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Technology and the End of Lying 339

HughPickens.com writes: The Washington Post reports that lying may soon become a lost art as our digital, data-hoarding culture means that more and more evidence is piling up to undermine our lies. "The research shows the way lies are really uncovered is by comparing what someone is saying to the evidence," says Tim Levine,"and with all these news analytics that can be done, it's going to enable lie detection in a way that was previously impossible." For example in Pennsylvania, police are prosecuting a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted earlier this year after data from her Fitbit didn't match up with her story, Just like you can Google a fact to end an argument, instant messaging programs that archive digital conversations make it easy to look back and see exactly who said what — and if it matches up with what a person is saying now. "Lying online can be very dangerous," says Jeff Hancock. "Not only are you leaving a record for yourself on your machine, but you're leaving a record on the person that you were lying to."

Even more alarming for liars is the incorporation of lie detector technology into the facial recognition technology. Researchers claim video-analysis software can analyze eye movement successfully to identify whether or not a subject is fibbing 82.5 percent of the time. The new technology heightens surveillance capabilities—from monitoring actions to assessing emotions—in ways that make an individual ever more vulnerable to government authorities, marketers, employers, and to any and every person with whom we interact. "We must understand that—at the individual level and with regard to interpersonal relations—too much truth and transparency can be harmful," says Norberto Andrade. "The permanent confrontation with a verifiable truth will turn us into overly cautious, calculating, and suspicious people."
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Technology and the End of Lying

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  • Lies, I say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:18AM (#50074825)

    Liars won't stop lieing. Few enough do even after confronted with their lies IRL. If anything, the lies will be more elaborately spun. That too can be done very convincingly online, we've seen enough evidence of that, too. Sure it will probably come out eventually. But by then the damage may well be done.

    • Re:Lies, I say (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:39AM (#50074925)
      ...and those that want to believe the lies will find more reasons to do so.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 )

        ...and those that want to believe the lies will find more reasons to do so.

        I never thought about it that way, but that's actually pretty profound. It's like how the moon landing conspiracists have now woven a web almost as complicated as simply going to the moon, and other fringers will only be more convinced of the odd stuff they believe.

      • Re:Lies, I say (Score:4, Informative)

        by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @11:42AM (#50075981)

        The technology enables us to lie more effectively. We can find whatever truth we desire:

        "The anti-vaccine agitators can always find a renegade researcher or random “study” to back them up. This is erudition in the age of cyberspace: You surf until you reach the conclusion you’re after. You click your way to validation, confusing the presence of a website with the plausibility of an argument.

        Although the Internet could be making all of us smarter, it makes many of us stupider, because it’s not just a magnet for the curious. It’s a sinkhole for the gullible. - http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07... [nytimes.com]

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          I have to admit that I am beginning to wonder if we as a society are mature enough for the internet.
          The amount of pure stupid, rude, and or cruel on the internet is overwhelming at times.
          Just look at the comments on CNN sometime it makes Slashdot look like a bastion of sanity.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Everyone lies. Sounds more like you're thinking of a psychopath. Ordinary (shall we say neurotypical?) people are often completely mortified when caught in a lie.
    • Googling a fact end an argument?
  • will not work for poker games where people bluff

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:27AM (#50074867)

    ... not always... just easier in some cases. Good liars will learn to work around the evidence and bad liars as usual will be caught as they always have been caught.

    I am disturbed by how many fake rape claims there are though. Something about that should be done. I don't know... maybe its all just media hype but it seems like that has gotten out of control and maybe the law needs to be tweaked a bit to discourage false claims.

    One thing which I think is reasonable with false accusations is having the person sentenced to a smiliarly harsh prison sentence.

    If you accuse someone of murder and you KNOW they didn't do it... if you fake the evidence up... whatever... and it is proven in a court of law that you did all that stuff. I'm okay sending that person away for 30 years. Because that's effectively what they tried to do to someone else. They tried to get someone kidnapped and kept in a cell for 30 years. Imagine if I just grabbed you and threw you in a cell. What would the sentence for that be? Again... at least 30 years of me in being in a cell, no?

    Alright... so if some person makes a fake rape accusation and stages the whole thing... falsifies evidence... commits perjury. Then lets look at how long whomever would have gone to jail had the scam worked. If the guy would have gone to jail for 10 years then... if you can prove she tried to set him up... then she goes away for 10 years.

