Friday, October 07, 2011

The true future

If we ever meet outer space aliens, us puny humans are going to be at such a disadvantage because our physiology betrays us in so many ways. Take lying.
1967 Soviet Union 16 kopeks stamp. Space scien...Image via Wikipedia
For a start the alien super creatures might use their super space technology, some of which brought them across the Universe to our doorstep, to zap us with a magnetic pulse which makes it impossible for us to lie.

And then there are the many ways that we betray ourselves when we lie - this claims there are seven. I'd guess that the super space technology could analyse most of those in time to information the slug-faced squid given the job of first contact that the humans are trying to pull a fast one.

There approach might be even sneakier, in that they might try to exploit our known cognitive biases so they get the outcome they want. Or even spritz us with oestrogen to skew our responses.

They should also be able to look deeper into the blood flow under our skin to spot more tell-tales. Heavens, we are already on the way to being able to do this via phone so it'll doubtless be a breeze when we are in the ante-room of the bridge on an interplanetary craft.

Of course, this does pre-suppose that we will want to lie to the alien visitors. Or that they will expect us to and will want a way to spot it. Who knows, perhaps alien peoples will, for a while, prefer to do business with us Earthians because we are so transparent and have no way to defend ourselves against such subtle probing.

It might be the case that they constantly expose our lies for what they are and gradually force us to be truthful all the time. Though I'm not sure what penalties they could impose if we do not choose to believe them.

It does also make me wonder about lies. I tell lies all the time to my kids, even my wife but they are not bad lies. They are to spare them information that would spoil things (Birthdays! Christmas!) later on. With the kids I also conceal information for which they are not ready. But there can be lies that I don't know I'm telling. Information that is wrong but I think is right, in that case I'll have all the outward signs that I'm telling the truth but will actually be wrong. Has anyone tried this on religious zealots? Hmm.

I suppose that this might not only apply to aliens. Maybe this is the life we are all headed for in the future, where it gets harder and harder to tell an untruth. And the only way you can lie is to be ignorant.
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Mike Keyton said...

Self deception. Works every time.

markb said...

Maybe that's the way to make it work. Raise folks who are deluded about human fallibilities and get them to meet the aliens. Hmm. On balance though, I think we're screwed and we'll have to welcome the alien overlords.