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Comment Re:Willing accomplices and quiet endorsement (Score 1) 148

"They are willing accomplices to this action and pretending otherwise is disingenuous. Evidently these engineers lack a moral compass and their word means nothing. If they had a problem with this action they could easily have spoken up and taken action but they took the easy path and did nothing.

Even worse, they may believe that their actions are "for the greater good" and are therefore exempt from the normal routine of morality checks. Based on what I have seen from Google it appears this is part of their culture, the "Google way." Their constant interaction with and ease of access to high level political officeholders is incredibly concerning.

C.S. Lewis said it best: ...a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under of robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some points be satiated; but those who torment us for their own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

One can only hope that Google is just a bunch of crooks willing to sell us all out for a dollar or two. However, if they view themselves as our overlords of change, ushering us into their vision of a gilded future for our own benefit, well, were all fucked.

Comment Re: Of course (Score 1) 206

Great post, thought roads I have been down.

What concerns me:

1) Humans are already conditioned to take orders from machines, or robots if you will. For instance, traffic lights are merely the most rudimentary form of self-regulation that humans have delegated to robots. Divorce yourself from anthropomorphic presentations of robots and you start to realize that humans are integrating their experience of life in ways that allow robot machines to dictate a large portion of what we consume, think about, and what activities we perform.

2) Humans and their behaviors are subject to reverse engineering. Whether its focus groups and mock votes by politicians, medical and psychological testing, or something more interesting and insidious like employees of Target figuring out how to tell with over 80% accuracy whether or not a woman has become pregnant based on what she buys. People's behavior, when considered on a large enough scale, can be data mined in such a way that gives the party with the data an incredible advantage in persuasion, prediction, and ultimately control over outcomes that most individuals would consider creepy and unfair.

3) Humans are using machine learning to make #1 more robust right now. Some if it is labor saving, most is in the realm of profit increase by automating, speeding up, running without a human in the loop sort of stuff. This will be interesting in economic ways in the short term, sociologically in the long term. What will be very interesting is when we turn machine learning to the tasks of #2. Applying the methods of a machine learning tools to decoding and manipulating both groups of people and individuals is an area where pitfalls are likely to abound.

I find this interesting and repulsive in the same breath. What I wouldn't give to have access to Facebook's data sets as data fodder for a home grown machine-learning-based predictive tools. I would rule the world.

Comment Re:For them theoretically hacking a private org? (Score 1) 352

This sounds like a good time to start a new political party. I think Americans would really jump on that bandwagon.

A new party whose candidate swears to wear a body camera and live stream the whole time they are in office. The "Transparency Party."

Hey if its good enough for police its definitely good enough for politicians.

They could finance their whole campaign selling the advertising rights to bathroom breaks.

Comment Re:Facebook is not Twitter (Score 2) 313

The level of consumer data available is not comparable between the Twitter and Facebook platforms.

With Facebook you tell them everything: location, age, family size, education, background, employment, relationship, political leaning, posting style (mental state, personality type), browsing style (what links you like to click on, what bait do you take more often than not), what criteria causes you to like something, what you share with others, etc., etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Most people even give them enough pictures to build a facial recognition profile of you and your closest family and friends.

With Twitter not so much. You just get echo chamber of masturbatory self-affirming re-tweets. There's not a ton of data and behavior that advertisers can sink their machine learning algorithm's teeth into. If you're a political science professor doing side research, maybe, but where's the money in that? Especially considering how the current owners have devalued their own brand but publicly suppressing certain speech, and more idiotically, certain speakers because of their political affiliation.

Apparently the answer is obvious to everyone except Twitter, as they continue to do Stupid Things with their platform.

Comment Re:Drake Equation == 1 (Score 1) 258

While we're at it lets add in:

4} We discover that consciousness is not bound to physical form and we can travel to any location, disembodied but conscious and aware.
5} We discover that all particles in the universe are subatomically entangled with each other and we can infer the position and velocity of every other particle in the universe from observing a single atom.
6} We discover that machine elves are actually aliens telling us not to leave the Earth because the rest of our galaxy is being used as an intergalactic waste dump. DMT now has a government required daily dosage.

Science fantasy is such fun! Keep it up!

Comment Re:We're going to nuke Russia (Score 1) 396

You know who is qualified to make that call? A jury. As in "we the fucking people", you transparent shill, not some appointed bureaucrat sucking on the teat of his next employer, pre-coronation.

Your supposition about intent is a fabrication. If you don't know this you are woefully ignorant of the law and circumstances on this subject and should disqualify yourself from speaking. If you do know it, which I think you do, you're a shill as accused. Either way, you fail miserably to provide a convincing argument.

If you aren't already familiar with the non-trivial details about intent and why it is completely irrelevant to the handling of classified documents, please take a couple of minutes out of your day to enlighten yourself. It should help make sure you don't spout self-evident falsehoods in the future. Look up Naval Reservist Brian Nishimura. He was successfully prosecuted for mishandling classified documents. Intent was not an issue. Why? because the law that was broken has no regard for intent.

If the same standard applied to this Naval reservist was applied to Hillary Clinton she would be in the middle of a prosecution now. If we will hold a Naval reservist to this standard, how much more should we hold someone of a higher position?

Comment Re:At's all fun until.... (Score 4, Insightful) 404

If they are influencing our elections by providing that elusive and oft promised but ne're delivered Obamian transparency, undermining an entire administration's corrupt miscarriage of justice, and finally serving up the goods from a 10,000 unfulfilled FOIA requests, then GOOD. We need to be influenced. More influence please! Influence the shit out of me and everyone else! HARDER!!!

If exposing the truth is detrimental to one of the parties that might be something the electorate deserves to know, you know, before the election.

Besides, I ordered a shit ton of Jiffy Pop from Amazon in preparation for the culmination of this election cycle. /popcorn GO!

Comment Re:Obviously unconstituional request (Score 1) 194

No. It might be unconstitutional if it were a demand or order, but a request, with no pressure on Yahoo to submit to it?

You ever deal with law enforcement, like, ever? Its all pressure, all the time. You don't think there was some coercion involved? Some quid pro quo? Some something as carrot or stick, or both? A little of the old good cop/bad cop?

You think they just sent a letter to the CEO of Yahoo, said pretty please, and ended the email with "if you wouldn't mind too much violating the trust of your entire customer base?"

There was coercion. There were heavy-handed tactics. There was quid pro quo. There were conversations that you and I would look at as extortion or even blackmail. Of course there was pressure!

Comment Re:Trade-offs (Score 3, Insightful) 500

People with immunity are generally held in contempt if they plead the 5th.

Combetta pled the 5th while under immunity protection. No contempt of court was issued.

So in this case, immunity turned out to be a protection against testifying rather than an inducement to reveal facts. Combetta got to have his cake and eat it too. So did Hillary and all of the others that could be implicated by his testimony in this ridiculous farce.

Comment Re:He Is A Darling Of The Cyber Rebels (Score 1) 380

Excellent comment. The only reason anyone is even considering Trump is that Hillary is so objectionable in so many ways. Its incredibly sad that the democrat machine was somehow enticed or forced into committing to her as their only candidate. What should be the easiest cake-walk in history for the democrat presidential race is now a disgusting slog through the worst tactical shit slinging either party can come up with. Neither one of them has a leg to stand on so they keep the air filled with so much feces that the average American is blinded by it.

I just can't stop thinking "how did we let this happen?" What a fucking mess.

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