It’s not oil or eggs or toilet paper—but something far more precious.
"Trust is the scarcest commodity in the world. Nothing else comes close."
Yes, our trust in "experts" is pretty much over for now. Once I thought it was just government and then banking after 2008 but now it's everything.
Abigail Shier is the first one to drive this home to me in her book "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters" Too many parents have trusted experts and found their children and families busted into pieces. Too many of us sent our kids to school not knowing we would be gaslit with crazy teaching and affirmation of identities behind our backs instead of real learning. Maybe that is the end goal of cultural Marxism? It would have been nice to give Shrier a mention.
Who can "trust the science" when scientists are not free to pursue what they wish? This is why sexologist Debora Soh switched to journalism. Of course, "journalists" mostly follow a narrative with a Woke style guide. And, I suspect they write most stories in their slippers without venturing outdoors to truly investigate anything. And, since when are we supposed to "trust/believe" in science? The whole idea of science is that you are supposed to challenge ideas and see if they hold up.
Personally, I have concerns about the trustworthiness of ChatGPT. I only recently got around to testing it out and what I saw alarmed me. For instance when I asked it for statistics on race and crime in America it flat out refused to provide them, instead spitting back platitudes about the dangers of racial generalization. It took a fair amount of prodding for it to return a few high-level numbers.
It seems to me that ChatGPT clearly embodies left-wing political values and I’m worried about what this portends. Who gets to decide what the acceptable bounds of discourse are around controversial issues related to race, gender and culture? Is it a handful of employees at OpenAI? The political orientation of ChatGPT will inevitably lead to the balkanization of our AI landscape whereby people who are upset with the biases of the mainstream platforms end up creating alternatives.
A lot of the worry over AI has been the extent to which it might replace human labor down the line, but my biggest fear isn't AI making increasingly larger swathes of humanity obsolete. My biggest fear is that our future robot overlords all end up sounding exactly like Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo. Can you imagine an army of terminators tasked with enforcing the mandates of Kendi's Department of Anti-Racism? Can you imagine if SkyNet basically became Kendi?
Humanity has misplaced its trust since the beginning of time. C’mon, Eve, just one bite. What could go wrong? What’s so amazing is how amazed we are when we’re betrayed. We seem hardwired to trust. But most of us also possess that internal safety valve called nagging doubt. We need to heed it more frequently than we do.
There’s only one government built on distrust — ours. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary,” James Madison wrote in Federalist 51. “If angels were to govern men, neither internal nor external controls on government would be necessary.”
Madison and his band of brothers constructed a constitution of checks and balances to corral the worst excesses of the heart. Post-modernism may loathe these men, but they sure understood human nature in a way we do not.
As soon as I heard about deepfakes a few years ago, I realized that we are in serious trouble. When you can no longer trust your eyes, everything is in doubt.
But when it comes to the erosion of trust in our formerly most trusted institutions, those institutions have no one to blame but themselves.
There have always been some dishonest people who put money ahead of *everything*, but with the abandonment of religious values, that trait is now spreading unrestrained. And when companies are headed up by people whose performance is judged only by quarterly profits--people who will have moved on to the next "better" position at another company in a couple of years--it is inevitable that companies will put short-term profit ahead of everything.
There have always been some people who tell lies in the name of their ideology. But with the growth of more and more virulent ideologies, those lies are now embraced instead of denounced. When there is profit to be made from those ideologies, the motive to lie and to embrace lies increases ten-fold. But even more terrifying are those who are so devoted to their ideologies that money is not even a consideration in the decision to lie.
The point is that untrustworthy people are now being rewarded by our institutions instead of rooted out of them. That inevitably makes those institutions untrustworthy.
'Seeing was believing—but not anymore. Until very recently, if you doubted something, you could look it up in an encyclopedia or other book. But even these get changed retroactively nowadays.'
So, in lieu of everyone signing up for The Honest Broker - consider it time to horde, buy on eBay, scroll through used book stores, look in your scruffy attic, and add every hard cover book published before the year 2000 that you've always wanted to your already considerable collection of tomes in your bookshelf. They're old, worn, read, and for the most part, true. They can't be rewritten, changed, altered or disguised. They can't be canceled. They can't be whitened out. They can't be deleted.
Books can be trusted for their authenticity. You don't have to agree with what is written within them. But that doesn't matter, for you can understand what you see. And trust yourself to decide.
The future is upon us and I do not like what I see..
I know he focuses on big tech and business here, but I immediately drew the comparison to schools. We no longer trust our schools because they refuse to be transparent with parents. They closed our schools for a year, masked our kids for another full year, all without evidence. When we tried to show them data and told them our kids were struggling, they ignored us. Now, we emerge from that nightmare only to learn that they have decided teaching political ideology (CRT and gender ideology) are their two highest priorities. But, we didn't learn this because the district was honest with us. We learned it by submitting FOIA requests and teachers secretly telling us. It's a never-ending cycle of distrust.
I can name that tune with five words: No truth means no trust. We live in a society where truth is twisted or devalued ( his, hers zers, but not THE). Trust is earned and it comes from the top down, starting with leaders in business, politics, education, science etc. When you breach trust and speak untruths or allow untruths to spread, you have shown you should not be TRUSTED
This is why freedom of speech is so essential and important for a free society to work. The FP just published a great excerpt from Tim Urban's book, "What's our Problem?" and it is about the importance of free speech. (I highly recommend you read through it.)
