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“助推”的黑暗法则
Nudging and the art of darkness

来源:FT中文网    2017-12-07 07:19



        If you want people to do the right thing, make it easy.” That is the simplest possible summary of Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. We are all fallible creatures, and so benevolent policymakers need to make sure that the path of least resistance goes to a happy destination. It is a simple but important idea, and deservedly influential: Mr Sunstein became a senior adviser to President Obama, while Mr Thaler is this year’s winner of the Nobel memorial prize in economics.        如果你想要人们做正确的事情,那就把做这件事变得容易。这是对卡斯•桑斯坦(Cass Sunstein)和理查德•塞勒(Richard Thaler)合著的《助推》(Nudge)最简单的总结。我们都会犯错,因此善意的政策制定者需要确保,最容易走的路径通向一个好的目的地。这是一个简单但很重要的想法,并且理所应当地具有影响力:桑斯坦成为巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)总统的高级顾问,而塞勒则是今年的诺贝尔经济学奖得主。
        Policy wonks have nudged people to sign up for organ donation, to increase their pension contributions — and even insulate their homes by coupling home insulation with an attic-decluttering service. All we have to do is make it easy for people to do the right thing.        为政策绞尽脑汁的人一直在助推人们签署器官捐献协议,提高养老金缴款——甚至通过把房屋隔热与阁楼清理服务结合在一起推动人们给房屋加装隔热材料。我们要做的就是让人们能够容易地做正确的事情。
        But what if you want people to do the wrong thing? The answer: make that easy; or make the right thing difficult. Messrs Thaler and Sunstein are well aware of the risk of malign nudges, and have been searching for the right word to describe them. Mr Thaler likes “sludge” — obfuscatory language or procedures that accidentally or deliberately encourage inertia. Voter ID laws, he says, are a good example of sludge, calculated to softly disenfranchise. Meanwhile Mr Sunstein has written an entire book about the “ethics of influence”.        但如果你想让人们做错误的事情呢?答案是:让做错误的事情变得容易;或者让做正确的事情变得困难。塞勒和桑斯坦很清楚恶意助推的风险,并且一直在寻找合适的词来描述这种行为。塞勒喜欢“搅烂”(sludge)这个词——用模糊不清的语言或者程序无意或者有意鼓励惰性。他说,选民身份登记法就是“搅烂”的一个很好的例子,这是蓄意软性剥夺公民选举权的行为。同时,桑斯坦还写了一本主题为“影响力伦理”的书。
        And as we are starting to realise, Vladimir Putin is well aware of the opportunity that behavioural science presents, too. Rumours circulate that the Russian authorities are keen recruiters of young psychologists and behavioural economists; I have no proof of that, but it seems like a reasonable thing for the Russian government to do. I am willing to bet that not all of them are working on attic-decluttering.        就如我们开始意识到的,弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)也很清楚这种行为科学带来的机会。关于俄罗斯当局热切招募年轻的心理学家和行为经济学家的传闻正在流传。我没有证据,但对俄罗斯政府而言做这样的事情似乎很合理。我敢打赌,他们之中并不是每个人都在研究如何清理阁楼。
        According to Richard Burr, chair of the US Senate intelligence committee, Russian troll accounts on Facebook managed to organise both a protest and a counter-protest in Houston, in May 2016. Americans are perfectly willing to face off against each other on the streets, but if you want it to happen more often, make it easy.        美国参议院情报委员会(Senate intelligence committee)主席理查德•伯尔(Richard Burr)表示,Facebook上的俄罗斯钓鱼账号在2016年5月成功在休斯顿组织了一场抗议活动和一场反抗议活动。美国人的确愿意走上街头彼此对峙,但如果你想让这种事发生得更频繁点,就把做这件事变得容易。
