Is DARPA Building a “Truth Machine”?  

As the squirmy malleability of the Web continues to obliterate cohesive 21st-century conventions and narratives, the very nature of what constitutes “truth” is up for grabs. There are plenty of claimants. High-tech firms that trumpet big-data capabilities are already using the phrase a “single version of the truth” in their marketing. And now comes news that DARPA, the military’s “mad-science” sector, wants to develop algorithms that will decide for us by providing what Adam Rogers, writing in Wired, calls a “BS detector” to “shore up” the social sciences. The DARPA project purports to solve “one of the most urgent philosophical problems of our time: How do you know what’s true when science, the news, and social media all struggle with errors, advertising, propaganda, and lies?” —TV