Posts Tagged ‘google’
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Every new business idea goes through a life cycle. When it is new and demonstrates how useful it is, people sell it at high prices and pay a lot of attention to it.
However, as time passes, the cost is expected to drop and people want to pay less attention to it. Consider the telephone: once cutting-edge, now humdrum. Or radio. Or desktop computers.
Now it is time for the third wave of internet companies to face this part of the business cycle. They are no longer cutting-edge; they are mundane services. But they grew too large and need more money to keep their staffs, stockholders and empires afloat.
At this point, the Dot-Com 3.0 crowd are zombie businesses. They gobble up anything they can in order to make this quarter profitable, but have no actual plan, and the value of the services they provide is declining. Crash imminent.
Some are starting to notice how abusive these new monopolists have become:
The upshot here is that both Google’s overwhelming search dominance and their profitable exploitation thereof are almost wholly unmerited in terms of their actual product. Google is a fine tool, but what defines the company is luck. Its profits come from a largely unearned strategic position within a socially-created communication medium. Devouring a small business that provided Google and the internet writ large with quality research simply to keep people fenced onto their own portion of the internet is just one particularly egregious example how this position can be abused.
The technology behind search engines is now well-understood. The real challenges are having enough machines to make a search engine comprehensive, and the “network effects” that arise from having many other people in the market using the product as a kind of de facto standard.
If Google kept itself to 500 employees and a relative stable, blue chip style stock price, it would not have these problems. However, Silicon Valley was always about getting rich quick and the winner taking it all, which has produced a relentlessly self-promoting culture that has destroyed the very thing from which it profits.
Wikipedia, Amazon, Google, Apple and Reddit (WAGAR) are companies that centralize the internet. Instead of being decentralized as originally envisioned, the internet is now used as a means of reaching the big sites where network effects mean that the audience is lurking there. This essentially excludes the actual breadth and depth of information on the internet.
Sane minds fear a repetition of history, which is what happens when “gold rush” style thinking results in massive overvaluation of an industry, which then requires a brutal industry correction to remove the false wealth so that other sectors can function normally:
The tech bubble of the mid-90s was inflated by lies that sent the NASDAQ on a vertiginous downward spike that eviscerated the life savings of thousands of retirees and Americans who believed in the hype. This time around, it seems that some of these business may be real, but the people running them are still as tone deaf regarding how their actions affect other people. Silicon Valley has indeed created some amazing things. One can only hope these people don’t erase it with their hubris.
During the 1990s, the Bill Clinton administration urged more development in tech as a means of replacing the economy which was collapsing under the weight of expensive union labor, too much regulation and lawsuit costs, and inbound immigration which was removing traditional sources of work and forcing all sorts of underqualified people into office jobs.
Now we repeat this process. Politicians hate to point out that the new cash boom is false and we should hold back. Voters, like stockholders, like those bottom lines and really do not think beyond the next quarter.
And yet, history shows us this is a problem. The great postwar wealth boom of the stock market ended in tears with the Great Depression; the huge housing boom collapsed in misery when supply far exceeded demand. The same is happening to Silicon Valley.
Its once-innovative gadgets are now as common as telephones were in the 1990s, and people want them to just work, be very cheap and unobtrusive. All of those things mean reduced profit and importance, which destroys Silicon Valley and its mythos as well.
Even more, it seems that the replacement for the internet, or the centralized form of content browsing known as “social media,” is no longer the hot item it once was:
[Vkontakte founder Pavel Durov] explained his decision to purge: “Everyone a person needs has long been on messengers. It’s pointless and time-consuming to maintain increasingly obsolete friend lists on public networks. Reading other people’s news is brain clutter. To clear out room for the new, one shouldn’t fear getting rid of old baggage.”
Durov is right when he says everyone is on messengers these days.
Back in 2015, messengers overtook social networks in terms of total active users. And back in 2014, when Facebook separated Messenger from its main offering, Zuckerberg himself acknowledged the trend, saying that “messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking”.
