Noah's Links: the ghost in the machine

This topic contains 18 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Megan 5 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #9899

    Noah somehow found the time between perfecting the hobo freedom fighter chic ascetic, buying burner phones in bulk, and sampling the Santa Ana night life with his wife to do a little bit of scholarly research, so I figured the least we could do is parse it out and discuss. Noah was right when he said this was all information that the public already knew: not just in general but us as a community, as these articles all reaffirm and support theories already presented on the board. After reading them I also felt a deeper sense of connection between what we believe Sarah and the System are plotting and what we have guessed Stacey is up to with iConfidant, to the point where I’m no longer sure we can take for granted that these two women exist in entirely separate, unrelated factions, but rather two different (and perhaps competing) facades masking the same root technological evil. I honestly believe that Noah with these links is warning us, or at least trying to educate us, as much about Stacey as he is Sarah. I’ve included the links here so if people want to discuss and theorize, they don’t have to bounce back and forth. I’ve also written a short summary of each one just to begin organizing some thoughts. When Lust is all said and done, how many college credits do you think we’ll all have earned?


    How Russian Twitter Bots Pumped Out Fake News During The 2016 Election

    Measuring and engineering influence on social media: what does this mean for political power?

    An affective computational model for machine consciousness

    Semantics derived automatically from language corpora contain human-like biases

    Online Human-Bot Interactions: Detection, Estimation, and Characterization

    Power and politics: A threat to the Global Brain

    Brain Privacy and the Case of Cannibal Cop

    -The first two articles deal specifically with targeted internet content as a societal influencer. Data analytics, the new ways in which we can influence public opinion and measure/focus that influence, and some real world examples of how this new understanding of online manipulation can be utilized. Twitter accounts manned by both hackers and bots in the new age of propaganda as a means to disseminate lies, legitimize conspiracy theories, disrupt politics, and sway public opinion.

    -The next two both deal with machine learning. The first one attempts to more deeply define the essence of consciousness (in not only humans but also animals, which was interesting) and attempt to construct a mathematical basis upon which machines might be able to generate emotions and other facets of humanity beyond survival and task completion. The second deals with language and how machines that begin learning by studying our communications could inadvertently adopt the societal biases and cultural associations and stereotypes that exist both subtly and overtly in our culture. Essentially, how a machine can learn from us how to be prejudiced.

    -Then we have one specifically dealing with online bots. Their behavior, how they interact with humans, how they interact with other bots, just how many of them are out there, and how the author’s project attempts to spot them. How machine learning has lead to the evolution of a bot’s sophistication in being able to discern information flow patterns, retweeting behaviors, sentiment, and overall how they are gaming the idea of social connectivity for their own gains.

    -The final two, unfortunately, are not complete articles, but merely the abstracts of two scholarly papers that you must pay to actually read, so presumably the summaries are all the information we require. The first discusses the Global Brain Theory, which deals with the notion that as humans and technology alike become more intelligent and interconnected, the possibility of a shared Global consciousness emerges. The article seems to discuss how the potential for a true Global Brain is there, but because the majority of power and influence is held by such a small percentage of the global population, the coordination of a true global society for the benefit and cooperation of all humankind is threatened by the tunnel vision and poor, selfish decisions of the powerful few. The other article uses the famous “Cannibal Cop” trial as a basis to explore whether people should be held accountable for their thoughts, potentially sacrificing their privacy if it is outweighed by a perceived public benefit or need for safety. What is the true difference between thought and intent, fantasy and reality? When does it stop being your business and start being all of our business? Do we have a right to not be publicly embarrassed by our own private thoughts if those thoughts involve endangering others? You can look up the trial on Wikipedia, or watch a documentary about it on HBOGo!

  • #9901

    @macbethinabathtub Thank you for organizing these links in a thread with breakdowns! It really helps (cause all those links are daunting)! I will probably attempt to read through it all tomorrow.

  • #9904

    Thanks @macbethinabathtub!

    I’m going to start compiling “Important Threads of Note” and this will be included!

  • #9908
     Taylor Winters 

    Thanks, @macbethinabathtub. I knew we were being besties for a reason! I was going to do this exact same thing tonight. I’m going to pour over these as well and I’ll let you know if I have anything meaningful to contribute–beyond your excellent analysis.

  • #9939

    Pure genius @macbethinabathtub I’m new to the madness. Appreciate the intellectual insight.

  • #10608

    This deserves a bump. It was important that Noah get these links out so we should be going over these with a magnifying glass.

  • #10609
     Meghan Mayhem 

    Agreed. These links should be looked over and discussed. Fascinating stuff which I’ve actually read up on fairly extensively long before this was brought up.
    Why is it dangerous for computers to have sentience? Because humans have emotions, which can be seen as “faults” in the grand scheme of “effectiveness” and technological sentience could easily render humanity “unuseful” in many situations. What does that mean? Well, humans are smarter than animals and what has happened thusly? Well, we HAVE slowly destroyed their population…

  • #10610

    To quote David Mamet… who is quoting Native American lore…

    “Why is the rabbit unafraid? Because he knows he’s smarter than the panther.”

    Perhaps this is one of the big take aways that Noah is trying to teach us?

  • #10630

    Could Noah be trying to give us hints on how to detect (if any) which users on social media or the forums may actually be bot/ai programs?

    The real question is IF they (whomever “they” are) are making ai/bot programs – – why? What do they plan to use them for? Again, I can’t help but echo that Sarah stated there are two noah’s. Has anyone had an interaction with CRAZY/Aggressive Noah in PERSON? Other people have stated that they notice a very polarized difference in Noah’s interactions. The “maddyxxx” account on here could very well be a spam/ai bot trying to trick us into believing they are a real person on the other end. Maybe that is the purpose of making us believe that there could possibly be two of Noah? Are they simply teasing us by giving us information – – a type of “even if you ‘know’, you really have no clue” type of thing that we’ve seen so often in this lust/tension/osdm universe?

