Is Twitter the intellectual equivalent of the combustion engine?
Fun read Stephen, i loved this! It made me think of the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion (ELM). While not a perfect analogy, there's conceptual resonance.
You wrote, "perhaps belief engines are constrained by some underlying dynamics that translate across types of intelligence." The ELM is a theory that attempts to reveal those dynamics in human behavior in all its non-deterministic glory. What's interesting from an analytics perspective is that data and metrics are not always effective tools of persuasion.
One of my favorite podcast episodes goes into this in detail https://youarenotsosmart.com/2018/09/11/yanss-134-the-elaboration-likelihood-model/