Welcome home, fellow Gator.

The Gator Nation's oldest and most active insider community
Join today!

Big Tech (Particularly Google) Present Biggest Threat to Democracy

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by madgator, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. madgator

    madgator GC Hall of Fame

    10,244
    713
    788
    May 28, 2007



    Dr. Robert Epstein's testimony to the senate earlier this week is a must watch for all americans.

    PDF of the testimony here
    https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Epstein Testimony.pdf

    I have been a research psychologist for nearly 40 years and have also served in various editorial positions at Psychology Today magazine and Scientific American MIND. I received my Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1981 and have since published 15 books and more than 300 scientific and mainstream articles on artificial intelligence and other topics. Since 2012, some of my research and writings have focused on Google LLC, specifically on the company’s power to suppress content – the censorship problem, if you will – as well as on the massive surveillance the company conducts, and also on the company’s unprecedented ability to manipulate the thoughts and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people worldwide.
    Data I’ve collected since 2016 show that Google displays content to the American public that is biased in favor on one political party (Epstein & Williams, 2019) – a party I happen to like, but that’s irrelevant. No private company should have either the right or the power to manipulate large populations without their knowledge.

    If you were to examine the data I have been collecting over the past 6-and-a-half years, every one of you would put partisanship aside and collaborate to reign in the extraordinary power that Google and Facebook now wield with unabashed arrogance.
    Here are five disturbing findings from my research, which adheres, I believe, to the highest possible scientific standards in all respects:

    1. In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton 2. On Election Day in 2018, the “Go Vote” reminder Google displayed on its home page gave one political party between 800,000 and 4.6 million more votes than it gave the other party. 3. In the weeks leading up to the 2018 election, bias in Google’s search results may have shifted upwards of 78.2 million votes to the candidates of one political party (spread across hundreds of local and regional races). 4. My recent research demonstrates that Google’s “autocomplete” search suggestions can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people's awareness. 5. Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015.

    Read the rest at the link above.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    • Fistbump/Thanks! Fistbump/Thanks! x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Come On Man Come On Man x 1
  2. GatorNorth

    GatorNorth Premium Member Premium Member

    10,970
    707
    848
    Apr 3, 2007
    Atlanta
    I don't doubt that Google has a liberal bias.

    But about 113 million people voted in the 2018 midterm elections.

    And Epstein claims that Google's bias alone "shifted" upwards of 78 million votes.

    That's 69% of all voters.

    Gotta call BS on that one.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
    • Fistbump/Thanks! Fistbump/Thanks! x 1
  3. boligator

    boligator All American

    350
    22
    253
    Apr 3, 2007
    Here we go again...fodder for the ignorant who don't know how search engines work. Make it STOP!!!!!
     
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. oragator1

    oragator1 Premium Member

    13,050
    1,289
    1,358
    Apr 3, 2007
    Hysteria aside, I do think that the power search engines and large tech companies generally have is more than most people care to admit. They can democratize and control information at the same time, which is scary.
    Having said that, Epstein has had a beef with Google since 2012. They put a security warning on his website for malware, he demanded that it be taken down, threatened to sue before finally realizing they were right and he had been hacked. He still claimed reputational damage, even though he was the one who was wrong. He has been hounding them pretty much since then.
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  5. duchen

    duchen VIP Member

    4,081
    1,143
    713
    Nov 25, 2017
    More rubbish. As of a search engine has an incentive to make searches harder for what people are looking for. Maybe there is a liberal bias in the search engines because liberals research and read?
     
    • Come On Man Come On Man x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. oragator1

    oragator1 Premium Member

    13,050
    1,289
    1,358
    Apr 3, 2007
    The concern is that they would force a political or other bias into their results, either because someone paid them to, or because someone like a megarich Tech mogul had enough money that he wouldn’t care if it cost him revenue dollars.
    But it goes beyond that - there is what people see on their Facebook feeds, suggested readings on the msn page, etc.
    Just because big tech is relatively altruistic and fair now doesn’t mean they always will be. And they have a massive share of the control over what people see and don’t see when they log on.
    But again, not sure this guy is the one I would take at his word on his motivations.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. gatorpika

