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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
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.
But people who are upset about Big Data swaying elections only seem to get upset about it when it seems to help Republicans/conservatives (I haven't seen any evidence that it has, only conspiracy theories).

Are you concerned that Google is biased against Trump and trying to stop him, or not? Given their massive power over the flow of information, does it bother you at all when they make it flow Left?

peter wrote:
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.
Of course it's possible to have fair democratic elections. What difference does it make if the 'Gods of Big Tech' sway public opinion to believe bullshit through propaganda and a manipulation of "likes," (whatever the hell that means), and the Democratic Presidential candidates blatantly trying to connect Trump with the latest mass shootings? It's bullshit either way. People are ALWAYS going to try to make you believe bullshit. Do Dems spouting bullshit make it impossible to have fair democratic electcions?
No. Should we make it illegal for Dems to spout bullshit? No. It's up to you to reject it.

peter wrote:
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.
Wow. Sorry, man, I just can't jump on that bandwagon. I do not form opinions about reality this way. Smart people can still believe dumb things. And you're seriously proposing that the government is a reliable source? In an argument against authoritarianism? You're right, I don't get it.

peter wrote:
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'm not saying that the techniques don't exist. I'm saying that you haven't even described what the techniques are. How do they work?

I will say that they aren't being levied against the whole population. My kids (18-26) aren't on Facebook. Millennials don't use it. It's a middle-age thing. And in my use of it, I don't see these "techniques." No one is steering me to like things that I didn't already like prior to joining.

peter wrote:

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.
What if those people were all reading newspapers? Prior to cellphones, that's what I saw when I took mass transit. Why is the image of reading a newspaper (or book) less sinister? Do you think there is less propaganda in the New York Times? At least on my phone, I can chat with people I care about, instead of insignificant, insincere conversations with people around me merely because the silence is awkward.

I resisted getting a smartphone for 8 years. It wasn't until 2015 until I got one. Until then, it bugged me that my kids had their noses in a phone while sitting on the couch, watching a movie with the family. The irony of me getting upset about them staring at a screen while I stared at a larger screen was lost on me. I wanted "family time," as in "family movie night." I wanted to share the experience of Story. Their attention spans had seemed to have shrunk so small that following a 2 hour narrative was beyond their patience. I thought it was a sign that the next generation was screwed, diminished by their technology.

Then I finally got a smartphone, and that posture of huddling over your palm became familiar. I got it. The instant access to the whole of human knowledge in the palm of my hand, no matter where I was, was a miracle. "Put down the phone" had become my "get off my lawn." I had been becoming the cliche of one generation not understanding the next.

That's how you sound now. Paranoid, yes, but even worse: an old man scared of newfangled things that you don't understand. You even admit that your opinion isn't based on evidence! You sound like my father who has lived in fear for years that we'll all have to get chips embedded in us in order to buy food (he thinks it will be the Biblical "Mark of the Beast"), and will not use credit cards with chips for this reason. Of course, he is entirely oblivious to the fact that most of the time when he is warning me of this danger, he is talking to me on a cellphone with a "chip" in it. Even when I brought this to his attention, he never gave up his phone. He continues to surf websites that fill him with fear of a future of chip-slavery, unable to see how chips have brought us unprecedented freedom.

Right now, this very minute, we're talking about how you are concerned about things you haven't seen, for which you have no evidence, and which you think are endangering our entire society (e.g. democracy). You are worried that people are being led to believe things--via the Internet--which aren't true. And yet, you are taking something you've seen on the Internet at face value! Not a hint of skepticism.

