“In Machines We Trust”? – Digital Truthfulness & Authenticity by AI (Pt 2)

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Click to Read Part 1 of Digital Truthfulness

Can software certify digital truthfulness of online information? Can AI create fake news? Who is responsible for digital truthfulness, technology or humans?

Who has the final authority to declare truthfulness or falsehood?

Who is to judge if a piece of news is fake or real or in-between, for a specific purpose or use by particular humans? In the end, a human being is the final judge, subjectively or objectively, to believe the  truthfulness of particular content, in deciding for him/herself what are the facts, lies, or rumors, or a mixture thereof, or in-betweens.

Gone are the “good” old days when one ubiquitous version of news by Walter Cronkite was all we got.  Now we all must be analytical and critical thinkers in deciphering truth among noises for ourselves, and be multi-dimensional thinkers.  Can we all live up to this challenge of our time? Is it good or bad news for our democracy? That is a different topic for another time.

For a software (artificially created) to decide what is “real” or “fake” news seems an oxymoron concept, a slippery slope leading to the danger of “in machines we trust.”  It sounds like putting the cart before the horse if machines are trusted more than humans in the world of news reporting and if data and algorithms substitute human morals for truth-telling the best humans possibly can.

After all, technology must serve humanity, not humanity being enslaved to technology.  


What holds the value of a brand

The more machines and AI can mimic or even outperform humans in some regards, the higher premium will be placed on an individual human’s authenticity, a brand’s truthful persona, and the trust between and among humans.

A brand’s honesty, integrity, respect and reputation for truth are thus in higher demand in today’s environment where people are inundated with information generated by both machines and humans. A brand’s authenticity and trustworthiness, verifiable by AI and blockchain or not, reside in the content of a brand’s characters, culture, values, and actions.  A brand that has earned the trust of its customers and employees is a better guaranty for a robust bottom line and healthy growth than what any “authentication software” can “verify” or “certify”.


Digital truthfulness is and will be as old as humanity

No matter how technology advances, trust building is as old as humanity itself, older than civilizations, starting when we were first surviving and evolving in caves hundreds of thousands of years ago. It takes many an act of honoring one’s belief, virtues, values, compassion, empathy, … to become authentic and trustworthy.

More information and more technology do not necessarily create more trust. With multiple social media platforms, 24/7 live streaming of news from more sources than ever, we are more at a loss about what to truly believe.  Technology can help verify the information delivered from a brand we trust, but technology cannot be the answer for a brand’s intrinsic trustworthiness and authenticity. The way to a human heart is slow, winding and takes much time.  There is no shortcut for building trust and authenticity, with or without technology. Living one’s principles and honoring one’s belief with sustained actions earn others’ trust and loyalty. For a brand, trust is kept by the constant efforts in upholding its standard and principles, in unwavering alignment to its vision and values, and in implementing all the details forming its name.

Written by Joanne Tan, edited by Glenn Perkins, 10/19/2018. © Joanne Tan, all rights reserved.

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