Ep. 52 William Softky and Criscillia Benford “Recalibrating for Trust”

August 30, 2017

Consider a text message in which you are deciding where to meet for dinner with a friend. As you go back and forth in that stream of abbreviated communication, you suggest, “let’s eat Italian,” to which your friend responds “fine.” The one-word text sends you into a state of alarm. Did they mean “fine” as in “great,” or “fine” as in “fine, you win, we can eat where you’d like”? Somewhere in this chain of communication trust has been lost.

Playing for Team Human today are William Softky and Criscilia Benford, a husband and wife team who are looking deep into the biophysical and mathematical underpinnings of establishing trust in communications. They’ve just published a paper titled “Sensory Metrics of Neuromechanical Trust” in the journal, Neural Computation. In this conversation, Softky and Benford join Douglas Rushkoff to dive deep into experiences of digital disorientation and screen addiction. What’s really going on in our brains as we consume more and more digital stimuli? Have our nervous systems been recalibrated by these flattened, two-dimensional interactions?

Opening today’s show, Rushkoff looks at the recent Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match. Did this spectacle represent a surrogate Trump vs. Obama battle? And while that fight is over, the victor declared, what does it mean when governance itself becomes a prolonged spectacle?

Slider photo: By Pianotech (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Music today thanks to Mike Watt: beak-holding-letter-man , Joshua Sitron and the Team Human Band play Growth Trap and thanks to Fugazi and Dischord records for sharing : Foreman’s Dog. 

Visit Bill Softky’s website : http://www.softky.com/

and Bill and Criscillia’s Medium Blog: https://medium.com/@realvsdigital

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