“Human beings, viewed as behaving systems, are quite simple. The apparent complexity of our behavior over time is largely a reflection of the complexity of the environment in which we find ourselves.”
-Herbert A. Simon Ph.D. (1916-2001): American cognitive and computer science academic who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978 and the Turing Award in 1975.
Ignoring Hidden Giants Bestriding World Spells Humanities Doom
Special Report from Sister Ciara
Mar 23, 2018
Throughout history, “hidden giants”, virtually unknown to the world at large, have stood astride our planet directing the course of humanity—with one such modern example being the Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda Edward Bernays, referred to in his obituary as “the father of public relations”, who, in 1928, published his seminal work titled “Propaganda” in which he argued that public relations is not a gimmick but a necessity—and whose findings, research and applied practices created the very world you live you today.
With a world containing “hidden giants” like Edward Bernays, I would like nothing more than to tell everyone of you that complete “free will” exists, and that “your thoughts are your own”, but I’d be lying if did—because the stark truth is that human behavior is 93% predictable—and when something is predictable, it’s also able to be manipulated.
If you have a “normal mind” you will, of course, and predictably, rebel instantly to anyone telling you that “your thoughts are not your own” and that complete “free will” doesn’t exist—but what is really occurring isn’t a rebellion of what I’m saying, it’s due to your experiencing “cognitive dissonance”—the psychological stress experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.
As an example, if “your thoughts are really your own” and complete “free will” exists, then how can you explain to yourself the 2010 peer reviewed scientific findings of a group of leading Northeastern University scientists, led by Distinguished Professor of Physics Albert-László Barabási, concluding that, despite the common perception that our actions are random and unpredictable, human mobility follows surprisingly regular patterns—that human behavior is 93% predictable? After all, to accept one and reject the other isn’t possible for a “normal mind” to do as science can’t simply be rejected because one doesn’t like what it finds.
Building on these 2010 findings that human behavior is 93% predictable, five years later, in 2015, a presentation was made at the IEEE Data Science and Advanced Analytics Conference in Paris by MIT researchers titled “Deep Feature Synthesis: Towards Automating Data Science Endeavors” whose findings showed that an algorithm can predict someone’s behavior faster and more reliably than humans can.
Though the vast majority of you reading my words today have no knowledge of how far advanced the field of study into human behavior has become, the same cannot be said of world governments—most particularly in the United States where the CIA has created a new “social media” paradigm as a tool that they’ve deployed through their global surveillance, rebranded as “social media”, technology giant Facebook, and its equally all powerful military-intelligence counterpart Google.
To why the CIA, and other such intelligence agencies around the world, is so interested in human behavior is due to their seeking to create compliant, obedient to authority non-thinking consumer drones—and one of whose first known experiments to accomplish this was done in 2012 when Facebook conducted its infamous secret “mood experiment” wherein their data scientists skewed what almost 700,000 Facebook users saw when they logged into its service.
Some people were shown content with a preponderance of happy and positive words; some were shown content analyzed as sadder than average—and when this “mood experiment” was over, these manipulated users were found to be more likely to post either especially positive or negative words themselves.
In 2017, the success of this “mood experiment” led to Facebook to secretly inform its advertisers that it had the capacity to identify when teenagers feel “insecure”, “worthless” and “needed a confidence boost”—while at the same time, these “social media” human behavior manipulators ignored the findings showing that more millennials reported losing money to scams in 2017 than senior citizens.
To what has happened in the past, and is happening now, as it regards “social media” human behavior manipulation, though, pales in insignificance to what is being created now—an “artificial intelligence” (AI) controlled society that will forever alter what it means to be human.
The outright fear and abject terror of what is occurring to create this new AI controlled society has led to two of today’s “hidden giants” you’ve never heard of to begin sounding dire warnings—and who are the global technology genius-giants Chamath Palihapitiya and François Chollet.
As the former Executive Vice President for user growth at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya has warned that Facebook and Google are “surveillance states” not “social networks”—with Facebook now being engaged in “ripping human society apart” with their mind chemical altering tools that “destroy the social fabric of how society works”.
Echoing the terror of Facebook’s former top executive Chamath Palihapitiya is the global technology genius “hidden giant”, and one of Google’s top AI researchers in the world, François Chollet—who this past week acknowledged his fear of what comes next and pleaded with AI researchers to “show some conscience” and refrain from helping Facebook develop its human manipulation system any further—and whose words of warning should be seared into everyone’s mind:
The world is being shaped in large part by two long-time trends: first, our lives are increasingly dematerialized, consisting of consuming and generating information online, both at work and at home. Second, AI is getting ever smarter.
These two trends overlap at the level of the algorithms that shape our digital content consumption. Opaque social media algorithms get to decide, to an ever-increasing extent, which articles we read, who we keep in touch with, whose opinions we read, whose feedback we get.
Integrated over many years of exposure, the algorithmic curation of the information we consume gives the systems in charge considerable power over our lives, over who we become. By moving our lives to the digital realm, we become vulnerable to that which rules it -- AI algorithms.
If Facebook gets to decide, over the span of many years, which news you will see (real or fake), whose political status updates you’ll see, and who will see yours, then Facebook is in effect in control of your political beliefs and your worldview.
