My favourite talk at Defcon, the Las Vegas hacker convention that flew us out to screen Infest Wisely, was one on social engineering.
The speaker brought up the idea that by asking questions of someone you can increase the chances of getting what you want from them — somewhat similar to opening several applications at once on a computer can crash the system. I came across this idea again on a recent Radiolab piece on Choice:
…again, focusing on the idea that the human brain has limited analytical power. But it also explores the idea that a Vulcan like rationality causes indecision, since there’s no emotional “tilt” one way or the other.
So I’m imagining a duo of scientifically grounded con men (or women) who get what they want by exploiting this limitation of the human platform. As the movie progresses we discover their relationship to an artificial intelligence that needs their emotive decision making ability to function, and who has given them this training as a reward.