We, at HiveMined Security, have a big problem with asymmetric information. We hold it as the greatest detriment to the human condition. It is the root cause of all malignities, irresponsibilities, regressions, and indeed all failures known to humankind.
In the mean time, Investopedia has a smaller interpretation:
“Asymmetric information [..] is present whenever one party to an economic transaction possesses greater material knowledge than the other party. [..] Almost all economic transactions involve information asymmetries.”
But why should this only be limited to an “economic transaction”. Is this not also present in most, if not all, communication and relationships? Wherever there is injustice, inequality, and manipulation? Heck, could politics even be considered politics without information that is imbalanced, or indeed asymmetric? In any case the rhetorical tools that leverage any politicians' influence on voters is always carefully scripted, and not necessarily in any accordance to the honesty of the claims...
We can only imagine the general human bias towards asymmetric information, is an evolutionary relic. A curious psychological artefact persisting from an era that made it advantageous for ones' very survival to habitualise. An anti-social trait that has been passed down through millennia of hardship and cutthroat human conditions, that suddenly no longer apply. A relic from an ape-like brain that still is convinced, that the world is a zero-sum game, and ends can indeed any justify any means to further ones' own self-interest.
As such, our brains seem to have a hard time catching up with the new abundant reality we have created for ourselves, by means of the reality-bending privileges that the institutions of "civilisation" provide. Asymmetric information however, is in detriment to the very pillars of civilisation: Trust and solidarity.
They say we live in the “information age”, but most people still seem to choose be scarce about it, always trying to gain the upper hand — trying to get more out of whatever relationship, than the other party gets out of it.
Our hardware is abundant, but our software is lacking a compatibility-update
Asymmetric information is the opposite of full disclosure. Whether it’s actionable information that should be out in the open to make the best decisions, or even a lack of education (is it fair that education is a privilege, and not a right?). We resent the dishonesty and inequality of the world, but accept the analogue and compartmentalised nature that limits and forces us to live with such as a human condition (for now). Furthermore, it is unimaginable to asses the losses stemming from the untapped potential of global "wisdom of crowd", due to such a ubiquitous perception of scarcity, due to the missmatch between our ontology (reality) and our etymology (how we think about our reality). It seems our hardware is abundant, but our software is lacking a compatibility-update to rid itself of the persistent illogical perception of scarcity, and bias towards either withholding, manipulating, or falsifying, information for personal gain.
However, asymmetric information doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to “information” in my interpretation, and thus a tool of leverage and opportunism. A better term for my assertions, might well be “asymmetric knowledge”. To me you see, there’s a difference in being informed about the horrific particular circumstances of a war, and knowing about the human disaster. One can know the emotional tragedy, one can hardly be informed about it. Statistics on the amount of infantile casualties (collateral damage) in an armed conflict is “information”, the extent of grieving parents is knowledge —in my opinion.
Thus, we hold that knowledge can be emotional, empathetic, and provide contextual nuance, something that information simply cannot convey explicitly. To be able to derive such implicit knowledge from statistical information, requires more empathy than most people are comfortable with. But if people really could know (nearing in on actually feeling) the pain that grieving parents feel for the loss of a child due to armed conflict, most people would be hesitant to be pro-war.
Such reflections aren’t just present in armed conflict however, it’s everywhere. All human suffering is itself a victim of asymmetric information (or knowledge). Take your pick: Starvation, poverty, poor health, tyranny, hopelessness, and my “favourite” —ignorance; it can all be alleviated with the right knowledge. Whether it’s the ones who are suffering, or the ones who could help alleviate the suffering. Knowledge can make the entire difference.
In other words, if people really knew how awful other people’s realities were, they would step in to help. People do this with their family, and most often their friends, and sometimes their countrymen, but exceedingly rarer the further away the suffering exists. If we could "a-priori" (as a natural first position) fathom the very real abundance, the fruits of our shared ancestral efforts, and our contemporary place in history; we would surely be less inclined towards tribalist values (and thus, -politics) as we evidently currently are. Our ape-like minds can barely grasp, trust, and care, for much more than the local herd. But technology is changing this, and HiveMined is here to take an active role in this pursuit, to alleviate the evil of asymmetric information. And you can help us. It won't even take much effort.
Together we will soon be able to generate and make knowledgable sense of big data, all in pursuit of making the world a safer place to live in.
First off, we are targeting digital fraud.