Archives for posts with tag: Fake news

Cineva tocmai a făcut un inventar. Chestii care umblă ‘folcloric’ – adică din gură-n gură, pe internet.
Omul acela, destul de destupat la minte de felul lui, a ajuns să se îndoiască de propria sa capacitate analitică.

Există câteva narațiuni pe care nu le pricep sub nici un chip…

N-am citez inventarul cu pricina. Până citiți voi postarea asta, oricum va fi caduc.
Dacă vă interesează, sau dacă vreți să vedeți cât de bine le demontează „omul acela”, click pe citatul de mai sus și gata. Sunteți în pâine.

Dar o explicație mică…

Propaganda lui Putin funcționează mult mai bine decât armata pe care a trimis-o să-i învețe minte pe Ucraineni!
Pentru că e mult mai ușor să stai la calculator, la căldurică, și să vii cu metode cât se poate de creative prin care să zăpăcești de cap oameni care au un interes secundar cu privire la problemă. Oameni pe care nu-i aleargă nimeni dar care au deja un bagaj de sentimente și prejudecăți. Sentimente și prejudecăți numai bune de exploatat!
Pe ‘câmp’, în schimb, când și ceilalți trag în tine… iar tu știi, în adâncul sufletului tău, că ei sunt cei care au, de fapt, dreptate…

Și, poate chiar mai important, pe internet ajunge o măciucă la un car de oale!
E destul ca cineva priceput la băgat limba-n ureche să vină cu o chestie suficient de credibilă… că Gică Contra care să răspândească jumătățile de minciună… se găsesc gârlă!

Uite-așa, o jumătate de minciună ici… o jumătate colea… te trezești cu cozi la benzină și cu o frumusețe de criză de ulei.

Chiar mai important, te trezești cu o masă captivă de oameni dispuși să creadă aproape orice.

‘Rusia nu a atacat Ucraina, doar vrea să protejeze niște Ruși nevinovați de abuzurile săvârșite de Ucraineni’.
Spitalul era dezafectat iar cei din poze erau actori…

“After the bombing of the hospital, Twitter removed two posts by the Russian embassy in London which claimed the attack had been faked.
The embassy’s tweets made unfounded claims that the hospital was not operational at the time and that injured women pictured at the scene were actors.”

Și, ca să nu rămâneți cu impresia că am explicații pentru toate cele, hop și eu cu o nedumerire proprie.

Ăia care se pricep la băgat limba-n ureche, cei care vin cu toate ‘trăsnăile’ astea, cum pot să doarmă noaptea? Să-și sărute copiii pe frunte? Să facă dragoste?
Oameni inteligenții fiind – mult peste medie, nu-și dau seama unde duc eforturile lor?

Lasă că mor oameni… poate că stau prost cu empatia!
Dar nici măcar la pielea lor nu se gândesc?
Cât o să mai stea ‘Putin’ la putere?

Pe veci?!?
Iar ei, cei care sunt acum în grațiile lui ‘Putin’, vor rămâne tot acolo… Pe întreaga durată a domniei lui!
Păi da, dictatorii sunt cei mai fideli oameni din lume…
Se duc la următorul?
Și cât o să mai țină povestea asta?

Sper să nu mă luați acuma cu libertatea cuvântului!!!

Chapter 1. Explaining prediction.

I’ve trained to be an engineer. And practiced being one.
Then I felt the need to understand. And studied sociology.
That’s how I learned, the hard way, the difference between ‘hard’ science and ‘soft’ science.
Between ‘bona fide’ science and ‘bogus’ science…

Those of us still convinced that soft science is bogus have yet to grasp the whole meaning of ‘science’.
A collection of ‘special’ data, a ‘special’ method of gathering data and a ‘special’ state of mind.

We all know what ‘scientific data’ and ‘scientific method’ mean.
But there is almost no talk about ‘scientific state of mind’.
Most people consider that ‘scientific thinking’ is solelly about applying the scientific method when dealing with the ‘reality’. With what happens ‘outside’ of us.
Outside of our individual consciences…

Historically, science – the concept of science, had sprung up in the minds of people concerned primarily with physics and chemistry.
Hence the subsidiary concept of ‘consistency’.
Data can be considered to be scientific only if it had been gathered in a ‘consistent’ manner.
If by applying the same method, in the same circumstances, the end results will be the same – regardless of who had happened to be at the helm of the experiment.
And a method can be considered to be scientific only if it produces the same data whenever it is applyed, in the same circumstances, by no matter whom.

