This post is under the series of posts I have been writing about the phenomenon of surrogates. You may want to check the first post here to appreciate this post better. I have further written about the prevalence of surrogates in every sphere of lives here. I have also explored the relationship between science and surrogates here.
Farmer: If you look at ethics per se , one of the problems we have is that we can circumvent the system by following the rules once a certain numeral/metric is taken care of. But the spirit is gone. Because of surrogates, we have been flexible towards values. Ecologically speaking , surrogates have led us to the disaster of the highest order. All that the rich people do is bad for the planet. Can you imagine? How much power they have. Everything you students are thriving to do is bad for the planet. It may stand for some value. You may never get that value by doing that. The planet is destroyed for sure!!
Student: As I understand surrogates from the discussion we've had so far, it cuts off several dimensions of our world and makes it uni-dimensional for convenience. Every story we are told about industrial development is full of such surrogates which make us believe what we are doing is good for everyone. The grand scale of how we've been conditioned to believe this is mind-boggling.!
Farmer: Well, if you look at what's emerging, it is interesting! We haven't stumbled upon a grand design to save the world. What has emerged willy-nilly out of the networked world is worth exploring!
Network is becoming the fundamental unit. When the fundamental unit is a a complex entity, it is difficult to mess around. When the network becomes the unit, it becomes difficult to apply surrogates to it. Everything that is unreal is verifiable through networks. Because information is infinitely available, you can verify whether this information is true or not. What has happened as a result? People are now wary to lie.
If you lie in face book, you would show up as a liar sooner or later. So whether you like it or not, you will tell the truth. Telling the truth becomes the norm as a result of this. You don’t want to be caught. Finally, it becomes desirable and becomes the model behavior. Everybody wants to do that.
Student: If this would become the norm, It would be interesting to see how the whole debate around corporate governance and transparency would shape up.
Farmer: Why businesses are suddenly becoming transparent about their workings? It is because they have no choice but to be transparent.