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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Monbiot's annual outing on this blog - 2017

I read Monbiot every week in the Guardian and for fifty weeks a year there's really nothing worth commenting on. But as regulars will know, around once a year old Moonbat comes up with a column that presses all the right buttons. This year's hit is a post on Big Data.  

Not so much Big Data as the Big Money that uses it, in the West anyway. Those who have great wealth, from across the political spectrum, inevitably turn their attention to using it to gain greater political leverage than their single vote alone would allow. And they all make me nervous; Gina Miller and Tony Blair as much as Lord Ashcroft and Arron Banks. Whilst we're working towards controls that restrict their funding of political parties - controls that depend on also controlling TU funding - the funding of 'sniper' technology that allows campaigns to be precisely focused rather than shotgunned is not so controlled. And the State can also use it;
" ... deep-learning algorithms enable the state to develop its “citizen score”. This uses people’s online activities to determine how loyal and compliant they are, and whether they should qualify for jobs, loans or entitlement to travel to other countries. Combine this level of monitoring with nudging technologies – tools designed subtly to change people’s opinions and responses – and you develop a system that tends towards complete control."
However, Monbiot also recognises that Localism, Direct Democracy and other systems that 'take back control' from the overwheening centre can counter these malign effects
"But digital technologies could also be a powerful force for positive change. Political systems, particularly in the Anglophone nations, have scarcely changed since the fastest means of delivering information was the horse. They remain remote, centralised and paternalist. The great potential for participation and deeper democratic engagement is almost untapped. Because the rest of us have not been invited to occupy them, it is easy for billionaires to seize and enclose the political cyber-commons."
To a point, George. So long as we maintain universal adult suffrage and the secret ballot on all matters of importance, this can be supplemented by as many citizens' juries as you wish. But any solutions that disenfranchise any part of the population are unacceptable - and Labour has a shameful history of supporting Eugenics in the party's early days, a fascist tendency that resurfaces from time to time. 


Anonymous said...

I think that our George is frightened of the wrong monster...

The exploits of those that you mention Raedwald, are like a drop in the ocean compared to the ambitions and acts of the government itself.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

Raedwald quotes Monbiot as writing: "Political systems, particularly in the Anglophone nations, have scarcely changed since the fastest means of delivering information was the horse."

Sadly dear George seems to have forgotten the telegraph (electrical and arm-waving). [Aside: naval flags too, and bonfires to warn of the arrival of the Spanish Armada - though those had/have too low a bandwidth for great ease of use.] Gauss and Weber (Germany) look to have made the first substantive electrical telegraph in 1833 (on distance and regular use). Cooke and Wheatstone (UK) had a commercial system operating in 1838. The first company with that main business purpose was the Electric Telegraph Company, formed in 1848 by Ricardo and Cooke (UK). Samuel Morse's system started USA Atlantic to Pacific coast operations in 1861, bringing an end to the Pony Express.

I think the Reform Acts (UK) of 1867 (widened franchise), 1872 (secret ballot), 1884 (county MPs in addition to those of boroughs), 1918 (abolition of the property qualification, votes for women over 30) and 1928 (equal suffrage for women) all came after the demise of the Pony Express!

Naughty George!

Best regards

John M said...

Monbiot would have a point, except that nobody in the establishment wanted a Brexit vote did they? Not the Conservatives, not the Labour, not the Trades Unions or the LibDems and not the MPs sitting Westminster.

And neither did Business want a Brexit. Although the Small Business Federation came out for it, the CBI did not, neither did the Institute of Directors or any of the Bankers who run things in the City of London. Even those titans of political opinion making, Blair and Mandelson wanted Brexit - and look at some of the people they do business with!

So all that power and influence and money, combined between them a stranglehold on the influence, technology, funding and all the dirty tricks to get the result from the plebs that they wanted... and yet they failed.

I think a lot of this is people taking far too seriously the bragging of this guy Nix who runs Cambridge Analytics. He certainly suckered a lot of people to pay fees for his psuedo alchemy, convinced by Nix that he could swing it. Of course he's going to talk it up! He's mugged the lot of them.

The missing jigsaw piece is politicians insane belief that this kind of targeted advertising and nudging works on a population who are far more savvy than the establishment credits them for, and far more immune to advertising in all forms since MTV started pumping thier channel full of ads back in the 1980s. We're immune you muppets.

Budgie said...

Anyone like Monbiot who has succumbed to the CAGW hoax, and peddles it relentlessly, deserves no respect even if he gets something else right by mistake.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

John M is right.

Moonbat also mentions campaign funding as a great evil; apparently he hasn't noticed that Hillary lost, even though she had all the big money and clever media 100% on her side.

He rants on about dark cliques of rich people who pretend to be autonomous, without noticing the fake charities that push the views he wants pushed.

Generally he seems to lack much self-awareness.

Although the evils he mentions are real enough, he doesn't seem to realise they are not as omnipotent as he thinks they are.

Another article in the same paper is much more chilling; referring to the same methods and bewailing the fact that the stupid little people won't do as they are told, it pretty much concludes that this voting business is past its sell-by date. Another slippage of the mask...

DeeDee99 said...

@Weekend Yachtsman

Don't forget it was Mandelson, joint architect of NuLabour, who announced that "we are now in the post-democratic age."

And that is just how the left wants it: what they consider to be a benign dictatorship ..... for our own good, of course.

The problem they have, is that the people disagree.