I’m sure that, by now, at least some of you have figured out what I’m driving at.
The main difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ science is, of course, related to the relative inconsistency of the data yielded by the ‘soft’ sciences. This being the reason for which some people cannot even accept the ‘scientific’ nature of the soft sciences…

Hence the need to discuss about the ‘scientific’ ‘state of mind’…
Let me start by pointing out the fact that we, people, are rationalizers.
We pretend to be rational, true, but in reality we are nothing but very astute rationalizers.
So astute that we are not even aware of the fact.
We are so convinced of our rational nature that we are fooling ourselves.

Please read about this subject by hitting the link below if you are not familiar with the concept of rationalization before proceeding.
https://cushmanlab.fas.harvard.edu/docs/rationalization_is_rational.pdf

Accepting that we are deep enough into rationalization that we need to pay special attention when trying to be objective is the first step towards attaining a scientific state of mind.
The second, and just as important, step being the respect we need to extend towards our peers. Towards our fellow experimenters.

Changing tack – and approaching ‘scientific state of mind’ from another angle, I might try to describe it as a ‘work in progress’.
A never ending attempt at self improvement made by someone fully aware of the fact that they’ll never get there. Yet still striving towards that goal.
A never ending attempt made by somebody who knows they’ll never get ‘there’ yet they continue to encourage others to go further and further up that road.
A never ending attempt made by people who know they’ll never get there yet they respectfully help each-other towards their common goal.

And now, that I’ve done my best to explain what I mean by ‘scientific state of mind’ let me delve in the main subject.
The real difference between soft and hard science.

By their very nature, hard sciences are defined by the fact that an explanation constitutes a very good prediction.
If you are capable of explaining the Earth rotation around the Sun you are also able to compute where the Earth will be 10 seconds from now. As well as ten centuries from now…
If you are capable of explaining radio-activity you are also able to build an atomic bomb.
By understanding how DNA works we have been able to come up with a mRNA vaccine against the SarsCOV-2 virus.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html

The problem with soft sciences being that in their case, explanations – no matter how precise, cannot predict much.
We know why a maniac behaves like one – because …, but we don’t know what a maniac will actually do. Nor when…
We know that a free market works better than a monopoly but we cannot agree upon how free a market should be. Nor can we agree upon what a ‘free market’ really looks like…
We know what will eventually happen to an empire – it will fall, because of ‘negative selection’, but we never know exactly when and how that will happen… nor what will occur between the establishment of the empire and its eventual demise.

Savvy?

Karl Popper had described science as a (virtual) place where things happen like this:

Some guy has an inkling. Studies it and gathers a lot of information on the subject.
Based on that information, develops a hypothesis. Then attempts to prove it.
After being satisfied with how much proof they had found, the hypothesis is declared a theory. And published as such. Along with all pertinent evidence. For all those interested to see.

So that all those interested to be able to replicate the experience.
To be able to retrace the proving process. To certify its validity.

And for all those interested to be able to find any proof to the contrary!
So that, as soon as that proof had been found – and declared acceptable, the theory to be considered false. Or, at least, incomplete.

The first example which comes to my mind being that the simple existence of Einstein’s Relativity had proven that Newton’s Physics was incomplete….

Fast forward to our days.
To our raging Covid-19 pandemic.

When vaccines are already available and where there are people who refuse to be vaccinated.

The vaccine was supposed to protect us.
From becoming infected.
From needing to go to the hospital.
From dying. From ending up suffocating alone…

But people continue be infected. Even after receiving the vaccine.
People continue to be admitted to the hospital.
And people continue to die. Even after receiving the vaccine.

Wouldn’t all these evidence strongly suggest, scientifically speaking, that the vaccine is useless?
‘Useless’, to say the least?

Wouldn’t it be actually rational to frame the situation in these terms?

Well, according to Popper’s reasoning, the first vaccinated individual becoming ill had been ample enough proof of the fact that the vaccine was not 100 % foolproof. That it isn’t fail-proof!
The first vaccinated individual being admitted to the hospital had been ample enough proof that the vaccine is no absolute shield against any of us who has been infected will ever have to go to the hospital.
The first vaccinated person who had died with Covid-19 had been ample enough proof that the vaccine will not protect all of us from dying after becoming infected with this virus.

