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Thread: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

  1. #1
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    Default An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    And so a week has passed since news broke about Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and the initial on-camera interviews with Christopher Wylie, an IT head honcho turned public whistle-blower, eager to spill the goods on exactly what happened.


    For all of this past week, like I'm sure all of you I've heard numerous stories about improper (if not illegal) acquisition of, and use of Facebook data (IMO all possibly unethical, remains to be seen what is actually illegal. IMO changing Terms of Use after data has been copied is possibly dubious.)


    Completely unreported seems to be what I feel is a wathershed moment in humankind and computer technology.


    To my knowledge,
    This is the first time in humankind history that computer systems have been used to purposefully and maliciously victimize human beings, and this was apparently done on a large scale.


    To properly evaluate what happened,
    You first have to understand how Big Data Analysis is commonly used, and this is without future advancements applying independent thought (my definition of Artificial Intelligence). Today, Big Data Analysis is commonly used to identify individuals and groups who can be used to further business objectives. This is what has generally been done for political campaigns, marketing campaigns, and customer retention programs for instance.


    But Cambridge Analytica took those benign Big Data results and did something else... The data was given to a Psychoanalyst who created Personality models that identify personality flaws and weaknesses and then ran the data through those models. Individuals might have been known not by name but only by their characteristics and virtual address were then fed information designed to prey upon their specific flaws which might have included such things as susceptibility to suggestion, predilection to conspiracy theories and specific bias.


    The result is a possibly fully automatic flow where a computer system searches and identifies flawed humans and purposely and maliciously victimizes them.


    Those victimized humans never had a chance.


    Today, there is talk about blocking the attack vector by eliminating Cambridge Analytica's main data source, but it's likely that is insufficient and effective only in the immediate future, there are too many alternative sources like competitive social media, government census and geo data, shopping clubs, infrastructure critical nodes, practically everything we touch today, we are swimming in an abundance of data around us and it's unlikely shutting off any single or few sources will have any lasting effect. Facebook as a source is only a convenience and not likely the only available source for the data used. Besides, the abundance of data can also be used for good and will likely benefit humankind beyond anything we can imagine today so data transfer restrictions might have the opposite effect(harming prospects for a better tomorrow).


    Some who might have read Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy (pub ~ 1942) will note that it described a mathematical practice called Psychohistory based on macro data, then by an invisible hand guide the evolution of civilization across eons, led by the eminent Hari Seldon. In those books, similar in some ways to what Cambridge Analytica did, numerous psychological manipulations happened both benevolently and malevolently.


    IMO,
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    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    People have been flooding into the diaspora network over the past few days because of this.
    https://diasporafoundation.org

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    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    Before the Cambridge Analytica news broke out there was an article on how things went wrong at Facebook.
    https://www.wired.com/story/inside-f...years-of-hell/
    I have no idea how people are using this as a news site but apparently they are. But as you are saying Facebook is not the only potential problem. There were reports of problems at Twitter and I guess the biggest problem being Google given their position in the market. I haven't seen any reports yet but I'm sure we will see something at some point, given how much data they have. Also things are just getting worse in the US hence articles like this:
    http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/...-desktop-linux
    Best regards,
    Greg

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    Cool Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    IMHO, the only thing that happened was, political election campaigning (which is not illegal in democratic countries … ) experienced an increase in the computer aided analysis of voter's feelings and opinions, the results of which were used for the media presence (read advertising) of the election campaign.
    • Whether or not, there was substantial increase in the amount of computer aided analysis used, is a moot point …


    Bottom line: whether the voters were influenced by the "social media" or, by good old fashioned billboards or, by media shows on steam television or stone age radio or, by pre-historic political gatherings, doesn't really matter -- that's the way a democracy, as we know it, functions …

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    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    Always remember that Facebook is in business to sell a product to its customers.

    You (the people who sign up for facebook) are the product. Advertisers are the customers.

    Personally, I have never signed up (I was never interested).
    openSUSE Leap 15.3; KDE Plasma 5.18.6;

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    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    Quote Originally Posted by nrickert View Post
    Always remember that Facebook is in business to sell a product to its customers.

    You (the people who sign up for facebook) are the product. Advertisers are the customers.

    Personally, I have never signed up (I was never interested).
    Same here.
    Facebook? What's that? Never been there. --Gerry
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    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    Quote Originally Posted by nrickert View Post
    Always remember that Facebook is in business to sell a product to its customers.

    You (the people who sign up for facebook) are the product. Advertisers are the customers.

    Personally, I have never signed up (I was never interested).
    I've never been interested either.

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    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    Some of you are missing the point. While Facebook was used the same thing can also be done with data that one can pay to get from Google.
    That said people thought I was being funny when I said this but I was really quite serious,"Skynet is real and its name is Google."
    I'm just a curious cat
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    Question Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagemta View Post
    While Facebook was used the same thing can also be done with data that one can pay to get from Google.
    Or, to put it another way, if you enter data into a database which is not owned by you then, you do not own that data …

    Those of us who are living in democracies which maintain records of their citizens are affected by the "non-ownership of data issue":
    • Countries which are democracies tend to have records of our birth, addresses and telephone numbers, bank account details, employer details, vehicle data, our family -- and their data -- the dog license (if you own a dog), if you're a property owner then, the property details, and finally, our death.

    The above list of data "stored by the state" is not complete and, it may be extended …

    So, given the amount of data your "country of residence" has about you, the question arises, why do human beings (or, even your cat) provide private details to commercial enterprises? To be perfectly honest, I'm absolutely mystified …

  10. #10

    Default Re: An ignored watershed moment in humankind and human history?

    On 2018-03-26, tsu2 <tsu2@no-mx.forums.microfocus.com> wrote:
    > To my knowledge,
    > This is the first time in humankind history that computer systems have
    > been used to purposefully and maliciously victimize human beings, and
    > this was apparently done on a large scale.


    Probably not the first time. It's just this time they got found out. Were it not for Christopher Wylie and Channel 4
    News, we would probably never know. Big data is big business and I suspect this sort of thing happens as a matter of
    routine. If people are using social networking applications freely giving away their personal data thinking there's any
    credible protection, then they are naive.

    And when it's not industry passing around your data, then it's the security services. What was so astonishing from
    Edward Snowden's disclouse was not that surveillance data was being passed around globally as a matter of routine, but
    that people were actually surprised when they found out. I believe the same principles apply to commercial industry
    especially for those companies who acquire much of their revenue through targetted advertisement. While use of their
    services may not necessarily cost money, you pay instead with loss of your privacy. Nothing is free.

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