What I'm Reading (Mar. 25)

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What is trust? Did whales learn to avoid whalers? The dangerous self-fulfillment of ludic loops

“Trust between humans relies on a frail and strange notion of shared experience, absurdity and vulnerability. Indeed, it’s surprisingly difficult to articulate exactly what trust is. One way of demonstrating that difficulty is to see if trust can be simulated – by robots. Attempting to turn trust into a strictly rational process demonstrates how hard it is to say just what’s going on when one person trusts another. So what happens when we ask ourselves and others to trust – or not trust – a machine, particularly one with some level of autonomy? What’s necessary for a robot to do a trust fall?”

We need to trust the FDA in getting vaccinated. We need to trust science to help end the pandemic. We speak of trust quite a bit. But what makes up trust? From Psyche, What falling robots reveal about the absurdity of human trust

“…if whales are so smart, why did they hang around to be killed? The answer? They didn’t.

Using newly digitised logbooks detailing the hunting of sperm whales in the north Pacific, the authors discovered that within just a few years, the strike rate of the whalers’ harpoons fell by 58%. This simple fact leads to an astonishing conclusion: that information about what was happening to them was being collectively shared among the whales, who made vital changes to their behaviour. As their culture made fatal first contact with ours, they learned quickly from their mistakes.”

From The Guardian, Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information

“What makes the world of digital ludic loops a dangerous one is that constant engagement with the outside world solely through a news feed or a separate party eventually dulls our own abilities of perception and analysis. If everything we learn and everything we think is fed to us, and none of our own thoughts are truly of our own creation, we will eventually forget how to think.”

Welcome to the world of Ludic loops, the easiest explanation is the thrill of gambling, but it applies equally well to the thrill of social media. From Medium, The Lucid Truth of Ludic Loops