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No social media trial

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by KILZ FILLZ, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 405
    Thanks, great responses and really insightful.

    The reason I asked Q2 was I have a close friend that works for a large company that leads in CRM and data management. They contract to a lot of global high-profile and high-prestige brands (automotive, as an example) and I've heard discussion of attempts to do exactly what I mentioned. Take data for a known individual (or organisation) and find ways of analyising large bases to reliably track down anonymised data to add to the information they already have. Obvious matches would be times and locations, purchases, etc. I am unsure if this is possible as yet (and my conversation alerting me to this thinking was not long before Xmas last year) but it would be a very powerful capability if possible.

    My interest comes from a political and security perspective - I am also not in the USA nor am I American. I too have no problem with targeted marketing as at worst it is harmless and at best it can be helpful. However the techniques used in marketing consumer items are replicated with marketing politicians, political parties and even social ideologies. I work at a university and specifically in the security field. We cover a lot of cybersecurity (including ethics of surveillance, AI, etc.) and since Brexit and the most recent US election we focus a lot on foreign interference.

    That gets to why I asked about psychometrics. Firstly, I have a minor in psych so I have a natural interest. Secondly, I understand the basic taxonomies and how they are attempted to be deployed. I don't know too much about it and am interested in how credible those types are and useful they are to shaping behaviour. Lastly, there are numerous organisations selling their services to governments, political candidates and civil society organisations who claim that they can do for them what marketeers can do for retail organisations. I'm sure you've heard of Cambridge Analytica and the likes and you're well aware of the claims that the Russian govt heavily utilised such methodologies to influence the recent US election. This is what I am interested in.

    Finally, my interest isn't overly focused on what may be occurring now and how it works but what may become possible in the near future as machine learning increases in capability and the the ability to influence the behaviour of individuals/segments of society increases. An example of one of the great fears that gets bounced about is "what do we do when there is the capability to create vision and sound so perfect that in short time spans it is impossible to determine authenticity? What will happen when the image of the president comes on TV and says "We have just launched missiles at Iran/DPRK/Russia/China and will see justice done......etc" and the Chinese don't have the time to be able to determine the authenticity of this message".

    That, of course, is probably the most extreme example right now, but it is a fear. I'm more concerned about how political agendas such as personality politics, racial politics, party politics, etc. can be shaped and influenced. Which is funny, as I come from a geopolitical/China background, so should naturally be more interested in the former. Go figure....
     
    the.crooked likes this.
  2. the.crooked

    the.crooked Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 7, 2006 Messages: 5,864 Likes Received: 181
    Ahh,

    Those are very real problems, to say the least. When I was in grad school, I had machinations of writing a program that scraped publicly available facebook posts to create not just political profiles of regions and people, but rather rhetorical ones. What is the language to best sell a given political concept. Does person x believe in christiantiy, and if so, do they believe in the stewardship of god's earth model? If so, they are prime for pushing climate change policy, but can only be tipped in favor if framed in that form, "How would god feel about your disdain to the gift he's given you?" etc.

    I was actually writing an article for some blog a friend runs on the notion of authenticity and the Turing test in light of these very technologies. Adobe VoCo is exactly one of the types of technologies you are concerned about. Introduced at a conference in 2016, it uses neural networks (what doesn't?) to develop a catalogue of phonemes and the other constructors of heard language. So, let's say I want to make a fake recording of Obama saying "Fuck Trump." With about 30-40 minutes of recorded speech being analyzed and broken down by the model, I can type "Fuck Trump" into the speech assignment panel, and it will spit out a seamless recording of Obama saying it. Couple that with the video manipulation techniques along the same lines, and yes, you have very real political concerns.

    I think one of the broader points about authenticity is about voice. Even if someone put together a recording of me saying some wild shit I would never say, for it to be believable, it would need to be in my specific behavioral patterns for stringing words together. We are very good at even reading tone in written text and determining whether someone would or would not speak that way. Generative NLP models like this are something I'm super interested in.

    That said, I think the concerns you are espousing are pretty inline for the direction we've been heading a long time. Piecemeal creation of the structures and models of our own cognition eventually giving way to the singularity. The problem of bad actors in a space leading up to that point though... well, I feel like a lot of us have felt fucked for a long time. When the general populace can't agree on even the value of objective fact vs subjective opinion, then how can I imagine some piece of shit Trump voter is really gonna be digging in to the subterfuge of geo-political strategy.
     
  3. One Man Banned

    One Man Banned Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jan 9, 2013 Messages: 12,185 Likes Received: 2,182
    Hrm. Consider this though... already in the past the CIA, and others, have made recordings of important figures with hookers, etc., and they've also staged photos of actors and look alikes in compromising positions to blackmail said important figures. With voice, we're not at the point you describe above, but already there are plenty of attempts to string together words of speech by a particular individual, extrapolations from different speeches, interviews, etc., mainly for comedic effect now, but you have to figure that the powers that be have already moved in the direction you describe. So, not a far stretch to say that in the near future someone somewhere will be able to include voice in the equation.

    Behavioral patterns of words... I believe that part very much, but I don't think people are good at determining tone from written text- email and internet have proved that many times. And going back to voice for a moment, the public doesn't need tone or behavioral patterns, they only need to believe it was said or might have been said, and that's not too difficult to do.
     
