06 Oct 2017

Is Presentation the Cause of Loneliness?

There are many lonely people around us. Just by probability, some subset has to be predisposed to becoming friends if only a connection could be made. Essentially, there has to be a market, so why can’t a price be found? What’s to stop people from putting up a sign saying: “I’m lonely. Come talk to me if you’re lonely and think I’m cool?”

In effect, we do this consciously or subconsciously when we evalute other people’s interest in us during daily interactions. However, presentation is the wrench in the works. It prevents us from knowing if the person sitting across from us really likes us or if they are just pretending. And they have good reason to: In a game theoretic way, unless they’re already inundated with social bids, they are always better off feining interest because it allows them to collect more bids and be more selective.

Presentation forces us to rely on other signals to disambiguate how others feel about us. This is slow, laborious and unreliable. It causes people to give up entirely. Market failure.

What if we could allow minds to connect without presentation? Like Ursula le Guin’s mindspeak? Some sort of Proof-of-Authentic-Intentions. Would it solve loneliness? I’m guessing it would, but it would also create upheaval in other interactions. It would, for instance, immediately reflect negatively on any interactions where parties don’t want to allow this kind of connection. So clearly, any solution must overcome not only technological but social hurdles.

There is so much at stake though. The person who figures out a way to facilitate authentic interactions would solve one of the most fundamental problems of Man.