The idiots can’t even see their own contradictions

At around the same time, the former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya held a public interview at Stanford University in which he did not exactly mince his words. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” he said. “No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth … So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion.”

No civil discourse, no cooperation.

Two billion people actively use Facebook; at least 3.5 billion are now reckoned to be online. Their shared habits, compulsions and susceptibilities will clearly have a huge influence on the world’s progress, or lack of it.

So that’ll be civil discourse and cooperation between some 2 to 3.5 billion people then, eh?

But this is the truly scary bit and the one which is really the point of what is being said:

So we ought to listen to Tristan Harris and his campaign. “Religions and governments don’t have that much influence over people’s daily thoughts,” he recently told Wired magazine. “But we have three technology companies” – he meant Facebook, Google and Apple – “who have this system that frankly they don’t even have control over … Right now, 2 billion people’s minds are already jacked in to this automated system, and it’s steering people’s thoughts toward either personalised paid advertising or misinformation or conspiracy theories. And it’s all automated; the owners of the system can’t possibly monitor everything that’s going on, and they can’t control it.”

And then came the kicker. “This isn’t some kind of philosophical conversation. This is an urgent concern happening right now.” Amid an ocean of corporate sophistry and doublethink, those words have the distinct ring of truth.

No one controls what these 2 to 3.5 billion people do. They get to just discourse and cooperate among themselves as they see fit, with no guidance from government, politicians or a priestly caste.

It’s the classical liberal fantasy come true and the progressive liberal nightmare. For if the people can do it for themselves what need of the caste of progressive liberals to tell them what to do?

55 comments on “The idiots can’t even see their own contradictions

  1. “And it’s all automated; the owners of the system can’t possibly monitor everything that’s going on, and they can’t control it.”

    So, it’s just like speech then?

  2. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops

    Is this a metaphor or invention dressed up as science? Or is it an invitation to stop reading now?

  3. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,”

    Is he suggesting that all the beta males in the world who respond to every photo by every chick – no matter how obese – with praise for how sexy she looks are giving women utterly unrealistic expectations and delusions of grandeur?

    If so, he may be on to something.

    ight now, 2 billion people’s minds are already jacked in to this automated system, and it’s steering people’s thoughts toward either personalised paid advertising or misinformation or conspiracy theories.

    Says the buffoons pushing the Russian Collusion story. I nearly sprayed my morning coffee across the room when CNN started objecting to Roy Moore’s “conspiracy theories” about his election. As if CNN has been anything else since the Wicked B!tch of the North East lost.

  4. I have always found those who style themselves as Libertarians in blogland were the first to be outraged by free speech they didn’t agree with, and dealt with it harshly with the usual hairy fairy “our blog our rules” so fuck off.

    Tis why blogs have turned into backslapping agreement forums, which in turn causes the rapid decline in blogs.

    Endless threads on blogs with no comments except a token comment from friends with a sympathy post in agreement of course.

  5. It really did come as a shock and piss progressives off when they found out that the prols didn’t agree with everything the said or wanted to live in a way the progressives ordered.

  6. Happy New Year to all Ritchie watchers!

    It being Jan 1st, so as not to tip him off and not noted earlier, for the second year in a row, TRUK is late filing its accounts. Smells if you ask me (and by Ritchie’s own standards), especially as Ritchie filed the accounts for Finance for the Future LLP well in time.

    FFTF LLP of course has filed zeros on its returns since 2012, despite publishing “Climate QE for Paree” in 2015. There’s no way he did that, or anything, for free, so where’s the income shown?

    In other news, the Fair Tax Mark is 10.5% on the way to achieving its April 2014 3 year business plan (3.75 years later).

  7. those who style themselves as Libertarians

    I think I’ve spotted at least part of your problem.

    The thing about free speech is that it is trivial, and therefore unimportant, to support free speech for people you agree with or, at a mild extension, to people you are having a civil discussion with.

    Free speech only becomes important when you disagree with and, ideally, despise, it.

    Marxism and facism (to the extent that their modern forms are distinguishable), vicious bigotry (go on, claim to be entirely free of bigotry- you are now, almost certainly, bigoted towards those you consider bigots – MAGA time), single issue fanatics (no, the world isn’t that simple and your grand idea isn’t the solution), conspiratoriloons of whatever flavour, BDS nuts (to the extent that they are much different from do-Nazis), the LHTD etc, etc.