The problem for Silicon Valley is that internet advertising represents a shrinking pool of dollars, and this means that the big companies need to take the majority share in order to stay afloat.
As internet old-timers like myself warned in the early 1990s, advertising is not a stable model for the internet. The audience is not captive, as with newspapers or television, but capable of flitting off or filtering out the nonsense.
To combat this, the industry first tried to make the internet into video. When that failed, they put more ads on every page, which decreased the power of each. Then they tried social media, or making browsing more like passively watching television.
All have failed. A large correction is coming. Grab ahold of your seat and get ready for the crash.
Sunday, March 26th, 2017
A number of large companies — Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dish Network Corp. among them — have pulled some of their advertising from Google’s YouTube network because of their ads appearing alongside “hate” videos after a change in Google policy.
Like the rest of the Dot-Com 3.0 boom/bust gang, Google is in trouble. Its ads do not work as well as ads in newspapers, television or magazine at least used to work, and so it can no longer charge the high rates that propelled it into superstardom. People on the internet are not paying attention, or if they are, do not have the money to do anything about it, so are near-useless to advertisers.
As a result, Google is looking for ways to expand the number of ads it shows, and as the world shifts Rightward, more people are watching videos about related ideas — “five YouTube videos peddling racist and anti-Semitic content, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal” — and so Google wants to show ads on those.
Not so fast, says corporate America, which obeys the old bourgeois rule of “criticize no one, accept everyone” because in its view, every person out there has some dollars in their fat little fists. What it forgets is that its mainstay, the upper half of the middle class, has a values system and these are the people who are the “power users” that other consumers emulate.
The problem that corporate America faces is that, while the urban elites are Leftists to the core, the suburban and rural upper half of middle class still tend to be WASP and conservative-leaning. By pandering to an audience outside of this group, corporate America continues to demonstrate its sliding relevance, and the possibility that the new audience it has chosen for itself has not panned out.
Asked about the Journal’s finding that their ads were still appearing with such content on YouTube as of Thursday night, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dish Network Corp. said Friday they were suspending spending on all Google advertising except targeted search ads. Starbucks Corp. and General Motors Co. said they were pulling their ads from YouTube. FX Networks, part of 21st Century Fox Inc., said it was suspending all advertising spending on Google, including search ads and YouTube.
Wal-Mart said: “The content with which we are being associated is appalling and completely against our company values.”
Other companies whose spots appeared, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Microsoft, said they were monitoring the situation. Procter & Gamble said it was working with Google but declined to say whether it was reducing spending.
Every time a sea change is underway as we see happening currently, the market divides into two groups: those betting on the old way, and those betting on the new. Corporate America has backed the wrong horse on this issue because pluralism has failed. People want strong national identity, and that includes the ability to have some opinions considered “extremist” by the Left.
Saturday, February 18th, 2017
Joining other failing dot-com 3.0 failing concerns, Google has now demonstrated its bias in favor of politically correct censorship by banning the “Ban Sharia” online group, which was a middle-right opposition to Islamic immigration to the West.
We live in a time when almost all public spaces are owned by large corporations to whom ideas like the First Amendment do not technically apply; after all, they own the computers and wires through which the content passes, and they are made legally liable for some content, so they have the “right” to remove offensive content.
This does not address the fact that public spaces are a function of a civilization, and are needed as places for open expression regardless of who “owns” the particular content. The Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon of today are the public houses and central commons of yesteryear, at least as far as digital communications go. Ownership is not the right paradigm here.
An intelligent approach to these spaces, then, would be to limit nothing but illegal activity (child porn, doxxing, piracy) while allowing each person to find their own corner of the commons with the group that attracts them. These would then find others like them and be able to socialize and exclude others, and be excluded by them, in the perpetual sorting process that is the growth of civilizations.
