Yesterday we ran an article about Robert Mercer. The piece focused on our speculation on Mercer’s mental and emotion state, and the dangers of using algorithms that learn to exploit vulnerabilities, especially in our economic system. A strange piece but these are strange topics. Today the Guardian ran a long, in-depth piece on Mercer as well. We’re not the only ones becoming alarmed by what we’re finding out. The Guardian piece by Carole Cadwalladr is excellent and an absolute ‘must read’:
One of the big issues that a look into Mercer brings up, and was briefly looked at in the Resistance piece, was the need for a new, evolved, economic system, especially in light of the digital revolution that is underway. The digital revolution, and the artificial intelligence that it is now beginning to produce, will render the existing capitalist system, well, destroyed in a smoldering crater. The hedge fund Renaissance is showing how that’s done.
“recoding the mass consciousness”
Cadwalladr’s piece brings up another area that is in desperate need of revolutionary thinking: Data. Who has access to data and what can they do with it. Once again Mr. Mercer is on the cutting edge of extremely nefarious artificial intelligence algorithm work.
This software Mercer has developed appears to be being used by various military organizations and Rightwing political causes, including Brexit.
On its website, Cambridge Analytica makes the astonishing boast that it has psychological profiles based on 5,000 separate pieces of data on 220 million American voters – its USP is to use this data to understand people’s deepest emotions and then target them accordingly. The system, according to Albright, amounted to a “propaganda machine”.
Not only that but Mercer seems to be thinking even bigger, and has been working to alter google’s search algorithms. Cadwalladr has also written about that. We own her a great debt for her work:
Emma Briant, a propaganda specialist at the University of Sheffield, wrote about SCL Group in her 2015 book, Propaganda and Counter-Terrorism: Strategies for Global Change. Cambridge Analytica has the technological tools to effect behavioural and psychological change, she said, but it’s SCL that strategises it. It has specialised, at the highest level – for Nato, the MoD, the US state department and others – in changing the behaviour of large groups. It models mass populations and then it changes their beliefs.
The more you learn about Mercer and intelligent algorithms the more you realize how dangerous both are left unchecked. Mercer, especially, should be considered one of the most dangerous, and in our opinion, mentally and emotionally, unstable humans on the planet.
Facebook was the key to the entire campaign, Wigmore explained. A Facebook ‘like’, he said, was their most “potent weapon”. “Because using artificial intelligence, as we did, tells you all sorts of things about that individual and how to convince them with what sort of advert. And you knew there would also be other people in their network who liked what they liked, so you could spread. And then you follow them. The computer never stops learning and it never stops monitoring.”