MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘algorithms’

COVID-19 pediatric deaths after data correction

Posted by M. C. on March 21, 2022

Just the data used to create fear and force child vaccination. No biggee. What else is out there?

Blame it on the algorithm. Not Pfizer, Fauci’s nor Moderna’s bottom line.

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/cdc-reports-fewer-covid-19-pediatric-deaths-after-data-correction-2022-03-18/

March 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 966,575 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday after it corrected the data earlier this week, which reduced the death tallies in all age-groups, including children.

The health agency, in a statement to Reuters, said it made adjustments to its COVID Data Tracker’s mortality data on March 14 because its algorithm was accidentally counting deaths that were not COVID-19-related.

The adjustment resulted in removal of 72,277 deaths previously reported across 26 states, including 416 pediatric deaths, CDC said.

The reduction cut the CDC’s estimate of deaths in children by 24% to 1,341 as of March 18.

Children accounted for about 19% of all COVID-19 cases, but less than 0.26% of cases resulted in death, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which summarizes state-based data.

Americans have been polarized over the mitigation measures the CDC recommended for schools during the pandemic from urging schools to be remote, require masks and set up social distancing measures. It now advises that for most of the country, children should be in school and can be without masks.

The number of U.S. children with COVID-19 rose sharply during the Omicron variant wave due to its increased transmissibility and low vaccination rates among children 5-11 who are eligible for the vaccine. Children ages 0-4 are not eligible for the vaccine in the United States.

Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

America’s Corporate Thought Police | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2021

https://mises.org/library/americas-corporate-thought-police

David Gordon

In my column last week, I said that Senator Josh Hawley’s book The Tyranny of Big Tech raises important issues, and I’d like this week to go into one of these. He notes that Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Search have immense influence on the news and political opinions people see.

As he points out, the

tech platforms are destroying Americans’ control over their lives … by manipulating what news Americans can see and influencing the political decisions they make. By 2019, Facebook was boasting it could change election outcomes…. In the days leading up to the 2020 presidential vote, Facebook and Twitter seemed determined to try. Both platforms censored the distribution of a New York Post report detailing illicit foreign profits by Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and alleging Joe Biden’s potential involvement. The platforms suppressed the story until after the election was over. (p. 7)

Here is an example of censorship I experienced myself. Sometime ago, I tried to send a link using Facebook to an article by Gordon Tullock, “Hobson’s Imperialism” (Modern Age, 1963). Although I tried to send the link in a private message, the message did not go through. The problem was that my link was to an index run by Ron Unz, who holds controversial views that make him a “nonperson” to Facebook. His index is just that, an index, and doesn’t contain political views. But the very mention of his name in a link is sufficient to block a message.

The media giants operate on a premise that, if true, would make their acts of suppression reasonable. The premise is that certain opinions, if widely held, can cause great damage and that people cannot be trusted to judge these opinions for themselves. A wise elite must protect us from these opinions.

To return to an example mentioned last week, suppose that you would like to study whether wearing masks helps prevent the spread of covid-19. Tom Woods had an excellent YouTube video arguing that it doesn’t. YouTube took it down, and now people are now longer able to listen to his case and make up their own minds about it.

The censors reason in this way. If people see the video, they may be convinced by it and, as a result, stop wearing masks. But Woods, they think, is wrong: wearing masks is beneficial. His talk may thus have bad consequences and should be suppressed.

What is wrong with this reasoning? Obviously, if Woods is right, then if people listen to him, this will have good consequences. People will be reluctant to wear masks and this will help free us from a petty tyranny that blights our lives. But suppose, contrary to fact, that Woods were wrong. That is, suppose that wearing masks did help save lives. Then wouldn’t YouTube have done the right thing in taking down his video?

I do not think so. Shouldn’t people be free to evaluate for themselves conflicting opinions on controversial issues? That, at any rate, is the assumption on which a free society is based. In response, it might be urged that people lack the ability to do so, either because they are stupid or because they do not have the expert knowledge needed to make accurate judgments. The implicit premise of the censors is that because ordinary people do not have the ability to evaluate arguments for themselves, they must be guided by their betters to do so.

On what basis do the censors claim that ordinary people are too stupid to be able to see their way through controversial issues without expert guidance? Often, the support for the premise is that people by themselves arrive at conclusions the experts think are wrong. People who saw the video might because of their stupidity throw their masks away. And what shows they are stupid? The very fact that they find convincing the arguments against masks. This blatantly begs the question.

But aren’t the censors right that some issues cannot be judged properly without expert knowledge? That is true, but this just pushes matters back one step. Why can’t people be trusted to figure out for themselves who count as real experts? Further, it is vitally important to bear in mind that the judgments of the alleged experts on political issues to whom the media giants appeal at least in part reflect their own values, which often differ greatly from those of the public. Most people, it is safe to think, wish to retain their liberty and resent intrusions on it. Those who wore masks did so because they thought this a regrettable necessity. Dr. Anthony Fauci appears to think freedom of little value, though he does not himself observe the restrictions he endeavors to foist on others.

