Imagine Thanksgiving dinner with the neo-con loudmouth of your choosing. He's braying on about how he'll never give up his Humvee because there's no such thing as global warming and – bzzz – the bullshit detector goes off in your pocket, proffering "evidence or a point of view, either to convince you or the person you're talking to." So, yes, beware: it might call you on your own bullshit.
. . .
Rush Limbaugh, beware. There's already software on the way that will allow information to pop up over TV broadcasts.
But there are doubters.
Clay Shirky, an influential writer, lecturer, consultant and all-around Internet theorist, is convinced Dispute Finder will fail, as similar softwares before it – not to mention dozens of likeminded projects by his students in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program – have failed.
. . .
Perhaps, suggests Shirky, we should stop looking to technology to resolve life's little ambiguities.
"Engineers are people who solve problems, and ambiguity, from their point of view, is a class of problem, not the nature of life itself." he says. "In a way, the motive is pure. But a much smaller percentage of what we know and how we react to one another in the world comes from a factual basis than even engineers understand.
"So this thing might be useful for settling the occasional bar bet."