Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME): Will Google Win the Presidency for Hillary?

A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.

Kenneth Boulding
I read a good deal. Occasionally I provide a link to what I think is really interesting or important — confirmation by a billion-dollar experiment of Einstein's prediction about gravity waves, for example, or how to access publicly funded scientific research findings without paying ridiculous fees to commercial publishers. But here is a link to something orders of magnitude more significant.

The article, by Robert Epstein, provides an overview of a peer-reviewed study that represents perhaps the most important discovery in social science since the term "social science" was invented. What it tells you is how the Borg empire will be established here on earth without even the necessity of fitting everyone up with one of those snorkel thingies. What it reveals is how Google and other big data owners and manipulators can most likely determine what you think and, hence, how you behave. The result? The perfect democracy: a society in which the elite unfailingly persuade a psychologically enslaved mass to vote for the elite and to support whatever it is that the elite want to do to the psychologically enslaved mass (Think US public support for George Bush's Patriot Act and Homeland Security with six hollow point bullets for every citizen, and FEMA detention camps), or think Farenheit 451.

There is, of course, nothing tremendously new about this. For more than a century, the mass media, owned by the very rich, have been telling people what to think and how to behave, the people for the most part submitting without complaint to such control. But at least there was the appearance of choice. You could read the NY Times, the yellow press, or even some small circulation Communist paper. Likewise, the broadcast media seemed to provide some choice, CNN versus National Public Radio, for example. But in the search engine business, power is much more heavily concentrated. Moreover, the evidence of bias, if bias there be, is not, as this research shows, readily evident, or indeed evident at all. And it is precisely the lack of visibility that makes such bias deadly to a free society.

But does Google really skew search results to sway the opinion of voters to favor certain electoral candidates or to persuade consumers to purchase certain products? Well, as Robert Epstein points out, here's a clue: if they don't, then they are probably in breach of their legal responsibility to maximize shareholder value.


CanSpeccy: Why Freedom Was Greater Under the Absolute Monarchy of Elizabeth I, Than Under the Democracy of Barak Obama

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