Friday, September 3, 2010
Credibility, bogosity, and blown fuses
What will happen if you overload your audience with information they do not believe is credible?
In a blog post on July 14th titled Is Your Presentation Tripping the Circuit Breaker? George Torok described what will happen. They will react like the wiring in your house would, and mentally disconnect from you either by blowing a fuse or tripping a circuit breaker.
One example he gave was a speaker incorrectly assuming he knew:
“The speaker said, ‘Write down two running shoe brands and I bet I know what you picked,’ He picked Nike and Adidas. Both are well known brands, however I wrote Asics and New Balance because I’m a runner. When he told me that I was wrong in my pick the breaker in my mind tripped and he lost me as a listener.”
I also would have picked New Balance, because they sell shoes in the B width that fits my narrow feet.
The opposite of credibility is bogosity. It is a recent word that comes from computer science, and may have originated in artificial intelligence groups at universities like Carnegie Mellon, or perhaps Stanford.
Bogosity is measured with a mythical scientific instrument called a bogometer. Early analog bogometers had a needle on a scale. “You just pinned my bogometer!” meant that an incredibly bogus statement had overloaded it, and stuck the needle at full scale. Of course, recent bogometers have digital readouts.