It’s not always easy coming up with ideas to write about. I mentioned it previously, but it can be quite overwhelming to follow the news, and single a particular theme out for further research. And to what purpose? I’m still not quite sure. Partially I know nobody reads this, but at the same time I want to provide resources for anyone who wants to delve further like me. I think I do an alright job about grouping articles that go together well, and linking or summarising them as appropriate.

On the other hands blogs are opportunities to give an opinion. I sprinkle my political convictions in here and there. Little do I know that potentially I am giving this information away freely without knowing through Facebook, apparently.

This article on Motherboard (first published in Swiss publication Das Magazin) charts the history of psychometric analysis through information published on Facebook, and to a certain extent the tracking of information provided through smartphone use at large. The collection of this data could give us insights about ourselves (a cited example is the analysis of more than 300 “Likes” could tell a researcher more about a subject than it would profess to know about itself), but quite obviously there are other parties out there interested in learning more about the general population, and “influence elections” by using their knowledge of people to a disconcerting level of detail. (Got to tie it to the politics!)

As someone who has used Facebook to varying levels depending on the phase of my life (so into it in school, so out of it by the time I left university) I sort of hope that people’s interactions with Facebook will develop to mirror mine (provide no information, upload no photos, simply comment on articles that are being shared with people’s names who I think might be interested) because I feel they offer the least amount of data mining. And still I might be wrong. I let a national pollster upload something to my phone to track my internet use because the longer I use it, the more money I get out of it (obligatory referral link to the pollster themselves). Clearly I am the lamb walking amongst the lions.

Social media and the ubiquity of the internet have also on occasion been blamed for the ability for sectarianism to pervade, what with the “thought bubbles” they enabled, devoid of any critical feedback unless snowflake millenials could handle it. In a sense of irony, the other article I read that prompted me to write here, I learned that the CIA has forgotten the art of conversation, just like the mindless consumers of Facebook et al.

It’s disquieting that the leader of the Free World is a suck-up to a potentially terrifying despot. Worse yet, the Presidential team likely has no interest in keeping close tabs on Putin and his Government’s activities, whereas conventional security and intelligence officers may want to. Yet their resources are mis-managed after years committed to foreign intervention in the Middle East and the War on Terrorism, and their reliance on allies and the trade of information is undermined by the sycophantic following of the Kremlin by Trump. Quoth the British Intelligence (£):

Until we have established whether Trump and senior members of his team can be trusted, we’re going to hold back

And what position is a country (aka the US) in, when Russia itself has now turned dismissive of its lapdog? The hope is of course, that cooler heads prevail and the old-school, near romantic-seeming, ways of Smiley are resurrected across the Atlantic. My childhood nostalgia would be very satisfied with the notion, although of course as a mere mortal I would never hear about it.

 

(Photo credit goes to Scontofrontale)

 

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