by which we measure what is and isn't truth. It will be impossible to get everybody to agree, but we have to have more than half the population on board for it to work.

We do this by removing as many conflicts of interest as possible. This is why, for example, a non-profit entity is ideally better suited for doing charitable work, than a for-profit entity. That's not to say non-profits can't be corrupt -- we know that's possible, but due to the nature of the structure of how they're formed, they're more transparent and more able to pursue their goals without necessarily being hamstrung by significant conflicts of interest.

America needs that in their media as well.


 

 

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