How do you see morality and societal norms changing over the next 100+ years?
Some of my predictions:
-The phenomenon of “word inflation” will become so extreme that hyperbolic language and superlatives will lose virtually all of their impact, yet paradoxically will result in their greater use (since use of non-hyperbolic language will seem so weak by comparison). This will create a “downward spiral” whereby the more weakened hyperbolic language becomes, the more people will struggle convey what used to be achievable through “normal” language, which will result in people using even more increasingly hyperbolic language out of necessity (think about how much rhetorical value some words have already lost through rampant over/misuse, e.g. “fraud”, “scam”, “racket”, “cult”, “treason”, and “literally“). Eventually this will reach a breaking point when it becomes such a hindrance on basic day-to-day communication that there will be a huge backlash, and eventually the use of hyperbole and exaggeration in everyday language will become taboo in the way that outright lying is today.
-Lying will become vastly more rare and vastly more socially unacceptable, in large part because technology will make it far harder to lie and get away with it (thereby dramatically increasing the social consequences for lying while dramatically reducing the potential benefits). This will happen primarily in two ways:
Pervasive electronic recording and documentation will make it far easier to verify what someone said or did. Even today, home surveillance systems which record everything in their vicinity (audio and video) and store everything instantly to the cloud are commonplace, as are in-car dash cameras which record everything said inside the car at all times. And even now the ability to continuously record audio everywhere you go is cheap and readily available. Eventually it will become trivial to record (both audio and video) every waking moment of your life, and to instantly recall any moment on demand (imagine an inconspicuous Google Glass-type device with virtually unlimited storage capacity, GPS, and real-time voice recognition/commands, and so cheap that virtually everyone–even children–wears one around at all times).
Fact-checking of potential lies will also become vastly easier, even automatic and instantaneous. Imagine that the aforementioned device is also an always-on cloud-based voice recognition assistant, which constantly analyzes everything you hear and alerts you instantly if you hear something which is verifiably untrue (something which is already entirely possible with today’s technology).
Widespread use of the above technologies could create a “virtuous cycle” whereby the more ineffective lying becomes, the more rare it will become, which will lead to it becoming even less socially unacceptable, thereby making it even more rare (ad infinitum).
The effect on “white lies” would be similar as well; the more socially acceptable it becomes to forego a white lie in favor of the truth, the less offensive doing so will become, thereby encouraging more people to do so and making it more socially acceptable.
Eventually, society will become something like this.