        A number of other memes, political advertisements and provocateur accounts — both left- and rightwing — have since been identified as of Russian origin. Social media networks have unwittingly sold them air time; news sites have cited them; people have shared them, or spent effort refuting them. Nudge isn’t the word for this, but neither is sludge. What about “grudge”?        其他的一些“模因”(meme)、政治广告和煽动性账号——无论是左翼和右翼的——后来都被确认来自俄罗斯。社交媒体网络在不知情地情况下卖给它们出场时间;新闻网站引用了它们;人们分享了它们,或者努力驳斥它们。用“助推”这个词形容这种现象不合适,“搅烂”也不合适。“怨恨”(grudge)这个词怎么样?
        The Russians are not alone in using grudge theory to manipulate public opinion. Three social scientists — Gary King, Jennifer Pan and Margaret Roberts — recently managed to infiltrate networks of shills in China, who are paid to post helpful messages on Chinese social media. (Their nickname is the “50 cent army”.) Unlike the Russian trolls, their aim has been to avoid engaging “in debate or argument of any kind . . . they seem to avoid controversial issues entirely”. The tactic is, rather, to keep changing the subject, especially at politically sensitive moments, by talking about the weather, sports — anything. If you want potential protesters to make cheery small talk instead, make it easy.        使用怨恨理论来操纵舆论的并非只有俄罗斯。3名社会科学家加里•金(Gary King)、珍妮弗•潘(Jennifer Pan)和玛格丽特•罗伯茨(Margaret Roberts)最近设法渗透了中国的水军网络,所谓的水军是被雇佣在中国社交媒体上发送正面消息的人。(他们也被戏称为“五毛党”。)和俄罗斯喷子不同,他们的目的是避免参与“任何形式的辩论或者争论……他们似乎完全避免一切争议性问题”。相反,5毛党的策略是不断地改变主题,讨论天气、运动等任何其他事情,尤其是在政治敏感时期。如果你希望潜在的抗议者转而进行愉快的闲聊,那就让这件事变得容易。
        Just as noble tools can be turned to wicked ends, so shady techniques can be used to do the work of the angels. For example, why not disrupt online markets for illegal drugs by leaving bad reviews for vendors? Research by social scientists Scott Duxbury and Dana Haynie suggests that because people rely on user reviews on illicit markets, law enforcement officers could attack those markets by faking negative reviews, thus undermining trust.        正如好的工具也可以用于邪恶的目的,一些并不光明正大的手段也可以用来完成高尚的工作。比如,为什么不通过给卖家差评来扰乱违禁药物的在线市场呢?社会科学家斯科特•达克斯伯里(Scott Duxbury)和达娜•海尼(Dana Haynie)研究表明,因为在非法市场,人们依赖于用户评论,所以执法人员可以通过假差评来打击这些市场,从而破坏信任。
        The parallel with Mr Putin is alarmingly clear: it is possible to attack democracy and rational discourse by creating an information ecosystem where everyone yells at everyone else and nobody believes anything.        这与普京所采取策略的相似之处清晰得可怕:建立一个每个人都在朝着对方大喊大叫、没人相信任何事情的信息生态系统来攻击民主和理性话语是可能的。
        But we should not give too much credit to Mr Putin. He did not create        但我们不应该把太多“功劳”算在普京头上。他没有建立西方世界的信息生态系统;真正建立这个系统的是我们自己。俄罗斯人只是给我们一个推力,很可能还只是轻轻推了一把。或许我应该说他们给我们来了一个“助推”。
        the information ecosystem of the        社交媒体的确看起来很容易受到外国势力阴暗的助推的影响。但更让人担忧的是我们在没有任何外部干预的情况下,容易被诋毁、歪曲和肤浅之言所惑。桑斯坦和塞勒要求政策制定者让做正确的事情变得容易;结果我们让什么事情变容易了呢?
        western world; we did. The Russians just gave us a push, and probably not        找到志同道合的人群很容易。分享、转发或者给我们甚至没读过的东西点赞很容易。重复谎言很容易。变得愤怒或者搞人身攻击很容易。
        a very big push at that. Perhaps I        辨别真相和谎言、抽出时间和注意力阅读一些深刻的东西,不仅仅只用点赞来回报一篇重要的文章,这些事情就没那么容易了。但这些并不是许多媒体公司,或者传播新闻的社交媒体网络的商业模式的根本。
        should say they gave us a nudge.        无论是助推、搅烂还是怨恨,我们能够改变这些现象。我们应该从这里开始——问问自己,面对新闻、信息和辩论,我们是否让做正确的事情变得很难,却让歪曲变得太过简单。
        Social media do seem vulnerable to dark nudges from foreign powers. But more worrying is our vulnerability to smears, skews and superficiality without any outside intervention at all. Messrs Sunstein and Thaler ask policymakers to make it easy to do the right thing; what have we made it easy to do?        译者/徐行
                
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