Do you really think it doesn't matter who benefits from this myth? Why are you so quick to dismiss that concern? Name a single Republican/conservative/Rightist who benefits from spreading this fear. It is used entirely to undermine the vote for Brexit and the 2016 election of Trump. That's it. Maybe you are falling for a misinformation campaign right now!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Ok Z, I think we've about wrapped this up! I'm way too old to be scared of any of this on my own behalf (or to get too worked up about it) - none of it will make the slightest difference to me. And I freely admit that I may be gullible in my taking on board the warnings of those authors, journo's, TV and film producers whose work on the subject I have encountered. And yes, I could go to the back of their books, or to the internet and check out their sources, take it back to the original studies and do data analysis of these to better understand to what degree they can be trusted.......and yes, I admit I haven't done this and that I'm not going to. But as with many things in life, forewarned is forearmed. Just by engaging others in such a discussion as this - to get people to actually think about the subject - then to a degree the object of threads such as these is achieved. As with the story of your kids and their phones, the time may come when (for whatever reason - perhaps the Democrats will win an election and their methods will come under scrutiny?) when of a sudden you think "Hey, I wonder what's actually going on here?". Or it may not. You're a clever enough guy that by and large you will be able to trust that if there is something to get your teeth into here, sooner or later it would start flagging up in your awareness. As I say, forewarned will do half the job here.

I think also you have to be careful not to - how to put this - paint over the opinions of the older generation with too broad a brush of "Oh, it's just a fear of new technologies and the world changing too fast for them". We are also capable of discerning the pluses and minuses within the whole: of critical analysis of the individual parts. In my own case I embrace the joys of the internet, the access to - well, anything......... everything! It's a miracle to me, and that it should have come about in my life........! In respect of the chip example - I'm of the "bring it on! school of thought. I love the idea of being able to walk into a supermarket, fill up a trolley and walk out; no check out, no direct payment, just simply walk and let the tech do the work. No, for me this word is changing - and not a moment too soon! If I were in government I'd accelerate the adoption of tech in a way that would absolutely pull the 'disruption' rug out from under the feet of the big tech boys (this idea that everything has to be broken in order to be remade). The entire health system is ripe for tech overhaul. As a simple example, why are we still queuing up to see a gp; there is absolutely nothing that a general practitioner can do that cannot be done better, quicker, more cheaply and more efficiently by an algorithm (well, ninety nine percent anyway - let's leave them the prostate examinations Wink ).

No - for me tech is the way forward and it will (as it always has done) make the world a better place. But there will always be people who will try to use it to gain unfair advantage - to utilize it in the standard practices of accumulation of power, wealth and control (because people will remain people for at least a little while yet) - and maybe we just have to be a bit savvy about keeping our eyes open for such abuses. Maybe the topic in hand is the first such example, maybe it's all up the creek - but either ways, the fact remains that as things change, we have to change with them and maintenance of a healthy scepticism about how we might be being unwittingly manipulated is to be primed to spot such practices if or when they occur.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
The instant access to the whole of human knowledge in the palm of my hand, no matter where I was, was a miracle.


Aside from needing to learn how to read, would this not obviate the need for school? Why bother learning anything when you can just look it up in a few seconds?
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having access to all knowledge is of course by no means a substitute for having had a (hopefully) sizable chunk of it erected into a framework upon which or from which new connections can emerge, new ideas (adding to the sum) can be added. Time may come when we can 'delegate' this function to tech as well - but what then of human purpose? Either we have to keep pace with our AI, or we regress while it spearheads off into the future and we are out-evolved. Continuing to build that framework (or developing ways for it to be planted 'en masse' (along with fully understand and functional means for its operation) in our brains, will be a big part of this keeping pace.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Having access to all knowledge is of course by no means a substitute for having had a (hopefully) sizable chunk of it erected into a framework upon which or from which new connections can emerge, new ideas (adding to the sum) can be added. Time may come when we can 'delegate' this function to tech as well - but what then of human purpose? Either we have to keep pace with our AI, or we regress while it spearheads off into the future and we are out-evolved. Continuing to build that framework (or developing ways for it to be planted 'en masse' (along with fully understand and functional means for its operation) in our brains, will be a big part of this keeping pace.


