Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Just gonna write something before i dive into my books.

In summary, we suck at ‘reading’ strangers, especially those that fit into our ‘weirdo’ category, they are often mistaken, mislabelled, and misjudge.
The book offer a few very interesting stories to press the point

  • CIA getting fooled by Cuba’s intelligence agency (dozens of CIA agents turn out to be working for Cuba)
  • Neville Chamberlain (Political ‘newbie’) and Lord Halifax (Foreign Secretary, seasoned politician) misread and fooled by Hitler promises (before WW2 happens)
  • Judges misjudge defendant/criminal, judge call up the defendant to ‘look them in the eye’ for whether they’re remorse, should be be allow bail? ……..Group of Harvard’s computer scientist build an AI that ‘read the same things’ that judges read, ………..comparing the results that Judge vs AI, turns out – AI produce better results. (Better results means that the defendant that AI choose to allow bail, are less likely to commit a crime within X years after); AI name is Mullainathan
  • Infamous pedophiles, sex offenders (eg Penn State University, US Gymnast team) have the same issues, people trust them that there’s nothing wrong with them, ‘he’s just good with kids’ etc etc.
  • We choose to trust, we choose to think of the good side of people, that’s how we’re wired, and how the society function as a whole. People who’re able to ‘tell the truth’ are often ‘weird’ and unable to fit into society norm. (The ‘truth teller’ are often call The Holy Fool fyi)

The book talk about issues with

  • Consent, and especially under alcohol influence
  • Torture, how a 15minute of torture will distort memory (severely!)
  • Chances, why we need to have suicide prevention system in place to prevent suicide, the logic of ‘people who want to kill themselves will find ways to kill themselves) is flawed and incorrect

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