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Surveillance Capitalism
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:33 am    Post subject: Surveillance Capitalism Reply with quote

Have just recently watched Netflix's The Great Hack which concentrates on the UK tech company Cambridge Analytica's role in both the Trump victory and the Brexit referendum result, in which the company basically applied "weapons grade" behavioural modification techniques to whole populations in order to achieve the results that they were being paid by their employers to deliver, and which we now experience in our daily lives. This is all good as far as it goes, said a review of the film I read after my viewing, but misses the bigger picture by focusing on a couple of individual instances rather than getting the point across that this has become the defining ethos behind the operation of silicon valley as a whole - that Big Tech has morphed from the open toed sandal wearing friend of the people into a mass surveillance machine whereby our data is harvested, scraped, analysed, and quantified, before being converted into prodding and nudgeing techniques, little carrots and sticks that are turned back on us in the form of testable methods of rewarding 'good' behaviour and punishing 'bad'.

Why is it, the review asked that people are so resistant to state surveillance, but not in the slightest bit concerned about the same if not much higher lever of peering into our lives carried out by Tech - and put to uses way more subtle and potentially disturbing. In a Ted Talk in which she speaks the 'truth to power' Guardian journalist Carol Cadwaladr asks of the Big Tech bosses, are they ok that their businesses are being used in such a way that "there may never be a fair election again?" This said the review, is to let Zuckerberg et al of waaay too lightly. There is ample evidence that they simply don't care - that their 'bigger picture' is one that goes much bigger than one that concerns what goes on in individual countries like the UK or USA.

The film argued that we simply don't take the care we should about what we are agreeing to when we skip the 'terms and conditions' pages of these sites, blithely ticking boxes agreeing to things we simply are too lazy to read about in our desire to get to the goodies. But this stuff is being harvested on a huge scale - about 5,000 personality/lifestyle indicator points on every citizen in the US and growing - from which incredibly accurate assessment can be made as to what prompts and nudges will get you to behave in either this way or that, depending on who is footing the bill. Trump at the end of his campaign was spending a million dollars a day on targeted Facebook ads, numbering 56 million in total in comparison to Clinton's 66 thousand. By simply identifying the 'undecideds' in the swing states and specifically targeting them, leading them in a direction, coraling them like sheep into the correct pen by utilising a series of targeted prompts and nudges (in the form of news stories likely to arouse anger as well as positive prompts toward the side doing the paying) the desired results could be achieved. In one case we heard how Cambridge Analytica was contracted to work on the Trinidad and Tobago election campaign. There were essentially two parties representing the Indian and Afro-Carribean communities respectively. The party representing Indian interests contracted CA to help them. CA, rather than trying to promote the Indian party positively, instead identified that the youth vote would be the deciding factor in the election and set about to influence it. But rather than to get the Indian youth out to vote, instead they decided to try to influence the Afro-Carribean youth not to vote. They started a social media instigated movement (represented by a pair of crossed black arms) purporting to be a 'ground-up' swelling of popular discontent with the voting system, pumping out the message of witholding your vote in order to register your dissatisfaction. The 'hipness' of belonging to this movement was pushed with dance bands pumping out the message, graffiti appearing on walls etc. The message was not directed at any particular group of the country's youth - but CA knew that only the Afro-Carribean section would get sucked in. The Indian youth would join the fun, dance the dance - but then go out to vote as their parents instructed. The results were of course a predictable win for the Indian party: job done. CA was using methods it had honed in it's work for the defence industry in war theatres across the globe, but applying them to civilian populations in the form of mass behavioural changing experimentation. Once tried out on smaller countries, the US and UK were the next targets and here we are now.

This then is the price we pay for the fun of our instant connectivity: for all of those likes and dislikes we pop off without a thought, those personality tests we think of as fun while we tell our phones our most intimate details without so much as a seconds consideration. We become the rats in a mass social experiment that gets ever better, ever more sophisticated in it's methodology, ever more subtle and specific in the behaviour it can elicit, and we kiss goodbye in all but the most banal of manners, to anything worthy of the name of freedom.