Naturally, no one will endorse such a logical solution, or the notion that a user both owns his or her words and, if offered a service, is given the reasonable assumption that the service will continue to host those words unless they are illegal. Instead, as usual, the forces of Control are using manipulation to achieve their goal of power without accountability.
Saturday, January 28th, 2017
Apple sent this message to a developer. It essentially states Silicon Valley policy: if enough people complain about something, the user who posted it must be destroyed.
This is typical Leftist crowd-oriented thinking. It enables any group that can muster a handful of complainers to destroy someone else, no matter how much time and effort they put into their content, and how much of it previous to that time was inoffensive.
Soft totalitarianism of this nature occurs whenever human individuals become too powerful as a mass, instead of being regulated by a hierarchy and values system.
The FANG companies — Facebook, Apple/Amazon, Netflix and Google — control most of the internet because they regulate its traffic. Sites not listed in Google disappear. Companies whose apps are rejected by Apple die out. Keywords and hashtags filtered by Facebook vanish.
The age of government censorship may not be over, but with “virtual spaces,” our public areas are owned by companies who have no obligation toward “free speech” under the law. As such, as they get more powerful, they will remove anything that threatens them by making their properties less valuable.
An obvious solution is to decentralize: go back to a web of RSS, blogs, independent sites and open protocols like USENET and IRC. Get away from big sites who hope to make money off of us as content providers, and then delete that content when someone whines.
Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
“We have, by no means overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow and colonialism and racism” – President Barack Hussein Obama
So speaks a man who has profited off of the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, idiot Klansmen, et al. like nobody else alive today in the United States of America. So he can’t be unfair and declare these people vanquished. To declare victory over the nefarious forces of ¡RASCISM! would do for his fellow Community Organizers what Uber’s driverless cars will do for the taxicab industry. There must be ¡RACISM! or there won’t be an ongoing job description.
Just how vile is the creeping white death in Amerika these days? Scott Alexander at Slate Star Codex attempts to run the Nefarious Calculus of Whitelash and tell us just how vigilant we all must be….
According to Wikipedia on KKK membership: As of 2016, the Anti-Defamation League puts total Klan membership nationwide at around 3,000, while the Southern Poverty Law Center puts it at 6,000 members total. The KKK is really small. They could all stay in the same hotel with a bunch of free rooms left over. Or put another way: the entire membership of the KKK is less than the daily readership of this blog.
If you Google “trump KKK”, you get 14.8 million results. I know that Google’s list of results numbers isn’t very accurate. Yet even if they’re inflating the numbers by 1000x, and there were only about 14,000 news articles about the supposed Trump-KKK connection this election, there are still two to three articles about a Trump-KKK connection for every single Klansman in the world.
And then there are the online crazies who admire Klansmen like President Woodrow Wilson once did. Alexander’s math gets fuzzier, but he still needs a microscope to see the extent of the organized racist cabal. “…about 50,000 poorly organized and generally dysfunctional people, many of whom are too young to vote anyway.”
Let’s say ¡RACISM! Inc. gets tepid support from moderately bigoted white people who don’t rear all the back on the Cat O’ Nine Tails when they unload the Whitelash. David Duke’s recent Senate campaign attracted 3% of the electorate (58,581 votes). If we assume Louisiana is no more and no less ¡RACIST! than your average US state, and assume about 123 million voters will show up for the election, we get just short of 3.7M people nationwide who will vote for an openly White Nationalist candidate.
In 2008, 13% of the US Electorate was African American. It went for Barack Obama by 95% to 4%. If we call this Black Nationalist vote or The Blacklash, we get a total of 12% of the electorate totaling 128 million or about 15 Million. That would be over a 4:1 ratio when comparing Black Nationalist vote to White Nationalist.
To point out the true dishonesty of this particular Obama quote, let’s examine what 2008 would have looked like if the entire Caucasian Persuasion voted WN by a ratio of 95% to 4%. Whites were 74% of the electorate, so 91% of this group would be 67% of the electorate. Out of 123 Million people, that would be in the ballpark of 82 Million. That’s what a Whitelash would look like.