And the fact that so many of us continue to refuse to be vaccinated is ample proof of the fact that reasonable should trump rational. Yet it still doesn’t….
Of the fact that too many of us continue to consider that their short term/self serving interests are more important than other people’s lives.
And of the fact that too many of us continue to ignore how vaccines work.

The key aspect here being the last!
People continue to ignore how vaccines work simply because of the huge amount of disinformation which is being peddled on the internet right now.
It’s not the ‘refuseniks’ who put their short term/self serving interests in front and above the lives of innocent people!
It’s those who have initiated, and continue to drive, the fake-news process who will be eventually determined as having been the root-cause of the excess mortality we’re currently experiencing.

When?
Hopefully, after a reasonable amount of time.
If enough of us start behaving rationally… In a comprehensively rational manner…

In a truly scientific manner!

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

M-a întrebat cineva acum câteva luni:

‘Oamenii ăștia care răspândesc informație înșelătoare pe internet, indiferent că o fac din prostie sau din interes, vor înțelege la un moment dat cât rău au făcut. Cum or să se simtă atunci?’

Până una alta, nici una dintre cunoștințele mele care s-au vaccinat nu a dat colțul. Și nici n-au văzut interiorul vreunui spital… infectați fiind cu Covid.

Printre cei care nu s-au vaccinat… situația e oarecum diferită… Cu toate ca nevaccinații sunt, printre cunoștințele mele, de vreo 4 ori mai puțini decât ceilalți, 8 dintre ei lipsesc la apel. Adică nu mai sunt printre noi, după ce au fost diagnosticați cu Covid.

Să aveți conștiința ușoară!

Avem de a face cu două probleme.

Un președinte de academie – din păcate cea din Romania, care se face de râs. Pe sine și pe cei care l-au pus acolo.
Niște funcționari care dovedesc, pentru a nu știu câta oară, ce ajungi să faci atunci când ești conectat doar parțial la realitate. Când ‘te uiți la lume’ prin niște ochelari ‘colorați de ideologie’…

În ce fel s-a făcut de râs președintele academiei Române… a explicat Magda Gradinaru în articol.
Cu tot rangul celui care s-a făcut de pomină – chiar dacă hohotele vor veni mai târziu, din partea colegilor săi istorici – mie mi se pare că cea de a doua problemă este mult mai importantă. Și mai periculoasă….

Aurel Pop n-a făcut altceva decât ceea ce a fost învățat să facă. A urmat cursurile unei facultăți de istorie pe vremea comunismului și a pus în practică cele învățate acolo. Cum să ‘convingă’ ‘publicul țintă’ că ‘situația’ este chiar așa, și doar așa, cum consideră cineva – sau chiar el însuși, că este!
Până la urmă, președintele academiei Române se comportă ca un simplu oportunist. Se folosește de orice îi vine la îndemână pentru a ‘avansa’ catre ținta propusă.

Ce au facut inițiatorii acelei ‘propuneri de ghid pentru comunicări interne’ este mult mai grav!
Iar faptul ca i-au oferit lui Aurel Pop prilejul de a scrie ceea ce a scris este doar bomboana de pe colivă!
‘Coliva’ în sine fiind ‘amănuntul’ că inițiatorii ‘propunerii de ghid de comunicare internă’ gândesc într-un mod similar cu cel folosit de fostul absolvent al unei facultați de istorie îmbibată de ideologie comunistă. Îmbibată de o ideologie cât se poate de totalitară…

Azi avem un globalism neomarxist care urmărește, cu aceleași cuvinte ori cu altele, apropiate ca sens, scopuri similare.

Ioan Aurel Pop știe ce spune.
Avem de a face cu situația în care ‘hoțul strigă hoțul’. Doi ‘experți’ se recunosc între ei la o ‘lucrare’ și dau vina unul pe celălalt… Sau două săbii care nu încap într-o aceiași teacă!

Să fiu bine înțeles! Nu știu cât de neomarxiști – sau de ‘totalitari’, sunt respectivii funcționari. Tot ce știu este ce au făcut ei înșiși. Cu mâna lor. Au alcătuit un ghid despre cum ar trebui să vorbească între ei niște alți oameni. Niște alți oameni despre care se presupune că știu să gândească cu capetele lor!
Până la urmă, este vorba despre oamenii care asigură funcționarea Uniunii Europene…

Și atunci? Care mai este deosebirea dintre textul publicat de Ioan Aurel Pop și propunerea de ‘ghid de comunicare internă’?