So many of the "mainstream" views that we are encountering in the media and that is shaping AI that Gioia reports on here, seems to be the result of dissenters not speaking up and a desire for conformity of thought, rather than diversity of thought, in what used to be the bastions of truth. Our sources of truth are no longer reliable, that is true - but how many individuals working for Facebook, or the New York Times, or on The Hill are suppressing their own speech for the sake of keeping with the mainstream? If you censor speech that questions a favored narrative by a loud and extreme side, you are not allowing such narrative to be questioned and thus, argued out in the marketplace of ideas. You wind up with a society that muzzles itself. If you cannot change or influence the larger society, all you can do is speak truth yourself and seek out the sources you trust and amplify them. I guess that is why we are all here, reading and commenting on an FP article that disturbs as much as it resonates with us.
"Consider the case of scientists—who now struggle with a replicability crisis that casts doubt on even the most respected peer-reviewed studies."
Two words: "Gender Ideology". It has eaten all of the formerly respected medical, scientific, and academic organizations. But, what is a woman anyway?
Trust is not the scarcest commodity, the scarcest commodity is critical thinking. The more time spent on platforms that pander to the human ego, the less time there is to exercise our higher ability to critically think. With each post, video, reel, and photo consumed, our emotions are fed, while our critical minds are left to starve. Our republic was founded on the very premise that an all- knowing, all- powerful government was not to be trusted and freedom of speech was paramount to preventing government excess. Most importantly, embedded within the right of free speech is the individual’s duty to educate oneself and exercise critical thinking.
"If you want answers, you go to Google—but it’s now crammed to the brim with paid placement ads."
That's not the worst of it. At least you know those are paid. The lefties at GOOG have twisted the algo so right-leaning sources on controversial topics (transgenderism, wokeness, school choice, etc.) simply don't show up any more, or get pushed to the 3rd of 4th page of results. Also, ChatGPT is so completely injected with "woke" as to be unusable. Bottom line: The people who built, own and operate the information systems have an agenda - and it SHOWS! No wonder trust is lost.
The American Business Community has only itself to blame for the collapse of trust. They produce shoddy products, lie about them and their origin, provide laughably abysmal levels of "customer service" and treat their employees deplorably while enriching half-witted, preening CEOs. Worse are politicians. Democrats screeching about Trump's shortcomings while offering as his replacement a senile, incompetent fabulist geezer? Don't even get me started. Curated "news" is not news. Political medicine is not medicine. Grow up and start telling the truth. Or you won't believe the backlash and the ferocity of it.
"Trust" is a question of "truth" and "identity" - we trust someone we know who usually tells the truth. The real difficulty that technology creates is double: we can't tell the truth from a fabricated lie, and we can't remotely verify identities in a reliable way. To solve these challenges, we must first understand what truth is, beyond its logical/mathematical definitions (almost all philosophy today gives us on this subject). How can one hope to rebuild trust if there is no real understanding of what truth is?
There is a complex argument behind this, but what we call "truth" in our daily lives is linked to what we call "reality" - so there is a strong reason why "trust" and "truth" are most under attack in the era of synthetic, fabricated realities. "Reality" turns out to be a cultural construct, but not one that can be synthesized by anyone (through lies, manipulation, etc.), but rather a collective cultural construct resulting from a set of "truth-validating institutions". Such institutions were well established and strongly linked to identity, for example the institution of personal reputation for people, or collective reputation for newspapers, or the peer review mechanism for science. Even the school as a whole is really just a " truth-validating institution", but dictionaries are also another type of this kind of institution. In fact, all of our culture and knowledge would be unthinkable without these ubiquitous, but almost never seen as such, insititutions, since no one can verify everything they learn for themselves, and they have to *trust* that someone else has done so.
What is really happening is that all these good, reliable, old truth-validating institutions are being dismantled by technology but also by an aggresive pollitical campaign targeted at them (take the list above and you'll see that woke movement is heavily targeting them, mostly school, press, dictionaries); they simply don't do their job anymore under the new conditions. And yes, it is true that free speech is fundamental to the rebuilding of some new truth-validating institutions and there is a precise reason for this:
That 60 percent of people don't trust journalists or 76 percent of people don't trust politicians is actually a sign of progress -- people are beginning to be aware of the BS they have been fed. But what could the remaining 40 percent or 34 percent possibly be thinking? The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem.
The fact that our trust in institutions was higher than deserved and is now coming in line, though still too high, is a good thing. The fact that the institutions are not trustworthy is a bad thing. But these are two different things, to be clear.
Trust, once lost, is hard to restore.
Many of us are here on The Free Press, and sustaining the site with our hard-earned, ever more worthless money, in the hopes that what they publish is the result of honest research and reflection.
Many of us can excuse the biases of some...or is that all...of the contributors as long as that bias is freely admitted and properly defined.
Articles such as this may not change the way people think or act. My continued financial support is contingent on the authors and editors doing their part. If they do, I will continue to do mine.