So Trump, in all his vile Klannishness could motivate 3.7 Million people nationwide to vote WN. He’s getting maybe 4% of what a true Whitelash would look like. That’s low-energy, Folks. That’s not winning bigly. It would have taken 2/3 of that vote to get Trump up to parity in California. Pepe wouldn’t even consider it a legitimate frog fart. Nary a Kek would be given.
Why are WNs such scapegoats? Because they inspire the left and all of the hate that will never get written up on the $PLC Hatewatch Blog. If Amerika ever overcame slavery, Jim Crow, colonialism or the Rev. Al Sharpton having a bad hair day; ¡RACISM! Inc and the Dems who rely on it would be destined to languish between the trees. Sorry, Amerika, we $hall never overcome.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
The cabal of media companies that now control the web are hated because they replaced an open standard with a closed one and are using that to manipulate us. Google, Apple, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook and Reddit have all come under fire for censorship, which has caused some people to speak the sophomoric maxim that they are not censoring anything, because they are private companies.
A more accurate analysis is that these companies, by replacing an open net, have taken it over and now want to “curate” the experience to both (1) remove controversial ideas and (2) turn us into good media sheep like the legacy media empire they replaced. As one writer observes:
In 2014, I was pardoned and released from a prison in Tehran where I spent six years over my web activism. Before I was imprisoned in 2008, all the hype and rage on the internet was found on blogs.
Blogs were the best thing that had ever happened on the internet. They democratized writing and publishing — at least in many parts of the world…All that was made possible because of a brilliant and powerful, but simple and modest innovation: hyperlinks.
The World Wide Web was founded on the links, and without links, there won’t be a web. Without links the experience of being on the internet will become one of a centralized, linear, passive, inward-looking and homogeneous kind. This is happening already, and despite Zuckerberg’s sermon, it is largely Facebook and Instagram who are to be blame for the demise of links, and thereby the death of the open web and all its potentials for a more peaceful world.
Zuckerberg killed links (and the web) because he has created a space that is more like the future of television rather than the internet. Unlike what he preaches, Facebook has divided us into small personal bubbles of comfort.
This is the difference between the open web and the corporate web. On the open web, there are many information providers and you go visit them. The downside is that these sites are not uniform and may not all load quickly. On the corporate web, Google and Facebook show you what they want you to see, ideally while remaining on one of their sites like YouTube or Instagram.
What this means is that these companies are no longer private entities, but have taken over a public space, and are now censoring it for their own benefit. This includes removal of controversial ideas, often by sneaky methods:
Why is this important? The forces that be have realized that government is too easily criticized, and are aiming for another form of opinion control. When they talk about “fake news,” they mean any information outside of this approved arena. When they shadowban accounts, they mean that deviating information threatens their bottom line and cannot be tolerated.
They do all of this while promising to beat back big corporations and liberate you from horrible conservatives.
Perhaps the lasting lesson is that salespeople lie, and that this tendency couples with the eternal human tendency toward attention fixation that causes us to, when made aware of our bad behavior, accuse those who have noticed this bad behavior of the same behavior. This is why the anti-censors are censors and the liberators are enslavers, every time.
As a long-term strategy, this will not work among the people who have any experience of life. This is why the high-end consumers and natural leaders of society have mostly abandoned these platforms. That means that they are left with the audience of people with little purpose in life, minimal influence, and low income.
That in turn might explain this:
Friday, May 27th, 2016
Yesterday in Paris, France the concept of exit died on the floor of the Google headquarters. Leftists worldwide have realized how wealthy the technology sector is and they want their money so they can pay for the bennies that keep the citizens complacent and stupid:
A dawn raid was launched on Google’s office in Paris yesterday as part of a probe into ‘aggravated tax fraud’ and money laundering.
Around 100 police officers, five magistrates, 25 computer experts and about 100 tax officials entered the US internet giant’s premises at 5am as France ramped up its efforts to clamp down on alleged tax evasion.