The amount of fake-news targeted at someone is the best indicator for how many skeletons that person had already unveiled.
For how many skeletons that person had dug out from closets belonging to people who were accustomed with being ‘left to their own devices’.
Closets belonging to people who considered themself as being ‘above the fray’…

After ‘firing’ Trump, the President, America’s most important stake-holders, “we, the People”, are scrambling to adapt to what Trump had laid bare.

Books are being written.
Many blame Trump. And explain, in detail, what he had done while manning the Oval Office.

The G.O.P. is somewhat fractured. Some want to get over Trump, others to hide behind his still towering presence.
The Dems act like he was a mere accident. One which can, and they are hard at work attempting to do it, be ‘band-aided’ with some money. Government money, of course.

A few years ago, I had read an interesting article claiming that Trump had been made possible by the media.
Googling to find it, I stumbled upon another. Which summarizes what Trump had done to the media

I still have to find, only I’ve lost patience, an explanation for what had ‘fed’ Trump.
Trump as social phenomenon…

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth.
Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

Trump has made himself famous. Among others, for imparting new meaning to the concept of ‘fake-news’. And for using “alternative facts” to introduce us to an ‘alternative reality’. His…

Only his reality did have something in common with that faced by many of his fellow Americans.

Middle class incomes have shrunk 8.5 percent since 2000, after enjoying mostly steady growth during the previous decade. In 2011, the average income for the middle 60 percent of households stood at $53,042, down from $58,009 at the start of the millennium.

Oops!
Suddenly, Trump’s ‘alternative’ reality – part of it, at least, has become one with that experienced by “we, the People”. By a majority of them, anyway.

What made so many people – dispirited, undoubtedly, believe that a self professed pussy grabber and proud member of the Washington establishment would solve their real-life problems… by ‘draining’ the very ‘swamp’ in which he had grown to his present stature … that’s something for other people to explain.

My point being that Trump’s behavior had very closely followed that of Goethe’s Apprentice Sorcerer. He had used his uncanny knack of playing hide-and-seek with reality to climb into the Oval Office only to be fired after one mandate.
To be the first American President who had survived two impeachments.
And the second one who had witnessed – more or less unmoved, the untimely demise of half a million Americans due to disease

But the first who had done that during a mostly peaceful mandate. Pandemic, true enough, but otherwise peaceful.

NB. The ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, which had happened during Woodrow Wilson’s mandate, had caused the death of 675 000 Americans. Only that had occurred just after a world war, when viruses hadn’t yet been discovered and man hadn’t yet walked on the Moon.

What will happen next?

Who knows… Goethe’s poem had a relatively happy ending because a master sorcerer was at hand. Who had solved the problem with a swift gesture of his powerful wand.

No such easy solution is available now.
But one thing has become clear.
Again…

Two things, actually.
Too many dispirited people eventually become a powerful – and highly unstable, ‘Petri dish’. Where all kinds of ‘social experiments’ might ‘spontaneously’ explode.
And playing with people’s passions might take you places. But will, almost always, end up badly.

Weapons are nothing but repurposed tools. Sometimes ‘enhanced’ to fit the new goal.

Clubs had started as fruit harvesting utensils, then used for hunting purposes and eventually for bashing in the heads of those who had slept with the missus when the wielders weren’t looking. And so on…

As a tool, an implement is used to ‘put things together’. As a weapon, the same (kind of) implement is used to ‘set things apart’. An axe can be used to split wood in order to build a fire or to ‘split’ furniture during a fit of rage.
Generally speaking, a tool is used towards the ultimate goal of adding to/fine tuning a structure while a weapon is used to destroy/disable something which is meant to remain so.

Our ability to communicate was ‘the’ tool which actually transformed us into what we are today. Humans.
At least according to Humberto Maturana. His theory maintains that we’ve become self-aware social individuals through what he calls languaging.
In a nut-shell, he says that we’ve become humans – self conscious apes, by continuously expressing our thoughts towards the other members of the community. Hence simultaneously building an ‘agora’ and ‘walling in’ individual private spaces.

Yet the same ability to communicate can be used also as a weapon.
Instead of being used by individuals to mutually groom themselves, and ultimately adding to the overall resilience of the community, ‘weaponized’ communication is used to ‘downgrade’ susceptible individuals.
To lower the ability of certain individuals to contribute to the community to which they belong, to lower the ability of entire communities to hold together… or both at the same time.

