Category Archives: normalcy bias

Computer illiteracy is destroying democracy

 

‘lies, damn lies, and statistics.’

You’re a monster. An authoritarian undermining democracy. Yes, yes, this is hyberbole. But is it? How did this happen? Odds are you are at least luke warm to democracy in theory. Yet you follow and support trends that rip into it’s flesh. Like some jungle predator with a face full of blood. A low information werewolf, who seems normal enough on a regular day. But periodically on a clear night, when the moon is full you are asked to vote. To support some idea put to the public. You wake up in torn clothing, covered in ‘I voted’ stickers, your integrity cut and bruised.

Generation X may well be the only generation who can see it. Anyone can be shown it, I hope, but only Generation X has a firm footing in both worlds. Generation X was the first generation to grow up with computers. They grok both automation and networks in a special way. Kids of the 80s remember seeming retail shrink wrap software and air gapped computers. Everywhere. There was no shortcuts. Your data quality defined your output. Type in the wrong numbers and get wrong answers out. Garbage in, garbage out, burned into our subconscious with toil.

Our computer world, before the internet world was lit ablaze with the web, mirrored the rest of the world. Statistics were garbage, or at least they could be. Open a newspaper, and some huge dramatic number would adorn page two. How many dead, how many tons of material, how many days until a trend reached a record. It may sound like our world now, but there were many such page 2s. The next week another chart, painfully explained would contradict it. It was understood that even one basic assumption change, either in the data or the formula changed everything. Boomers got this, the greatest generation got this, and so did Xers. We grew up in a self aware, analog world. A common culture.

Boomers didn’t grow up with computers. They knew what they were, sort of. Sure the tiny minority of computer professionals in that generation may share X’s perspective, but their youth was more rocked by the introduction of transistors, literally. X had a supercomputer sitting on their desk. Not cheap, not small, but a single desktop would have been worth waging war over just twenty years prior. They had the freedom to explore it, and more importantly, explore how people reacted to it.

Data inherently must have focus. Scope and scale matter. Forget that and you run out of memory, or bits in your data type. Ram and hard drives were tiny. Just big enough for an algo and some subset of data. You could only reiterate as many times as you can store. It was elegant and efficient or it failed. Eventually you realized, at some level, that elegance was a trade. Conflated data types. 3d perceptions smashed into 2d sprites. You made assumptions and you knew it. Everyone knew it. The bad assumptions were glaring. Mashed pixel art were unrecognizable and made games unplayable. Spreadsheets that wouldn’t produce even basic known outcomes with known good data. Programs looped forever. Generation X was computer literate, or in some cases they were forced to know they weren’t.

Along with the internet came more resources. Computers were still finite but growing faster than programmers could reduce their assumptions. Modems connected the world to mountains of code and data. An endless landscape of shared ideas and effort. Many mountains of garbage, but some with beautiful parks atop them. The children forever after would grow up in this connected world. Limited resources never explored, self reliance never tested. Air gaping was out of the question. The greatest became the latest. Not because younger people are lazy, as is often postulated, but because they can’t keep up. The mountains grow faster than any one person can shovel. You can copy someone else’s mountain in the blink of an eye, or if it’s big, the consumption of a cup of coffee.

An individual explorer may transverse the many mountains, but when a civilization builds a city atop, it collapses. A crash and screaming panic as sinkholes swallow up whole skyscrapers. It happened with Nazdaq founder Madoff, it happened with the USA Office of Personnel Management, It happened with Solar Winds, and it happened with first Diebold and now Dominion voting machines. Disasters unforeseen as cyber-security flies air patrols high above the skylines build atop faulty un-scrutinized code. The insider threat. Not from any one person, though they may participate, but built up from faulty assumptions. The mountains of un-examined code and data are the ultimate insider,

How did the ground under our feet become the an insider just waiting to defect? Conflation. Shortcuts, cheats and correlation without causation. Not scrutinizing the details because there are too many of them. An explosion of assumptions. The shoot from the hip idea that because there are experts, and they present detail, that detail is sufficient to understand all the important problems. People are drawn to the tallest, shiniest building, not because it has a firm foundation. It is un-examined. Instead it is a landmark in a rapidly changing skyline. A compass needle in a landscape so poorly planned that people run from landmark to landmark, lucky each time their presence is not their integrity’s grave.

