Seeing like a State

From our friends at the International Monetary Fund comes this innovation.

“Credit scoring using so-called hard information (income, employment time, assets and debts) is nothing new. Typically, the more data is available, the more accurate is the assessment. But this method has two problems. First, hard information tends to be “procyclical”: it boosts credit expansion in good times but exacerbates contraction during downturns.

The second and most complex problem is that certain kinds of people, like new entrepreneurs, innovators and many informal workers might not have enough hard data available…

Fintech resolves the dilemma by tapping various nonfinancial data: the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches and purchases. Recent research documents that, once powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, these alternative data sources are often superior than [sic] traditional credit assessment methods, and can advance financial inclusion, by, for example, enabling more credit to informal workers and households and firms in rural areas.”

“[C]an advance financial inclusion…” By definition, then, it can advance credit exclusion.

Websites, Twitter accounts, YouTube videos, hosting platforms, and credit card processing are all already being cancelled, shadowbanned, disappeared and denied for political reasons. Now they propose to use your computer model, search history, and the sites you visit to determine your credit score.

If you visit the Southern Poverty Law Center too often, or QAnon more frequently than you “should” according to some algorithm; if you search for “All Lives Matter” or “Green Nude Eel;” if you use a Chromebook or an obscure brand tablet – then your credit score may suffer. That could turn out to be the least of your problems.

I can’t count the number of times people have told me they aren’t worried about such corporate espionage when I point out what Facebook really is, or tell them why to use Duck-Duck-Go instead of Google search. “I’m not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide.” The problem, I explain, is that they aren’t the ones who decide that.

“The old cliché is often mocked though basically true: there’s no reason to worry about surveillance if you have nothing to hide. That mindset creates the incentive to be as compliant and inconspicuous as possible: those who think that way decide it’s in their best interests to provide authorities with as little reason as possible to care about them. That’s accomplished by never stepping out of line. Those willing to live their lives that way will be indifferent to the loss of privacy because they feel that they lose nothing from it. Above all else, that’s what a Surveillance State does: it breeds fear of doing anything out of the ordinary by creating a class of meek citizens who know they are being constantly watched.”

~ Glenn Greenwald

Mau-mauing the swamp dwellers

Facebook and YouTube continue to bury, or outright ban, well founded commentary on CCP virus public policy and the myriad election irregularities of which the Uniparty disapproves.

They aren’t alone. Amazon has banned books. Twitter banned all mention of Hunter Biden’s laptop, including suspending the New York Post‘s account.

That ban arguably lasted long enough to affect the election, and now that we know Hunter Biden has been under Federal criminal investigation since 2019 for his foreign business dealings, it seems like Twitter, et. al., should have some accountability.

The article slice below is behind a paywall. I think Glenn Greenwald is worth the less than a buck a week as an honest liberal entrepreneur. You pay as much for the CNN/MSNBC/CBS/PBS/ABC/NBC channels on your cable.

Some of what he writes is public. A link appears in TOC’s blogroll under Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald left The Intercept (he was a founder) because they spiked an article he wrote about Hunter Biden before the election. That’s when I checked out his independent gig on Substack.

Greenwald (this one is paywalled) provides a gimlet eyed view:

The revelation that Hunter Biden is being criminally investigated for his business activities in China came on Monday from the investigative target himself, and he predictably and self-servingly depicted it as just a narrow probe about his “tax affairs” by the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. As I wrote last night, that by itself would be significant enough — the documents published in the weeks before the election by The New York Post contained ample information about exactly that matter, yet were widely repressed by a union of mainstream news outlets, the intelligence community and Silicon Valley based on propaganda and lies. But new reporting suggest the investigation has been far broader.

“The federal investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been more extensive than a statement from Hunter Biden indicates,” Politico reported Monday night. Specifically, “the securities fraud unit in the Southern District of New York also scrutinized Hunter Biden’s finances”; “investigators in Delaware and Washington were also probing potential money laundering and Hunter Biden’s foreign ties”; and “federal authorities in the Western District of Pennsylvania are conducting a criminal investigation of a hospital business in which Joe Biden’s brother James was involved.” CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz added that “at least one of the matters investigators have examined is a 2017 gift of a 2.8-carat diamond that Hunter Biden received from CEFC [China Energy’]’s founder and former chairman Ye Jianming after a Miami business meeting.”

We’re slipping into fascism backwards. One normally thinks of the formal government (Mussolini comes to mind) as the instigator of fascism*, but in the current case it’s most certainly rent-seeking large corporations leading the charge. And that goes far beyond our cybernetic overlords. It’s also Maim Scream Media™, academiots, and corporate whores mau-mauing the swamp dwellers.

