Algorithms

“First, let me tell you all about the game.  It’s simple, there is an imposter in the room, someone who is not a social media icon, someone who can’t be measured by followers, friends or page views.  The game is simple, find this imposter before 11 pm strikes.  Each person has one guess that could be used any time up to 11 pm.  If the guess is correct, you win.  If the guess is wrong, you lose and your time here at the party comes to an end.”

The host noticed a change in the murmurs, masked heads turning and looking at their neighbors with a different attitude.

“There are rules, though, to finding the imposter.  First rule, all masks must stay firmly on until the imposter has been found.”

Heads nodded and the crowd noise sounded like an unprompted in unison group assent.  The host was always surprised by how quickly a group is aligned when the possibility of perceived rewards was presented.  He expected the response but the rapidity which with the response came still caught him off guard.  The person with perspective might have noticed the host’s eyes widen during the group assent but then the person with perspective did not have the proper perspective.

“Second rule, the game is every person for themselves.  No teaming up, no sharing of information.  If you are caught colluding, you will be escorted out of the party and you will forfeit any chance at winning the party prize.”

The disquieted rumblings proved the validity of the second rule to the host.  Again, expected as the highly networked find the concept of decoupling daunting.

“To help enforce the second rule, all of your conversations are being monitored and parsed using state of the art algorithms.  Additionally, each and every one of you have a video camera assigned to follow you.  Passing of notes, utilization of ASL or any other form of non-verbal communication will be caught within seconds and the offenders will be escorted out of the party.  It really behooves you to work separately.”

The host could feel acceptance creeping into the crowd but the host knew the process and was waiting for the stragglers still caught in earlier steps such as questioning and negotiation.

“Before I accept questions, I need to pass on the third and last rule then I will gladly entertain questions about the game.  The third rule is just for the imposter, the imposter will lie the majority of the time.  Not all of the time, but the imposter must maintain a 70:30 ratio of lies to truthful like statements.  The imposter will be monitored to make sure that this rule is followed.”

“Now, I will gladly answer one or two questions about the game before I provide the party prize details.”

The crowd displayed impatience and the one questioning person was quickly hushed.  The crowd was eager for what each and everyone of them was certain to be their prize.

“OK, OK, no questions.  I’ll provide the prize details and get everyone to the game faster.”

A slight cheer arose from the avarice besotted crowd.

“Ah, one more thing that I forgot to mention, if the imposter is not discovered by 11 pm, the imposter is declared the winner of the game and takes the prize home.”

The collective over-confident mutterings emanating from each person in the room greatly increased the volume in the room. The collective social media superstars were 100% confident that the imposter would be unmasked, so to speak.  The host allowed a smile to breach his face.  The first time he had smiled all evening.

“Without any more delay, allow me to describe the prize that everyone but myself is playing for this evening.”

 

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