Ref; www.vice.com, "Netflix's 'The Great Hack' misses the bigger picture"
The Great Hack, Netflix films.
"Facebook's Role in Brexit - and the Threat to Democracy" , Carol Cadwalladr, Ted Talk on YouTube (please watch this one - it's only 15 mins and is so, so moving. Give me this quarter hour of your lives as a gift.)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me, in 2013, wrote:
The point ... truly we live in a surveillance society. Our every move is tracked. The fact that the government does it is only that the government ALSO does it.

I'm way more worried about corporations tracking me than the government. Oh, sure, the shoot-the-feds crowd wants you to believe that the government is like a shadowy network in a James Bond movie, complete with men petting cats. But I am not very concerned about the government coming after me. What I *am* concerned about is being denied a job, or being denied medical insurance, or my rates for some service being jacked up, or in short becoming economic roadkill because someone doesn't like that I "like" the Patriots or because they have read my genome or because they decided my profile indicates I would pay more.

The potential for economic abuse far exceeds that of political abuse.

I am not saying I am for government surveillance. I am saying I am against all of this surveillance. Government surveillance is bad, but private enterprise surveillance is WORSE. If this latest exposition gets someone to finally worry about Big Data, I would be happy for that outcome.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend and I agree that the level of surveillance has gone far beyond what anyone would think is reasonable. We disagree that private surveillance is worse, though--a corporation cannot abuse you in ways that the government can.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The power of this stuff is blown way out of proportion. Ask yourselves: is any amount of "nudging" or "carrots/sticks" going to make Trump haters suddenly like Trump? Is it going to change the minds of Hillary haters? No. The Internet doesn't control you.

But it might make you paranoid. Laughing

Social media can't make me do things I don't want to do. This is absurd. It only reinforces beliefs/behaviors you already have/do.

Have any of your fears materialized, yet, Wayfriend? Are you economic roadkill because of . . . something? (You never really said how it would happen.)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch the Carol Cadwalladr Ted Talk Z. It's fifteen minutes long - that's all I ask. The lady is a highly respected UK journalist. If she's got it all wrong then fine, I would simply like your perspective on it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter, once an entity has access to information that indicates what excites you, what you like to share with others, and whom do you share it with - for each person, individually - what happens next isn't surprising.

You release stuff on the internet, and watch what happens.

Very soon - surprisingly soon - you learn what people respond to, and what people don't respond to. You learn what are the critical characteristics of the things people respond to, and which kinds of people respond to them. Then you learn how to fix things people don't respond to so that they become things they do respond to. Pretty soon you're in the manipulation game.

No one needs to be "controlled". But, when working in large numbers of people, you can move enough of them in the way you intend.

If it didn't work, they wouldn't be doing it.

It's nothing we haven't done for hundreds of years, mind you. We just put more technology behind it now. We can track billions of people individually, and tailor information to each specific person. And most importantly, we have delivery mechanisms that work far better than we had a few decades ago.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So when my Facebook feed gives me articles about Hubble, because the algorithms know I like space stuff, they are manipulating me to . . . like Hubble? But I already like Hubble!

Can anyone point to actual examples where it has worked, instead of speculation?

I get both Elizabeth Warren surveys and Trump surveys in my Facebook feed. Are they both trying to manipulate me? Is there a way that Warren can actually steer me to the dark side?

Wayfriend wrote:
You release stuff on the internet, and watch what happens.
Well, let me know when you spot something! What exactly are we supposed to be watching for?

[Edit: I just checked . . . my Facebook feed has posts/articles/memes about Yes, Rush, Beatles, Led Zepplin, tech news, pictures of my friends' kids, and one ad for a video game that I'll never play.

Where is the manipulation, again? I can't find it. Help me out!]
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Watch the Carol Cadwalladr Ted Talk Z. It's fifteen minutes long - that's all I ask. The lady is a highly respected UK journalist. If she's got it all wrong then fine, I would simply like your perspective on it.


It is impossible to know if she has it right or wrong because she's offered no evidence to back up her conspiracy theories. I was honestly shocked how brazenly devoid of any evidence her talk was. Honestly, it was probably the worst TED talk I've ever seen. I can't believe she is a respected journalist. She concluded that Facebook must explain why people voted to leave the European Union, but in her story, this was apparently based on one woman coming to her and saying that she saw something on Facebook. She even admits over and over that Facebook will not give her the evidence to prove her claims, as if this is suspicious enough to prove her claims!

This convinced you that she was right? Seriously?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Z - Advertising works. Propoganda works. That's why countless millions are spent on it every yeah. The thing is the power that the huge data sets available on things like Facebook give to model ever more subtle means of leading people in a given direction - not by dumping it on them all at once, but by drip feeding stories and directional prompts over a period that lead people to the place you want them to be in. In the past these techniques were clearly visible to those with eyes to see (the anti immigrant rhetoric drip fed into the British consciousness by the right wing media over the two plus years prior to the Brexit referendum being a case in point), but this overt visibility disappears with the increased subtlety that such huge data sets have made possible via testing and monitoring of results. Sort of like how the posters you don't even consciously see as you walk down the street might influence the perfume you buy for your wife later in the day. Experiments in small subsets have long been used in psychology research to show how totally uncomprehended prompts can be used to influence people's behaviour and this work is writ on the level of whole populations with the data that companies like Facebook hold.

Here's a quote from Chris Wiley, the guy who whistle blew on the Cambridge Analytica work on the UK referendum.
Quote:
Cambridge Analytica isn't a data science firm, it's a full service propoganda machine

And another from Professor Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School taken from an interview with an unnamed employee of one of the big silicon valley companies, and quoted in her 2015 paper on the subject.
Quote:
The goal of everything we do is to change people's behaviour at scale. When people use our app we can capture their behaviour, identify the good and bad behaviours and develop ways to reward the good and punish the bad. We can test how actionable our cues are for them and how profitable for us.

The Carol Cadwalladr Ted talk was fifteen minutes long. Of course she couldn't present reams of evidence. But she is not some conspiracy theory hack to whom you can simply raise your eyebrows in dismissal - and she voices the increasing concerns felt by many about how the unchecked power of big tech might be turned against us. The UK government itself has looked into the issue and it does not feel that these worries are without foundation.

In respect of your own Facebook feed; I can't imagine that Facebook would say profile you as one of the undecideds worthy of targeting in an election campaign, so you won't ever see the same stuff sent to those it does seem as open to manipulation. That's the point - we won't ever know what different people are being fed and at what levels, and Facebook isn't going to tell us; it's between them and the nameless people who are paying them and deciding who is going to receive what.

Wayfriend's point hits the spot absolutely; when it comes to things like swinging elections there is no requirement for the prompts to work every time - it just has to be a sufficiently high number to get the desired result, and this becomes entirely predictable in the huge data sets of big tech (ie what prompts and triggers will achieve this. At it's absolute minimum, in the UK it can be used to flout the spending limits placed on parties (for good democratic reasons) - but the implications run far deeper than that of course.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no doubt that propaganda works. As Pete said, that's why we have it.

It's not about its effect on you or me, it's about a collective effect, perhaps on people who are less discriminating in terms of their acceptance of certain claims, for example.

Does stuff like that decide elections? Possibly not. Does it affect them? It's possible (perhaps even probable) that it does.

(I can't count the number of people who've come to me asking if I know XYZ is doing ABC without any sort of independent research into the validity of such claims.)

(And one of the best and most effective tactics is, of course, the creation of fear. Because when people are afraid, they will do things they wouldn't otherwise do to alleviate it.)

Nor do I think that there is any doubt that social media is changing the way that the world interacts, identifies, etc.

Some of those changes are for the good, others maybe not so much. But those changes aren't going to affect us much.

We are, I might as well mention again, the last generation that knows what it was to grow up without the internet or social media. (And they are becoming interchangeable I think.)

The changes will affect your children, and your children's children.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to expand on a post I wrote in another thread a few months ago about the growing influence of social media in politics.

1. People are bombarded with political propaganda all day (rather than just when they read the paper or turn on the TV).

This is because people are fascinated by their phones and during their idle moments they seek out and dive into the very feeds that deliver this propaganda. They get it during breaks, they get it during lunch, they get it on the train, they get it in bed.

What you need to remember is, these are scientifically designed to get you to do this. They feed our need for stimulation. They reward us for attention.

2. Diversity of media channels creates a Bubble Effect where you too easily only hear propaganda you already agree with. (All day!)

This shouldn't be news to anyone. Liberals don't follow Hannity's tweets; conservatives don't listen to NPR.

The critical thing here is that when these channels bring you something new, you believe it almost without question, because it's from a source you agree with on so many other things.

And this, as I already said, happens to you all day.

3. Propaganda delivered all day in a bubble receives no critical scrutiny, and so it's purveyors are no longer tethered to facts, bounded by propriety, or balanced by counter-argument. This is the post-Truth world.

When people are in bubbles, agreeing with everything, they are not being critical. There is actually every incentive to not disagree with everyone else in your bubble.

When nothing is critically scrutinized, then the sketchy stuff creeps in. Who's noticing? Who's stopping it? No one. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this can be exploited.

4. New technology rooted in psychology (such as addiction theory), informed by digital espionage, and delivered straight to your hand, can too successfully leverage the all-day, bubble-protected, post-truth media to instill opinion and modify behavior over large populations.

This is treading on topics already discussed. Tech companies use reward systems, the same as used in video games, to encourage you to give social media channels more attention than you already deserve.

And they know how you react to everything you see. Do you ignore it, click the like button, respond with a positive comment, forward it to some select friends, or repeat it to the world because it's so important that everyone should see it. And how quickly did you do that? You've just been "read". Their database tracks which things you liked, and how much you like it. The personalized data that they deliver to you next has been tuned by this past information. As it goes on, all these reads become their "profile" on you.

5. The people with the money to use this technology are merciless, ambitious, and are largely unchecked by the government over which they hold undue sway.

Anyone following the news knows that no one is stopping this. No one is really trying. Attempts at transparency are failures for technological reasons alone. Who's gonna check that companies are following their privacy statements? How could they?

And the government is not going to act against big companies in any meaningful way. The big companies run the government.

So basically, corporations are modifying what we believe en masse, in an all out war with no Geneva Conventions.

Not the government - there are no government-run social media channels. Corporations.

Why? Because our country is still nominally a democracy, so if corporations want to choose the leaders who will most benefit them, they need to sway the masses to vote the way they want them to vote.

And they wouldn't spend billions of dollars doing this if they weren't well rewarded for doing so.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Z - Advertising works. Propoganda works. That's why countless millions are spent on it every yeah.
It marginally works, but not by changing your mind from something you like to something you don't, but mostly by raising awareness for something you didn't know. I like pizza. If I see an ad for a sale on pizza from a particular brand, I might take advantage of the discount and give them a try. Otherwise, I'm going to go with one of my favorites. If the pizza sucked, no amount of advertising is going to convince me that I liked it.

Does a political ad for the other side ever convince you to vote for the other side? I think at best a political ad can get out the vote, but those votes would have gone that way regardless of the ad.

peter wrote:
The thing is the power that the huge data sets available on things like Facebook give to model ever more subtle means of leading people in a given direction - not by dumping it on them all at once, but by drip feeding stories and directional prompts over a period that lead people to the place you want them to be in.
What proof do you have that this leads people in a direction they wouldn't have taken themselves? It's pure speculation.

peter wrote:
In the past these techniques were clearly visible to those with eyes to see (the anti immigrant rhetoric drip fed into the British consciousness by the right wing media over the two plus years prior to the Brexit referendum being a case in point),
Wasn't there also pro-immigration rhetoric from the other side? Are you saying that without anti-immigration rhetoric, everyone would agree with you? I think we have a hard time imagining that others can have a different opinion from ourselves when we feel something strongly, so we look for nefarious reasons to explain it. But maybe they just disagree with you! And maybe--just maybe!--you are wrong. There are actually things to dislike about immigration, especially when the immigrants don't assimilate and start to change your culture.

