Tag Archives: Brexit

Update August 30, 2021

I’ve had to re-post the ‘Profiting from Brainiwashing’ article in order to break the link to the original, which I have now deleted. Why? Because a Trump-won-the-election-supporter linked to the post with the following comment:

What the….?

I was so shocked, I commented with this:

I honestly don’t know whether this person somehow interpreted what I wrote as some kind of validation of his/her own worldview, or simply wanted to use my work as a ‘see, this is what the enemy are saying’ kind of thing. But I won’t be used in this way.

Apologies. I’m still in shock. 😦
Meeks

Covid19 may make economies crash and burn, and cause hundreds of thousands to die gasping for air, but Big Tech has never had it so good.

Why?

Because social media is pretty much the only safe way for most of us to stay connected at the moment, certainly in Australia.

But, like all good things, there is a downside to social media, and it’s called profiling. Profiling is where supposedly randomised private data, from a whole lot of different sources, is combined to produce an eerily accurate picture of us.

What data?

  • Where we live and where we go. Thank you, Geo location,
  • Who we see and what we say to those people. You guessed it, all forms of social media because hey, it’s good to share, right?
  • What we buy. Our bank details may be sacrosanct, but our purchase transactions are fair game. Now think about all the things you buy online from milk to sex toys! Should I mention money spent on porn sites? Or on gambling?
  • And of course, what we look like, or what our kids look like, or their friends etc etc. All thanks to those pics we love to share.

Back in the day when humans had to find, record, and search data manually [or with the help of a ‘dumb’ database search engine], collating stuff about specific people from a whole lot of different data locations was about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.

But that was then. Nowadays, it’s not people who sticky beak on our lives, it’s bits of code performed millions, nay, zillions of times per minute. These algorithms don’t stop for sleep, or food, or coffee breaks… Bye, bye haystack.

But profiling is only one side of the coin. Having collected all of this data about people, what do you do with it?

To find out, Facebook selected 689,003 random users and divided them into two groups. Then:

‘…Facebook elected to show only negative content to the first group for a week while showing only positive content to the second. They monitored each group’s behaviour.’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

What Facebook found was that people in both groups responded to the conditioning by changing their behaviour. What happened? Negative conditioning resulted in people creating more negative posts while positive conditioning saw them creating more positive posts.

Do you know what conditioning is? I’ll give you a hint – it’s sometimes called ‘brain washing’. Facebook brainwashed over 600,000 users without their permission for a week:

‘In other words, our moods and behaviours can be influenced by our online interactions, which can be controlled by whoever runs the algorithms responsible for what newsfeed we read and what ads we see.’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

We all know about the role Cambridge Analytica played in both Brexit and the election that saw Trump gain the Whitehouse. That was brain washing at work, yet millions of people still believe that losing their privacy is no big deal.

Profiling is not about exposing anyone’s nasty little secrets. It’s about turning us all into ‘products’, products that can be manipulated according to the needs of the highest bidder.

‘And it is not just advertisers that want to use our data this way. Employers, health insurance provider, law enforcement agencies, the tax department and pretty much anyone who can pay the price to get access to our profiles, can do so.’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

In case anyone missed the links under each quote, you can read the entire article here: https://www.michaelwest.com.au/captive-mood-how-big-tech-manipulates-your-emotions-to-serve-advertisers/

Apologies for all the angry posts lately. NSW recorded 1,029 new Delta cases yesterday. My state, Victoria, recorded 80 and the trend is up, in part because of people who’ve been brainwashed into believing the pandemic is just a beat up. I’m becoming more glass-half-empty by the day.

Stay well and stay safe,
Meeks


Manipulation of the ‘filter bubble’

In my previous post, ‘Is Facebook the Real Big Brother’, I talked about Facebook and manipulation. Here, now, is a TED talk from 2011 about the ‘personalisation’ of the internet, and how it locks us in rather than freeing us up.

I have to say I was shocked when I watched this TED talk, especially as Eli Pariser foresaw the problems we’re now facing…6 years ago. I was also shocked because I had no idea that even my searches were being ‘tailored’ for me by Google.

“From human gatekeepers to algorithmic ones.”

When I do a search, I want it to be relevant, yes, but I also want to see what’s out there. I want to choose what I see, because if I can’t see the things that I may not like, I may be manipulated into seeing things that are skewed for someone else’s benefit.

Cambridge Analytics already boasts that:

  • it knows us better than we know ourselves and
  • used that knowledge in both the Trump election and Brexit.

Truth or bullshit?

Given the company’s connection to billionaire software genius Robert Mercer*, and Mercer’s connection to Breitbart and Bannon, I can’t shrug it off as bullshit. But if Trump and Brexit are possible, then Eli Pariser’s filter bubble could turn out to be more like a noose.

My thanks to Honie Briggs for the link to the TED talk.

Meeks

*The Guardian expose is here and you can Google the details to check their validity:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage


#Brexit first, then #Trump in the Whitehouse?

meeka shockedAs an Australian, I’m not that concerned with Brexit and the economic upheaval it may cause. It won’t have a huge impact here so selfishly, I can afford to sit back and just watch history in the making. As a student of human nature, however, I’m worried by the implications. You see, half the shock generated by Brexit seems to be because most people did not believe it could happen. And then it did.

Since the results of the referendum were made public, the one question on most lips is ‘why?’ and the answer seems to be ‘dissatisfaction’. But dissatisfaction with what, exactly?

I’m wading out into uncharted waters here, but my personal opinion is that Brexit was a kind of protest vote about conditions [in GB] in general and the perceived inadequacies of the EU in particular. I think the tsunami of Refugees has also given rise to a kind of low grade, xenophobia that is not restricted to Great Britain alone. But again, I think the underlying malaise is about dissatisfaction with life in the era of European Union. And when enough people become dissatisfied, leaders will always rise up offering both a scapegoat and a ‘way out’.

And so the unthinkable happened. Brexit happened. Now let’s take a quick flight over the Atlantic to the US.

Most people, myself included, still see Donald Trump as a buffoon who could not possibly win. But what if the malaise that led to Brexit is the same as the malaise gripping the US? What if Donald Trump has honed in on a level of dissatisfaction that is ready to explode like the US version of Brexit?

I still believe that Donald Trump as President is unthinkable, but post Brexit I’m no longer sure that it is. And that is a worry.

Meeks


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