Google is accused of owing the French government £1.2billion in unpaid taxes.
While Google is arrogant enough to hide its money however possible, let us be honest: this is a shakedown. If you have the money, Leftist government will take it because all of the voters want it. Leftism creates a perpetual cycle of not having enough and working too much, and this makes workers angry at anyone who is not in that condition. These shakedowns are frequent and eventually kill off industry so that the Leftist cancer can enter its final phase.
The reason that the concept of “exit” died is that a principle has been formalized: if you have money, They will come to take it from you.
The notion of fairness in laws or some kind of reason existing behind the whole process is fallacy. The French have creatively interpreted their laws, which democratic societies produce in vague abundance, to legitimize the theft of money from Google (who creatively interpreted tax and accounting codes for the opposite purpose). This is what Governments do. They also wage war.
Most “collapse” scenarios are like most human thinking, linear and binary. Suddenly there is a huge SNAP! and society just falls apart, leaving a smouldering ruin through which starvation-crazed people wander. In reality, collapse is like Brazil: a society slowly fades away into third world levels of hygiene, wealth and order. It never really fails, it just becomes useless, kind of like ancient Greece and Rome.
When an empire dies, you are left with vast monuments in front of which illiterate peasants squat to defecate. Brazil is in approximately that condition now. This does not mean an absence of government however, nor the more important problem caused by herd mobilization. In every society, the people create the government. When the herd needs money or fears the competition from an exit-stage, politicians arise who will promise to take action.
This creates the They mentioned above: a vast and desperate herd, needy for plunder, and its enablers — who also have a motive of corruption themselves. The enablers will in fact work both coming and going by taking protection money from businesses, and then confiscating a few to demonstrate their power and keep the rest in line. And when the herd calls for Google’s head? Then government will do whatever it has to in order to generate a pretext for seizure.
Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley will react with evasion as it is already doing in response to government demands that it decrypt its customers’ data:
In Silicon Valley, there’s a new emphasis on putting up barriers to government requests for data. The Apple-FBI case and its aftermath have tech firms racing to employ a variety of tools that would place customer information beyond the reach of a government-ordered search.
The trend is a striking reversal of a long-standing article of faith in the data-hungry tech industry, where companies including Google and the latest start-ups have predicated success on the ability to hoover up as much information as possible about consumers.
Now, some large tech firms are increasingly offering services to consumers that rely far less on collecting data.
Tech companies have already figured out that against governments, especially third world regimes, they cannot win. The internet exists in its wires, switches and servers, and all of those are located in the physical world, and can be controlled. Markets can be closed.
If we had a true Terminator-style collapse of civilization that was nice and crisp and binary, this would not be a problem as people could set up a bootleg internet and keep it running with energy generated from flatulence or something. But in Brazil, there is still government… corrupt, incompetent, and slow, but still able to feed itself.
The anarchist fantasy turns out to be far from the reality (although it sounds cool):
Night City was like a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button. Stop hustling and you sank without a trace, but move a little too swiftly and you’d break the fragile surface tension of the black market; either way, you were gone, with nothing left of you but some vague memory in the mind of a fixture like Ratz, though heart or lungs or kidneys might survive in the service of some stranger with New Yen for the clinic tanks.
Biz here was a constant subliminal hum, and death the accepted punishment for laziness, carelessness, lack of grace, the failure to heed the demands of an intricate protocol.
Alone at a table in the Jarre de Thé, with the octagon coming on, pinheads of sweat starting from his palms, suddenly aware of each tingling hair on his arms and chest, Case knew that at some point he’d started to play a game with himself, a very ancient one that has no name, a final solitaire. He no longer carried a weapon, no longer took the basic precautions. He ran the fastest, loosest deals on the street, and he had a reputation for being able to get whatever you wanted. A part of him knew that the arc of his self-destruction was glaringly obvious to his customers, who grew steadily fewer, but that same part of him basked in the knowledge that it was only a matter of time. — William Gibson, Neuromancer
Human illusions always favor solidly defined and rigidly delineated events instead of the gradualism with which natural events occur. Decay is a natural event, since it is not deliberate like a human command, but the result of human actions in the world and the consequences created by those. This often resembles a “conspiracy of details,” with humans accomplishing their goal but experiencing unintended results as well.