In the Ted Talk video, this "respected journalist" actually said that, "Immigration without assimilation is invasion" is hate speech. Now granted, maybe it's a bit hyperbolic, but it's clearly not hate speech. It's a statement about culture, not hate. She's EXTREMELY biased and judgmental, unable to even consider the view from the other side. Thus, she looks for a boogiman to explain the difference.

peter wrote:

Here's a quote from Chris Wiley, the guy who whistle blew on the Cambridge Analytica work on the UK referendum.
Quote:
Cambridge Analytica isn't a data science firm, it's a full service propoganda machine

How do I know he's not just a disgruntled employee? How do I know he's not a progressive zealot with an axe to grind? His opinion is worthless as "evidence." Where is the proof that it's a propaganda machine?

peter wrote:
And another from Professor Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School taken from an interview with an unnamed employee of one of the big silicon valley companies, and quoted in her 2015 paper on the subject.
Quote:
The goal of everything we do is to change people's behaviour at scale. When people use our app we can capture their behaviour, identify the good and bad behaviours and develop ways to reward the good and punish the bad. We can test how actionable our cues are for them and how profitable for us.

This quote provides no evidence that the techniques are effective. Just because this is the goal doesn't mean they achieve it. Just because they can test doesn't say one word about the results of those tests.

A Google employee was recently caught on a hidden mic admitting that they are--as a corporation--trying to help the Democrats win the next election. Why isn't this being discussed? Why didn't it catch your attention? You guys only seem to get upset about these things when it implies that the results aren't going your way. I've even posted evidence (granted, anecdotal) from my own search results to show how biased Google is against Trump (compared to my preferred search engine, DuckDuckGo) and all I got for the effort was Wayfriend insinuating that I have unsavory things to hide, because I want to protect my privacy regarding my searches. This whole damn topic is political. [Why is it in the Close???]

peter wrote:
The Carol Cadwalladr Ted talk was fifteen minutes long. Of course she couldn't present reams of evidence. But she is not some conspiracy theory hack to whom you can simply raise your eyebrows in dismissal - and she voices the increasing concerns felt by many about how the unchecked power of big tech might be turned against us. The UK government itself has looked into the issue and it does not feel that these worries are without foundation.
I've seen MANY TED talks, and they almost always have reams of evidence. It's kind of their schtick. I've seen TED talks that were nothing but charts and graphs. 15 minutes is plenty of time.

Of course governments want to get involved. Control is their schtick. But do you really want the government controlling speech?

peter wrote:
In respect of your own Facebook feed; I can't imagine that Facebook would say profile you as one of the undecideds worthy of targeting in an election campaign, so you won't ever see the same stuff sent to those it does seem as open to manipulation. That's the point - we won't ever know what different people are being fed and at what levels, and Facebook isn't going to tell us; it's between them and the nameless people who are paying them and deciding who is going to receive what.
I make a point not to like political posts on FB. So given that I don't give the appearance of being decided, you'd think that I'd be one of those "targeted undecideds."

But something you said here strikes me as extremely odd. You think Facebook itself is targeting people to sway them politically? You know that it's ran by a bunch of Dems/Libs, right? So why would it make sense that FB helped Trump get elected and swayed the Brexit vote to leave?

peter wrote:
Wayfriend's point hits the spot absolutely; when it comes to things like swinging elections there is no requirement for the prompts to work every time - it just has to be a sufficiently high number to get the desired result, and this becomes entirely predictable in the huge data sets of big tech (ie what prompts and triggers will achieve this. At it's absolute minimum, in the UK it can be used to flout the spending limits placed on parties (for good democratic reasons) - but the implications run far deeper than that of course.
First of all, I don't agree that it's good for democracy to place spending limits on political (or any kind of) speech. Campaigns still spend billions. What difference does a limit make when it's so high? I don't have a billion dollars to get my word out. I'm effectively silent compared those who have that kind of money to spread their speech. Campaign financing laws are merely the illusion of protection.

Secondly, can you please give me an EXAMPLE of one of these "prompts?" How are "prompts" different from political ads?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
1. People are bombarded with political propaganda all day (rather than just when they read the paper or turn on the TV).
Pure speculation. Only a handful of my FB friends post anything political. The rest of them talk about how sick they are of politics. Aside from what this small handful of friends post, and the occasional Trump/Warren survey, I hardly see anything political on FB.

Where are you getting your data on this?? [My suspicion: your ass.]

wayfriend wrote:
2. Diversity of media channels creates a Bubble Effect where you too easily only hear propaganda you already agree with. (All day!)