  • #10662

    I think when she infers the Two Noah’s thing she means that he has two very different versions of his personality.

    Now this could be because the dudes a manic bi-polar alcoholic or it could be because he’s legit had a second personality brainwashed into him.

    My guess is that she meant the former.

    But seriously what are so important about these links that he’d go through so much trouble to get them to us. It’s not just light reading material.

  • #10663

    Thanks for putting this all together @macbethinabathtub!

    The first article also discusses gaining influence by masquerading as other people, specifically others that look and sound like the group they’re trying to influence. We know the OSDM offered some people in Ascension the opportunity to select a presidential candidate they’d like to win the election and they’d see what they could do. Maybe this is what they were doing with all that data. Trying to create more accurate bots and social engineering tactics that people would trust and could be influenced by.

    The second article talks about trying to figure out where information ends up how it gets there. It then gets into the idea of replicating that influence, but not perfectly. They could be working to better replicate their results on influencing people. It ends by mentioning that the next step is changing behavior and “patterns of influence”. That’s a step up from just matching people to nudge them in a direction, but could be where they’re going.

    I haven’t had a chance to dig into the longer articles yet, but get the idea that they could tie in through machines/AI learning to do some of this on their own.

    iConfidant could turn out to be a more personal version of this. Instead of going for huge numbers of bots to influence people broadly, iConfidant could be used to focus on influencing one person’s more specific beliefs. Even saw a bit of this at the focus group with trying to influence people about shirt colors. I guess that could hint at a connection between iConfidant and The System as well.

  • #10664
     Meghan Mayhem 

    Yes, I agree @thebuz. If these links were just an interesting read related to theories, it would have died with Tom’s u shared email, but Noah pushed past that to MAKE SURE we saw those. Makes me think these elude to not just an arc, but a much bigger storyline.

  • #10665
     Brad Ruwe 

    Agreed @thebuz, I def paid particular note of these. The articles about using data and A.I. bots to manipulate people absolutely plays in to what Michelle said at The End regarding the data they are collecting from us. The article that scares me the most personally is that A.I. can be used to potentially find out what people are thinking, that it can get so good at predictive learning that it will be able to find out our actual thoughts. We’re already seeing that with the likes of Google Assistant, and their goal of providing the user with information even before we ask for it.

    Do we still have privacy of our own thoughts? These articles suggests if we do, we won’t have it for long. This could be how iConfidant is pairing us up with (or making) our “perfect confidant”.

  • #10666
     Andrew Kasch 

    I’m still unsure how literal we should take all this news. Even with the shadows characters and an imposter me running around, I still can’t help but think Noah is speaking in metaphor.

    Like the OOA, I feel like this is all about one thing: control. And how information – and sometimes mis-information – that can trick us into believing a false reality.

  • #10671

    It’s certainly deep reading material. Time will tell the rest.

  • #10675
     Kyle Bown 

    There’s probably a nearly infinite way all of these articles could tie together, but let me try one that I feel is somewhat plausible.

    Starting with the Russian bots during the election. They used the data/knowledge they had of the areas and people they were targeting to create false social media profile sin order to influence certain groups of people and their view of Trump vs. Hillary with the goal of swinging the election towards Trump. That is obvious, and real, and the first step in this dark path.

    Then we get to machine learning. This gives them the ability to automate even more of this process. You plot out a desired goal (Electing a specific candidate) and the machine algorithm (I’m not sure this is quite AI yet) can find ever more efficient ways to do this. You tell it a goal, and it can, on it’s own, test methods and outcomes and find correlations between people and opinions/effectiveness of various messages/methods (X people are more effective with message Y and Z people respond to message B). The machines can even go so far as to learn our biases, which makes sense when the data given to it is that from humans who, themselves, have these biases. So you know that flowers = good, you associate your goal with flowers. It’s the equivalent of a politicians pandering to the likes of their constituents (being pro ethanol in Iowa, eating peaches in South Carolina).

    I’m using the election, because that is a thing that happened. But this method doesn’t have to be used only for that. It can be used to sway public opinion for a new law or a new war, it can be used to sell soft drinks or fast food, it can be used for good or evil. This is also discussed (It seems) in the “Global Brain” article. One of the summary points is “Communication pathways that direct cultural flows can be manipulated and are often done so by those in power.”

    Up to this point, these methods have been used on a medium to large scale, but the combination of creating “smarter” algorithms, maybe even conscious (to a degree) machines and the potential to get directly to one’s thoughts, leaves the door open for extreme microtargeting of individuals. If you know how a person thinks, and a machine can gain that information and very quickly figure out how to use that to manipulate a person in an increasingly efficient way, then what makes those individuals different from robots?

    That’s all I have for the moment. Hopefully that wasn’t too much.

  • #10676
     Hannah Schenck 

    This is awesome, thank you for this!!

  • #10677
     Hannah Schenck 

    Currently going down the rabbit hole…. 🙂

  • #10682

    I have not yet dived into the Noah links but I’m guessing that they touch on Cambridge Analytica by your post, @bruinbrown? Yeah, that was real, though its actual impact on the election has yet to be determined (and may never be) and is honestly terrifying, because its only remedy is STAYING OFF FACEBOOK. The depth & complexity with which people of ALL political leanings were manipulated is crazy. The man whose research on psychometrics is what led to Cambridge Analytica, Michal Kosinski, is fascinating – you should follow him on twitter and read his stuff (@michalkosinski on twitter). He tweets a lot more pieces on CA too.

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