History suggests that, in the longer run, democracy – as a manner of decision making, increases the survivability of the communities which use it. Simply by pooling the decision making resources of the entire community instead of relying on the mental prowess – and good will, of a single authoritarian leader.
Only for democracy to be fully functional, the individual members of the community have to be able to share, in earnest, their thoughts.
This is why Freedom of Speech has been enshrined in the First Amendment.
That’s why whenever the public discourse becomes increasingly dominated by ‘fake-news’ things start to go south.

That is why whenever people allow themselves to be split into warring parties – with no real communication between the sides except for the misinformation hurled across the divide, both sides eventually end up wondering at the destruction they had allowed the ‘communication warriors’ to inflict upon them.

As a species, I mean…

We’ve ‘invented’ mutual respect.
Based on it, we created the two institutions which allowed us to get where we are now. Democracy and free market capitalism.

I’ll make a short detour for those who are not ‘convinced’.

Democracy, the functional kind, starts from the premise that it is impossible for an individual to know everything. And that together we know much more than each of us. This being the reason for any democratic process starting with an intense discussion. Whoever has something to say, takes the stand and whoever is interested in the well being of the community pays attention. To learn where to cast their votes.

Free market capitalism starts, too, from the premise that it is impossible for an individual to know everything. That nobody, be it an individual or a group of people, might be smart enough to call all the economic shots needed for entire society to ‘feed itself’ on the long run.

These two fundamental institutions operate on the basis of mutual respect between those who live within them. The people exchange ideas and goods on the principle that the transactions are done voluntarily and in good faith. That deception is just an exception.

These two institutions made it possible for us to cooperate into building the present reality. We have developed enough technology that we are able to produce enough food for everybody.
We went to the moon
We have enough weapons to destroy the entire planet.
Each of us can communicate, almost instantly, with almost anyone on the planet.

And? What do we do in these conditions?
Although there still are many of us who are starving, we throw away food. For various reasons.
Most satellites are used (and) for military purposes.
Although we could not have ‘arrived’ if we hadn’t ‘invented’ mutual respect, we currently use information technology mainly to spread fake news and ‘consume’ pornography.

Is this really okay?
How much longer is this going to last?

Ca specie.

Am descoperit respectul reciproc.
Pe baza lui am creat cele două instituții care ne-au permis să ajungem unde suntem acum. Democrația și capitalismul de piață liberă.

Am să fac o scurtă pauză, pentru cei ce nu sunt convinși.

Democrația, cea funcțională, pleacă de la premiza că nimeni nu le știe pe toate. Dar că împreună știm mai mult mai multe decât fiecare dintre noi.
De aceea orice proces democratic începe cu o mare discuție. Cei care consideră că au ceva de spus iau cuvântul iar cei interesați cu adevărat de soarta societății în care trăiesc ascultă cu atenție. Ca să știe cu cine votează.

Capitalismul de piață cu adevărat liberă pleacă, și el, tot de la premisa că nimeni nu le știe pe toate. Că nimeni, individ sau grup de indivizi, nu e suficient de capabil să ia toate deciziile de natură economică necesare pentru ca o întreagă societate să aibă ce mânca pe termen lung.

Aceste două instituții fundamentale funcționeză pe baza respectului reciproc dintre cei care trăiesc în interiorul lor. Aceștia schimba între ei idei și bunuri după principiul că tranzacțiile se fac de bună voie și cu bună credință.
Că înșelătoria este doar o excepție.

Cooperând în cadrul acestor două institții am ajuns unde suntem acum.

Am dezvoltat suficientă tehnologie încât avem, aproape cu toții, ce să mâncăm.
Am ajuns pe lună.
Avem suficient armament încât putem distruge toată planeta.
Fiecare dintre noi poate comunica, aproape instantaneu, cu aproape oricine de pe planeta.

Și?
Ce facem în condițiile astea?

Cu toate că mai sunt semeni de-ai noștri care mor de foame, aruncăm mâncare la gunoi. Din diverse motive.
Cei mai mulți sateliți sunt folosiți (și) în scop militar.
Cu toate că am ajuns aici pe baza respectului reciproc folosim tehnologia informației preponderent pentru a răspândi fake-news și a ‘consuma’ pornografie.

O fi bine?
O mai ducem mult asa?

%d bloggers like this: