So person X, Y, Z and W have all given me mutually exclusive explanations for things. In their own way, each is quite acquainted with the problem domain in question. But the common factor is that none of them have anything to show for their apparent expertise - Never trust a poor fortune teller (or financial guru whose portfolio is different from what he suggests to you).
In the end seems like I have to simply pick one viewpoint and stick to it. So I'm picking mine, it's a nice one! If my nice little viewpoint is erroneous then the world sucks, and I shall initiate premature shutdown... so there!!!
Speaking of shutdown, I was reminded of a story by Hofstadter where a chappie discovers a theory that when processed by the brain, sets it into an infinite loop... Now if that could be induced by verbal communication, it would be a cool "evil-overlord" power to have.
In fact seems like the existing evil overlords do have some such power, enabling them to introduce powerful memes into the brains of hoi polloi.