For this reason, the concept of “exit” has died: there is no way out of a dying civilization except to overthrow the parasite (the government, the elites, and the less-than-honorable portion of its populace) and deport it, then set up a more sensible social order. This is why the wisdom of our forebears was always to stand and fight rather than try to escape, because in the end, there is no escape from the consequences of our actions, whether individual or collective.
Sunday, May 15th, 2016
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Meet the new media; same as the old one. I suggested the probability of social media conglomerates joining the SJW convergence and thereby attempting to steer the direction of Amerikan politics to the favored direction in which Cthulhu insists upon swimming. Some days I hate it when I turn out to be absolutely correct in my negativity.
I first opined the following:
Perhaps the terms Google Nudge, Google Auction or even worse; Google Veto need to be added to the lexicon. This new anti-democratic influence on political decision-making is emerging because of a confluence of technology, ideology and material means to effect said dominance. The technology is the internet search engine, the ideology is Progressive Liberaltarianism* and the material means is the obvious wellspring of vast wealth that has been accumulated in Silicon Valley.
So, no, you are not paranoid if you believe that Facebook is just another boring, predictable font of leftist propaganda. It, like every other so-called news outlet, perceives a mission to push political discourse (even) further towards leftist memes. Former contractors for Facebook describe the exercise below.
Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
Alrighty then, you Alt-Right-Delete Paranoid. How could the good, shiny-happy people at Facebook possibly empower a Google Nudge as described in your previous histrionic screed? I mean Facebook Pinkie-Swears that this is how it works in Zuckerberg’s Magical Kingdom of Equestria.
How does Facebook determine what topics are trending? Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.
It starts with a certain non-political corporate goal. Mark Zuckerberg wanted to dominate the primary news market via the Facebook platform. Again, in and of itself, this isn’t SJW Entryism. Here’s how the corporation described its aims according to Gizmodo.
An estimated 600 million people see a news story on Facebook every week, and the social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has been transparent about his goal to monopolize digital news distribution. “When news is as fast as everything else on Facebook, people will naturally read a lot more news,” he said in a Q&A last year, adding that he wants Facebook Instant Articles to be the “primary news experience people have.” This would be accomplished via the trending news subjects of Facebook.
Facebook, however, did not think highly of journalists and treated them like galley slaves.
According to five former members of Facebook’s trending news team—“news curators” as they’re known internally—Zuckerberg & Co. take a downright dim view of the industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders.
And yet these were disposable outsiders with considerable power and a politically overdetermined view of what should constitute “trending news”. Here’s how they were left to their own considerable devices.
The trending news section is run by people in their 20s and early 30s, most of whom graduated from Ivy League and private East Coast schools like Columbia University and NYU. They’ve previously worked at outlets like the New York Daily News, Bloomberg, MSNBC, and the Guardian…According to former team members interviewed by Gizmodo, this small group has the power to choose what stories make it onto the trending bar and, more importantly, what news sites each topic links out to. “We choose what’s trending,” said one. “There was no real standard for measuring what qualified as news and what didn’t. It was up to the news curator to decide.”
But there was one black sheep amongst the Ivy League Lefty herd. Gizmodo describes his effective subversion below.
The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said.
None of this surprises. The media consists of trained Cathedral functionaries who function in accordance with their training. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook may or may not have selected these people for the purpose they served. It really doesn’t matter. Nor does Facebook matter as a platform. It’s not the platform, it’s the individuals that stand on it.