This is not quite news, as Facebook has been known to run since at least 2013 a series of experiments in which they were able to successfully control the moods and decisions of unwitting users by tuning their newsfeeds’ contents, as well as prediction user's future decisions.
In short, Facebook can simultaneously measure everything about us, and control the information we consume. When you have access to both perception and action, you’re looking at an AI problem. You can start establishing an optimization loop for human behavior. A RL loop.
A loop in which you observe the current state of your targets and keep tuning what information you feed them, until you start observing the opinions and behaviors you wanted to see.
A good chunk of the field of AI research (especially the bits that Facebook has been investing in) is about developing algorithms to solve such optimization problems as efficiently as possible, to close the loop and achieve full control of the phenomenon at hand. In this case, us.
This is made all the easier by the fact that the human mind is highly vulnerable to simple patterns of social manipulation. While thinking about these issues, I have compiled a short list of psychological attack patterns that would be devastatingly effective.
Some of them have been used for a long time in advertising (e.g. positive/negative social reinforcement), but in a very weak, un-targeted form. From an information security perspective, you would call these “vulnerabilities”: known exploits that can be used to take over a system.
In the case of the human mind, these vulnerabilities never get patched; they are just the way we work. They’re in our DNA. They're our psychology. On a personal level, we have no practical way to defend ourselves against them.
The human mind is a static, vulnerable system that will come increasingly under attack from ever-smarter AI algorithms that will simultaneously have a complete view of everything we do and believe, and complete control of the information we consume.
Importantly, mass population control -- in particular political control -- arising from placing AI algorithms in charge of our information diet does not necessarily require very advanced AI. You don’t need self-aware, superintelligent AI for this to be a dire threat.
So, if mass population control is already possible today -- in theory -- why hasn’t the world ended yet? In short, I think it’s because we’re really bad at AI. But that may be about to change. You see, our technical capabilities are the bottleneck here.
Until 2015, all ad targeting algorithms across the industry were running on mere logistic regression. In fact, that’s still true to a large extent today -- only the biggest players have switched to more advanced models.
It is the reason why so many of the ads you see online seem desperately irrelevant. They aren't that sophisticated. Likewise, the social media bots used by hostile state actors to sway public opinion have little to no AI in them. They’re all extremely primitive. For now.
AI has been making fast progress in recent years and that progress is only beginning to get deployed in targeting algorithms and social media bots. Deep learning has only started to make its way into newsfeeds and ad networks around 2016. Facebook has invested massively in it.
Who knows what will be next. It is quite striking that Facebook has been investing enormous amounts in AI research and development, with the explicit goal of becoming a leader in the field. What does that tell you? What do you use AI/RL for when your product is a newsfeed?
We’re looking at a powerful entity that builds fine-grained psychological profiles of over two billion humans, that runs large-scale behavior manipulation experiments, and that aims at developing the best AI technology the world has ever seen. Personally, it really scares me.
If you work in AI, please don't help them. Don't play their game. Don't participate in their research ecosystem. Please show some conscience.
Though Google’s top AI researcher François Chollet’s dire warning must be heeded, it still must be remembered that his global technology giant is the world’s biggest censor that maintains at least nine different blacklists that impact our lives—and who, over these past few weeks, has joined with Facebook to purge thousands of alternative news websites from existence—with Facebook going even further by destroying mainstream media news websites too.
With thousands of news websites being destroyed to such an extent that mainstream news outlets are undergoing massive layoffs, “free news” is fast becoming extinct as struggling US news organizations are increasingly keeping their content behind a paywall to make up for lost revenues from print advertising—and whose “news void” for the masses will then be filled by the world’s biggest censor Google who just announced it’s spending $300 million in a new initiative to support “high quality journalism”, “monitor elections” and “control misinformation”.
To those of you choosing to ignore these “hidden giant” warnings of a deliberately controlled plot to “rip human society apart”, thus leaving global technology giants like Facebook and Google to control your every thought and action, I can only warn you that you are willingly participating in humanities doom.
For all others, though, I’d like to present you with an alternative—START supporting those few of us left battling against these monsters!
Remember, that as long a single candle of truth remains burning in world quickly turning to darkness, HOPE and FREEDOM still have a fighting chance.
As long as there have been human beings on this Earth, these demonic monsters have always sought to destroy us—but though our numbers may be few, we remain undefeated—because we KNOW that TRUTH always wins—and is why we aren’t ruled by evil kings and emperors anymore, or Hitler’s Nazi’s and Stalin’s Communists aren’t controlling the world like they wanted to—or any of the other numerous manifestations of demons that for centuries have tried to enslave the entirety of humanity.
Granted, our Lord did warn us that in these times our numbers would be few—but didn’t He also promise that we would be enough?
So in finishing, my sincerest hope right now is that YOU support those of us on and behind the lines of this war that with each passing day is nearing closer to your door, and that we’re ceaselessly laboring beyond exhaustion to keep it out—with your never forgetting our Lord’s words “For many are called, but few are chosen.”—and which I know that you are one of, even it you don’t know this fact for yourself.
23 March 2018