JohnRoberts

who do you trust?
« on: September 10, 2019, 10:06:34 AM »
I often joke that if you don't know who the patsy is in your poker game, then you are the patsy... Along those lines do you know who is influencing you? In human decision making a substantial role is played by non-conscious processes with minimal effortful rational analysis. This is just the way we are wired, and apparently it helped us survive millions of years ago so was preserved in our genome. 

Over half a century ago a seminal book about the advertising industry ("The Hidden Persuaders", Vance Packard) sold millions of copies and triggered research and regulation of the huge advertising industry. Compared to what we know now those were the good old days.  ;D

Recent research by a psychologist and search engine expert Dr Robert Epstein has parsed out a handful of new subtle and potentially insidious ways that search engines can influence our decision making. His work has been widely debunked by liberal media because his evidence suggests the technique was used to shift election results to the left. Coincidentally this man is a democrat and Hillary contributor/supporter.

I appreciate that this sounds like yet another conspiracy theory that we find under every rock these days but his research seems solid. Here is a summary of his paper studying the 2018 midterm election  https://aibrt.org/downloads/EPSTEIN_&_WILLIAMS_2019-WPA-Evidence_of-search_engine_bias_related_to_2018_midterm_elections.pdf

This stuff is not trivial to document. You literally need to look over search engine user's shoulders and grab screen shots of all the suggestions the search engines push at you.  These etherial screens are only around for moments then disappear into the big bit bucket.

My natural inclination is to ignore conspiracy theories since so few are ever true. Dr Epstein has been making similar claims for years but was widely ignored by mass media. Now he is actively being discredited by a left leaning mass media (maybe he is onto something?).

Do not take my word for anything but even before I heard of this guy I had to stop using google because they suppressed links I searched for (these days I use DuckDuckgo and so far it is better than Google for what I search out).

I am not accusing Google of some massive evil conspiracy but they are openly supporters of the left and this may be the natural consequence of a liberal/progressive corporate culture with liberal/progressive employees writing search algorithms that seem "fair" from their perspective.  ::)

Caveat Lector (reader beware). I stopped using Google but if you do maybe be a little more aware of the suggestions they push your way... of course for a major fraction of the population these suggestions will be exactly what they want.  ::)

JR

PS: I group of state AGs have just sued Google over anti-trust but I suspect that is mostly about the Benjamin's looking for a new revenue stream not unlike how big tobacco bought off the state governments with massive payments. Google already has the EU on their payroll, and could easily pay US state governments $Bs without missing a beat. 
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


cyrano

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019, 11:44:55 AM »
I've been studying Google since it started. A lot of the findings about Google are right. But it's a moving target. Google's algorithms change every month. A phenomenon that's known as "the Google dance", usually on a Thursday.

The conclusion, however, that Democrats used it to change election outcome, is wrong. Not that they didn't try. They just weren't the only ones. Anybody can buy Google ads. And these, of course, influence Google's algorithm...

And if we look at who bought the most ads and why, the conclusion is that the biggest buyers are unknown. They also might be using techniques unknown to researchers. Striking is the fact that Russians are cited as having influenced the election. No surprise there. I would be very surprised as they wouldn't try their hand at it. What is a surprise is an obvious resistance to naming China, Israel, Saudi-Arabia or even some others. We know they are interested, so do you really think they didn't try?

Besides, it's not only Google.

What's far worse, is that the tools often advised for journalists's safety, are really tools in the hands of some intelligence service. Or, perhaps worse, data aggregator.

Tor, created for "dissidents living in an authoritarian regime", never was anything else than an effort to spy on those needing cover.

Most commercial VPN offerings are just harvesters of your data. If you want to protect your privacy from advertisers and scammers, your data is even more interesting to the ones who harvest, aggregate and sell your data to whoever wants to buy it.

I have another question for you: "Why are IBM, HP, Dell, Apple... not interested in selling voting computers to your govt?
Why is it people love to believe and hate to know?