Computers fail fast. So fast, that failure is the model. Instead of science and engineering, with both time tested models and scrutiny, computer code and data is slapped together. No loving examination is practiced. It’s a great model. A personal favorite. The wild west. Full of mystery and exciting puzzles. Chaos incarnate. Irresistible to the smartest humans suffering from perpetual boredom. Trying to find a solution, any solution, to any problem that temporarily blocks your goals.  Lewis and Clark mapping out the wilderness over and over. Subject to skill and talent, but also to random luck. So random that massive signs and tourists celebrate the rare occasion that explorers mapped out a path worth keeping as a superhighway later. Except with computers the analogy of time and pavement breaks down. The first path that works is the path the entire world uses. No additional exploration is attempted. The computers follow the trail at light speed, it’s path rarely explored again.

Thee data dumps and code fragments are not the product of scrutiny, but instead junky fragile prototypes, forced into production. Piled up in massive hills and mountains adorned with the structures of democracy. No one person can own the exploration of such a hill, nor can the structures on it be easily moved aside, so no one does this impossible work. It’s all great fast fun copying these broken structures, but it’s not a game. Real lives hang in the balance.

A computers code can be engineered as their hardware often is. Designed with degrees of precision. Understood from the bottom up. Scrutinized not just by someone, but anyone who has an interest. An effort including the entirety of the world. It should be the whole world, because human civilization pays the price when it is not. When a skyscraper or a city falls into a pit of chaotic or un-scrutinized code the world falls with it. That’s their city too. Same bad data, same bad code. Democracy needs scrutiny. Not only of it’s data, but it’s twisted winding algorithms. It can be played like a game but it’s not. If any system ever had malicious externalities, defectors with real menacing goals against a society, it’s democracy.

Psychopaths, foreign actors, and other profit motivated defectors can use the chaos of top down computing as subterfuge, but that’s not democracies worst problem. Many democracies have faced complex and inept bureaucracies before. It’s the problem of both speed and ignorance. Speed as poor or subversive ideas can become critical infrastructure in mere months, and ignorance, that a closed source code system allows this. I single out generation X as the lone guardians not because newer generations can’t know better, but because they can, and don’t. Nothing drills a point home like toil and suffering. Struggling to make the limited resources of tiny ancient computers sing for you. You can see the compromises plain as day. It seems people who did not have to make due, don’t know what they don’t know. An unknown unknown. Younger people think you can trust any computer code that works, and they are dead wrong. The biggest danger to the whole system is they don’t even know there are risks.

It’s not that network babies can’t demand open source code, or limited use computers, or code audits. I’m hoping it’s that they never even thought about the problem. They never once had to look at a computer and say, this isn’t doing what I need, and had to solve it by understanding the problem with more depth. They are drowning democracy in their unjustified trust of the machines that they depend on. Having been educated in a system that never questions authority, so long as it feigns casual support for individualism. Individualism that computers and their twisted code, doesn’t know or care about. If it feels good, it must BE good. A write once paper log of operations doesn’t make network babies feel good. The better than genetics certainty of digital signatures doesn’t raise their confidence because they were taught not to be skeptical in the first place.

It’s doesn’t end with ignorance of the unknown unknowns. The real tragedy is the technocratic elitism. The same exact system that produces the blindly trusting, produces their captors with the same exact philosophies. As feel good generations filter out their geeks with the knack for code, and socially isolate them from shared social experiences, they quickly come to believe that the rabble is grossly ignorant. Thinking they understand safety and scrutiny, they use it to justify subjugation. The shared delusion that all people are one behavior set tells the technocrats that the sometimes intelligent but misguided have had every opportunity to distrust and scrutinize their world. They must be managed, or even worse, re-educated. Technocrats who are elite from youth categorize their less adept social peers as if they were Non Player Characters in some simulation, dehumanizing them.  They need computerization to marry their misguided complex rules to their different in practice counterparts.  To thwart natural law and enforce their chosen norms.  The same norms that drive individual sovereignty and it’s derivative democracy.  Don’t just take my word for it, look how badly political polling fails for example. If the model worked, the projections would be more accurate.

Democracy as a system is rapidly dying. It’s no surprise as it’s a system of cooperation. Computers make bad decision making possible at a blinding and still increasing pace. Both in the design of the computer software, and in enforcing broken social paradigms sold as science. There is a solution, but tales, myths of another time, block it from taking hold. During generation X’s youth the public was not aware of how important computer literacy would become. Many companies won a lottery as rare ‘ordinary’ employees were promoted into roles where they revamped their companies computer code and data. The companies in question got lucky. They hired personnel that had not yet recognized skills, who in turn, returned the companies investments many times the worth of their salaries. They stumbled onto a gunslinger, just made for the wild west. This turned into a hiring spree, and then a crisis. Politicians the world over have made it a top priority to find every single geek that they can identify through programs like STEM. It’s exhausted the supply, isolating would be technocrats from interacting with their broader societies.

It’s time to recognize the truth. The public has few top gunslingers. Don’t take my word for it, test yourself. Make some time. Examine some code or some data. Make it behave the way you want. If you can’t that’s fine. I and nobody else should think less of you for it.

Stop trusting the technocrats. They can’t provide you with solutions to democracy, it’s not practically possible. Their system of design is semi-random and they can not audit it in detail, even if they wanted to, which they probably don’t. Big tech and big data did not grow, or was not designed in your interest. Know what you don’t know. I don’t care if you put computer specialist on your resume, but don’t you believe it. Don’t believe the tall tales of gunslingers of the 80s and 90s still apply.  Demand tangible proof of markets, votes, stats and anything MIGHT influence any sort of vote. Do not become someone else’s useful idiot. If they can’t prove it demand the code and the data. If you can’t understand it, and they can’t explain it where you deeply understand it, don’t vote for it.  Or with it.  Until they make a simpler model you can understand.   If you can’t grok the code, and you can’t see the data, the only way to protect democracy is to assume it isn’t sufficiently vetted, or honest.

There is a chance democracy can be saved. If you realize the truth. Democracy REQUIRES more skeptics than our society requires technocrats. They are vital to peace and progress.  It doesn’t even matter if you are not genuinely a skeptic, but democracy can’t function if you don’t act like one.  Your smallest culture doesn’t make you better, and that goes double for the technocrats because of how their business model operates. That criticism and doubt from common society isn’t just important to democracy, it’s the only thing that keeps it alive.

Cult deplaforms, uncult replatforms

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What is a cult? It is a faith based organization that disallows exit. The open secret is that faith need not be supernatural, but can easily be theoretically provable, and yet still be just faith. Since human science controls are typically unethical, political organizations are faith based. Even worse, fundamentalist political organizations that are both corrupt and more focused on rules than identity may make exit impossible, becoming a stealthy cult.

The human conscience grows stronger to recognising risk as it is exposed. In some cases opponents may be few, but unanimous political support at scale indicates oppression. People then carry the flag of their faith based organization as though it gives them wizardly powers of truth, joyous in their lack of opposition. In reality they are supporting an organization that limits opportunities for external criticism and has removed the opportunity of exit of their perceived opponents. There are always externalities, a lack of their observers indicates the absence of freedom.

When a rule focused hierarchy faces opposition of it’s procedures or plans, it’s mechanizations slow. Warnings elicit groans and frustration from committees and meetings as the cost of ordinary business begins to rise. Risk/impact analysis can elude even well meaning actors and resources are squandered. If a hierarchies leaders are flawed through incompetence, naivete, or actively defecting, the hierarchy can suffer and ultimately fail.

If they hear every risk, resources are squandered, but if they miss even one high impact risk, the result is the same. Hierarchies need to get this right. High frequency risks have high currency(social or monetary) rewards for discovery, a feedback loop is naturally created. The low frequency risks are the ones that pose typical systemic threats.

Cults are dangerous because the low frequency risk examination is blocked with ultimate authority, or in other words, physical force. Just like any hierarchy it blocks the disruptions caused by low frequency risks to cut costs (or something worse from corrupt psychopathic defectors) You have been deplatformed, so you can not repair the system, and because it is an ultimate authority, you can not exit it. Traditionally, all non mainstream thinkers are trapped in cult.

This systemic risk has been accepted because of a lack of resources to correct it. Books and widely distributed publications, and the freedom of speech that protected them, have been the only externalities. These publications require enormous resources to utilize them. A lifetime can be spent popularizing a single externality enough that public pressure forces the review of it’s risk. Thanks to technology, this limitation is no longer the case.

The Internet has the power to be the uncult. It can identify the intent of ‘cost cutting’ to ignore or externalize low frequency risks. Risks without feedback loops no longer need to be deplatformed, they can be replatformed. Hierarchies can no longer hide behind natural resource limits. A simple address, redirecting people to low frequency risk resource sites can be employed for no cost, rather than cutting them off all together.  Use their old platform to point to their new one. Allowing people to explore the risk for themselves, possibly leading to a failure avoiding fork.

The only coherent argument against this policy in general, is the lack of people’s ability to govern themselves in democracy, which I wholly reject. Democracy works because hierarchy attracts psychopaths and their behavioural spectrum, and the furthest people from that center are the least likely to harbour opportunistic ill intent. Make a personal change, absent clear and present danger, only accept the uncult. Hierarchies that replaform instead of deplatforming. It’s free, so anything less is a rejection of the viability of democracy itself.

