16.12.08

the outgroup homogeneity bias

i shouldn't peoplewatch. it just makes me despise people.

i'm sitting in the corridors of the huge labs, next to a power socket, happily plugged in and listening to Rabbit Junk while i write a paper about the role of artificially intelligent techniques in machine security. i'm wading through a paper on CycSecure when i'm interrupted by an infuriating stream of banality that streams from the seemingly unthinking head of the bint who's wandered out of the lab to invade my space. "Okay... Tesco... so basically yeah... football? ...no, I'll see you later... no I don't think so sweetie... mum, yeah... I don't wanna go by myself, no..." and on and on, all punctuated with giggles and spoken in an artificially soft, girlified tone that makes me want to crush her throat against the wall until she stops talking like that. it's another sports clone, in the standard uniform of expensive running shoes, joggers, over-feminine pink shirt and bodywarmer, with the same boring plain face, same old brown hair pulled in a ponytail and the same gold necklace they all seem to pass around like a joint. i swear these fucking people are all identical.

so while i'm sitting there, partly fuming that i've cranked my music up to obnoxious volumes and i can still hear this retard blathering about fuck all for an hour, and partly desperately wanting to send them all a long, detailed, ranting letter about how they don't have to look like they're the High Ambassador of Bland or totally eschew any kind of clothing or decoration that might express their personalities or give me looks that might as well spell out in neon over their heads, OH GOD IT'S THAT FUCKING PILLHEAD AGAIN, it occurs to me that my own thinking is spectacularly biased.

see, not everybody looks like me. i've got skin divers on my face and hands, my hair is spiky and dyed weird colours, and my clothes are about as old as i am. on top of that, i just look sick; it's the white skin and the permanent eye-bags at twenty years old, i scare people. the thing is, whilst i'm not neurotypical, in a way everybody thinks like me, everyone despises the masses that drift in oceans of samey-samey facelessness around their ragtag group of misfit friends. that's called the outgroup homogeneity bias.

so maybe i don't have a right to call their hobbies boring. i can't stand small talk or nights on the town, and i hate myself for getting suckered into video games, purely because i have better things to do, like finish the prototype of my thermistor implant or improve the procedure for inserting neodymiums. but they'd probably see it the exact same way, in reverse. what the fuck's Lepht doing sat on its ass drawing circuits all night when i was out with my friends having real fun? the same goes for thinking your friends are all totally crazy and unique and nobody else has buddies like yours. they do. everybody thinks their buddies are the craziest people in the city. the reason i'm on about all this, of course, is that i think it's fucking awesome to notice the biases and prejudices your own perception is subject to. more you see, the more you can reduce your dependency on that kind of thing.

so maybe i should just see the jocks for what they actually are and do some goddamn work.

1 comment:

Tilka said...

http://xkcd.com/610/

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?