"We have psycograms of all adult US citizens - 220 million people"


This is how Big Data works:

[Kosinski’s] model can estimate a person better than an average work colleague by means of ten Facebook-Likes. 70 Likes are enough to surpass the friendliness of a friend, 150 of the parents, with 300 Likes, the machine can predict the behavior of a person more clearly than their partner.


It will be nice to see more people using technology to design people who are less predictable.



Fuck you, Cambridge Analytics.


I’ll occasionally Google random things. I’ll plan vacations I have no intention of taking, or do a deep dive into something I’ve never really given thought to before. This is mainly due to curiosity, but it has the added advantage of keeping the analytics daemons guessing.


Makes sense (as much as any of this makes sense anymore). I wonder if Chrome’s “Incognito” function does any good in these matters.


It hides your identity but doesn’t obscure the traffic. It isn’t TOR. They can still analyze the metadata.


Ah. Thanks. :sweat:


Another option is obviously to make tools such as search engines and social media services which don’t track people - which are made for the users rather than marketers.


Ahahaha that’s hilarious.


What is so funny about it? If most people don’t choose to be tracked, then why shouldn’t users implement such services? There are a lot more of “us” than there are of “them”.

I can empathize with people not liking something they are being subjected to, but I struggle to understand to the average persons aversion to actually doing anything about it. What is the incentive for resignation? Especially when people haven’t even tried doing anything beyond complain? It seems so tediously fatalistic that I am starting to dread having discussions with anyone. People who are resigned to their exploitation, because of their far greater numbers, might even pose a greater risk to everybody else than the exploiters themselves do.


I use startpage.com, which acts as an anonymizing front end to google. Check it out - I’m inclined to trust them, myself.


How will it monetize itself? Even if it could monetize itself, it would become a user analytics goldmine if it got big enough, and then the users would become the marketers. The social network could prevent (or delay?) this by obfuscating everything, not offering an API, etc, but many users would balk at such an opaque interface.


Seems similar to <a href=https://duckduckgo.com/?q=duckduckgo&ia=web>DuckDuckGo (which is what I use). Their !bang expressions are efficient and useful.


Why would it? That’s a pretty old model of communicating value. Why make a search engine if you can’t use a magnifying glass with it?

This sounds like a matter of knowing which tool one needs for a job. If your average person needed an “analytics goldmine”, then one might suppose they would design and implement just such a thing.

But in your scenario, at least it would be democratized, the users deciding how they prefer to use their shared service rather than having it provided by an outsider hoping to parasitically exploit their activity.

What does any of that have to do with not selling data about your users to people? Perhaps you are working under the assumption that this really is a normal state of affairs which benefits people. I try to start by considering what the benefit to the average person might be, what are their goals and incentives.

An analogy might be that of hosting a huge dinner party or ball. I try to fill it with lots of eager people, and I bug the place with lots of microphones and recording devices so that I can collect and sell their information. It only works because I am a small centralized actor. This would probably never happen if we decided to organize the party as a group, and we all each sell each others data. And if our data really has that much capital, then why are there no ways for those who choose to to profit by putting their lives online directly? Why does it only seem to have value if it is done as an act of exploiting another? One might become skeptical that this process of exploitation is the real product rather than the data itself.


It needs to cover its operating costs somehow. Another organization, donations, etc could cover the costs, but the data from the social network could be exploited even if the network doesn’t fork over its data outright.

These already exist in the form of social networks. Hobbyists such as myself play around with the data, but the same data, and methodology for collecting and analyzing it, can be exploited for marketing purposes.

If the data were obscured, then it couldn’t be used. However, integration into third party sites through APIs makes this impractical once the network becomes large and ubiquitous. Facebook too started off small.

The only real solutions to this model are keep it small, and/or abandon the Facebook model and stop caring who likes what.


That’s another problem of centralization. Why not make it a protocol, so that it can scale according to the resources of the users?

It seems to be fairly superficial data, and presupposes that there is any point to marketing rather than empowering people to decide what they need and find it themselves - which happens to be why I starting using the internet instead of old broadcast media.

I am surprised that that isn’t obvious to more people. “Liking” seems rather socially impotent to me, and doesn’t say very much. An actual social network I think would be based more upon creating the structures for real social activity than passive armchair inarticulate judmements.



People can do a lot with superficial data. Of course, if you do away with liking, you have less of this superficial data, but you also do away with a key component of the Facebook model. Doing away with friends or connections or whatever would destroy the model outright.


It not such much destroys Facebook’s model, it simply does not happen to use or react that model for any sort of baseline.

What I think makes a network truly social is that the users themselves define what their connection/relationship is rather than be given one or several all-purpose premade token types to choose from.


made DDG my address-bar search default in Firefox and am addicted to using !i . so very convenient.


You’ve never heard of duckduckgo?