The gift of doubt

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(the burden of faith: part 2)

As you explore the implications of humanity as two distinct behavioral sets, you find the metamind.   It shines light on rationalization, the failure of which can describe faith.  The conscience can be destructive without rationalization, especially after Freud, then Bernays, and then Gobbles laid out how to manipulate un-rationalized emotional impulse in terrible and effective new ways.  Faith is bunker, but add a guard and it becomes a jail.

Doubt is failed rationalization*, which is vital to reason.  Reason can’t occur without at least some self knowledge.  If you don’t understand why you feel as you do, you can’t be sure you feelings are your own.  They may have been programmed into you.

If there is a chance a feeling has been programmed into you, you can’t trust that faith.  The less you know about your feelings the more true this is.  People in a modern society who claim a faith in politics, religion, or any other hunch, with out first experiencing doubt, are simply obeying their programming.  They are indoctrinated and in turn are rationalizing that, after the fact.

Doubt is the exploration that your emotional risk calculation is incorrect.   Today that is most likely because someone other than you has installed the emotions you feel inside your mind.  To begin this exploration consider that you already have fallen victim to it more times than you could ever count.  If you can’t cope with this idea you may already be a full blown proto-psychopath.  A person who’s metamind is wholly externally controlled.  How can I know you have been programmed before?  Your guardians, first charged with protecting you from fatal events, have extensively programmed your emotions against vast but unintuitive dangers.  Electricity, poisons, vehicles, abduction, and drowning among others all would have likely killed you before you had a chance to read this message.  Hard proof you are in denial about how easily you can be manipulated.

I know some psychopaths read this site, and for them an exception is granted.  They likely have no experience with what I am talking about.  This message is not for them.

Only once doubts in any faith have been thoroughly explored, can you know that faith belongs to you.  Start with any faith.  Politics for example are laughable as hard science and therefore largely based in faith.  It is immoral and nearly impossible to experiment on a small element of a social policy.  Civilization is vexed by a human science control.  You may know a particular law will benefit your civilization, but that apparent knowledge is actually faith.  Your subconscious risk calculation expressed as emotion.  Therein lies the risk.  A clever but compassion-less politician may have placed that emotion there to serve their own ends at your expense.

To expose the source of your externally fed emotions start very small.  Look at the negative effect a rule, religious or political, has on a person you know well in your community.  Do not blame the individual (Likely a projection from manipulator) but instead figure out how this rule has failed them.  Now work through all the people and organizations who endorse this rule, and look for any emotional expressions from them about it. Reject any emotions you share with the people around you about this rule.  Once that is done you can calculate your own feelings and reinforce your own emotion about it.  You now have a vantage point to discern and explore your own feeling about the societies around you.

You can get help with this, either a savy friend open to the conversation or psychotherapy is excellent at this as well.  This is temporary but may be necessary at first.  The world is drowning in examples of abuse of power and worship of hierarchy, so if you have trouble finding abuse you chose your helper poorly.  Try someone different.  You will need to travel the path of doubt on your own, but first you must climb to your feet.

Faith is a skill.  Not a hand me down, suggestion, or order from another person.  True faith is a risk calculation consistently generated from your own experiences.  A calculation handicapped with doubt.  Without constant doubt faith will quickly trap you.  Distrust those who mock or attack your doubts.  This is more important than ever in the age of institutionalized marketing and propaganda.  Personal emotions are subtle, expressed without crippling fear, brow beating, and veiled threats.  Imparting urgency without making a single demand.  Retake the bunker of your own mind, one feeling at a time.

* Psychopaths exhibit unrelenting self confidence because doubt is a mechanism of the conscience and reason, which they do not posses.

LGBT tolerance education should be case by case

alone

The problem with teaching tolerance of sexual identity to kids, is that you can’t avoid sexualizing them in the process.  Instead, schools should focus on tolerance in general.

Parents know kids, even kids that will turn out to have alternative sexual lifestyles later, are not naturally thinking about sex. They can’t be prejudiced against their peer’s choice of partner, because while they may have a vague idea they DON’T have a lucid, explicit idea what a sexual partner is. There is sensibility to this obscurity. There is no denying the urges that will ultimately perpetuate the species, but sexual activity vastly expands a psychopaths opportunity to manipulate an inexperienced child. To trap them as their obedient ward, using their own chemical signals to reprogram their conscience against them. Spoiling the likelyhood of eventual self realization and the profits it provides for all.

