Mis à jour : mars 3
Nowadays, information - it's a cliché - travels at lightning speed and with it its share of speculation. Lies are everywhere and truth is often just wishful thinking, even though some claim to carry its banner with peremptory statements.
COVID, by its impact, remains an extraordinary source of propagation of the most hardened
The most widespread fantasy is that COVID was caused by 5G, which weakens people's immune systems by allowing the virus to invade the body, even though the virus does the trick very well without this vector. According to the web extension "NewsGuard", which has committed itself to putting journalism to the sword of fact checking by analyzing the credibility of news sites in Europe and the United States, this theory first appeared in January 2020 on a French conspiracy blog, "Les Moutons Enragés" (The Furious Sheep).
The other persistent rumor is that the coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab by accident, proof of this being that the virus' genome contains a DNA sequence of HIV. In France, the spread of this hoax was facilitated by Professor Luc Montagnier, co-recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the AIDS virus. In reality, this theory initially stems from an article published on the BioRxiv.org website, a platform that allows scientists to share studies before going through the scrutiny of scientific journals and peers. In this case, the authors of the source of this misinformation withdrew their article two days after its publication. It would even appear that the DNA sequence quoted is very frequent and also found in other viruses.
As a final example, Bill Gates' vaccine is said to contain a tracking microchip; of what? We don't really know, but in any case, it would trace us even better than what we manage to do on our own by surfing from morning to night on social networks.
This "hoax" is the result of various projects carried out by the billionaire who, a few years ago, had simulated the risk of a pandemic.
In short, we are swimming in such a sea of fallacies and false allegations that we no longer know how to recognize the truth when it comes out. It's no wonder that startups are putting a lot of energy into developing profiling software. For example, the company CM Profiling recently developed a tool to assist in interpersonal communication. This tool, which is based on artificial intelligence, aims to find out the "authenticity of an individual" by analyzing his/her body language and all the non-verbal signals he/she emits. Aimed in particular for HR during job interviews, the program is designed to uncover candidates' cover-ups by highlighting discrepancies between the verbal response to a question and the physical and emotional reaction of the interviewee at the same time. In other words, if the candidate answers in the affirmative but displays an uncomfortable reaction, the prospective employer will be informed that he or she may not be perfectly honest, while the unfortunate candidate may simply have been inconvenienced at the same time by heartburn.
This technological innovation thus seeks to unmask liars, even when they are unaware they are.
The first scientific lie detector was invented by Cesare Lombroso in 1885. The device simply measured blood pressure, and it was later in the 1930s that the "modern" polygraph was created. The goal was to determine whether an individual was telling the truth or not, by analyzing his psycho-physiological reactions.
While in Switzerland the Federal Court has banned the use of the polygraph, in the United States it is widely used by the police in all kinds of cases. The FBI has even gone so far as to use it in the recruitment of its employees.
Detecting cheaters is a human obsession as old as humans themselves. The Chinese, two-thousand years ago, used to stuff the mouths of the accused with rice, and if the rice remained dry, then lying was proven. In the Middle Ages, the inquisitors used flour for the same purpose and, it is suspected, with the same reliability.
The paradox is that we are both greedy for false information and worried about the slightest risk. We are prepared to believe nonsense, but we are not prepared to trust a candidate for a position in our company simply on the grounds of what he or she says, references, and a good feeling.
And yet, as Virgil once said: Audaces fortuna juvat, fortune smiles on the audacious.
Photo by CoWomen