Sunday, April 24th, 2016
It may well be time to update some of the stale linguistics that describe the ongoing political efforts to game democratic governance. Perhaps the terms Google Nudge, Google Auction or even worse; Google Veto need to be added to the lexicon. This new anti-democratic influence on political decision-making is emerging because of a confluence of technology, ideology and material means to effect said dominance. The technology is the internet search engine, the ideology is Progressive Liberaltarianism* and the material means is the obvious wellspring of vast wealth that has been accumulated in Silicon Valley.
The internet search engine works as a technological conduit by which information can be gathered, sorted and delivered for consumption via the personal computer or other digital platforms. When you control a utility; you also control a bottle neck. Google currently dominates the search engine industry. This means they also have the option to control or auction what bit of information makes it through the search engine queue first. Given the Modern high time preference, this is an awesome power to control what people think. Robert Epstein explains the limiting power of this conduit.
That ordered list is so good, in fact, that about 50 per cent of our clicks go to the top two items, and more than 90 per cent of our clicks go to the 10 items listed on the first page of results; few people look at other results pages…
So given the limited queue time to get your information read and the awesome power of the internet search engine, who shows up where in a search priority is a huge monetary event for the people publishing the information.
Because people are far more likely to read and click on higher-ranked items, companies now spend billions of dollars every year trying to trick Google’s search algorithm – the computer program that does the selecting and ranking – into boosting them another notch or two. Moving up a notch can mean the difference between success and failure for a business, and moving into the top slots can be the key to fat profits.
So how does this translate into political power? Through the Search Engine Manipulation Effect. What internet users get shown, influences what they see of the truth and how they view the world around them.
We present evidence from five experiments in two countries suggesting the power and robustness of the search engine manipulation effect (SEME). Specifically, we show that (i) biased search rankings can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more, (ii) the shift can be much higher in some demographic groups, and (iii) such rankings can be masked so that people show no awareness of the manipulation. Knowing the proportion of undecided voters in a population who have Internet access, along with the proportion of those voters who can be influenced using SEME, allows one to calculate the win margin below which SEME might be able to determine an election outcome.
Corporations and workers who make a living controlling power internet sites gain a measure of political power by their proximity to the data conduits. Here is an example of how this may occur in future elections.
To test the hypothesis that political behavior can spread through an online social network, we conducted a randomized controlled trial with all users of at least 18 years of age in the United States who accessed the Facebook website on 2 November 2010, the day of the US congressional elections. Users were randomly assigned to a ‘social message’ group, an ‘informational message’ group or a control group. The social message group (n= 60,055,176) was shown a statement at the top of their ‘News Feed’. This message encouraged the user to vote, provided a link to find local polling places, showed a clickable button reading ‘I Voted’, showed a counter indicating how many other Facebook users had previously reported voting, and displayed up to six small randomly selected ‘profile pictures’ of the user’s Facebook friends who had already clicked the I Voted button (Fig. 1). The informational message group (n=611,044) was shown the message, poll information, counter and button, but they were not shown any faces of friends. The control group (n=613,096) did not receive any message at the top of their News Feed.
People receiving the “social message” were 0.39% more likely to vote than those who did not. Out of approximately 610,000 voters, this makes turnout increase by a notch under 2,500. When so-called social-contagion is taken into account, this increase in turnout becomes 0.60% or something on the order 3,800 to 4,000 out of 610,000. Out of an electorate of 240 Million (approximate US eligible voters); this would be almost 1.5 million votes. If these votes were to be effectively controlled and aimed, this could “nudge” a close election such as Bush v. Gore in a desired direction. Hence we have our possible Google Nudge.
What happens when an election (or a primary contest) is projected to go down to the wire? Any good OR analyst working for a politician then has to consider the Google Nudge a mathematically significant variable. Politicians pay their mathematicians to perform two functions: identify these variables and manipulate them to favor the politician or not impact the election.