Of course, Antifa and the present cadre of BLM have raised mau-mauing to an actually dangerous level with arson, looting, assault, and murder. They would be the brownshirts.

Then, there’s this:
Hunter Biden Email Reportedly Names Kamala Harris, Others as Key Contacts for ‘Joint Venture’ With China Energy Co

Perhaps Eric Swalwell could do with a serious “debriefing.”

*That definition is fatally flawed because it includes a mention of capitalism, but the misunderstanding is pervasive. Free markets are required under capitalism. Fascism precludes free markets.

2021 Twitter – trending

What with pandemics and riots it’s easy to lose track of other Leftwing panics. Like net neutrality; psychologically engineered to please large corporations who oppose free speech.

I’m old enough to remember when we were all going to die if the misnamed ‘net neutrality’ protocols weren’t invoked immediately.

The Left doesn’t forget. When they get over their paroxysm over opening the economy, and tire of insisting opposition to arson and looting is racist, they’ll go back to this.

With the full throated support of Silly-Putty Valley lobbyists petitioning the General Government under the provisions of the First Amendment they despise.

The Censoring Left: ‘Net Neutrality’ for Thee – Not for Me

“Net neutrality” is not unlike “defund the police.”

Balls to you, Google

Yesterday, TOC examined the Washington Post‘s disgust with Google and Apple for not creating a centralized database so government can retain information about each American’s whereabouts at all times.

I applaud both companies for this nod to privacy, but there is a catch or two when you consider Google’s other activities.

Google appears to fear the possible widespread condemnation of any such tracking app much more than any outcry over other surveillance and thought control initiatives.

Big Tech Is Turning Hospitals Into Real-Time Surveillance Centers

That’s not creepy. Right? I mean who would object to HD video of the insertion of their Foley catheter?

Personally, I regret not having a picture of my testicles when they were the size of volleyballs from IV fluids. It’s hard to get people to believe it. Nobody has ever asked to see a picture, though.

But a video? Think of the viral monetization potential with the right caption. If U of M had been filming it, I’m sure some interns would be streaming it even now.

YouTube Auto Deletes Comments With Terms That Insult Chinese Communist Party

I wonder if YouTube keeps a log of these auto-deleted CCP criticisms in order to match them up with your Google searches for “Wuhan flu.” You know, just in case evidence is needed later in the show-trials.

Don’t be doubleplus-ungood

An interesting article at Wired, by Nitasha Tiku:
Three Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech

It is sympathetic to leftist Googlers, and that sympathy seems justified in the case of the doxxing described. However, it fails to mention that among the first things to happen to James Damore was doxxing and defaming from the left. It should be remembered he wrote his common sense, scientifically grounded memo in response to “sensitivity training” mandated for all employees. That the memo couldn’t be tolerated tells us all we need to know about Google culture.

The article ignores the deplatforming and/or demonetizing of numerous center-rightists who offend leftist sensitivities (Dennis Prager, for just one example). That Google can’t see this as a negative reflection on their culture tells us more than we need to know about their culture. Tiku doesn’t discuss harassment of conservatives by the left, which I must imagine constituted a “hostile work environment” long before this SHTF. We get little from her in that regard. We’re meant to think the majority of Googlers were harassed by a tiny group of conservatives, with little to no provocation.

It is further obvious that Google’s culture skews rigidly left based on political donations, its executives’ assistance to Barack Obama, and who the internal activist stars are. It’s clear from their push to hire based on sex, sexual orientation, skin color, and ethnicity that they agree with SJW tropes.

Still, this is a very interesting peek behind the Google curtain. Let’s look at some outtakes.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Montessori kids who founded Google as Stanford grad students in the late ’90s, had designed their company’s famously open culture to facilitate free thinking. Employees were “obligated to dissent” if they saw something they disagreed with, and they were encouraged to “bring their whole selves” to work rather than check their politics and personal lives at the door. And the wild thing about Google was that so many employees complied.

Complied???? “Complied” is fulsome BS. They were selected via policies guaranteed to ensure their willingness to complain about any social or political issue that made them want to run to their “safe spaces,” and then sensitivity trained. It isn’t possible for the SJWs to check their identity-group politics at the door in the first place.

The culture was, and is, far from “open.” It is characterized by internecine tribal struggles between privileged, brilliant people with generally very poor social skills, whose idea of free thinking is mostly modeled after 1984 leavened with touches of Rules for Radicals.

[T]o a remarkable extent, Google’s workers really do take “Don’t Be Evil” to heart. C-suite meetings have been known to grind to a halt if someone asks, “Wait, is this evil?” To many employees, it’s axiomatic: Facebook is craven, Amazon is aggro, Apple is secretive, and Microsoft is staid, but Google genuinely wants to do good.