JohnRoberts

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2019, 02:28:58 PM »
I've been studying Google since it started. A lot of the findings about Google are right. But it's a moving target. Google's algorithms change every month. A phenomenon that's known as "the Google dance", usually on a Thursday.
constantly changing and written with disappearing ink...
Quote
The conclusion, however, that Democrats used it to change election outcome, is wrong. Not that they didn't try. They just weren't the only ones. Anybody can buy Google ads. And these, of course, influence Google's algorithm...
and whose conclusion was that... ?
Quote
And if we look at who bought the most ads and why, the conclusion is that the biggest buyers are unknown. They also might be using techniques unknown to researchers. Striking is the fact that Russians are cited as having influenced the election. No surprise there. I would be very surprised as they wouldn't try their hand at it. What is a surprise is an obvious resistance to naming China, Israel, Saudi-Arabia or even some others. We know they are interested, so do you really think they didn't try?

Besides, it's not only Google.
The researcher only found the political bias in Goggle searches. Bing, Yahoo, and others were not tilted, but of course a small fraction of googles traffic.
Quote
What's far worse, is that the tools often advised for journalists's safety, are really tools in the hands of some intelligence service. Or, perhaps worse, data aggregator.

Tor, created for "dissidents living in an authoritarian regime", never was anything else than an effort to spy on those needing cover.

Most commercial VPN offerings are just harvesters of your data. If you want to protect your privacy from advertisers and scammers, your data is even more interesting to the ones who harvest, aggregate and sell your data to whoever wants to buy it.

I have another question for you: "Why are IBM, HP, Dell, Apple... not interested in selling voting computers to your govt?
You guys are darker than me... I did not say that democrats tried anything, but apparently the researcher found evidence of election outcomes that appeared to be influenced.

This may be innocent. Employees just doing what they think is right (even though very wrong). Silicon valley is not very conservative.

IMO this deserves more inspection before 2020... but I could always be wrong.. I think I was wrong once.  8)

JR
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

gyraf

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2019, 04:22:03 AM »
Quote
I have another question for you: "Why are IBM, HP, Dell, Apple... not interested in selling voting computers to your govt?

I find the implications of this question genuinely scary.
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

ruffrecords

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2019, 04:43:12 AM »

Tor, created for "dissidents living in an authoritarian regime", never was anything else than an effort to spy on those needing cover.

What evidence do yu have for this assertion?

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

cyrano

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2019, 07:23:09 AM »
What evidence do yu have for this assertion?

Cheers

Ian

There's nothing publicised on the open net about it. All personal research. I can only give you some history:

At the end of last century, I was a beta tester for project "Freedom", from the Canadian company "Zero knowledge systems". Freedom was the onion router that became tor.

Just before Freedom was being released to the public, Zero Knowledge Systems  was given a choice by the US military. Selling the project (for 20 million $) and gaining an important customer (the US military), or being tied up in litigation forever, probably resulting in going broke.

You can guess what happened. It was the end of Freedom.

Many years later, I was investigating tor exit servers. The reason for my interest was that there were some allegations from sources on the dark web.

I stumbled upon a private server in an expensive DC in France. It looked odd that the small non-profit who was running that server would spend that kind of money. So I inquired with the DC what was up. In general, that DC was reasonably open. In that case, no answer at all. Not even an automated "we've seen your mail and will reply soon".

So I followed the leads. The "owner" appeared to be in high school. Odd. Couldn't find out much, until I found an obituary, for the family's grandfather. And that revealed a home address. That address was shared with his parents, obviously. And his father worked for the military, seemingly. He used his son's credentials when renting the server...

A few weeks later, I stumbled upon a small IT company in the states, that seemed to have a lot of equipment in a lot of places. Far too much for a one-person company. Even more surprising, they were located in a dead end of the net. Not a logical place to be for a small transit provider. And on the end of their network there was a tor exit server, again. That company had only one customer. US military, again.

There's enough stories about this, if you know how to dig deep. Google probably won't show these stories, or at least not for very long.
Why is it people love to believe and hate to know?

living sounds

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 07:50:42 AM »
I think I wrote this before, but why the hell would anyone label companies like ABC (Google) or Facebook or Apple and the goals they pursue "liberal" or "progressive"?