    If you don’t support full and open free speech to the limits of the law, and ideally, reducing any laws that prohibit speech to an absolute minimum (although the 1st amendment thing of defining all sorts of stuff as ‘speech’ seems a lit outre to me, personally), you are really just (IMNSHO) in favour of listening to people who agree with you.

  8. “I have always found those who style themselves as Libertarians”

    Never happens with leftists of course.

  9. All those direct links to eyeballs and grey matter, isn’t just of interest to advertisers. Someone’s going to go after those companies to get a little booping of the algorithms for free. They should be told to bugger off. Pay for your influence ads like everyone else.

  10. TMB

    “Is this a metaphor or invention dressed up as science?”

    Definitely part metaphor, but not as bad as “selfish genes” which is pure metaphor.

    And as for the science element in “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops”, it is at best severely reductionist.

  11. “Happy New Year to all Ritchie watchers”: I’m bored with Ritchie-watchers; they’re shooting fish in a barrel. Making fun of Ritchie in his modern Bedlam is just cruel: the delusional fool should be left muttering to an uncaring world.

  12. “Tis why blogs have turned into backslapping agreement forums, which in turn causes the rapid decline in blogs.”

    You on Uranus Net?

  13. While it’s true that there is very little new to say about the tuberous phenomenon, while he seeks to exert influence he deserves to be vigorously lampooned and undermined at every turn.

    As we are getting close to Twelfth Night, it should be noted that the Bard of Avon started the ball rolling when he put these lines into Orsino’s mouth:
    Thy small pipe
    Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,
    And all is semblative a woman’s part.

  14. “So that’ll be civil discourse and cooperation between some 2 to 3.5 billion people then, eh?”

    True, for some level of “civil.” Not exactly a killling objection to the nonsense (and I agree, it’s nonsense.)

  15. I do wonder about these social media billions. Do they actually exist?
    My guide’s Whatsap. Whatsap’s big down here in Dagoland & pretty well all the Latin American third-worlders I know use it. So reluctantly so do I. But my phone’s contacts file contains a large quantity of UK & N. European numbers which are shared with the app. And hardly any of them turn up in the Whatsap contacts. Whatsap doesn’t seem to be big with the people I know, out of country. Why?
    Why would it be? Whatsap’s beneficial for people who are money poor & time rich. Who’d want to invest half an hour tapping in a simple conversation when you could get the whole thing done in a one minute phone call? So who’s using it in the UK? Kids. Bottom end of the earnings strata who can’t afford top-ups for their PAYG’s. Maybe there’s couples, families, using it for closed loop surreptitious messaging from/to work/school.
    Twatter. Can’t say there’s anyone I know has ever even mentioned Twatter, let alone claimed to twat. Far as I can see, it’s a circle jerk amongst politicians, media & other hangers on.. Maybe there’s people use it for its original purpose. Group texts.
    Facebook. There certainly seem to be a lot of people obsessively documenting their lives on it. But who actually ploughs through their endless tedious gushings? And how many individuals have Facebook accounts? I seem to have half a dozen. All active, as far as I can see. Accumulated because I couldn’t be bothered about recalling the sign-ins on the previous one & needed to access someone’s page.
    I’ve a feeling social media’s a bit like football. Of crucial importance if you’re an enthusiast. Of zero interest if you’re not. And very hard to convince the enthusiast that you don’t give a f**k.
    Be interesting to see how responses to this comment might polarise. Are we all social media addicts, outside of Tim’s posts?

  16. Sam / Noel

    “Murf’s late accounts”

    Not necessarily. If you file them to arrive (say) on 31st December – and many do leave it late – it can easily take Co House a week or so to link them up (on the beta site), and they will then post that date, not the (formal) date they were “received at Co House”.

    Hence, last year’s, denoted as “filed” on 7th Jan, were not necessarily (or even likely) late – to “arrive” at Co House that is.

    But yes, if nothing appears in the next week or so, that’s different.

  17. From Sam’s Soapy link

    Julia Hartley-Brewer

    Replying to @Soapy Joe

    I do. I thought QCs were supposed to be clever or, at the very least, capable of being vaguely civil. You are becoming an embarrassment to your profession.

    Julia is being extraordinarily polite to the idiot – and the tense is wrong as well. The Natsi Sturge also tries to get in on the act. Useless imbeciles!

  18. @PF

    “and many do leave it late”

    Ritchie seems to leave it late many years. Why? The accounts he files for Finance for the Future LLP are done a month before. Is he just delaying the inevitable ribbing he’s going to get round here?

