In a Bollywood movie Pk, a man comes from a planet where lying is not possible as all the thoughts/knowledge is transferable via human contact. Due to which they do not have to lie about anything or hide anything from each other.

Say, such a society plausible with technology, if we decide to abandon the privacy as we know today. All the recorded data (written, spoken, recorded videos etc.) and thought (via neuralink) is accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Basic idea behind the question is, people worry about data being accumulated at one place (entity or government) and being used against them or to deceive them. If everything is accessible/known to everyone of about anyone and anything, what does privacy mean in this case?

  • Trying to understand the question - are you saying that "privacy" will have a different meaning in such world? It seems very plausible, as Frank says, that it simply would cease to exist and the word itself might as well be forgotten. But to be honest, this seems like we're going into Lang.SE more than Phi.SE. May 9, 2018 at 4:43
  • Whereas in this world where the reading of minds is not possible SF writers have dreamt up mind reading devices, maybe in that world their SF writers would be dreaming up devices to provide privacy? May 9, 2018 at 5:12
  • @MoziburUllah, well, I believe telepathic devices will exist in the future. But people won't be able to read your thoughts unless you allow them to do so. Like how mail works: people can't read them until you press "Send" button.
    – rus9384
    May 9, 2018 at 6:37

4 Answers 4


No lies, always truth

Imagine this proposition. I ask a question, any question. Now the answer to this question can come in many forms with different levels of detail, focus, granularity. The question being asked is asked with the questioners parameters, limitations, but the person answering answers with their own perception of the limitations.

Now what is true is measured against the parameters and limitations, so one approximation might be a lie, while another be true. So if one believes in the rule, no lying, one would have to iterate until the answer fulfilled the criteria.

I would suggest therefore it is impossible to create a world without lies, because truth in its fundamental definition of the laws of thought, always has within it the existence of untruths or lies.

So maybe what the question actually is, is the removal of the intention to lie or miss-lead. But this is a choice, not a law, as the process of revealing facts is active and not passive. Or put it another way, truth is obtained at the end of process, not during the process. And some truths are discovered by investigation, and no individual knew the "truth" singularly, but could reveal it.


1 There's a difference between being 'accessible' and being 'known'. Everything might be accessible, knowable, to everyone about everything about everyone else - but not actually known. In the gap between the known and the knowable there is room for de facto privacy.

2 Simply knowing that I have a thought tells you nothing about my relation to that thought - whether I believe it to be true, am entertaining it as a fantasy, hallucinating, working out what can be deduced from it or estimating what is probable in the light of it. Ah but, someone might say, everything about your mental processes and states is transparent, so we could easily know what your relation was to your thought. Not so : my relation to a thought is embedded in a nexus of indefinitely many other thoughts. To understand my relation to it you would have to embark on understanding a virtual infinity of other thoughts. The task can never be completed, and where it falls short privacy is preserved.

3 'A thought' -a single thought - is a mere abstraction : it is like a Russian doll, informing every thought is a vast complexity of concepts which give it its sense or meaning. Consider how many concepts - zooloogical and cultural - are involved in thinking of a dog. This is another virtual infinity which practically guarantees a degree of mental privacy.


The erasure of personal identity, emergence of a hive-mind

If everything that everyone knows, feels and sees is known to everyone... then that means that we essentially cease to exist as individuals and become a hive-mind.

The things that make you be, well... you... is your unique experience. If that experience is not unique to you but shared with everyone else, and you also at the same time share everyone else's experiences... then you cannot be a unique individual any more.

So instead humanity becomes a hive-mind.

...which may become slightly problematic.

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"We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."

  • Do you assume that hive-mind is already not the case? On what basis?
    – Baby Boy
    Jun 9, 2018 at 6:50
  • I believe you may be conflating privacy and autonomy. In order to lose your individuality and become part of a hive mind, you would need to lose not only your privacy, but also your agency as an individual capable of making your own decisions. Now, you could try to argue that those are related, but it is certainly but a given.
    – Misha R
    Jul 11, 2018 at 4:07

Such speculation is useless and the (movie's) argument is not logic.

"Such speculation is useless":

a) The goal of knowing truth is survival, but survival depends also on other aspects, and moreover, survival is just possible for a limited amount of years. Therefore, with or without truth, we will end our physical existence at some point.

b) The value of truth of anyone's statement is usually known on the long term. As an old person, I just can tell you that you just know people better, and be more selective about your relationships.

c) The truth about anyone's statement is this: his priority is to survive (according to his perspective of facts), then his second priority is the survival of the group. If you risk that, the probabilities of lying are high.

d) If we would able to know truth from all statements, perhaps we would be extinct, perhaps not, but such alternative implies a parallel reality, which is not physically possible to experience. Why do not think of a world where everything is pink, a world where anybody can traverse walls, or a world where every dream becomes truth the next morning? Such speculation seems far more interesting.

"The argument is not logic":

a) Knowing truth means knowing all truth, and that's not possible.

b) The issue of your question is related to privacy in a nature where privacy does not exist. Well, "aosfqwfaowifnafsdfkasdfaos" don't exist in this nature, so, take your conclusions.

c) The movie deals about a factual impossibility, your question deals about a fact that is real nowadays: personal-level integrated information databases do exist. And that's not ethical (nor legal in some countries, as in France). Why? Again, because it risks survival, of the group and of the individual. The movie is therefore not relevant.

d) If you are worried about survival coming from "external" sources, you are losing your time. From what it seems, we'll be extinct in a couple of centuries, unless we start making war, to compete for earth's administration, which should do more worries.

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