Fuseki.net

Certifying Truthfulness of Institutions

For some reason, we think it's ok for institutions to brazenly lie, but not for individuals. This is wrong and it causes lots of problems.

Our Moral Sense

Our moral sense gets turned off, or doesn't work very well, as the situations we evaluate diverge from traditional ones. Most people wouldn't directly torture someone else for no reason in real life, but when institutions deal with eachother, that's fine.

The option not to lie

For whatever economic reasons, it might make sense to allow institutions to lie. But surely there are cases when institutions want to be able to really show they are not lying.

So, for this purpose, I propose that there be a standard contract or agreement, verified and maintained by an independent organization, which would let institutions bind themselves to promises to be truthful, backed up by fines. Optionally, they could restrict it to certain statements.

You have our permission to record us, and if you catch us lying, we will pay you

The certification organization would have a trademarked seal, and in order to display it, clients would have to bind themselves to promises to pay off anyone who catches them in a lie. They would also have to pre-emptively swear that they would allow people to surreptitiously record them / gain information on their actions without prior notice (and not sue the person later on)

The Rules

The organization would be required to say things, and pay lots of penalties if they were found to be lying. These could be simply statements such as "We have never conducted unreleased medical studies of links between our products and cancer". Or for a reality show "Events in the show actually took place in the order shown, and were not photoshopped". There are lots of cases where organizations currently make claims like this - but then are found to be lying later, with no penalty.

It's optional

Not every organization would want or have to do this, obviously. But, organizations which do make this promise really would be more trustworthy. Because in addition to their regular organizational reputation, they'd also have borne the scrutiny of many people trying to make money.

It's like a Promise

Right now, truthful institutions don't have any way to raise themselves above the mass of deceptive ones. This would be a way for them to swear, or promise, in an easily understandable format.

What would happen

Obviously actually implementing this woud be tough. If it was successful, many fake organizations would spring up with extremely complex, hard to enforce contracts, and with similar logos, and the public would have a hard time knowing which one was genuine.

If statements are not written carefully, actually proving them in court could be hard, too. There'd also be the "springtime for hitler" problem where insiders intentionally would break the rules, and then help their friends to collect the reward.

It's actually a reverse bribe

It is equivalent to an openly broadcast, credible request for any insider with knowledge about lies to come forward.

Related Articles: