Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Primaries: A Reality Machine at Work

I have to admit that I was surprised that the New Hampshire electorate so upset the information cascade set off by Obama's vapid speeches. What it demonstrates is that democracy is a complex process that can't be understood by applying simple surface analysis to statistical data.

That said, the phenomenon of information cascades continues, new realities being spun in these primaries as we speak. I suppose that we have to consider that social truths are fluid yet real. If I say I hate someone, it is indeed likely that I do indeed feel real and intense dislike towards that person. My hatred may influence others to feel just the same, and so on, thereby affecting that person's ability to transact with us all.

By attaching traits to people, we make those traits real in some sense. So information cascades in the social domain are more than just persistent misleading dead-ends: they are dream machines pumping out realities-to-be. But no one quite knows how these reality machines work or how to use them to their advantage.

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