The ability of huge numbers of people to create digital content can only be a good thing. But what about mis-content?
These are masterful fakes. On youtube, they’re called “Eric Clapton shreds” and “Carlos Santa shreds.” Clapton. Not Layla. (A song.) Not Blackie. (His guitar.) The very title is shredding Clapton himself.
As more of our identity becomes digital, how susceptible are we to lies on-line? I created my personal Webpage in 2002 after getting canned from Curl. From then on, the information I chose to present was the top hit for me on Google (if you spelled my name right). I used to not hand out business cards, just telling people to Google me. But recently I dropped Charter where the site was ultimately served from, and I’ve lost my Google position. The view the world has of me is no longer under my control. Anyone with editing software could put up a Forrest Gump vid of me playing or saying anything.
My favorite TV show these days is “House”, which is centered on a moral truth of, “Everybody lies.” We’ve come to expect and even accept lies from our political leaders. Cops. Judges. Sports heros. Our teachers. Sometimes our parents and kids.
Apple has a new ad that scores points against its Microsoft competition by disingenuously telling folks, “Don’t give up on Vista.” It makes its point by lying. Someone put up a video purporting to show that the ad itself doesn’t run properly on Apple’s latest operating system. This page describes the campaign and includes a small text link further down for the video. But at the time I viewed the page, there was in the middle a large automatically selected video ad for… Vista! I wonder what AdWords will appear to the right of this entry, and whether the payers will be glad of the association.
With digital content, have we reached the point where you can’t trust anything? Is truth just a fuzzy Page Rank probability?