Unfortunately, wearing masks is but one of many instances of suppression by the media giants. If you attempt to post on Facebook videos critical of the view that “climate change” requires drastic action to deindustrialize the American economy, you will not be permitted to do so. If you search for “climate change,” you will be directed to the “Climate Science Information Center.” Here you will learn, among other things, that “the cause of climate change is widely agreed upon in the scientific community.” You will not be surprised to learn that global warming is “human-caused.” Disagreement among qualified scientists about this alleged fact is a myth. One might view this assertion with more confidence were it not the case that those experts who do dissent are censored and attacked. First you suppress the experts who reject your views; next you support your views by pointing out that those whom you haven’t suppressed agree with you. This is not altogether convincing.

The critics of the advertising algorithms whom I talked about in my article last week usually have very different political views from the supporters of masks and “climate change” activism mentioned in the present article. But both groups fall into a common pattern: they assume that people cannot judge for themselves. Thus, from one side, the purveyors of the algorithms must be stopped; from the other, people must not be exposed to the “wrong” opinions.

Though it is a digression, I’ll mention one topic that came up in the comments on my article of last week. Some people adduced as a point in support of their critical view of the algorithms that if you spend a great deal of time on Facebook or on your phone, changes in your brain will result. The insinuation was that if this is so, you are being manipulated and that such attacks on your brain need to be curtailed. Though the matter merits much more discussion than I’m giving it here, the point about brain changes is trivial and doesn’t lend support to demands for suppression. Whenever you think or feel, something is changing in your brain. To call attention to this is insufficient to show that something sinister is going on.

To return to our main topic. We ought to reject the claim that ordinary people need to be protected in forming their opinions, from whatever source this claim comes.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

Author:

Contact David Gordon

David Gordon is Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and editor of the Mises Review.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘Algorithms don’t write themselves’: Google whistleblower on Big Tech merging with politics — RT USA News

Posted by M. C. on July 26, 2019

Algorithms “don’t write themselves – we write them to do what we want them to do,” he pointed out, explaining that even AI machine learning is “just a tool that we control.”

https://www.rt.com/usa/465000-google-engineer-whistleblower-veritas/

A senior Google software engineer has dismissed the idea that Big Tech can be politically neutral and called out his company as “very biased,” joining Project Veritas’ growing stable of whistleblowers.

I’m very concerned to see Big Tech and Big Media merge basically with a political party, with the Democratic party,” Greg Coppola, a Googler since 2014 who works on the AI Google Assistant, told the conservative muckraking outlet.

While he doesn’t have a specific “smoking gun” proving bias, decades of programming experience (he’s been coding since age 10, he said) inform his growing certainty about Google’s political slant. Algorithms “don’t write themselves – we write them to do what we want them to do,” he pointed out, explaining that even AI machine learning is “just a tool that we control.”

Coppola pointed to Google News as an example – a news aggregator that draws from “just a handful of sites, and all those sites are vitriolically against President Trump, which I really consider to be interference in the American election.”…

Google only began meddling in politics starting with the 2016 election, the engineer claimed, explaining that “the angle that the Democrats and the media took was that anyone who liked Donald Trump was a racist, even a Nazi, and that got picked up everywhere” – even Google. And even then, “most people’s jobs are not political and don’t involve politics.” But it only takes a few bad apples to spoil democracy for everyone…

While Coppola said he enjoys working for Google and stopped short of accusing his bosses of lying under oath (though he did go so far as to deny their congressional testimony was true), he was apparently willing to risk being fired in order to speak to the outlet. Veritas is actively soliciting stories from Google employees following a bombshell hidden-camera report that appeared to show Google exec Jen Gennai discussing how the company was preparing to “prevent the next Trump situation” and another employee explaining how Google’s “machine learning fairness” algorithm attempts to “correct” reality’s biases by skewing search results.

Be seeing you

google-evil-1200x900

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Argument – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 16, 2018

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/08/michael-s-rozeff/an-argument-for-ending-patent-monopolies/

By 

An Argument for Ending Patent Monopolies

Google’s market power traces back to patents. Google has allegedly levered this economic power into politics by slanting its algorithms of search toward Hillary Clinton and away from Donald Trump. Google influences the presentation of political information. Among social media platforms, shadowbanning is another way to influence political discourse. A third way is the outright banning of platforms such as that of Alex Jones.

Reporter Allum Bokhari writes “Facebook claims to have boosted voter turnout by 3 percent in 2016 by making small tweaks to theiralgorithm. And studies have shown that if search engines like Google manipulated their results to favor particular candidates, they could sway up to 40 percent of undecided voters. The author of the same studies estimates that biased search results shifted between 2 and 3 million votes towards Hillary Clinton in 2016. How much more could they shift in 2020?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »