"The Empire strikes back" – when technology is used for all the wrong reasons

  • Moderator

    I found astonishing that most of the comments talk about creating tools to combat fake news.

    This is not what the article, or the video, is about. Jon only points that tools that are already operational are doing the opposite, tools data-mining our information to serve biased information, ads and fake news (either from strange sites or "mainstream" media).

    These things can change the outcome of elections, and I highly believe it's already doing such, as information that goes against your favourite political party start to disappear from Google searches, Facebook timeline or news sites.

    TED Talk on the matter
    How ads are costing you money

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  • Moderator

    Stop feeding these putinesque trolls!
    Such people will fear others to visit the forum.

    Free Speech does not mean: Free to Hate.

    Do not violate the forum rules https://vivaldi.net/en-US/terms-of-use

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    !!! The next time anyone who tries to compare LGBT and other groups or people to criminals and other offensive and prejudices they will be reported. !!!

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  • @an_dz: If that is the case, then I support your efforts to block ad trackers from spying on internet users for corporate gains. However, in the People's Republic of China, 'fake news' were used by the government to justify the Great Firewall of China (read 'internet censorship').

  • @Gwen-Dragon As of the time i'm writing this, your post only shows 4 upvotes, whilst hovering shows 6. Yesterday i noticed earlier posts from others whom i'd upvoted, had also subsequently been downvoted. My culprits-shortlist is... short.

    Geez i wish trolls had never crossed over out of Grimms fairy tales...

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  • Moderator

    @Steffie May be deleted posts were wrong counted.

  • Moderator

    Browsers should not "rate" anything. Neither should they "rate" or enable the rating or classification of users - as most of them do at present (not in and of themselves, often, but more commonly by supporting web technologies which do this).

    Autocracy works by herding people - and just as when herding cattle, one does this through negative reinforcement - by creating aversions, both internal and external, to drive people the direction you want them to go. Nationalism is pretty much the POINT of autocracy, so cultivating aversion for other nations, societies, cultures as a means toward consolidating local power is a no-brainer. Even an autocrat with no dreams of empire needs this in order to maintain internal omnipotence. And the stronger the aversions, the better. The more hatred, fear, revulsion for the "other," the easier it is to point the people in the direction you want them to move. And paradoxically, though it is desired that the populace "love" their "dear leader," they must also live in abject terror of incurring "dear leader's" displeasure.

    But why internal aversions? Why does an autocrat need factions? Why must various groups of citizens hate other groups of citizens? Why can't there simply be one homogeneous "people," all turning and acting as one? Two reasons: First, a united populace is dangerous to the central authority. One needs them to report on each other, mistrust and be suspicious of each other, favor the state over personal ties, etc. If a united populace turns on its leadership, the leaders are done. Over. Finito. So they can't be permitted to unite. Second, one needs "approved" or "good" groups and "unapproved," "bad," or "shunned" groups within populace itself, both to give a majority or plurality of citizens reason to feel good about themselves and feel a level of comfort or satisfaction (at least we're better than THEM) so they won't be driven to rebel (to prevent rebellion, citizens must have SOMETHING to lose - even if it's only counterfeit self-righteousness or self-regard) AND, one needs labels that can be applied to any person or group that the state feels threatened by, in order to turn the larger body of citizens against them and prevent their gaining any foothold.

    The enemies may be commies, gays, moozlums, christians, Russia, unbelievers, pederasts, barbarians, interlopers, the west, China, blacks, messcans, bourgeoisie, intelligentsia, America, useless eaters, gypsies, jews, rednecks, yanquis, chinks, ragheads, jungle monkeys, slopes, mud races, Irish, Italians, Germans, imperialists, royalists, libruls, elites, counter-revolutionaires, class enemies, papists, subversives, the poor, tree-huggers, soshulists, women, race-mixers, natives, savages, takfir, welfare recipients, unwed mothers, asians, buddhists, baby-killers, feminazis, clintonistas, bernie bros, idolaters, pagans, democrats, cultists, witches, blasphemers, gaijin, catholics, protestants, climate scientists, granola-eaters, latte-sippers, hollywood, hillbillies, flatlanders, snowflakes, scientologists, infidels, reactionaries, hindus, the great unwashed, you name it. But one has to have them. Because then one can apply labels to people to rob them of credibility and power, and to give the "good" people something to rally against.

    And if you can use a person's online data to get in their heads, you can know what they hate, fear, are repelled by, and you can tailor content they see, to move them wherever you want. That is what we need to guard against, if we can.

  • Moderator

    @Antikapitalista said in "The Empire strikes back" – when technology is used for all the wrong reasons:

    By the way, where did you work?
    Because I see that you must have worked for a so-called "totalitarian" society (which protects its citizens from harmful information— unlike the so-called "liberal" societies, which prefer to brainwash their citizens with propaganda).

    I did, and do, work for companies and private citizens. I have never held a government job. I was originally trained to root out and shut down (through legal action) industrial espionage.

    But I've only made my living finding out true facts whether people wanted me to know them or not, and helping create effective action plans based on those facts, for about 40 years. So I probably have no idea how that works, as yet.

  • Moderator

    @Antikapitalista said in "The Empire strikes back" – when technology is used for all the wrong reasons:

    @ayespy: Well, since this debate has gone into the scientific field, I also believe that the Nazi programs were founded on solid scientific evidence, at least most of them, such as that the Jews were inferior—with their relatively higher level of inbreeding because of their beliefs, etc., that seems to be rather true... And the world would arguably be better-off if they the Nazis had been allowed to weed out the inferior ones... wouldn't it?

    Hogwash. There is no such "science." There's also no genetic evidence for it. One might as well say that the great peril of promoting a "master race" would be inbreeding. If "Aryans" (were there any such thing) only bred with each other, that would stifle genetic diversity, and spell the doom of the "race" If there were more "races" than the human race. Factually, humanity survives (including Jews) due in part to genetic mobility, genetic diversity, and the ability of all regional groupings to borrow survival genes from others. Genetic isolation leads, not to corruption, but to extinction. There's strong evidence that the reason Neanderthal genes survive in modern humanity is because we needed them - and that the reason Neanderthals as a distinct genetic grouping no longer exist, was down to genetic isolation during glacial climate periods. That branch of humanity had stronger teeth, muscles and bones than we do, similar if not the same size brains, and we're learning probably no lesser intellectual capacity than homo sapiens did at the same time in geologic history. But we survived (with some of their genes) and they did not - largely because they were geographically and climatologically isolated for dozens if not hundreds of generations.

    Same thing happened to the Vikings in Greenland. Their isolated settlements died out, while the Greenlandic Inuits survived (including with some Viking genetic contribution) to this day - having 'WAY less genetic diversity than the so-called "Jewish" population. Where Vikings were not isolated, their genetic footprint (and arguably a lot of "purebred" Scandinavians) is still prominent.

  • Moderator

    @Antikapitalista Jon's only recommendation appears to be that browsers (and governments) reject the modeling of users' psyches in order to target content.

    One of the things Russian hackers and bots did during the 2016 election cycle in the United States was to target Bernie Sanders supporters with patently (and sometimes even ridiculously) false information concerning both Clinton and Clinton supporters. This was done in facebook groups, by email, by posting "news" stories on sites for "news publications" that did not exist except as anti-Clinton propaganda sources on the internet, etc. Especially in California, certain Sanders-supporting groups noticed the content and IP addresses of the sources of this content, and reported it to the FBI. Understand, this content was AGAINST their rival, but they detected it was a propaganda push by an adverse national power, and reported it.

    But my point is this: Why was this content fed to Sanders supporters in particular? Precisely because they were Sanders supporters. It had a "beneficial" effect for the foreign authors of it, because it sowed division and animosity within the Democratic party, thus weakening its electoral efforts, and leading to the election of the racist, bigoted, isolationist, protectionist, elitist, reactionary wannabe-autocrat who occupies the White House now and, as an INTENDED side effect, has weakened NATO.

    Now it's not like Trump voters ever thought or felt differently than they do today, irrespective of any hostile foreign propaganda effort. But it's a fact that the Democratic election effort was weakenend and demoralized by internal divisions - Sanders supporters clung to any "evidence" that Clinton was the devil incarnate, and Clinton supporters bared their fangs at fictitious "Bernie Bros," a population which never even existed, but kept Clinton supporters fighting and denigrating Sanders backers right up to election day. Then Comey appears to have fallen victim to a Russian-promulgated false narrative about Attorney General Lynch, and at the urging of certain FBI insiders who had toxic animosity toward Clinton, especially in the New York office, made an end run around her to announce to the public that he was "investigating" more emails from the Weiner (OMG the irony of that name) laptop, and the rest is history.

    Why was this strategy successful? Targeting. Why was this targeting even POSSIBLE? Data harvested and capitalized on the internet, BASED ON THE KNOWN PSYCHOLOGICAL LEANINGS of Democrats, particularly Sanders supporters.

    You have to hand it to Russian intelligence. They are the absolute masters of this type of strategy, partly because the creation of internal enmities is part and parcel of the autocratic-rule playbook. They have decades of practice at it. But today's internet does not do anything to protect against the promotion of animosity. In fact, it enables it. If the internet and browsers could be improved in any way, perhaps the most important would be to improve accountability. When you deal with someone in person, you can assess their motives and credibility. When the source of your information is anonymous, or is the only source available, no assessment is possible. That's how autocracy works.

  • Moderator

    @Antikapitalista Irrespective of the vacuity of validity for your "scientific evidence" (primary disinformation technique - the use of "authority" and "multiple sources" to prop up an otherwise widely disproven and indefensible claim), here's a valid question:

    You support eugenics?

  • @Antikapitalista Oh Mods, c'mon, pl-ease! This jerk has been offensive for a while, but clearly just totally crossed the line here. Why is this troll still able to participate here?

  • @Ayespy That's quite an impressive list. I seem to make several categories therein.

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  • @Ayespy said in "The Empire strikes back" – when technology is used for all the wrong reasons:

    the racist, bigoted, isolationist, protectionist, elitist, reactionary wannabe-autocrat who occupies the White House now

    That's certainly how most of Oz sees this cretin. It's not for me to say, but i rather suspect that much of Europe feels a similar revulsion.

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