Actions and their (lack of) consequences

A while ago I listened to an interesting podcast called the Hidden Brain on the role of outrage in the tribal social balance of trust. Outrage as an emotion played an extremely important role in a tribal society against non-compliant actors. If you got outraged on someone if they betrayed your trust or hoodwinked you, it can quickly translate into a tribal crisis resulting into direct disciplinary consequence, and in most cases depleating the perpetrator of their social capital. On the other hand, a fake/pointless expression of outrage can just as quickly deplete you off social capital and trust. So the action of expression of outrage had direct consequences in a more closed and connected society. Technology has broadened the boundries of this construct, and now , in theory, your social capital is extended beyond the society into the online social networks. However, the consequences of your actions don't equally extend, and in some cases may invert in effect. For example, a controversial and false rumour in a tribal society would immediately deplete you off your social capital, quickly turning you into an outcast. On the other hand, a controversial rumour may act as a click bait due to the recommendation systems that power online social networks, and in-turn provide you with an ever increasing audience. Which means you might be in a way rewarded for your (mis)behaviour.

Now extend this analogy into the metaverse. Until now, the discretions of malicious actors were limited to controversial or untrue discourse and/or mis-information dissemination. The metaverse would empower these actors to create their own realities, living and sharing it with vulnerable audiences. If bias-free moderation of information was a nightmare on the social networks, it is going to be immpssible in the metaverse.

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Sagar Joglekar, Ph.D.
Machine Learning Scientist

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