    The sorts of people that do this thing are generally cowards. They do it because they think they can get away with it and they think the consequences of being caught will be nothing.

    If you make it clear that their story will be audited and if it is proven that they tried to set someone up that they'll do the time instead... I think a lot of these bullshit cases will go away.

    I am applying this to all crimes. Not just rape. Everything. If you try and make it look like someone stole something... same thing If the person would go to jail for 4 years or something... you go to jail instead for 4 years.

    Do not make false claims before the court.

    The sword of justice must cut both ways.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're not original. Deuteronomy 19:19

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      I am disturbed by how many fake rape claims there are though. Something about that should be done. I don't know... maybe its all just media hype but it seems like that has gotten out of control and maybe the law needs to be tweaked a bit to discourage false claims.

      After having been married to a woman that would lie and do just about anything unethical to get her way, I believe this has to do with a certain segment of the female population that I like to call "ultra liberal feminists". I'm all for equality between the sexes but this particular group I think believes that all men are stupid and deserve to be taken advantage. I suspect these women were born to other that were in households were men assumed superior authority and were education on the "evils of men" be

      • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:53AM (#50075383)

        its not about men or women. Human beings are opportunists by nature. Neither good nor evil... it is our nature to walk around and pick fruit from the ground or from the trees. We like the low hanging fruit. its easy to get at. We like big stupid animals that are easy to kill. We like the fish that are trapped. "like shooting fish in a barrel"... that's what human beings like. We like the easy way and we tend to avoid anything that is a pain in the ass.

        The issue is that the standards for evidence are a little out of whack at this point for certain crimes.

        A lot of it is just how effective it is to scare people into submission with political correctness. Nothing I'm saying is politically correct. And certain people exploit that to their personal gain.

        Al Sharpton does it with race. He'll show up and cause problems claiming people are racist... until you pay him. Then he goes away whether or not you changed anything or there was even any racism there in the first place. You pay him and he goes away.

        And a big part of our society just works that way. You can see a lot of it on slashdot. There are a lot of these twits that are just horrified that people aren't all scrupulously politically correct all times never mind if the politically correct answer is stupid. They don't care.

        Dogma trumps reality. its like a religion and they're the cannon fodder zealots. All we can do is hold the line and wait for the fever to blow over.

        One of the more positive things that has happened recently is that they got starved for victims so they started attacking their own political camps. They were basically doing purity tests. Once everyone is a liberal how do they justify their existence? well... they then ask "how liberal are you"... and they just start goal posting moving to make sure they have enough people to be outraged with at any given time.

        So anyway, they were doing that and eventually they hit a segment of their own political contingent that fought back. And now they're a little baffled because a lot of the wind has gone out of their sails. They're getting attacked from all sides now and they're losing credibility rapidly.

        Its funny because they're such dogmatic robots that they don't really understand what happened.

        We'll see... they'll either be suppressed to the general good of society or they'll osterize most of their political base which will lead to a structural schism in the faction which will weaken them collectively.

        Either way... these goofballs are at their zenith already. Its all down hill from here.

        • by radtea ( 464814 )

          Either way... these goofballs are at their zenith already. Its all down hill from here.

          This is my read on the situation as well, and the way you've reacted to the idiot who accused you of being an MRA is a nice example of how the future of this conversation will go: those of us who actually care about men's rights (because they are human rights) will continue to say the things we've been saying for years (decades, in my case) like, "Maybe living in a world where if someone dies on the job, there is a 92% chance they are male is bad thing?" People who are the argumentative equivalent of script

    • I am disturbed by how many fake rape claims there are though. Something about that should be done. [...] One thing which I think is reasonable with false accusations is having the person sentenced to a smiliarly harsh prison sentence.

      Something should be done! There oughta be a law!

      • yeah... like title IX... "There are to be a law" is basically how everything got this screwed up in the first place.

  • ...If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. Even in his time, just sticking to the truth was the path of least resistance.
    • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:57AM (#50075049) Homepage Journal

      ...If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. Even in his time, just sticking to the truth was the path of least resistance.

      Basically good advice, but the reality is often subtler than that. Sometimes, you need both a good memory for the facts, and also a good memory of exactly what you really said. Ask anyone who's ever run for an elected audience. Your opponents will extract a portion of what you actually said, tweak it just a bit, and claim you said something rather different from what you really said.