    gatorpika Premium Member

    6,388
    885
    573
    Sep 14, 2008
    They do manipulate the algorithm to push down "questionable" content and some other stuff. They likely are doing some manipulation around optimization of their advertising revenues as well. Even if they aren't actively playing in politics, the opportunity to do so sometime in the future is there and scary. So if some antitech party gets in and threatens punitive regulation, it wouldn't be surprising to see some shift in searches toward the other guys. Would they do it for partisan reasons? Probably not, but who knows these days.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. gator_lawyer

    gator_lawyer Premium Member

    4,596
    1,046
    718
    Oct 30, 2017
    LOL. On the list of threats to our democracy, big tech is lower than both Donald Trump and propaganda "news" sources.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  9. citygator

    citygator Premium Member

    3,011
    808
    618
    Apr 3, 2007
    Charlotte
    Ever notice Republicans support every industry except those industries that INFORM?! They hate news services, they hate universities, and they hate search engines. Keeping its base in the dark and dumb is their goal. It’s about accomplished.
     
    • Winner x 8
    • Like x 1
    • Disagree x 1
    • Fistbump/Thanks! x 1
    • Funny x 1
    • Best Post Ever x 1
  10. mutz87

    mutz87 Complexified VIP Member

    34,312
    2,341
    1,786
    Aug 30, 2014
    I think big tech is a threat to democracy and social cohesion, but for their lack curation, even if they provide plenty of good too. Google/youtube/facebook/twitter etc...have provided massive platforms in which the worst of society can connect to each other and organize and have a voice when they should be kept at the margins. Not really any different than if Gator Country let folks say whatever they want, use their platform in any way they want, but on a worldwide scale.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. nolancarey

    nolancarey GC Legend

    814
    130
    203
    Aug 16, 2009
    Sounds like capitalism to me. If you don't like it maybe you should vote for the candidate who wants to break up the big tech companies.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. rivergator

    rivergator Too Hot Mod Moderator VIP Member

    Apr 8, 2007
    You know the rules. Please edit to four paragraphs. Thanks
     
  13. QGator2414

    QGator2414 VIP Member

    11,881
    720
    598
    Aug 24, 2009
    Ocala
    I don’t mean to be whatever...

    But the OP posted a 28 page testimony to Congress. I do not see anything unreasonable in the OP looking at the context of the OP for this.

    Just my opinion for the mods to chew on going forward.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. mutz87

    mutz87 Complexified VIP Member

    34,312
    2,341
    1,786
    Aug 30, 2014
    Generally speaking, I think there are real concerns that he expressed. However, you are spot on for calling bs on the numbers.

    Seems to me the large numbers (78m & 2.6m) point to multiple validity issues.
     
  15. rivergator

    rivergator Too Hot Mod Moderator VIP Member

    Apr 8, 2007
    I understand. But you have to have some rules. Otherwise, why not post the entire Mueller report? And if you can't find four paragraphs that make your point clear, you're not trying very hard.
    As it is, another mod trimmed it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. QGator2414

    QGator2414 VIP Member

    11,881
    720
    598
    Aug 24, 2009
    Ocala
    Aren’t the rules to deal with copyright more than anything? Just trying to understand. I agree there is no need to post too much. But when I clicked on this OP I saw nothing egregious. In fact if one argued the bullet points were a paragraph it would have been 4 (maybe 5 now that it has been edited down).

    Honestly it would be nicer for posters to be able to read all those bullet points.

    Just seems like overkill and not in a good way to make things easier on posters to get an idea of the purpose.
     
  17. rivergator

    rivergator Too Hot Mod Moderator VIP Member

    Apr 8, 2007
    Originally, yes. But it shouldn't be up to the mods to check and see what's copyrighted and what isn't. And, as I said, how manageable would it be if someone posted the entire Mueller report? Imagine trying to scroll thru that thread.
    So the mods decided to just limit all quotes to four paragraphs. And provide the link. If someone wants more, just click on the link.
     
  18. oragator1

    oragator1 Premium Member

    13,050
    1,289
    1,358
    Apr 3, 2007
    Yeha the 4 paragraph rule was for copyright originally as it as explained.
    Government documents don’t fall under that, unless there are page length concerns now.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. QGator2414

    QGator2414 VIP Member

    11,881
    720
    598
    Aug 24, 2009
    Ocala
    That is what I thought.
     
  20. fastsix

    fastsix Premium Member

    7,205
    738
    1,243
    Apr 11, 2007
    Seattle
    We already covered this exact issue with the Mueller Report.

    Breaking: Mueller expressed concern to Barr about his summary | Page 11 | Swamp Gas Forums