This shouldn't be news to anyone. Liberals don't follow Hannity's tweets; conservatives don't listen to NPR.
Of the political posts I see on FB, they come from both sides. That's because the things I see come from my friends/family, who come from both sides of the political aisle. FB doesn't control your friends. You do. I see all perspectives debated in the comments and posts. No bubble here.

wayfriend wrote:
The critical thing here is that when these channels bring you something new, you believe it almost without question, because it's from a source you agree with on so many other things.
I do concede that, for the most part, people have already made up their minds about everything, and even fact-checkers rarely sway them. This is why I think the "manipulation" effect is very close to zero. Very few people are willing to change their minds. If someone is "manipulating" you to believe something you already believe, they're not manipulating you.

wayfriend wrote:
3. Propaganda delivered all day in a bubble receives no critical scrutiny, and so it's purveyors are no longer tethered to facts, bounded by propriety, or balanced by counter-argument. This is the post-Truth world.
I see more debate and fact-checking than ever. Granted, this may not change many minds, but it's absolutely false to say there is "no critical scrutiny."

wayfriend wrote:
When people are in bubbles, agreeing with everything, they are not being critical. There is actually every incentive to not disagree with everyone else in your bubble.
You're in my bubble. I disagree with you on almost everything.

wayfriend wrote:
When nothing is critically scrutinized, then the sketchy stuff creeps in. Who's noticing? Who's stopping it? No one. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this can be exploited.
This whole thread is sketchy. I noticed. (Though you don't.)

wayfriend wrote:
4. New technology rooted in psychology (such as addiction theory), informed by digital espionage, and delivered straight to your hand, can too successfully leverage the all-day, bubble-protected, post-truth media to instill opinion and modify behavior over large populations.
Prove it. Note: such proof would be actual evidence of it working, not merely a quote from someone echoing your opinion (or, as more likely, you echoing theirs).

wayfriend wrote:
And they know how you react to everything you see. Do you ignore it, click the like button, respond with a positive comment, forward it to some select friends, or repeat it to the world because it's so important that everyone should see it. And how quickly did you do that? You've just been "read". Their database tracks which things you liked, and how much you like it. The personalized data that they deliver to you next has been tuned by this past information. As it goes on, all these reads become their "profile" on you.
And the end result: I see things in my FB that I like. So what? I like Rush. The more I like them, the more Rush things I see. This scares you?

wayfriend wrote:
5. The people with the money to use this technology are merciless, ambitious, and are largely unchecked by the government over which they hold undue sway.
You know them personally? How do you know they are merciless?

wayfriend wrote:
Anyone following the news knows that no one is stopping this. No one is really trying. Attempts at transparency are failures for technological reasons alone. Who's gonna check that companies are following their privacy statements? How could they?
Why should anyone stop FB from showing you things you like?

wayfriend wrote:
And the government is not going to act against big companies in any meaningful way. The big companies run the government.
What exactly do you want the government to do?

wayfriend wrote:
So basically, corporations are modifying what we believe en masse, in an all out war with no Geneva Conventions.
Religion also modifies what people believe en masse. Should the government stop that, too? The Democratic Party tries to modify what people believe. Should we stop that, too? What exactly is wrong with trying to modify people's beliefs?

wayfriend wrote:
Why? Because our country is still nominally a democracy, so if corporations want to choose the leaders who will most benefit them, they need to sway the masses to vote the way they want them to vote.
Did corporations choose Obama? Did corporations give the House back to the Democrats? Did corporations help Hillary steal the election from Bernie? Why are our politics so finely balanced if corporations only want one party rule? How do corporations know which politicians will benefit them ahead of time, before they are elected? If all politicians bow to the influence of corporations (NOTE: THEY DO!), then what difference does it make which politician get elected??

Wayfriend wrote:
And they wouldn't spend billions of dollars doing this if they weren't well rewarded for doing so.
Corporations spend money on things that don't work ALL THE TIME. Not every investment produces a return. It's always a risk. Also: do you have evidence that they are spending billions on this? Or just an assumption?

Every single aspect of your conspiracy theory is flimsy, unsupported, illogical speculation. It doesn't make sense in either the details or the overall goal.
If you actually believe this, and you learned about it on the Internet (I'm assuming), then why don't you question it? Maybe it's another one of those manipulation thingies you are talking about!!
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
She even admits over and over that Facebook will not give her the evidence to prove her claims, as if this is suspicious enough to prove her claims!


