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The Coming of the Truth Machine PDF Print E-mail
Written by nuncio   
Monday, 29 November 2010 11:13

It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that the Internet has at least some of the properties of a putative 'truth machine'.

I feel a certain (and specific) euphoria as I watch the establishment stumble around trying to nuance and process raw information, such as that emanating from Wikileaks, into digestible chunks. That specific euphoria is born of hope that they will not succeed and that they will choke on it.

The establishment, of course, tries to blindside us by concentrating on whatever it is that Prince Andrew* has said instead of the rather less flavour-enhanceable statistics on Iraq and Afghanistan war killings. But, perhaps, despite our near-constant immersion in junk data, the fresh scent of truth cutting through the stench of corruption still stirs something fundamental in us.

Why see the Internet as a 'truth machine'? Because it can force truth out, and in the case of Wikileaks positively spew it out, as part of its ordinary function. This is a function to be seized upon and celebrated by all those who care about the availability of truth to all.

The coming 'Semantic Web' offers the promise of a far greater level of programming development toward this end. A vast amount of money and effort has gone into developing the sophisticated search capabilities (usually for purely commercial purposes) with which we are all now so familiar. The Semantic Web could create a different kind of revolution by allowing the release of algorithms that could mine raw data for consistent truth. The challenges involved in developing such capabilities are daunting but the prize is great.

We may not yet have the precision instrument of truth-focused semantic search required to quickly, consistently and easily dissect the facts, but we do now have the blunt instrument of vast quantities of easily available data, with which to bludgeon the dissemblers into submission. Not a 'truth machine' yet but at least, perhaps, a 'truth steam-hammer' with ambitions.


*To my mind the entire concept of monarchy is "rude and inappropriate".

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