Blog Post 4

*Note for my class- I couldn’t attend any events so I did the Thursday’s class blog*

When asked to find a potential speaker to come to Bucknell, I immediately searched Ted talks. I have watched several in different classes and have always found them interesting yet entertaining. I decided to research the technology category and came across a video that I think really connects with what we have been talking about in class recently. I found the video “the future of lying” by Jeff Hancock and believe this would be interesting for the Bucknell community.

Jeff Hancock is a psychologist who teaches at Cornell University. He focuses on how we interact through different technology, like texting and social media. More importantly, he focuses on the use of deception and lying through communications on cell phones and the internet. His idea is “that while the impersonality of online interaction can encourage mild fibbing, the fact that it leaves a permanent record of verifiable facts actually keeps us on the straight and narrow.” This is contrary to what most people think today. But in a way, it actually makes sense. People use face-to-face interactions to usually gage expressions or reactions. When lying, you would want to make sure that the person is believing what you’re saying and base the lie around that. So it is understandable that more people would lie to someone’s face in order to gage their reaction. Hancock states, “n the same way that you may want to be face to face or at least synchronous for humor, so you can then detect if you’re tracking my humor, in the same way when I’m lying to you, I may want to track if you’re believing me or not. And if I can track that in real time, if I see some suspicion cues from you, I can make up details to support my story. Whereas in an email, I send it out, and I have very little sense of how you’re responding to it. I can’t adjust my message.”

I believe Jeff Hancock would be a great speaker for Bucknell because it relates to our generation. Clearly we all use technology as a way to communicate to people and I also believe that lying and deception have recently been more popular in our society. We talked about this in class- how businesses are lying about their earnings (Enron) and how people lie to try and advance their career (Mike Daisy). Both of these instances involve communication errors. Jeff Hancock is lively, entertaining, and brings up relevant points that I think students would be interested to hear about.



7 responses »

  1. Charles says:

    Wow I think that Ted would be awesome person to bring to Bucknell. These are topics that we are going through and it will make for very interesting talk among us Bucknell students. I wonder what or how he can add to the dilemma that we our seeing in the business world. Maybe his new ideas on deception can help with keeping business men in line while handling the public’s money.

  2. mbc014 says:

    Interesting take on the Internet lying/anonymity phenomenon. I think that holds true for articles, blogs, etc. but I think it’s actually the opposite with smaller things like social media posts or comments. If you read the comment sections on controversial articles, like opinion columns in major newspapers, often they are full of idiots rambling about nothing true, or they completely distort facts. There’s always that classic where some overly-opinionated reader misquotes someone or something, a bunch of people scream in agreement, and then someone either posts the full quote to correct them or misquotes the opposite opinion. And since no one knows who you are, you suffer nothing for it. It also provides alleyways for anonymous sabotage, and for whatever reason, people are prone to believe it. Still, cool find.

  3. Steph P. says:

    I thought his discussion about a permanent trail online is a device to keep people honest (or at least keep them consistent with their lies). In our generation, young people are so accustom to the anonymity of online social media it’s easy to almost be a different person through the internet. We spend a lot of time filtering what we say and who we are, sometimes the best of us can get caught up in the person we try to be online. Unfortunately we live in a society where lying and deception has just become part of business. The only bright side to this is unethical behaviour catches up to us, even big corporations like Enron who have the money and intelligence to cover up their lies.

  4. ajc028 says:

    I think that Jeff Hancock would be an incredible speaker for Bucknell! It really is an issue that pertains to our generation, and one that comes up so often. I would be curious to hear him speak, because I am not necessarily sure I agree with his point. Perhaps if you are looking at clear out and out lies, then people would be less likely to use the internet, but I think there are too many cases where people say things on the internet that they would never say in real life. That is why cyber bullying has become such a problem. In bullying cases, the fact that you can’t see the person’s face is a major incentive, as you do not have to deal with the immediate fall out from your words. However, he raises a very interesting point, and one that becomes more relevant every day because people are finally starting to realize just how permanent the internet is, and that once your words are out on the internet, you can never take them back.

  5. Jordi says:

    I don’t think Mike Daisey lied to advance his career. He already had a career (that continues). He may have been motivated by a similar “ends justify the means” ethic as Eric describes in the case of Rebecca Skloot. He has not said as much, but in the “Retraction” podcast and in his writing, his stubborn claims that he was creating a theatrical piece with truth in it reveals a commitment to the ideal of having his audience be deeply affected by the deeper history of both Apple and the ways that devices are made.

    Is saying that you met someone poisoned by n-Hexane in his play when he didn’t, but there were verified cases of this happening, a lie? Maybe he though it made a more effective “story.”

    And how often do products imply through better stories that their product will make you smarter, healthier, happier, sexier? They know it won’t. Is that lying?

  6. Jordi says:

    Hancock’s point is very interesting. When I first learned about Facebook, around 2006 I think, I was getting ready to teach a class on social networks, one of my main areas of research. This new thing, phenomenon!, called “Web 2.0” was emerging. I thought it might be a way to connect the study of networks to my class and students.

    So, I signed up for Facebook. back then, mostly students used it. Me joining would seem “creepy” or “stalker’y” to many if I tried to friend them. Sounds like ancient history? Anyway, I was looking at the sign up. I thought, “Maybe I, or students, don’t want to feel like this is a professor-student interaction. I wonder if I should have a pseudonym?”

    Feeling playful and wanting to poke holes in assumptions, a favorite past time of mine which annoys my mother, I made my user name “Kara Thrace.”

    Kara Thrace was the BA, cigar-chomping, cocky, tough-but-damaged fighter pilot on Battlestar Galactica, my favorite show at the time (it is very good).

    This is her: Kara Thrace Kicks Ass

    Clever, I thought. Exotic-sounding name. For those who are in the know, it signals fandom to the show. And it gender bends.

    I almost hit click. Then, looking over “my profile,” I saw that another user could see my real email address as “jcomas.” I realized someone could go backwards and realize I was a middle-aged male professor. Maybe that could go badly, I thought.

    So I used a different pseudonym my dear friend, Vishant, had given me as a freshman in college: Sunshine. As in Jordi Sunshine. And I still use it as my internet handle, often. By the way, Sunshine is ironic. Because while I can be gregarious, I can also be very critical or caustic.

    So, long story making Hancock’s point. The more the ‘Net is part of our lives, is intertwined with our various identities, the MORE likely veracity is.

  7. […]  Editor’s Choice: “the future of lying” […]

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