They pay as little taxes as they can, they sell and push advertisement at people every way they can, they have been and are instrumental in destroying serious quality journalism, cultural diversity, they are major drivers of economic inequality... do I need to go on?

For things that actually matter (above) they are as far away from left wing goals as is possible.

JohnRoberts

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2019, 10:01:22 AM »
I think I wrote this before, but why the hell would anyone label companies like ABC (Google) or Facebook or Apple and the goals they pursue "liberal" or "progressive"?
Perhaps because they are? Employee contributions to political campaigns is public knowledge. I recall the brouhaha when a facebook executive supported Judge Kavanaugh by sitting in the audience at his hearing. Facebook employees were not pleased.https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/04/facebook-employees-reportedly-outraged-at-exec-at-kavanaugh-hearing.html
Quote
They pay as little taxes as they can, they sell and push advertisement at people every way they can, they have been and are instrumental in destroying serious quality journalism, cultural diversity, they are major drivers of economic inequality... do I need to go on?
I thought it was about raising "other people's" taxes... in the end it always the middle class that must carry the burden of higher taxes because only they have enough income (but nobody has enough income to pay for some of the green new deal proposals).
Quote
For things that actually matter (above) they are as far away from left wing goals as is possible.
To get back on topic and I am not making the specific charge, but evidence suggests they have the means to influence vote outcomes and perhaps the will, maybe not cognizantly but just going with the popular political sentiment in liberal/progressive silicon valley. They may not even realize what they are doing, but I suspect at least somebody does, and hasn't moved internally to stop it.

I still think the state AG lawsuits are about the Benjamins but they may stumble into this voter influence*** issue too, unless they overtly ignore it.

JR

*** there is nothing illegal about employees having political bias, but when it leaks out into the product (algorithm design) and subliminally influences  undecided voter's  decisions, that is the problem IMO.
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

cyrano

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 10:44:39 AM »
Then start with the crux of the matter. Why are US voting machines still very unsecure, after more than two decades?

I don't know if it's ever been used, or by whom, but the mechanism for cheating is there. That's been seen by researchers over and over again.

Every once in a blue moon, there's one senator that seems to worry about it and do something. You'd expect some result, after a while. But nobody ever seems to get any result...

Why's that?

Unwillingness, incompetence, lazyness...
Why is it people love to believe and hate to know?

living sounds

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 11:45:13 AM »
The employees do not make the decisions when it comes to the things I listed above.

And please take a look at the serious right-wing distortions, many going on for decades, some for centuries. We had this discussion before, I do not want to list all of them again here. The deck is usually not stacked for liberty and progress (liberal and progressive ideas). Unfortunately, if I may add.

And of course there is a reason these tech employees are probably socially very liberal in their views: This aligns very well statistically with high intelligence and education.


JohnRoberts

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 12:44:39 PM »
The employees do not make the decisions when it comes to the things I listed above.
but they do design the search engine algorithms and are unlikely to ignore personal inclinations when working inside a like minded echo chamber. 
Quote
And please take a look at the serious right-wing distortions, many going on for decades, some for centuries. We had this discussion before, I do not want to list all of them again here. The deck is usually not stacked for liberty and progress (liberal and progressive ideas). Unfortunately, if I may add.
not sure I want to go down a "whataboutism" rabbit hole. You can start a new thread for that if concerned.
Quote
And of course there is a reason these tech employees are probably socially very liberal in their views: This aligns very well statistically with high intelligence and education.
Diversity in all but thought...  ::) I am critical of modern higher education, but how would I know (I dropped out half a century ago)?

I still think elections matter...  This is far more serious (IMO) than all the arm waving about Russia buying some social media ads.

JR
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 12:45:30 PM »
I try to trust no one, including myself.  My own biases can help game the results just as much as anything else.
But it's a full-time job finding reliable information and not many have time or the inclination for that. 

Probably still easier now than before the internet and 24 hour TV -   All kinds of misinformation being a few clicks and seconds away, whereas it once required actually leaving the house to purchase broadsheets, tabloids, satirical publications and what-not.   And then being forced to stay awake and sit still for 30 minutes during the evening news!

What about the poor sods a few hundred years ago who only had the town crier to give them the big news?

Same sh*te, different shovel.






« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 03:44:04 PM by Winston O'Boogie »

ruffrecords

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 04:36:56 PM »
On a kind of related topic I read an interesting article in National Geographic last week.  In simple terms it was about the influence of our genes on our likes and dislikes. It began by discussing a gene that affects taste in some people. If you have it you can taste things others cannot and as a result some foods, like broccoli, taste very bitter. It then talks about selecting a mate and demonstrates how DNA conspires to make potential mates with non-similar DNA more attractive by making the sweat  smell of people with similar DNA unattractive. The guy writing the article thought that surely this could not extend to the way people vote. But it turns out there is a strong correlation between intelligence and willingness to takes risks with liberalism, and an equally strong one between desire for order and meticulousness and conservatism.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 06:10:11 PM »
Ive said it before in relation to Ireland , its rest of world HQ for a lot of tech companies ,
The current government negotiated light touch  voluentary code of practise for the likes of Fb twitter and google , the other thing they did was allow children over 13 years old to get run through the exact same marketing algorithm as adults .
I asked a few friends who are parents about the effect of this circular marketing on their teens ,  the kids themselves definately seem to be noticing ,some described it as as unerving feeling and that the adverts space seems to know what your thinking.
In light of whats becoming known about missues of our data by big tech its high time the government put the brakes on this rolling update of the eula thats there simply to hoover up your rights .

If  politicians are jockying  for space on social media what are the chances of them negotiating a favourable deal on behalf of the public and its data  , slim to none , the current Irish administration has been playing on the roulette wheel with the data of 500 million EU citizens , at home theres an issue arisen where the data protection comissioner on behalf of the public has asked the government to delete  data concerning  3.2 million people under GDPR and so far it looks like the government is  resisting deleting it . The government have also been caught trying to play down  biometric processing of picture data and having an  ability to use voice print recognition .

If they can't  be honest with us about how there processing our data , can we expect them to be honest about how FB G  Tw use it .





 

JohnRoberts

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 06:17:46 PM »
On a kind of related topic I read an interesting article in National Geographic last week.  In simple terms it was about the influence of our genes on our likes and dislikes. It began by discussing a gene that affects taste in some people. If you have it you can taste things others cannot and as a result some foods, like broccoli, taste very bitter. It then talks about selecting a mate and demonstrates how DNA conspires to make potential mates with non-similar DNA more attractive by making the sweat  smell of people with similar DNA unattractive. The guy writing the article thought that surely this could not extend to the way people vote. But it turns out there is a strong correlation between intelligence and willingness to takes risks with liberalism, and an equally strong one between desire for order and meticulousness and conservatism.

Cheers

Ian

 ;D ;D  Thanx

JR
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

JohnRoberts

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2019, 06:30:49 PM »
Ive said it before in relation to Ireland , its rest of world HQ for a lot of tech companies ,
The current government negotiated light touch  voluentary code of practise for the likes of Fb twitter and google , the other thing they did was allow children over 13 years old to get run through the exact same marketing algorithm as adults .
I asked a few friends who are parents about the effect of this circular marketing on their teens ,  the kids themselves definately seem to be noticing ,some described it as as unerving feeling and that the adverts space seems to know what your thinking.
In light of whats becoming known about missues of our data by big tech its high time the government put the brakes on this rolling update of the eula thats there simply to hoover up your rights .

If  politicians are jockying  for space on social media what are the chances of them negotiating a favourable deal on behalf of the public and its data  , slim to none , the current Irish administration has been playing on the roulette wheel with the data of 500 million EU citizens , at home theres an issue arisen where the data protection comissioner on behalf of the public has asked the government to delete  data concerning  3.2 million people under GDPR and so far it looks like the government is  resisting deleting it . The government have also been caught trying to play down  biometric processing of picture data and having an  ability to use voice print recognition .