If we could wetwire a USB slot (or SimCard, either way) slot into our brain then our "education" could be uploaded in only a few minutes. Our future is definitely going cyborg and I wish it were here already.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with Peter really...having access to the theory is different from knowing how to do things. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi- because (when we actually learn the stuff we need to learn) what we're learning is GOOD METHODS that generalize to solving problems, not acquiring raw data?
...Or... even when we are acquiring raw data, we are building up structures & our minds are seeking & discerning patterns.

that said, our current model for school suuuuuucks, and there's a lot of not-learning things.
So I'm arguing here for a "need for a program of learning & training" not a need for school-as-it-is.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartbooger wrote:
Hashi- because (when we actually learn the stuff we need to learn) what we're learning is GOOD METHODS that generalize to solving problems, not acquiring raw data?
...Or... even when we are acquiring raw data, we are building up structures & our minds are seeking & discerning patterns.

that said, our current model for school suuuuuucks, and there's a lot of not-learning things.
So I'm arguing here for a "need for a program of learning & training" not a need for school-as-it-is.


Excellent points. I have always said that mathematics teaches one to solve problems and that "solving problems" is applicable everywhere.

Yes, the way schools are now is pathetic--too many "educators" teaching to standardized tests as opposed to teaching useful information.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the UK schools have become obsessed with box ticking. SATS Tests are carried out on the cohorts at frequent intervals, results published and league tables constructed. Good teachers gravitate towards the already high performing schools and as a result the gap between the best and worst schools becomes more pronounced. Parents vie (and game the system) to get their kids into the top schools, house prices are affected as they move within the catchment areas of the best schools, pushing the prices in highly sought after area up and further distancing access to the best schools to those at the lower end of the income range.

Kids themselves become fodder in an educational machine that treats their individual needs, strengths and limitations as secondary to the business of satisfying the demands of a system ever more relied upon by parents in choosing the school to which they will endeavour to get their children enrolled. At the end of twelve years of passage through this mill, kids are churned out into the wide world knowing lots, but understanding little and with precious little thought ever having been given to such trivialities as character development and understanding the nature of their responsibilities as adults to the society in which they must survive and thrive.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant post Linna .. Im not getting into the standardised schooling debate ... I took my youngest out of school at 13. As it was illegal 🙄 here to do so ... we compromised given the options provided. And ditched it entirely and I put him into a ... apprenticeship if you will ... dance school.

He learned theory, history of performing arts, music, singing but relevantly dance. It was his passion. He took to it as a duck to water. And now he is a professional classically trained dancer with 5 years full time dance under his belt. 4 years full time classes 12pm to 9pm 6 days a week and cleaned the dance studio every Sunday to help pay for his tuition. His last year or year 12 equivalent was taken in Sydney. He had to study and work to support himself as accomodation was hugely expensive and he had to live. He was 17 and fully committed. A totally different child to the one in school ... who we were getting calls about and had to meet with the principal almost weekly.

But yes yes yes ... uploading data is very different to knowing how to use it, to solve problems and navigate your world ... dance is a good example of this. I can watch him dance ballet, jazz, hip hop but I cant replicate it. I need technique, exercises and lots and lots of doing, rehearsing, practicing to master this particular art form.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartbooger wrote:
Hashi- because (when we actually learn the stuff we need to learn) what we're learning is GOOD METHODS that generalize to solving problems, not acquiring raw data?
...Or... even when we are acquiring raw data, we are building up structures & our minds are seeking & discerning patterns.

that said, our current model for school suuuuuucks, and there's a lot of not-learning things.
So I'm arguing here for a "need for a program of learning & training" not a need for school-as-it-is.


I have a cousin and some nieces that have latched onto un-schooling and it seems to be working well with all their kids.
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The major difference between unschooling and homeschooling is how they approach learning. In a homeschooling environment, parents act like teachers in the classroom. Guided by state and national standards, they plan lessons, assign homework, and grade assignments.

Unschooling operates with the faith that children are naturally curious and will follow their interests in their own way. Free from the controls and burdens of traditional education, unschoolers take cues from their passions and learn as needed.

While this may sound too good to be true, multiple studies show that there is more than fancy behind this nontraditional approach. Peter Gray, a psychology professor at Boston College, states that traditional schools create an abnormal environment.

What you see a child doing until the age of 4, that is unschooling! Look at what that child has learned. There is no reason to believe that this ability to make mental connections, to ask questions, would disappear by the age of 5 and 6.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How fascinating 👌
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