      And publicising what you actually said, with the expectation that it'll expose your opponents' trickery, isn't always helpful. Google "invented the internet" for a nice example of how poorly exposing the facts can work. At least in the political arena, it's unlikely that anything will have much effect on the prevalence of brazen liars.

      Mark Twain also said "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."

    • by captjc ( 453680 )

      He also said it was a decaying art form [online-literature.com]. Few put the effort and creativity into a truly good lie. I guess, if you're really just not going to try, you are just better off telling the truth.

  • Not on /. (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:32AM (#50074895)

    Just like you can Google a fact to end an argument

    Obviously the author has never been in an argument on /.

    • Or considered that the so-called "source of truth" could have been compromised either maliciously or accidentally by erroneous input.

      For example: my birthday on Skype is UNIX epoch date. I did that deliberately as it's none of Microsoft's business when it really is. However, my passport has an incorrect birth date because some numpty transcribed it from my birth certificate incorrectly and they want me to pay full price for a new one for their fuckup.

      • Just as in your case regarding differing birth dates, many debates are not considered to be settled despite being settled by scientific trial.

        Many subscribe to belief sets that will not allow the introduction of new, contradictory evidence. Political, religious, and tribal leanings come to mind.

        Often enough, in debate, lying isn't the same as believing different fact(s).

    • Re:Not on /. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by suso ( 153703 ) * on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:47AM (#50074967) Homepage Journal

      Just like you can Google a fact to end an argument

      Obviously the author has never been in an argument on /.

      In an online class I recently took the instructor said something like "If you go in with the facts, nobody can argue with you".

      Sure they can.

    • Re:Not on /. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:49AM (#50075361)

      Just like you can Google a fact to end an argument

      Obviously the author has never been in an argument on /.

      Also, there's the implicit assumption that all arguments can be resolved by "facts." In the real world, facts require interpretation and context. If you want to resolve a question like "Was person X at location Y at time Z?" then the facts needed to come to an answer usually have a relatively straightforward interpretation.

      But questions like "Did person X cause Y?" or "Is person X responsible/culpable for issue Y?" are not often resolvable by appeals to facts. Both sides can provide their "facts," but who wins the argument often is a matter of interpretation.

      And that's often where the "fact" problem comes in -- similar to arguments on Slashdot, it's often easy for someone to produce a battery of "facts" to support an argument. But if that person is biased and trying to win an argument, he/she may deliberately choose facts in a selective manner... which may significantly distort the truth.

      Being able to verify "facts" is only a small part of determining "truth" in most circumstances. If most arguments could easily be resolved simply by collecting facts, we'd have no need for a judicial system, for example -- we could just have a simple legal "scoresheet," tally up the "facts," and then we know the "truth" which can determine guilt or culpability or whatever.

      In the real world, "lying" is a much more complex behavior than simply stating demonstrably false facts -- it involves deliberate omissions of relevant facts or additions of irrelevant facts which can lead to misleading conclusions. Technology does much less to mitigate those latter concerns: in fact, with the proliferation of more and more data, it can make it harder to sift through what is actually relevant and irrelevant to answer a particular question.

      • Also, there's the implicit assumption that all arguments can be resolved by "facts."

        More importantly, there's the implicit assumption that these facts will always be available in correct and undistorted form from Google, which is so wrong-headed I can't even begin. Slanting Google to their worldview is a hobby (or even a business) for some people.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Imagine that you are talking to someone, and they are making a statement every few seconds (typical in a conversation). Now imagine that 1 out of every 5 sentences, a bell rings, telling you that they're lying, even though they are being perfectly truthful. (because that's the likely false positive rate, if the false negative rate is 20%.. most researchers "tune" the algorithm for what's known as equal error rate).

    Would this be ok?

    • There isn't enough information in the summary (and like I'm going to read the article...pfft!) to conclude there's a 20% false positive rate. It could be, when someone's lying, 80% of the time it says "pants on fire!" 19% of the time it says "don't know" and 1% of the time it says "truth!"

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      I'm extremely skeptical that it is even anywhere near 80%.
  • Don't be fooled... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:38AM (#50074921)

    Technology is just another piece of evidence that can be manipulated. Would a good liar use it to their advantage? Absolutely. Had Risley been smarter, could she have taken a nap and then started thrashing around as she woke up? Yes. Then the FitBit would be _evidence_, not contradiction, that she was raped.

