Morlock Elloi on Mon, 30 Oct 2017 21:42:09 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Algorithmic / Biometric Governmentality

To throw in two items, one presently real, and one somewhat speculative. Both are contingent on high speed network-to-brain (N2B) interface, namely a handset, which has victim's attention many hours every day.

1. Social networks (ie. FB) likely know your IQ with margin of error of 5 points or less.

IQ is hard to mask, unnoticeable tests can be easily implemented, probably focusing on the speed of actions, ie. figuring out where the button is in a slightly changed interface, etc., which can be done over long time, not in one sitting. This information did not exist before (national IQ dataset), has nothing to do with your habits, and is highly valuable: once FB separates sharpies from dims (exactly half of us are below average), it can use different strategies to influence each. More importantly, this data is valuable to the law enforcement: if you are looking to frame someone, you go for dims. If you are looking for leaders, you narrow your attention to sharpies.

2. Ubiquitous N2B interfaces may enable effective brain hacking.

We are not talking advertizing and nudging here, but straightforward hacking that bypasses voluntary/consciousness layers. After all, the brain is just a computer, and it's a matter of time before buffer overflow zero days are figured out (note that they will stay zero days, as there is no one to send you the patch.) To illustrate the principle, this could be similar to the way that flashing patterns induce epileptic attacks in those prone to them. I don't expect a good brain overflow hack to have crude flashing patterns, it may have something far more discreet, a combination of outputs and feedbacks (something comes up on the screen, you click on X, then something else comes up, you ... etc.) that causes ... something. I'm pretty sure that self-respecting TLAs are already investing billions in the research (they did spend $90M on LSD research in 1950s.) The presence of the N2B interface is just too important to ignore.

But if the people in power are using these algorithms to quietly watch
us, to judge us and to nudge us, to predict and identify the
troublemakers and the rebels, to deploy persuasion architectures at
scale and to manipulate individuals one by one using their personal,
individual weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and if they're doing it at
scale through our private screens so that we don't even know what our
fellow citizens and neighbors are seeing, that authoritarianism will
envelop us like a spider's web and we may not even know we're in it.

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