    My UK co. accounts were filed online the last day before the accountants went on holiday. They appeared on-line when I looked a few hours later. Ritchie’s an accountant not up with the technology, obviously.

  19. Noel

    “Why”

    I don’t really care why..:) To be fair to him (just this once), it’s his business and they are not legally due until 9 months.

    I’m all for “properly due”, otherwise I might have to take more seriously the fake morality of the Soapy Joes & Jocks of this world..;)

    “a few hours later”

    In this instance, I’m not sure this is do with Ritchie and technology – I know that Co House often don’t post stuff up immediately? I can point to numerous examples myself where I know the Co House “arrival” date and “can be up to a week” before it appears?

  20. “And it’s all automated; the owners of the system can’t possibly monitor everything that’s going on, and they can’t control it.”

    If only that were true. Unfortunately, high-speed computerised databases combined with increasingly smart algorithms make it very easy to monitor and control vast numbers of interactions.

    China is already turning social media into a very ugly thing, and I suspect our soft-fascist Western governments will attempt to follow. Softly, at first at least.

  21. Eh. As is often the case in Guardianland, they almost raise a potentially important question…

    how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet

    …and then immediately drop it to chase after phantom menaces:

    Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

    There’s good reason to be alarmed at how the democratic techno-utopian future we were promised in the 90’s has turned into a digital oligarchy dominated by a tiny number of giant companies who control the critical choke points of global communication and collect more private data than the Stasi ever could. Standard Oil and the Bell System were broken up for much less.

    Similarly, the British government’s relentless-yet-incompetent drive towards Chinese-style internet censorship is something every adult of every political persuasion should be concerned about, even if they just want to see pictures of naked ladies on their iPad.

    But, nah. Why talk about grown up stuff when we can revert to wacky conspiracy theories about how Vladimir Putin got Trump elected?

  22. Nope, Facebook is not killing the planet, not even if its owners are lefties who apply their “civility” guidelines unequally. It is merely a medium.

    We are not threatened by reducing the cost of communicating (telephone!), by enabling 365/24/7 communication without fear of waking anyone up (email!), or by new media whose creators sneak their own opinions into it (movies!). And Facebook is at most a shared monopoly (AT&T!) except that entry into the market is comparatively easy (CompuServe! AOL! MySpace!).

    Seconding PJF, our biggest risk is that government will use these new tools to do what governments always do: identify and neutralize potential domestic enemies.

  23. “The Hardly Trivival blogroll on here should enlighten you.”

    I looked. It doesn’t support your argument.

  24. My argument Gamecock is that this blogroll mirrors countless others which show a list of dead blogs

    Many blog hosts just can’t stand opposing views….Libertarian bloggers like the sound of being Libertarian, it sounds good until an awkward question or view gets an airing.

    Trying to manage a blog that ensures the blog host is always right by deleting opposing comment is rife , these blogs slowly die, the first signs of it going downhill is invented posts by the blog host. who oddly enough invent opposing opinion to be defeated by himself.

  25. @BiS
    I’ve found that the youngsters around here actually prefer to communicate by text rather than voice. For most of the cell phone plans, the cost is exactly the same. I think it is mostly because texting does not require concentration while you actually have to focus to have a conversation.

    BTW GOML!

  26. I had a brief moment of panic earlier today when I saw an advert reminding me that tax deadline day is only 30 days away – until I remembered I’d filed them last July.

  27. TRUK’s March 2016 accounts were actually filed 23/12/2016 but not published at CoHo until 7 January 2017 so he may have already filed. Doesn’t mean he isn’t a cunt though.

    Jollyold Prawn is a cunt.

    Julia Hartley-Brewer’s company has about £190k in the bank. Well done her.

  28. I’m not on Twitter. Someone should point the lovely Ms Hartley-Brewer in the direction of this blog whereon she can read more about what a twat Jollyold is.

  29. There’s a splendid moon in a clear sky this evening so let’s spare a thought for DNR and his restraint team on New Year’s Day.

  30. @BIS

    Whatsapp is useful for group conversations, so it is used a lot by friend groups, families, work groups, that kind of thing.

    In my experience it is popular in both the UK and Spain.

  31. Some one ought to ask Oily Prawn whether any of the expenses for renovating his windmill are being claimed against tax as business expenses (as I believe the planning application stated that some of it was to be used as an event venue for hire, and would thus be at least partly a business asset), or whether it is all coming out of taxed income.