That is the defining characteristic of "conspiracy theory" thinking. The evidence for the theory does not exist because all the evidence which would support it has been deleted/erased/destroyed by whatever shadow organization or government is trying to keep it a secret. The lack of evidence "proves" that the theory is true, otherwise evidence for it would exist.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How to tell this issue is bullshit with one simple question:

How concerned are you that Google/Facebook/Twitter is helping the Democrats?
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
How concerned are you that Google/Facebook/Twitter is helping the Democrats?


Not at all.

People who cast their vote because of something they see/read on a social media site deserve the candidate for whom they vote.

I have a gmail account but I use it only for job searches. I have a FB profile but I almost never visit it and I never reply to anything I see there, even if Ms. Lebwohl mentions me. I don't use Twitter because I am not a twit.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
How concerned are you that Google/Facebook/Twitter is helping the Democrats?


Not at all.
And neither do the ones griping about this issue. That's the point. All these corporations are run by liberal Democrats. It's hilarious that the conspiracy theorists believe that they are working to elect Trump. It's hilarious that they get worked up at all, given that the tech corporations are working to elect the guys that they want.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Former Google employee/whistle blower explains how the company is biased against Tump at every level, and its efforts to prevent him from being reelected

You guys worried about this?

Of course you're not.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Z - you are simply not getting this. It isn't about Trump or not Trump, Republican or Democrat, Brexit or not Brexit. Your lens is simply way too focused here. The examples being used are simply the ones that are pertinent by virtue of being the standout cases we can point to. If the Dems or Remain had won by virtue of the same methods it would be just as wrong.

The issue is (to return to Carol Cadwalladr's final point) "Whether it will ever be possible to have a fair and democratic election again". Whether (as she puts it) this is what they (the Gods of Big Tech) want - to be the handmaidens to an authoritarianism that sweeps all aside in front of it (Trump and Brexit included) by virtue of its dark imperceptibly and insidious methodology. Earlier on you challenged me to "come up with the facts" to demonstrate what - that these practices are being levied against us or that they can be effective? Both? This is of course not something I can do. I simply haven't the time or inclination to go back to the source to satisfy this demand - but as with many things in life, their are voices of individuals, way smarter than me, way more deeply immersed in the subject whose recorded opinions I do trust (think Yuval Harare, think Ben Hammersley, think the UK Government and yes, the makers of numerous film and TV programs on the subject) who seem to think we have a problem.

I'm fine with the argument that maybe this is all simple paranoia - that these techniques don't exist (well, we all know they do actually), that they were not/ are not being levied against us at the whole population level (well, the evidence would suggest that they are actually) of that they simply don't work (more difficult this one, maybe the jury's still out on this) - but to see it as simply a disgruntled remain or Democrat case of sour grapes is absolutely to miss the point by a mile.

I sat in the airport in Copenhagen the other day facing a row of people in the opposite bank of chairs. To a man and woman, their heads were bowed, their thumbs tapping away; their was no communication, no interest in the surroundings - just a total and complete absorption into .......what? We have all seen this, in the subway, on the buses, in our office canteens. I would like to put a collage of images together. The filing masses of people in Fritz Leiber's masterpiece Metropolis; a girl strapped to a gurney, face distorted in rage as she is carried off the plane in which she finally snapped and went berserk (front page of The Sun a couple of weeks ago); the dystopian vision of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Call these to mind, mix them up, and this is something like what all this is about to me. Paranoid? Maybe. Remainer sour grapes? Definitely not.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyway, you're a leaver now. Razz

Part of the issue of course is that the medium is too new. Laws and mindsets haven't gotten close to catching up yet.

It amuses me (have I said this before?) because people are going on about how wild and lawless the internet is, when to me it seems to regimented and regulated and surveilled now.

Of course, the real problem is that they let anybody in now. Very Happy When I first got online, you probably had at least some basic technical knowledge, otherwise you wouldn't have got involved in the first place. Very Happy

Speed of technological advance is always going to be a problem...by the time society and the law catches up, it will have changed again.

Transgender? Pfffft. Watch out for Transhumanism. Very Happy

Obviously the only rational answer is anarchy. Let the chips fall where they may. Very Happy

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