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The Facebook hearings.

April 11, 2018

Does the thought of Facebook using AI (artificial intelligence) to provide “safeguards” for Facebook user data send shivers down your spine?

It should.

Right now, Facebook cons content providers into giving them tons of free content with the promise that they will help them monetize (that means get paid to allow access to the personal data of others for the purpose of providing targeted advertising leads) on the company’s Pages.

People apparently found that all kinds of scary when it became public knowledge that they weren’t just harvesting which sites you click on, but tracking your every move.

That leaves FB with the unenviable task of convincing us that all of this is benign, and we shouldn’t let either the right or left wing conspiracy nuts scare us.

The company’s answer is AI, which they assure us is something they won’t have ready for 5 or even 10 years.

Wrong.  The technology is available now.

Before his death, Steven Hawking came out strongly against AI, warning that it had the potential power to destroy civilization.

There are already AI applications that can completely fabricate a news interview.   For an example, you can visit this link and view a video that illustrates this. The video, which is overlaid at the end with the videos from which it is lifted, is a total fabrication, essentially fake news in its purest form.

It isn’t perfect, especially if you can read lips. All that proves is that there needs to be a little mechanical perfecting done. You have already seen the end product of this technology in its infancy for years.  It makes dogs and horses talk in commercials and comedies.

With the addition of AI, which has an almost human capacity to “learn” and thus independently evolve into something its creators never released, the only way you will be able to trust your eyes and ears is if you are physically present with the speaker.

Mr. Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook is a publisher, editor or media enterprise, rather than a social media platform.

Of course it is. It routinely censors or manipulates content to present a slanted view of the interests of the people. Mr. Zuckerberg’s hollow assurances that they do not have bias in their screening protocols  didn’t sound like even he believed that.

The company’s business model is based upon your acceptance of its operating philosophy.

The only other way for it to generate income would be to make it a subscription service or to charge advertisers  a typically exorbitant fee for market exposure.

That’s essentially what WordPress does.

For instance, if Musings didn’t want to pay for hosting, it would have to allow random ad content to be attached to each posting. The alternative is to pony up an annual subscription fee, which we do.  It is then up to the hosted site whether to pass that cost along to its readers through a paywall or subscription fee of its own.

The difference between the two platforms is that WP is up front with that model.

As the Facebook founder goes through one more day of Congressional inquisition, pay close attention to his testimony.

At days end, it is up to you whether you believe he is being totally candid.


From → op-ed

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