3 min read

The Truth Engine

The Truth Engine
From https://www.alreporter.com/2021/08/07/opinion-can-you-handle-the-truth/

Most sane people agree there is absolute truth. The problem is figuring out what it is, and filtering out the noise. A "truth engine" is the modern holy grail. We have endless streams of information, but most of it is untrue. Nation-states and corporations are racing to build systems to divide what is true from what is false.
Recently, Curtis Yarvin published a blog entitled "Twitter should be in the truth business." In the blog, he argues that Twitter should start deciding the "truth." It has a monarchist and accelerationist bent – a general theme of Yarvin's. However, what he describes is not really a "should," but rather an inevitability. If Twitter doesn't do it, some other organization will.

In his view, "Truth is an extension of [the Chief Twit's] will." He argues that the Twitter user base can be harnessed to help figure out what is most likely true. Being more accurate than other truth engines would have the most credibility, and transcend the existing "mainstream" news.

Either intentionally, or accidentally, these systems are wrong – but they are all under the control of people. Any "Truth Engine" be it Google, the Chief Twit, a King, or the Pope, should be questioned. Some coalition will inevitably use them to push their view of the truth either by manipulating the inputs or outputs of such a system.

However, people are playing fast-and-loose with the word "truth." A proposition is true if it belongs to the body of propositions for which no proposition contradicts another. There's really no way to know for sure if anything is the truth. You can be pretty sure, but you can't know completely. There's an entire field and discipline to determine if something is true or not – it's often objectively measurable with experimentation and inquiry.

What Twitter, Facebook, Google, and everyone else, are really looking for is importance. That is to say, how likely a human being is to pay attention to them. This is often not the truth, but knowing what is important is itself useful. It's about driving consensus. People must know what is important to others – this is what creates a shared sense of meaning.

Once we understand what it is we're trying to measure, there's a straightforward answer: Ask people. How do you do that? The process of measuring the importance of information proceeds as follows:

  1. First, you collect a large set of volunteers into a room.
  2. Each participant is allocated an equal number of tokens.
  3. The tokens are tradeable.
  4. The tokens may be used to publish a message to all participants via a screen at the front of the room.
  5. The screen at the front of the room displays the public posts to everyone in random order.
  6. Participants may indicate that they wish to see a message more or less by allocating tokens to it.

This example might sound familiar. It's roughly how our existing media system works today. The token is USD. The screen is your cell phone, computer, television, and many other inputs. Your attention is a valuable resource, and so people trade USD to get your attention.

Where my hypothetical experiment differs from the current world is step (2). Initially, each participant is allocated an equal number of tokens. This is not even close to being true. USD is "printed" and distributed inequitably. It is then used to give undue importance to categorically false, or destructive, but benefit the people who are involved in the creation of dollars.

Blockchain enables many new interesting use cases. However, for the purpose of the experiment, it allows allocating new tokens directly to users and shows that allotment is done fairly. The results from the experiment are only valuable if the tokens are being distributed equitably.

Stamp is a piece of software that enables this experiment to be conducted at a global scale – so that we can share an understanding of what is most important. The trouble is signing up participants, and getting them an allotment of tokens each day which they can use to rank information. Lotus is the token we've chosen to use since it can be given freely to every human daily – and hopefully develops use far outside of Stamp.

Postmodernism destroyed our grand narratives, and shared understanding of meaning – meaning which is created through a shared understanding of what is broadly important to mankind. Recreating this in a decentralized way is the ultimate vision for Stamp.

Help me make this vision a reality by signing up for this Blog, and joining the discussion on Stamp or in our Discord.