The Epistle of Q — Chapter 192


Am I the subject of an algorithm attack?

The other day I was commenting on a news item a colleague of mine had forwarded to me via LinkedIn… The initial feedback was: do you think that the news that arrives on your computer screen is due to an algorithm? My initial response was no, because the item I was commenting on came not directly from one of my news sources but from a colleague – I had not seen it otherwise. However the question did get me thinking. How much of what I now receive comes due to the programming of some hi-tech kid somewhere based on what she has learned about my biases or at least preferences…?

I then realized that lately a significant number of new subscribers have been appearing in my confirmation box on this website. So I decided to do a quick scan today and sure enough there were several very odd registrations. When cross-referenced to their own supposed websites the search engine pointed out that theirs were non-existent. As my webmaster often cautions me: continually check who is trying to join the Editorialog – may be forces up to no good.

Whether or not all of these suspicious registrations are fakes is less relevant than the possibility that maybe only one is a bot trying to mine the data that is stored on my various computers and additional hard drives. And all it will take is one to make the entire system vulnerable both to viruses and to fraudulent tampering which in turn can lead to new algorithms being created to influence the information that I am getting.

I am not without opinion. In fact, some opinions are controversial enough to cause some readers to terminate their participation in our conversations. That in itself is nothing more than a variant of free speech. But if these conversations were to be used as grounds for targeting both myself and my conversant, then I am more than slightly concerned. Thus I am embarking today on a more stringent practice of weekly reviewing all participants in our conversations, and wherever inconsistencies appear, a follow-up will be carried out. If it’s all good, we will carry on; but if not, we will take action (including notifying you if needs be).

Never thought much about this before, but throughout the night and early morning it was on mind in a somewhat unsettling kind of way. We need to reflect more on what AI & Algorithms might be doing to ordinary folk… If foreign countries can/do meddle in elections, they certainly can/likely do meddle in the choices we make more regularly…


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