There is a huge difference between punishing a kid for beating up another kid because he/she commonly refereed to as gay (true or not) and teaching kids how to be gay. I went to high school with an openly gay boy and he was forced out of school by violence. That is the real problem. Kids don’t have to like his lifestyle genetic or not, but they must respect the boundaries of his body and not socially interfere with his education. He (or she) is no one’s slave despite some’s obsession with a psychopathic hierarchy.

I’m not saying 16 year olds can’t or don’t have sexual urges, that’s absurd. I’m just saying institutionally rewarding them for that is regressive. The institution must indoctrinate the innocent in order make sexuality part of the curriculum. Instead schools should work against prejudice in general using what kids must know to be part of civilization.

The same kids that were violent with my gay classmate hated me too. Because I was different. This was the tell. It had nothing to do with his sexuality. It wasn’t even about bullying though most would stop there. It was about intolerance for people who deviate from the pack. The subconscious determination to attack any kid that doesn’t march in lockstep. That’s the problem. That was the problem in my school, in Columbine, and it’s still the problem.

Mandatory sexual indoctrination of the innocent doesn’t solve the problem, and it makes a new one. Prejudice with kids is usually about exposure and normalization of their parents conscience and their prejudices. Normalizing sex isn’t necessary. Instead normalizing tolerance has a better yield and forces no conversations some kids are not ready for. Focus on accepting, or as a better than hate fall back, at least keeping a distance from behaviour you don’t understand. The passive half of shunning. This covers bullying and better prepares children to reserve judgement until they are ready to seek the facts on their own. Only then can you guide them and answer their questions. A behaviour which practiced consistently not only stamps out prejudice, but prepares future adult citizens to be a functional civic agents of a republic. Tolerant, self resolved and driven to be passionately curious.

EDIT: Changed the title to reflect the suggestion, not the risk

How to personally deal with psychopaths.

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I’ve written about this topic here several times, but it occurs to me I haven’t properly categorized it.   All the appropriate blog posts are under Defense Against Psychopaths.

http://civgene.matthewnewhall.com/archives/category/defense-against-psychopaths

The problem is that category has become quite broad.  So I’ve created a new category Defense Against a Psychopath.  This is where to go if you’re trying to solve an immediate personal problem.

http://civgene.matthewnewhall.com/archives/category/defense-against-a-psychopath

Here is a quick guide to the new category, so far.

Shunning is key.  The problem is no solution will work unless you can identify them BEFORE they take advantage of you.  They will succeed unless you know your self

So…

  • Know yourself.
  • Identify psychopaths
  • Shun psychopaths

If you can’t shun them keep all interaction public.  This is a decent disincentive to anti-social behavior.  This is so you never let give them 1. singular authority over data or 2. a supervisor role over another human (including yourself.)

So now it’s

  • know yourself
  • Identify psychopaths
  • shun psychopaths
  • If you can’t shun because you have to enforce the two rules, keep all interaction public.

If you want personal help, read the following in order.

  1. http://civgene.matthewnewhall.com/archives/467
  2. http://civgene.matthewnewhall.com/archives/42
  3. http://civgene.matthewnewhall.com/archives/385
  4. http://civgene.matthewnewhall.com/archives/591

Social side effects of the conscience

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Social side effects of the conscience

  • Normalcy bias
  • Vulnerability to propaganda
  • Susceptibility to marketing
  • Vulnerability to gaslighting
  • Natural law
  • The onset of money (a trust proxy)
  • Rapid long term risk calculation

The above are all side effects of the conscience, the constantly readjusting mean of our emotional experiences.  Societal mechanisms unlocked by the civilization gene.  This is what happens when a rational, logical intelligent being is forced to have mandatory emotional recall when accessing their memories.  As unaware individuals having a conscience makes them weaker in some ways but stronger in others.  As a group they form civilization.  It gets really interesting when enough individuals become aware of their own conscience and how it works.
Now they can return to the ruthless logic of the psychopath when needed, but they can also participate in common good that forms civilization itself.  All of their strengths and none of their weaknesses.

The list of side effects becomes.

  • Natural law
  • The onset of money (a trust proxy)
  • Rapid long term risk calculation

Have you neutralized your emotional triggers?  Recognized the source or your emotions? Shielded yourself from Propaganda?  Rejected the knee jerk dismissal of normalcy bias?  Trained your self to recognize more distant marketing?  Learned how to spot and committed to avoiding psychopaths to prevent personal gaslighting?  No?  You need to do these things to join a type one civilization.  No top down membership card required.  Just the will to better yourself, and some basic knowledge on how to trace your own emotions too their root memories.  It can be for selfish reasons.  The result of true self knowledge is the same.  A stronger world.  A much stronger you.