    After all it would be rather hypocritical to be moaning about others tax affairs when you are managing to get the State to chip in nearly 50% of part of the cost of refurbishing your very expensive personal home………

  32. In NZ Facebook is used entirely for information sending among the young. It’s just a replacement of e-mail really.

    Actual socialising is via Instagram or Snapchat.

    Down here only older people socialise on Facebook.

  33. BiS – as tomsmith says, WhatsApp is good for family groups etc. And you can make calls via it, and they are free and incredibly clear if via Wi-fi.

  34. Jim,

    And if he did claim tax relief has he been hiring it out. I’m not sure which his but there aren’t many windmills for hire in Kent

  35. TMB +1

    AndrewC: “23/12” – Well spotted. Too much festive cheer to have checked..

    Jim: “it would be rather hypocritical” – Like most on the left.

  36. PF: “Jim: “it would be rather hypocritical” – Like most on the left.”

    No hypocrisy,
    because it’s different.
    Because reasons.

  37. What a night of sporting magic on TV, once again showing how amazing England is.

    Darts champion of the wooooooooorld – Rob Cross from England.

    World’s Strongest Man. Eddie Hall from England.

    Where have all your drugs got you eastern Europe?

    Where has all your money got you America? (And your drugs)?

    The English, the English, the English are best.
    I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest.

  38. “Many blog hosts just can’t stand opposing views”

    So Rickie–when is the last time Tim banned somebody?

  39. Well, a couple of recommendations for Whatsap & that’s about it.
    Can’t help wonder if this reflects reality. That the social media giants facilitate communication. But what communication is going on is mostly about what’s personally important to the communicants. And when it comes to politics, social issues & all the other things the media bubble obsesses about, they come a long way down the list. If people hear about Twatter storms it’s from reports in the MSM, not by participating on Twatter.

  40. — “No one controls what these 2 to 3.5 billion people do. They get to just discourse and cooperate among themselves as they see fit, with no guidance from government, politicians or a priestly caste.”

    Yeah but no. The overt and covert censorship of conservative opinion by such services is legitimately a matter of serious concern.

  41. @BiND: here you go:

    http://www.jackwindmill.co.uk/accommodation/

    Look at the prices: £1000/night outside school holidays, up to £1500/night in school holidays. Thats going to reduce amount of people who want to stay there quite considerably….

    Nice little tax avoidance scheme really – buy a semi derelict property in a swanky part of the world, claim you’re going to develop it as a business, therefore all the renovation work can be set against your other large earned income, ensuring a valuable property asset can be built out of untaxed income. Then charge such a high rental that very few people ever want to rent it and you get to live there without being bothered by Joe Public very much.

  42. BiS: My wife uses both Whatsapp & FB, but both only for friend groups – she has less than 30 FB ‘friends’, I believe. I don’t use either – I have a long-dead FB account but it was only there to check the sprogs’ privacy settings when they went on. I know no Twats AFAIK.

  43. @Rickie
    “My argument Gamecock is that this blogroll mirrors countless others which show a list of dead blogs”

    A bit like the dead blog of the Ranting Penguin that you choose to defile with over 2,000 vile and libellous comments. Hypocrisy knows no bounds with you does it Rickie? Crawl back in your hole or you may find that the postman can, indeed, knock twice…

  44. @Jim

    The hypocrisy of the left ought to shock but each new example is just more of the same.

    Nothing illegal, playing by the rules, all is fair, all tax due is paid. They ought to rename it Wotacunt Windmill.

  45. I don’t see how Soapy Joe can claim tax relief for the windmill expenses. There is a special tax regime for furnished holiday lettings, but this requires the property to be available for letting for > 210 days and actually let for > 105 days. If he and his family live there these conditions won’t be met. As a separate point he might be able to claim the windmill is exempt from inheritance tax if it is open to the public on a regular basis.

  46. “There is a special tax regime for furnished holiday lettings, but this requires the property to be available for letting for > 210 days and actually let for > 105 ”

    Would it make any difference if the property was being marketed as a ‘corporate retreat’, and as a ‘film location’ as well? As is the case here?

    Anyway I think the windmill is the bit he bought most recently, I think he already owned the Mill house, so the point is more what use the windmill will be put to (wedding venue was mentioned) and whether any of the expenses of that refurbishment are being claimed as business expenses?

  47. AndrewC: They ought to rename it Wotacunt Windmill.

    There’s a compelling logic to your suggestion. I’mAllRightJackWindmill would be faithful to the original but lacking the asperity of your proposal.

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