Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Deaf Guy VS Drowning Girl

Reply to: Balls and Birds by Charles Eke


Let’s say that Medium implemented the pragmatarian model. Each month we’d have to pay $1 dollar… but we could choose which stories we allocate our pennies to. If my valuation of your story was 2 pennies… then I’d click the penny button twice and 2 pennies would be automatically withdrawn my digital wallet and deposited into your own. The value of your story would increase by 2 cents. When we searched for stories the results would be sorted by their value. The most valuable story would be the first result.

“Values are subjective”

True. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Benefit is in the heart of the buyer.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. One person might hate your stories… another person might love them.

“Quite a lot of things humans value can’t be explained in numerical values and we need to accept this.”

False. The depth of love/hate can always be explained in dollar amounts. This is true whether we’re talking about stories or people.

You see a little kid about to wander into a busy street. Do you automatically valuate the situation? Of course you do. Your valuation of the situation is very negative and you allocate your resources accordingly.

What if you’re too far to solve the problem yourself? Let’s say that you’re on a second story balcony. Do you whisper? “yoohoo… folks… we have a problem…” Of course not. You point at the kid and shout “STOP THAT KID!!!” Some people hear you shout and they automatically look to figure out what’s going on. Once they figure out what’s going on… they automatically valuate the situation. Just like you… their valuation of the situation will be negative. Hopefully one of them will be close enough to solve the problem.

Now imagine the super high tech version of this situation. You’re on the balcony and you see the kid wandering towards a busy street. You automatically valuate the situation and mentally hit the “transmit” button. The implant in your brain instantly transmits the relevant data to the implants of all the people who are within the effective range. The relevant data is…
  1. the image of the situation
  2. the exact location of the situation
  3. your exact valuation of the situation
The recipients of this data are notified that they’ve received an incoming transmission. The first thing they look at is the size of valuation. They will be able to see exactly how negative it is. This motivates them to look at your image of the situation and their implant automatically guides them to the exact location of the problem. They then valuate the situation themselves and transmit their data. Whoever rescues the kid gets paid accordingly. If everybody’s valuation of the situation was -$20,000 dollars… then whoever solved the problem would be paid $20,000 dollars.

People aren’t going to trust your valuation if it doesn’t reflect your true willingness to pay. There would probably be some type of escrow that your money goes into automatically. So if your valuation of the situation is -$4,000 dollars… then this amount would be automatically withdrawn from your account and put into escrow. This way, whoever received your transmission would know that your valuation wasn’t BS. After the problem was solved though… we can imagine that the story would be shared and people would positively valuate your essential role. We can reasonably expect that you’d make more than you spent.

Of course, to be consistent with the high-techness… we can imagine that the cars would be within range to receive the transmission as well and they would slow to a stop until the “problem solved” transmission had been sent.

Of course, to be truly consistent with the high-techness… we can imagine that even if nobody noticed the kid wandering into the street… the cars’ sensors would notice the kid. The cars would then correctly valuate the situation and modify their own behavior accordingly.

Anyways, the moral of the story is the benefit of being able to accurately transmit/communicate our valuations to others. Clearly the benefit isn’t understood because Medium hasn’t implemented the pragmatarian model.

Maybe I’m simply imagining the benefit of being able to accurately communicate our valuations to others?

Did you ever see Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance? I hated it… but I loved Oldboy. If you haven’t seen Sympathy… and it sounds like a movie that you might want to watch… then you should skip the rest of this story because I’m going to discuss one of the scenes and share a screenshot.

So in the movie... a deaf guy kidnaps a young girl. They end up at a river. While the deaf guy is very preoccupied… the girl falls into the river. The audience can clearly see that she’s in the river… and they can clearly hear that she’s shouting for help. Personally, while I was watching this scene… I kept trying to somehow will the deaf guy to turn around.  But he never does so and the girl drowns.

Maybe it was my perception but the director really appreciated how incredibly frustrating this scene would be for the audience and he wanted to draw out the frustration and torture for as long as possible.  Or maybe the scene wasn't actually that long... it just felt like it lasted forever.  Here’s a screenshot…

Because the guy was deaf... his ability to be aware of problems was greatly reduced.  Right?  Yeah.  Obviously.  

Guy - hearing = decreased awareness of problem

But what if the writer or director or whoever hadn't removed the guy's hearing?  What if they had removed his ability to valuate the situation?  

Guy - valuation = ?

The guy isn't deaf so he clearly hears the girl.  He turns around and can clearly see that she's drowning.  Does he rescue her?  No.  Is it because he's an inherently bad guy?  No.  It's simply because he doesn't have the ability to valuate the situation.  He understands exactly what's happening... but he can't determine whether his valuation of the situation is negative or positive.  As a result, he does nothing and the girl drowns.

Medium doesn't take away our ability to valuate stories.  It takes away our ability to effectively communicate our valuation of stories.

Reader - valuation communication = ?

If you highly value a story, but can't effectively communicate your valuation, does your valuation matter?  Should your valuation matter?

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