Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations

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It was a contributing factor to people not asking questions, and in getting Holmes positive publicity, but as far as getting money and prominent people on board, flattery by Holmes was the key.

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Another thing that helped hoodwink the business world was Holmes expertly playing on the desire not to be left out of a big score, a human desire played on by con men since the days of the cavemen. It is telling in this regard that no knowledgeable person was fooled or lost money or pride. No board member ever had any biotechnical or medical knowledge.

Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations

Few employees had any such expertise, even, except in narrow areas. Thus, the targeted rubes were all non-experts wanting to invest in, or work for, the new Facebook, which would also save lives, not just allow us to stalk people. Yet another part of the reason Holmes was able to deceive so many smart, but not knowledgeable, people was the commonly held and obsessive belief, which is practically a religion in Silicon Valley, that anything technology-related must be some combination of desirable, inevitable, and world-changing.

Holmes played on this, such as by designing the fake interface of her fake blood testing machines to resemble iPhones, and by claiming, in public, that Theranos was the most important thing humanity has ever done. But much of it is a desire to be part of something bigger than oneself, something that will change the world for the better, and again, Holmes identified that, perhaps only implicitly, and took advantage of it. An element of the story interesting to me more than most people is that all the lawyers involved were apparently incompetent or venal.

The lawyer who comes off worst is David Boies, who, like the sores of certain social diseases, keeps turning up where and when least desired by society. On a more technical level, the lawyers for Theranos seemed unconcerned that the board exercised, at most, an advisory role, not a corporate governance role. Sure, she could have forced it, by replacing the board, but really? And where were the lawyers for the investors? OK, so here we are. What does all this say about the world of technology and technology entrepreneurs?

Quite a lot, actually.


It buttresses my contention that the vast majority of touted advances, or rather advances that are supposedly just around the corner, are lies. AI does not exist in any form that has not existed for decades, it has done nothing at all, and there is zero evidence of that changing. Look, I think the world needs people like Musk, who live somewhere in the twilight between con man and genius, selling people a future that will help drive the human race forward.

Whatever Musk says, there will never be strong artificial intelligence, and weak artificial intelligence i. There will never be a Singularity. We will not advance our life spans in any material way. Sorry, Ray Kurzweil. As with Theranos, the people with knowledge are completely aware of this—just ask a real biologist about uploading brains. But everybody else swallows the lies, through some combination of not wanting to be left out, wanting to be part of something huge , and not wanting to seem like a stupid rube.

What about driverless cars, you say?

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Namespaces Article Talk. There is, though, an alternative explanation for the discrimination that African Americans feel and whites deny: hidden explicit racism. Now we do.

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  5. We are, therefore, in a position to see what it explains. It also correlates with the black-white wage gap, as a team of economists recently reported. The areas that I had found make the most racist searches underpay black people. When Nate Silver, the polling guru , looked for the geographic variable that correlated most strongly with support in the Republican primary for Trump, he found it in the map of racism I had developed. To be provocative and to encourage more research in this area, let me put forth the following conjecture, ready to be tested by scholars across a range of fields.

    The discrimination black people regularly experience in the United States appears to be fuelled more widely by explicit, if hidden, hostility. But, for other groups, subconscious prejudice may have a more fundamental impact. For example, I was able to use Google searches to find evidence of implicit prejudice against another segment of the population: young girls. And who, might you ask, would be harbouring bias against girls? Their parents.

    [Are we all deceived? About exaggerations, secrets and lies in health care]. - PubMed - NCBI

    But this question is not asked equally about boys and girls. Are parents picking up on legitimate differences between young girls and boys? Perhaps young boys are more likely than young girls to use big words or show objective signs of giftedness? At young ages, girls have consistently been shown to have larger vocabularies and use more complex sentences. Despite all this, parents looking around the dinner table appear to see more gifted boys than girls. In fact, on every search term related to intelligence I tested, including those indicating its absence, parents were more likely to be inquiring about their sons rather than their daughters.

    Primarily, anything related to appearance. Just as with giftedness, this gender bias is not grounded in reality. Even though scales measure more overweight boys than girls, parents see — or worry about — overweight girls much more frequently than overweight boys.

    Parents are also one-and-a-half times more likely to ask whether their daughter is beautiful than whether their son is handsome. In fact, I did not find a significant relationship between any of these biases and the political or cultural makeup of a state.

    Secrets & Lies clip (1996)

    It has revealed the continued existence of millions of closeted gay men; widespread animus against African Americans; and an outbreak of violent Islamophobic rage that only got worse when the president appealed for tolerance. Not exactly cheery stuff. If people consistently tell us what they think we want to hear, we will generally be told things that are more comforting than the truth.

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    Digital truth serum, on average, will show us that the world is worse than we have thought. But there are at least three ways this knowledge can improve our lives. First, there can be comfort in knowing you are not alone in your insecurities and embarrassing behaviour. Google searches can help show you are not alone. If you were anything like me, you ignored your teacher and sat there silently, afraid to open your mouth.

    The anonymous, aggregate Google data can tell us once and for all how right our teachers were. Plenty of basic, sub-profound questions lurk in other minds, too. The second benefit of digital truth serum is that it alerts us to people who are suffering. The Human Rights Campaign has asked me to work with them in helping educate men in certain states about the possibility of coming out of the closet. They are looking to use the anonymous and aggregate Google search data to help them decide where best to target their resources.

    Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations
    Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations
    Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations
    Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations
    Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations Secrets, Lies and Exaggerations

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