    There's a reason things like lie detector tests don't have to be admissible in court- they're still fallible. Don't be fooled into thinking anything new still relying on humans to analyze and use is going to be any different.

    • This is precisely the problem with this sort of thinking.

      A vast informational resource will reduce the frequency of things like lying on resumes. You can't just say "I did this" without others to corroborate your claim. However, that can easily lead to a tendency to simply assume the facts are out there. In turn, when someone does want to get away with lying, they can do so by making sure that their claims are either audacious enough that the victim assumes a lie would be impossible, or by fabricating enoug

  • Fatbit (Score:5, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:40AM (#50074929) Journal

    > Fitbit

    "Let that Slashdot nerd go, Chief, he's clean. His Fitbit showed he spent most of the day slouched and barely moving, interrupted only by trips to the bathroom."

    "What's this series of spikes here?"

    "It looks like he was shaking hands with someone vigorously. We're not sure who."

  • by ideonexus ( 1257332 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:40AM (#50074931) Homepage Journal

    Great example of our technology out-pacing our wisdom. What many people label "lying" is actually misremembering. Our biological memory-retrieval systems are extremely bad. Every time you remember something, your brain is rewriting the memory [radiolab.org], meaning the more you remember an event the more your brain distorts it.

    This happens over and over again in our courts, people honestly remember things completely wrong and we call them liars. The film "Rosemary's Baby" is based on a true story of ritualistic child abuse, except the "real" story was entirely implanted [google.com] in the minds of everyone involved by psychologists. Even the accused were convinced they were guilty. It's absurdly easy for a psychologist to implant false memories of our childhoods [wikipedia.org] in experiments.

    The wording in this post unnerves me. The older I get and the more digital the world becomes, the more I learn that I misremember 60% of what has happened in my life. If technology is used to prosecute anyone who makes a statement that contradicts hard factual data, then many innocent people will be prosecuted. We need our scientific wisdom to catch up to our cognitive biases.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      The reporter who got castigated for 'falsely' claiming to be on a helicopter that was hit by a RPG in Iraq strikes me as similar. The narrative that our memory is straight up shit is not widely known.
    • Great example of our technology out-pacing our wisdom. What many people label "lying" is actually misremembering. Our biological memory-retrieval systems are extremely bad.

      Most people I know think of lying as deliberate action, designed to gain something, whether it is to get someone else in trouble, obfuscating the facts to make yourself look innocent or "right", or the more benign but still corrosive lying to tell others what you think they want to hear. Malice or manipulation in short.

      If my wife attributes something someone said 25 years ago to me, I'd never consider that a lie, just a faulty memory. Hers or perhaps even mine.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:41AM (#50074935) Homepage

    ... who catalogued their entire lives online including endless photographs, times and dates, feelings, opinions, likes, dislikes etc.

    Wait, whats that loud clucking sound I can hear?

    • The problem is if you DON'T catalog your entire life online, have facebook/twitter/linkedin/ad nauseum, they don't trust you. They need to see your entire life to feel comfortable. If you're one of those "I don't do facebook" people, you've not only identified yourself as not one of their tribe, but your lack of researchable information makes you immediately suspicious. I recently lost what I thought would have been a good business deal because of this.
  • Ask me no secrets and I'll tell you no lies.

  • Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Memes and misleading statistics are growing, and even if lies are shorter lived they occur exponentially more quickly.
  • The art of lying (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The art of a good lie is in weaving it into truth.

    A lie on its own without some truth to back it up is doomed to failure. This has always been the case. If you want to be convincing in your lies, they need to be just small parts of a larger story which is mainly truth.

    If I told you that I was once interviewed by the TV news, talking about Princess Diana just after she died, then you might disbelieve me. And you'd be right to: it never happened.

    However, if I told you about the day I was walking around London

  • What's the problem? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:09AM (#50075119)

    The only time lying is permissible is in hard situations like the classic "Nazi asking if there are Jews in your house" or some other flavor of serious and unjust consequences for telling the truth. For most people, there won't be dire consequences because their lies will just make them lose face the way it's always been. For women like the one in PA who is being prosecuted, it will help those they victimize (both the male unjustly accused and real rape victims whose claims are viewed more skeptically).