Well, for a given definition of “good.” And that is The. Whole. Problem. “Evil” is whatever does not toe the Progressive line. The motto should have been “Don’t be doubleplus-ungood.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, members of one mailing list brainstormed whether there might be ways to “leverage” Google’s search results to surface ways of helping immigrants; some proposed that the company should intervene in searches for terms like “Islam,” “Muslim,” or “Iran” that were showing “Islamophobic, algorithmically biased results.” (Google says none of those ideas were taken up.)

Didn’t take them up. But they openly considered substituting their opinions as reality because they are so sure of their righteousness and so drunk on their power. No one with a grounded definition of evil, and a gram of introspection, would have dared bring that up unless it was preceded with, “One thing we cannot do…”.

For this article, WIRED spoke with 47 current and former Google employees. Most of them requested anonymity.

Wouldn’t need anonymity if “Don’t be evil” meant anything, would they?

I hate that argument because it’s often applied to fee speech: “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve got nothing to hide.” It’s quite clear from Google’s example that it’s other people who decide whether you have anything to hide. And a lot of those who work at Google want to decide to hide your opinion, or prevent you from forming it, and, at all costs, stop you from expressing it in the first place.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and head of communications Jessica Powell urged their colleagues to consider how they would have reacted if Damore had applied the same arguments to race, rather than gender. That persuaded them: The engineer had to go. In a note to employees, Pichai said he was firing Damore for perpetuating gender stereotypes.

If all else fails, play the race card. I don’t know Wojcicki’s or Powell’s race, but is smacks of cultural appropriation, doesn’t it?

Stereotypes can be valid, or we would see many more whites in the NBA, and many women’s world weight lifting records completely smashed. But, you can’t say those biologically male lifters doing the smashing aren’t really women. The same type of rational arguments DO apply to race. This is not how free thinkers react when there is scientific evidence, presented without vitriol. It is just a replay of the reaction to Murray’s The Bell Curve.

Pichai tried to assure the left without alienating the right. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,”

Well, nobody said that. But claiming someone did indicates management’s attitude, which had to be double-reverse engineered from a faulty understanding of the word stereotype, and a “la la la, I can’t hear you” inspired ignorance. Ostriches.

Two days after Damore was fired, Milo Yiannopoulos, the former tech editor at Breitbart, shared the Reddit collage image with 2 million Facebook followers. “Look at who works for Google, it all makes sense now,” he wrote—as if these eight employees had been the ones who made the decision to ax Damore.

“As if?” They WERE the ones who forced that decision!

At the time, Google was run as a triumvirate, with CEO Eric Schmidt playing the role of resident grown-up. Schmidt argued that if Google stopped censoring search results, it would never get back into China.

The “grownup” is the one who wants to knuckle under to totalitarian demands to suppress information. I.e., to betray Google’s mission: https://about.google/
Google mission

It doesn’t say “except in countries with totalitarian dictatorships, that put millions into re-education camps because of their religion, and want to destroy the capitalist system that made Google possible.” I guess it’s not evil to interpret it as “useful to despots,” though.

“The legacy of the China decision was a giant dose of goodwill from Googlers around the world,” Schmidt wrote in How Google Works; it reaffirmed the company’s principles “governing how all tough decisions should be made.”

Schmidt takes credit for a policy he opposed. If you aren’t evil, it’s an easy decision.

As Google seemed to close in on winning the [Maven] contract, executives from the cloud team pondered how a deal with the Pentagon—especially one that could be linked to autonomous weapons—might reflect on Google’s non-evil brand. In September, a few weeks after the meeting with Mattis, they discussed spinning up some positive PR that would focus on the “vanilla cloud technology” aspects of the Maven contract. “Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI,” wrote Fei-Fei Li, a Stanford professor and Google Cloud’s chief scientist for AI.

Censor search in China and object to a US military contract. Fit those ethics together for me, will you? An ethical approach might have been not to do either one.

HR had become “weaponized,” they said; Googlers on both sides of the battle lines had become adept at working the refs—baiting colleagues into saying things that might violate the company’s code of conduct, then going to human resources to report them.

And what did they expect would happen after the cancel culture they encouraged became commonplace and was rewarded?

In early June 2018, Pichai finally published the AI principles that Google had promised its employees. They included a list of four applications of AI that Google would not pursue, including weapons, technologies that gather and use information “for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms,” and technology “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”

“Don’t be evil” notwithstanding, they entertained a project to co-operate with the Chinese Communists that would shove human rights under the jackboot, and surveillance violating internationally accepted norms. They had to write that down. I guess it depends on your definition of “norms” and “principles.” Is it a norm because China does it to a billion and a half Chinese?

Google asked for chaos, I’m glad they’re getting it. The moral is don’t let a bunch of middle school mean girls run your company via internal social media.