  4. the.crooked

    the.crooked Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 7, 2006 Messages: 5,864 Likes Received: 181
    I can only embed one video per post so here's 3 posts.

    Video released by Adobe and Princeton on their work together on VoCo a generative model for recreating natural speech in any voice:

     
  5. the.crooked

    the.crooked Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 7, 2006 Messages: 5,864 Likes Received: 181
    and an example of it in use from 2 years ago when they debuted it in beta:

     
  6. the.crooked

    the.crooked Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 7, 2006 Messages: 5,864 Likes Received: 181
    And here's a video of real-time re-enactment of generated rgb video modelling:



    We are very much there with both voice and video. It's a slippery slope for sure. I think these things are more about the building blocks of strong autonomous AI in the format we have always thought of from sci-fi. Sure, there are potential nefarious uses, but that's always been the case with any technological advancement. Shit, more oft then not, it's the de-weaponization of technologies that have led to advancements in the public sphere of things that were crated under the guise of military or security direction.

    That said, Hua's initial questions regarding data security and use is a much different one than about the technologies above. It's the idea of combining all of this that leads to the very very grey area of questioning the social good of such technologies.
     
    One Man Banned likes this.
  7. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 405
    Agreed, we are definitely there, as you show. But as you’ve also said, that’s the extreme example, I’m more interested how messages are being used on key influencers (individuals and organizations) in society on pivotal issues such as race relations, arms control, birth control, ideology, legal rulings, elections, etc. this is already occurring and I expect it to expand in terms of outcomes (marketing, electioneering, investments such as the value of listed companies- think market manipulation for purchasing/selling of stock or maneuvering for hostile takeovers, etc) and occurrence.

    Then there is also the purpose of espionage- social engineering, fomenting unrest in fragile societies, etc. these areas are where I have interest.
     
  8. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 405
    And to clarify, I’m specifically interested in the methods of collecting data. With the background of following comment being my complete lack of knowledge on this issue, I see three areas of collection: semi-overt areas like Facebook and Instagram and anonymized areas such as credit card use, smart phone GPS, phone apps, email, etc. Lastly there are the covert ways utilizing illegal activities such as hacking, malware, etc for data theft.

    I see awareness about over-sharing already increasing rapidly as well as cyber hygiene. So I assume that the golden age of over-sharing is coming to an end or at least beginning a decline. Hence my interest in de-anonymising data and similar possibilities.
     
  9. EON 352

    EON 352 Member

    Joined: May 26, 2006 Messages: 418 Likes Received: 34
    I put a piece of Frog tape over the webcam on my laptop, but that's nowhere near enough probably. At this point I feel like that the NSA or a similar agency has infiltrated one or more of my devices of the years. It's just a matter of the odds, and having a criminal record probably adds to those odds as well. I admit that I'm addicted to social media. In the sense that I feel the need to fill any down or waiting time looking at every new piece of graffiti, new clip of skateboarding, or watching legendary glassblowers work live. It's becoming a gross habit, almost like smoking cigarettes in a way. I know I shouldn't let it take up so much of my down and waiting time. But it's as if parts of my brain have become responsive to the viewing and scrolling on the screen. In a way I feel ashamed for letting myself become something I said I never would. Letting myself become another sheep. If I would have spent half of the time I did fucking around with my phone as I did on my art. Hell, I probably wouldn't feel as rusty and out of practice as I do sometimes.
     
  10. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 405
    And what, do you think, would make you interesting to the NSA, etc.?
     
  11. One Man Banned

    One Man Banned Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jan 9, 2013 Messages: 12,185 Likes Received: 2,182
    Maybe related or not, but I have much doubts as to how anonymous credit card use is. They're one type of company required to send notifications on how your data gets used, and they share quite enough if you read their watered down notifications. Literally tracks your every purchase, checks your overall credit constantly, knows where you are (he just bought gas in TX, must be on a trip), etc. These days I use cash on every purchase I can.
     
  12. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 405
    All organisations that collect data sell it on. That includes Gmail/Google, smart phone apps and any other service/device that stores data on your actions and behaviour. Most privacy statements read alike, that they anonymise and sell on, will provide to law services (un-anonymised if required) and for academic research.

    Goes without saying that most apps that assist with purchasing/account tracking and reconciliation are only ostensibly for what they claim they are. They are primarily data collectors, which commodify you.
     
  13. theprotester

    theprotester Moderator Crew

    Joined: Dec 8, 2006 Messages: 10,950 Likes Received: 887
    All we are is our data
     
    the.crooked likes this.
  14. Hua Guofang

    Hua Guofang Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 29, 2013 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 405
    Pffft..., least my data well hung though.
     
    the.crooked likes this.
  15. the.crooked

    the.crooked Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 7, 2006 Messages: 5,864 Likes Received: 181
    On the question of credit card data:

    Almost all of that data is being used for fraud detection. You mentioned geo-position data, most of that is being run through a logistic regression to to classify whether a given transaction is valid or fraudulent.

    Obviously there's secondary spending data that allows for spending profiles to be created, etc. but the main analytic function is fraud prevention. Risk and Fraud analysts/data scientists are some bad mother fuckers when it comes to statistics.

    If you wanna ever understand some strong real world modeling, talk to an actuarial scientist for a large insurance firm. Those folk are no joke in the math world.
     
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