The people who run Google are brilliant engineers and better-than-passable business professionals. They have a good they can use to trade/leverage the politician running in a close election. It becomes time to either hold an auction or determine the outcome of the election. If Google is indifferent to which side wins, they can call up both campaigns and ask them “What’cha gonna’ do me?” The candidates then change their platforms/proposals to adopt a more Google-Compliant agenda. This allows Google to choose between which political candidate will be a more profitable/reliable Sugar Daddy for regulatory capture.
The Google Veto is more pernicious. Google could decide that Candidate A is a flaming rectal orifice who is completely iniquitous to the corporate interest. At this point, they will slant the results, flood the meme-zone with anti-A SEME and use their abilities to drive all 1.5 million voters to the polls to vote for B. Google would only have to hack one election to prove its point and permanently accrue a measure of power over national governance. This gives Google, Apple, Facebook and all the rest the ability to hack and rewire democracy to their tastes at any juncture where electoral politics are competitive.
This makes potential Google Nudges, Google Auctions and Google Vetoes stochastically unpredictable and chaotic anti-democratic features of the current system. It would lead to greater chaos, enhanced social entropy, stilted economic growth and eroded social cohesion. An unpredictable life is rarely pleasant, productive or beneficial. Silicon Valley thereby becomes a Liberaltarian engine of destruction that further accelerates the unraveling of America into Amerika. This digital branch of government could become yet another force that works to lay basic decency to nines.
*-Social Liberalism combined with crony capitalism. Think regulatory capture with open borders, anti-religious agitation and complete undermining of all non-governmental social support structures.
Monday, March 21st, 2016
The hardest task of maturation is learning to resist the manipulation of others. With friends, this is persuasion about how cool something is or is not; we called it peer pressure once upon a time. It is no different with media. Whether the spreading of “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” (FUD) or relentless hype, the media distorts reality to all but the wary, cynical, realistic and reactionary person.
Its background hum for some time has been that our Silicon Valley STEM wizards are the geniuses who will save us and our economy. This has only one flaw: the products they are making are not remarkably complex, nor do they work well, and the audience they bring in — much like that of our immigration policy — is not high-end but low-end. The internet has been daytime television for about a decade now, belonging mostly to aimless children, retirees, people on disability and addicts of various substances.
Look at our vaunted inventions. Drones are remote-control helicopters upgraded with better batteries. Twitter is IRC. Google is Lexis/Nexis for the proles. iPads are flat computers. Computers now are simply faster versions of what we had in the 1980s. Operating systems are slightly fancier versions of the same. Everything works “better,” but it takes the same amount of time to do anything. All of our software types were invented in the 70s. As were the visions for things like tablets. If they could predict it in the past, it was because it was merely a shinier version of what they were shipping then.
The biggest inventions seem to be re-learning how to make old ones. We had electric cars in the 1890s and 1970s, too, but they never took off. Now, using our improved but not radically improved batteries, Tesla has sold the public on a new type of car. Or is it? Is Google’s self-driving car really anything more than 1970s military technology applied using our new, faster chips?
In fact, the main purpose of our new technology appears to be social control. Social media is an echo chamber for attention whores, which always produces virtue signaling and thus, is Leftist-dominated and incubates new Leftists. Drones let hobbyists feel edgy for buying a product and using it to do, well, no one is really sure what drones (or the web) are good for yet.
Like non-governmental organizations (NGOs), these dot-com wunderkind are political actors on the both the world stage and domestically. Amazon is a gatekeeper of “culture”; Google is a revolution-fostering political agency. This is in addition to the fact that by their size, these companies are gatekeepers of what is acceptable on the internet. Google’s changes to its search ranking have driven out of public consciousness the layer of sites that ten years ago were the go-to resources for most people, and replaced it with its own projects and allies.
At this point, the endgame emerges: the technology industry will be used as a way to instill norms in us all and to filter out deviant thought. It will provide the basis of our Potemkin economy so that the bennies and freebies get mailed out at the right time. And when it goes down, we all go down with it, and we have something to blame other than the failure of our system of government. We can blame the economy.