Today is an auspicious day, for it marks the debut of a revolutionary new technology that will fundamentally change the way we communicate with each other. The process, which I invented, is called Veritas, and it’s a high-tech interpretive filtering system that detects any and all falsehoods in writing, turning ink blue whenever the thing that’s being written is untrue. I haven’t switched the filter on yet. Okay. I did. It takes a few seconds to power up and then it’ll be fully operational. I haven’t switched the filter on yet. Did you see that? When I wrote “I haven’t switched the filter on yet,” the first time, it was at that time true, but when I said it the second time, after the filter had been switched on, it was no longer true, and the filter detected the untruth, and rendered the offending statement in blue. Got it? Let me show you a few more examples. It is December. I am five-foot-ten. I own a pet giraffe. The shoes I am wearing cost three hundred dollars. The shoes I am wearing cost a billion dollars. Polygraphy, which is about ninety percent accurate by best estimates, pales in comparison to Veritas, which is about ninety-nine percent accurate.
Veritas will change your life. Was that sentence blue? It was not. Can you imagine how useful it would be to know which emails from friends include irresponsible misrepresentations? Or you could clip Veritas to a magazine or newspaper and immediately know which pieces were reported accurately, and which were reported with bias. The lies would leap out at you. You’d never have to worry about anything ever again. Or rather, you’d have much more information about the forms of deception being practiced by those around you. See, even there, Veritas made me clarify my meaning. Or rather, I chose to clarify my meaning after Veritas flagged the preceding sentence as untrue.
Detecting untruth in the written word is almost like a superpower. This technology will be offered for free. That, of course, was a specific kind of falsehood: a joke. Veritas will not be offered for free. It will be costly. But the cost will be worth every penny. Again, not blue.
Thus far, we have focused mainly on Veritas as a sentence filter. But it can also filter parts of sentences. Allow me to demonstrate. I thought of the idea one night. I had eaten dinner, gone to sleep, and came awake like a shot in the middle of the night. I was suffering not from indigestion but from the first stirrings of an idea. I called Leonard, this guy I know who is a genius programmer. Here, we see Veritas Word Analysis at work. Leonard’s real name isn’t Leonard. It’s Zhang Kan. He goes by Leonard because he’s worried that people are slightly racist and that his real name would bother them. It’s a silly concern, but he’s a brilliant guy, a visionary, and when I called him he immediately saw the possibilities of this technology. Why else would he stay on the phone with me for twenty minutes? Wait. Why did that go blue? Hold on. Okay, this is amazing: I checked my phone records and it turns out that I was only on the phone with Leonard for fifteen minutes. I guess Leonard increased the filter sensitivity. Fantastic. I’m so happy he’s been working on it. In a way, I think it’s therapeutic for him, because things have been rocky for him lately. He’s married to this woman named Emma, a real knockout, and over the last month or so there’s been serious trouble in their relationship. He’s pretty sure that she is seeing someone else, and he’s said more than once that Veritas is saving his life, because he’d rather be up all night refining code than obsessing about his wife’s fidelity. Their relationship began to unravel when he started imagining that someone was out to get him. He even told me that that he thought someone had tampered with the brakes on his car. Poor guy. I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I don’t know Emma that well. I mean, I know her well enough through Leonard, but that’s all. I have no special insight into her marriage. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that Leonard’s my friend, and anything I can do to make him happier, I’ll do. Incidentally, this is one of the minor flaws with Veritas. Sometimes it overreacts to completely innocent statements, especially when you’re talking about human relationships. Ultimately, it’s just a machine, and it doesn’t have the ability to comprehend human complexity. Hold on. All this blue is giving me a headache. Let me power it down.
Okay. I think that worked. I feel better now. My point was that Leonard, who didn’t even have that much to do with inventing Veritas, is paranoid. Crap. It’s not off. Words are still blue, tons of them. Leonard must have accidentally disabled the switch-off mechanism when he increased the sensitivity of the filter. I mean, whatever. It’s not like I have anything to hide. I’ll fix him later. I mean, I’ll fix it later. It! Veritas. Why would I fix Leonard? That doesn’t even make sense. Look. I have to go. I have a meeting. The point is that Veritas is a technology like nothing else the world has seen, and Leonard and I, who are equal partners in this endeavor, stand to both reap great benefits. I’d love to say more but I am out of time.