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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 poorly worded... (Score 1) 56

I chose my words poorly. I wasn't implying that bashing the government(s) was hypocritical, but rather that the governments themselves were hypocritical. Here in the land of Freedom, we are routinely required to give up our freedoms so that we can stay the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Speaking of losing battles, I just got my ballot today for the national election and I am considering which losing candidate to vote for. I won't vote Hillary or Trump, and though I am registered Green party I am not sure I like them any better, any last words of advice ?

Comment needed government transparency (Score 1) 56

Nice to hear that despite popular opinion the NSA/CIA were never alone in what they've been doing since WW2. There was a LOT of mud slinging at the US as info regarding what our 'secret police' have been doing in our name became available but as we all really understood, it was never just the US, every country has been practicing violating human rights and its' on internal laws in the name of security for a long, long time. While this doesn't make any of it better at least we can do away with the USA bashing and get back to just generic hypocritical government bashing.

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 Still has a niche value (Score 1) 313

I still see a niche value for twitter in mobile industry and such. It is a perfect platform for say mobile food trucks, and the ice cream man. If they would open source the client and ease up on the censoring it could become a successful messaging client. There is some small value to be had for the platform but nothing like the brazillions people keep expecting.

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!

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