    People wonder why lying is such a problem now in courts, well the reason why is that perjury is a joke compared to what it should be. The Old Testament definitely got that right. The price in the Mosaic Law for perjury was to be sentenced to the exact same punishment that is ordered for the list of offenses filed against the defendant. If the woman in PA knew that her perjury would get her say 20-30 years in prison and permanent sex offender status, you can bet she'd have taken it a lot more seriously than the usual at most few years it actually carries. Add a civil component that immediately pierces government immunity and you'd see cops behaving like boy scouts on the stand.

    • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @12:47PM (#50076385)

      The only time lying is permissible is in hard situations like the classic "Nazi asking if there are Jews in your house" or some other flavor of serious and unjust consequences for telling the truth.

      Bold assertion. What about "little white lies" - lies constructed so that all people involved are better off, or at least neutral, believing it. You know like "I thought that dress last night looked good on you"

      Beyond that, I may want to consistently lie to distort the data collected about me on the internet for marketing purposes. In this case (and many others) lies increase privacy.

      What about a male crossdresser who identifies as female to Google so he can see ads for shoes and makeup? Everyone wins, because of how that data will be used.

      And those are all cases that work if you think that lying is somehow wrong and needs to be counterbalanced in some way. I would think a more accurate statement is stuff like "getting someone to be falsely imprisoned" is wrong and lying is but one tool to cause that to happen.

  • Here lying is as natural as breathing. It is extremely rare to find someone who speaks a truth the first time you ask something to him, here they lie even when it makes no sense to lie. A technology that could detect with 99% certainty when someone is lying would make the brains of people here to collapse, because they would not be able to withstand the urge to lie and having to tell the truth to avoid being caught by the machine.
  • Not only lying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gshegosh ( 1587463 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:33AM (#50075263)

    programs that archive digital conversations make it easy to look back and see exactly who said what

    Not only lying will vanish then, but changing one's mind over time, too :-(

  • by Katatsumuri ( 1137173 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:44AM (#50075323)
    Technology has been instrumental in spreading lies on a scale that was hard to achieve earlier: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06... [nytimes.com]
  • Double-edged sword (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Muntzsky ( 4001535 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:45AM (#50075335)
    Facial analysis studies could show how to detect lies, but it could also instruct on how to evade detection. If you know which eye movements, twitches, etc. are indicators of lying, you can practice avoiding those things while lying. Conversely, peppering in those types of indicators during obvious truths could cause false positives and totally throw off the reliability of knowing whether someone is lying.
  • ...and the Universe will produce a better idiot.

    I'm sure the same applies for liars.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @10:08AM (#50075459) Homepage
    82.5%, 92.5%, or even 95% is WORTHLESS when it comes to lies. We need something along the lines of 99.99% to even begin to consider it helpful.

    Let's say we have a school of 200 students, one of whom pulls a prank. Teachers apply the test to all 200 students and they get 35 people that failed the lie detector - but only of them did it. Worthless information.

  • I hope so!
  • Please apply it to political power plays, clandestine operations, secretive courts and legal systems, like tort law
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/we... [cornell.edu]

    A million years will pass and there will still be lies!
    Besides, who plays big brother and hoards all data in secrecy?
    Can all be manipulated at will, thats a permanent lie right there.

  • Okay, pretty much stopped reading at that point. The fact is that it's as easy to propagate lies through the Internet as it is truth.

  • Sorry, but I see this as an unmitigated good. The times I have been damaged, I have been damaged by liars. Liars telling lies they know I have no way to contradict. In fact, this is basically how the world is run. People receive false evaluations from people in positions of power, they receive false promises from associates, they receive false information about people's intentions and the false factual information about events of the world. If there were some way to take away their power, then that would b

  • Because NOBODY ever lies on the internet. That's a proven fact, amirite?

  • If a person is a Marketing drone, a politician, or a lawyer, they are liars.

  • I'm always kind of amazed its a crime (and a fairly serious one) to lie to the FBI and many other government police agencies. It seems like a fair number of people accused of some crime don't get convicted of it, but instead end up getting convicted of lying to investigators, often before they have been charged with a crime or even if they are not the target of the investigation at all.

    The better strategy most criminal defense attorneys advocate is don't talk to them at all. I think only a handful of peop

  • So then what will politicians, salesmen and Kickstarter campaigns ever do with themselves? Just remain silent? Maybe that's not a bad thing...

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