4 Chan.

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Another reason to warm up to the schizo sensibility, rather than trying to collapse an array of ideologies into a single one, an array of systems into a single one. Unless you consider a meta-ideology as an ideology, or a meta-system as a system, but there is a clear difference of order of magnitude there.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I'm curious what you think of the school shooter thought experiment
my position doesn't change - you're ceding localized control to whoever's in charge of the machine learning. in the actual event, you would make a specific argument for why that is or isn't preferable in that case for the specific, narrow purpose of doing a better job of preventing school shootings. the argument is never that localized knowledge doesn't contain bias.

history is littered with examples of the failed application of universalized technical knowledge by people who were convinced it was superior, so I don't think it's all a minor issue, especially since you're talking about effecting huge decisions in many individual lives. I would be deeply suspicious of extrapolating narrow examples - even real ones, not thought experiments - to any broad use of predictive analytics.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Re the school shooting example, are any such things (iterative image recognition networks, CNN, whatever) actually being utilized by schools now? My first suggestion would be to get these things going, just to start building the dataset, and try making some predictions, and just be on the edge of your seat in terms of actually acting on those predictions.

Haven't seen all of Minority Report, but I think the premise can be worked out, given enough scrutiny and multi-partisan oversight.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
And frankly I think the stereostypical school shooter is so disdained by the public that there must be some tolerance for false positives there, but that is just my speculation regarding popular sentiment.
 

beiser

Well-known member
there are, again, processes for holding humans accountable.

we work very hard to limit people’s access to these, because they’re expensive to operate, and we give a very large leeway to humans because it’s incredibly hard to prove one way or another whether they were discriminating.

I think it’s funny that everyone has jumped to hiring algorithms, to the universal horror of dealing with an automated hiring system—in silicon valley we don’t have those, we barely even have recruiters, it’s common for a nontrivial percentage of recruiting to go through personal contact with the CEO even as companies get enormous, and the rest to go through direct email to hiring managers.

Perhaps the real fault line is that Gus and I believe that it’s possible to create an algorithm that does what it says and to intelligently evaluate it before putting it into practice, and your assumptions are that this is borderline unheard of, that any algorithm you end up in contact with will be snake oil that merely adds to the bureaucratization of everyday life. It is true that I’ve heard more stories about terrible hiring systems in europe.

This is, of course, why I argue vehemently that there is a need to make algorithms auditable by the public, and surely some safeguards or legal standards are suitable before putting them in charge of important life decisions. More directly, if you put a racist algorithm in charge of a hiring process, surely you should face the criminal penalties just as if you did it yourself.

And finally, and this may come as a shock to those of you imagining the americans as the handmaidens of capital, I know that I have no desire to share any of my data with anyone. Nobody has any right to track me. More or less, in any situation. I think we should shut down the advertising industry entirely on the grounds that it interferes with people’s self-determination, not just the targeted bits. Abolish billboards, abolish magazine ads, abolish facebook ads, delete it all.

This all said, if you think there’s something wrong with a use of algorithms, that exists well before you encode them onto a computer. It goes to the root of the legal system—itself an algorithm.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
I'm not sure this conversation can continue productively between Padraig and I because we seem to have critically different conceptions of what counts as "people in control of/programming an ML algorithm" and whether ML can be local or is automatically a "universalized technical knowledge." I, too, have read Seeing Like A State, and am all for metis, I just don't find it a particularly relevant frame here.

Unsure of how to get past this.
 
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suspendedreason

Well-known member
I'm pro-targeted advertising, I think it's incredible, amazing stuff, I luff it, I lerf it, I—I lourve it. That's one spot Beiser and I differ.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
I like that way of thinking of the legal system, as an algorithm. I guess you can just generalize it to refer to any pre-existing list of instructions to guide you through a novel/particular experience.

@beiser any examples of bureaucratic algorithms being made auditible by the public? A bottom up algocracy?
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Actually I wouldn't have a problem with having an ad-free Internet that was paid for by some combination of consumer subscriptions + government taxes.

It's the shit in the middle I can't stand—an ocean of useless spam, an inefficient market where you need 20 popups to pay to keep the Internet open. Gimme one good useful product display over that any day.

And it's the people who expect—somehow—that the Internet should both be free and ad-free, like engineers will just live off trees and servers don't cost money to run.

"I don't wanna pay for the Internet." "Okay, then you get ads." "No, I don't want those either, I just want free things, give them to me."
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
I like this conversation I feel like I've said good things, it's brought out my galaxy brain tech takes, which I usually keep from the public
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
I got no problem with the distribution of ads on the internet as they stand.
Targeted advertising seems like a sign of the end of days though.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Do you ever think about how David Foster Wallace's whole schtick was he did a galaxy-brain flip on "Christianity—bad/good" and then got a ton of moral and cultural mileage out of it. I do a lot
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
"It feels like the end of days" I'm sorry Linebaugh, but this is what we're up against, just gut-response luddite apocalyptica informed by illiterates at the Guardian. Gimme more than that, give me its actual problematics, gimme what you're actually cared of and how it practically and negatively affects you
 

beiser

Well-known member
I have a very simple take on the matter, which is that if I followed you around with a clipboard and took notes on all your behaviors in public, despite any one observation being legal to observe, I would likely get arrested for stalking. It’s an adversarial use of what is incidentally legal because it’s hard to weaponize. Following from that, cross-site tracking and fingerprinting are possible basically due to flukes of history; nobody has a right to do these things. It is true that the effectiveness of targeted ads has been greatly exagerated; Cambridge Analytica was snake oil, of course. But I don’t give a shit about any of it. I just want to not be followed around.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Perhaps the real fault line is that Gus and I believe that it’s possible to create an algorithm that does what it says and to intelligently evaluate it before putting it into practice, and your assumptions are that this is borderline unheard of, that any algorithm you end up in contact with will be snake oil that merely adds to the bureaucratization of everyday life.
close but not exactly - not so much snake oil (tho surely there is/will be plenty of snake oil) as that I don't believe it's possible to create and evaluate an algorithm in a way that is free from human biases and that given that, I'd rather just have the human biases where I can see them - or at least, make an effort to see them. I also in re something else gus said, don't believe algorithms "show the landscape for what it really is" - they just show a different map of the landscape, which still isn't the territory. algorithms can't tell you anymore about unknown unknowns than anything else. what they can definitely do is take control away from individuals.

if there is going to be algocracy then yes by all means let it be as transparent and as accountable as possible. I very much doubt that will be forthcoming for obvious reasons - the massive power of the tech lobby etc - but perhaps I will be wrong.

I do share your deep and total hatred of the advertising industry and for basically the same reasons. surveillance capitalism is (so far, until someone figures out how to send ads directly into yr brain) its most advanced and insidious form but it's all the lie, the creation of want. it's obviously not going anywhere, it's also the beating heart of capitalism, so it is what it is.
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
You know what I'm scared of gus. Given everything we know about how desire functions, affective targeted advertising seems like it only ends with, to take it back to the original topic at hand, a reversal of the algorithm-consumer/supply-demand relationship. And advertising has always had pernicious moral standing, for reasons beiser already alluded too, not sure questions on improving the efficiency of advertisements should come before the moral quandary.
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
And I dont buy the reactionary actually it-wasnt-so-bad take on cambride analytica type targeting. We cant literally program peoples minds but it seems targeted advertisements is so far at least semi efficient at increasing political extremism. This is basically the fox news model, its tried and true.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
and yes I'm American. I'm about 10 years older than you guys and I have less formal schooling but (almost certainly) more "life experience", not just in terms of having lived longer but having lived a lot of different things. and I come from a different political tradition. just a different way of thinking.

the only other American regular, unless I'm forgetting someone, is Leo
 
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