If they can't  be honest with us about how there processing our data , can we expect them to be honest about how FB G  Tw use it .
Ireland has a 12.5% corporate income tax rate that is very attractive to global companies.

With tax rates that low it is not clear they need to give any more blood, to keep the HQ jobs there.

At some point the world needs to stop all these beggar thy neighbor tax policies and normalize them to level the playing field, but I don't trust some higher international cartel to mind my interests any better.  ::)

The UN is a bad joke.  Why should some country stop while they are winning ( hint, they won't)? 

Good luck all.

JR
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

boji

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2019, 09:43:41 PM »
Quote
The conclusion, however, that Democrats used it to change election outcome, is wrong.
I took your opinion and ran with it,  was met with evidence that says Trump used Cambridge Analytica to great effect. So while your political point may be true partially (Obama had a successful 'grassroots' social media campaign) the power of big data to influence elections is bad and only getting worse. Some of the algos are so powerful they have been co-opted by the government and are considered military-grade informatics/psychometrics.  Re:  Netflix's The Great Hack and Project Veritas' Footage of Google Execs saying things like "We won't let Trump happen again come 2020".   Expect plenty of meddling to come, irrespective of party affiliation.

Quote
[Big Data] are as far away from (having) left wing goals as is possible.
I agree, but not because they think themselves center or right.  Their leanings might be best expressed in the deployment of the ML Fairness algorithm and its derivations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ML_Fairness   
"as a means to stop political bias in artificial intelligence" No one seems to mention that to 'end bias' one must assume a competing bias.  If you look into ML fairness, it is basically an outline on how to use algos to transform society. Search engine query / autocomplete biases are on full display today. Pick any contentious issue and use duck duck go and google and compare.

ML Fairness means to deliver a worldview-by-query. Let AI get the upper hand on steering the ship of human decency and the average libertarian won't know their own country once it gets a good set of protection memes going (it's already got some killer tools we've all heard used on the alt-right).

Quote
And of course there is a reason these tech employees are probably socially very liberal in their views: This aligns very well statistically with high intelligence and education.
This implies conservatives have lower intelligence and an assumption that higher education makes one able to make better decisions (there's studies out there that contradict this assumption under certain contexts, politics being one of them).   Jonathan Haidt does a fairly exhaustive analysis in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Turns out liberals use less cross-referencing of data points to make decisions (which I found surprising).



So who are we to trust?  This guy, Daniel Schmachtenberger unpacks the difficulty:
https://youtu.be/7LqaotiGWjQ?t=1
"Information ecology"
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 09:54:51 PM by boji »

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2019, 11:29:56 PM »
... was met with evidence that says Trump used Cambridge Analytica to great effect...

Without doubt.   Cambridge Analytica being founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, hardly liberals.

Leave.EU over here also used Cambridge Analytics during the Brexit campaign and there are ongoing criminal investigations regarding the electoral laws that were broken but, as usual, the can was kicked down the road and I don't expect anything to come of it anytime soon.


boji

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2019, 01:42:14 AM »
Quote
But it turns out there is a strong correlation between intelligence and willingness to takes risks with liberalism, and an equally strong one between desire for order and meticulousness and conservatism

+++1 Ian
Any organization that tries to tinker, disrupt, force, or silence people into being better citizens are rolling lots of dice. If the history of revolution shows the American experiment to be a success, then the fact that its political parties have (more or less) found a way to play to each others' strengths might be part of why it has worked thus far.  ::)

JohnRoberts

Re: who do you trust?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2019, 11:33:38 AM »
While I don't expect Google to change it's behavior because of this, they just reached a settlement with the NLRB (national labor relations board) over complaints of employees being punished for speaking out about political and workplace issues that don't agree with the company agenda.

I don't think the 1st amendment specifically protects speech at work. Google encourages tens of thousands of employees to participate on internal message boards. For the last couple years part time moderators have been trying rein in trolling and ad hominem on these boards, when individual posters stray from the group consensus.   

The conservative engineer who was fired a while back, was not addressed by the recent NLRB settlement because he was charged with some other infraction (like misusing company equipment). 

JR
Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


 

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