k9s9 7 days ago

I am going to keep posting the ledger of harms - https://ledger.humanetech.com/

Until we see all the issues in one place like a github issue tracker, solutions will always be piece meal and confined to personal experience.

We need more issue trackers like this, so that people with solutions to one issue or another have some sense of the big picture. Also Big Tech cant weasel out of one issue by talking selectively about another.

Who knows, maybe one day we will get to proper integration/system wide testing for fixes to social issues...

  • DyslexicAtheist 6 days ago

    I love this concept. I think it could benefit by branching out in a way that tracks different companies, then create different branches for these companies to track the people making these decisions. There is a huge problem with greedy and horrible individuals hiding behind a corporate structure. A company is by definition a group of people and since we treat companies now legally the same as people the same rules must apply. The reason why this works is the same as why shaming individuals who rape people (Weinstein, Stacey etc) works. The only way to improve things is by moving the goalposts in corporate ethics the same way it has been moved by the #metoo movement for sexual violence.

    the reason why I think this works is that ethics is an individual thing that can only be applied on an individual level. If a CxO suggests to set up offshore structures to channel profits away then burn them to the ground (figuratively).

    the tech to do it is already there: the darknet!

    • k9s9 6 days ago

      "The only way" you are suggesting is not the only way.

      Changing people's thinking and behavior, especially that of highly misguided characters in power, requires as Psychologist Marshall Rosenberg would say, choosing between Violence and Compassion.

      Ideally for progress we want people to change the way they think about what they are doing, not spend their time defending it or how to get away with it. The latter being what we manage to keep doing.

      This is where the choice of approach we take makes a huge difference.

      Our Natural instinct is to choose violence, punishment, judgement, name and shame etc. We want to see heads role for suffering caused.

      But this approach takes the focus off the suffering of the victim, and puts focus on how to cause pain to the perpetrator. It doesn't get perpetrators to change the way they think - to reflect. Instead they react - play defense, and spend their time and resources on avoiding and skirting punishment.

      Think about this. Think about what Gandhi, MLK, Mandala did by not choosing this route. They didn't allow perpetrators to play that game. They showed us there is a big difference in outcomes when we tell a man - look at the pain you have caused VS you are <LABEL> and will be punished for the pain you have caused.

      This ledger of harms concept is great, because it keeps focus on the suffering produced. It makes people in power squirm and reflect. Which is what plants the seeds of change. They will feel the need to change, just as the British Empire, US Govt or the South African govts did.

      But as soon as you add punishment to each issue their focus will shift to self defense at all cost.

    • drak0n1c 6 days ago

      Confusion, rumor, and misinterpretation sparking mob rule and misguided shaming is one of the technological excesses listed on the ledger. Hopefully humanity is learning to be more careful before rushing to "burn" people's lives to the ground (which destroys their capacity to be a productive contributor to society, their capacity to do social good and harm, and their family). The social movements you mentioned are also damaged by infighting and public scrutiny when outlying elements do not hesitate to take them to excess.

packet_nerd 7 days ago

> We need to teach our children to observe the world accurately and debunk pseudo-science.

I'm not a scientist and don't have the depth of insight in many fields that I feel I could always accurately debunk pseudo-science. Most people aren't experts, and most kids certainly aren't. I've spent my career getting the measly amount of domain expertise I do have, and that's only in a very narrow IT field.

Rather, we need to focus on learning to better evaluate authorities. Who's the most qualified source of information? Which of several competing theories have the most qualified proponents? What incentives might they have to color what they believe?

On the web its really hard to know who's who. Mostly we have nothing better than the tone and look of the site and domain name. That's really pretty weak if you think about it! I'd definitely be interested in a system of some kind (browser extension?) that added a little more information.

  • drKarl 6 days ago

    That's interesting. I always struggle to understand why people believe in a god (or many), or that the Earth is flat and dismiss Science and evidence on the other direction. From the point of view of something that you can't understand, and you choose to delegate to an Authority... and you choose which Authority to trust... if you've been indoctrinated into religion you'll be more prone to choose a priest/pastor or a magic book as your source of Authority, even in things like the origin of the universe and where does life and animals and humans come from. Other people choose David Ike as Authority and believe there's a reptilian master race ruling humanity for millennia, and so on.

ohiovr 7 days ago

A lot of people could benefit from more skepticism. Thinking things through is not just work but it can be a hell of a lot of work. People naturally don’t like to work. It is easy and fun to think someone’s pipe dream will provide energy without cost. And it is easy to think that the such and such ethnic group is the cause of all our problems instead of thorough analysis of the issues.

The internet is mostly ok (besides the occasional bgp attack)

The web is really mostly rubbish though.

There is no way to fix the fact that a lot of people are wrong on the web. Anymore I don’t feel a huge need to try to correct people.

  • Droobfest 7 days ago

    > A lot of people could benefit from more skepticism. Thinking things through is not just work but it can be a hell of a lot of work. People naturally don’t like to work. It is easy and fun to think someone’s pipe dream will provide energy without cost. And it is easy to think that the such and such ethnic group is the cause of all our problems instead of thorough analysis of the issues.

    Could you maybe also benefit from more scepticism of your own opinions?

    I ask this, because of the way you project the opinion of a 'wrong' group of people with two simplified strawmen. I don't think many people exist in the way presented. At least not in a quantity that makes the web rubbish.

    It's easy to think other people are simplifying things too much, but maybe that's just an oversimplification itself..

    • ohiovr 7 days ago

      We are allowed to be wrong. That is why I don’t care to correct random people anymore.

  • DyslexicAtheist 7 days ago

    > Anymore I don’t feel a huge need to try to correct people.

    agree, if anything confrontation only leads to their views getting more cemented in the way they already are. Kahneman & Tversky make for interesting reading here.

coldcode 7 days ago

Any mechanism that amplifies information also amplifies noise, something I think we didn't really understand when the web/internet started. Understand the provenance of information we see is still difficult, its not as if there is git log of changes in some concept or news item in some random website that goes back to whenever it was created globally. Even "blockchain" doesn't really fix the idea that it was garbage when it was inserted. Simple ideas like someone saying some words in a public context seems difficult to validate or verify sometimes much less complex ideas like climate change. Information is a messy concept made worse by the freeform nature of the internet/web.

  • AnimalMuppet 6 days ago

    Hmm. I seem to recall AT&T figuring out, about 1927, that they could amplify long-distance signals better (with less noise) by adding some negative feedback.

    I know it's only an analogy, but maybe the Internet amplifies too well, and therefore the noise gets amplified much too well. Maybe the internet (especially the echo chamber parts) need some negative feedback.

renholder 7 days ago

>We need to teach school children to be better at interrogating evidence and deciding (for themselves) what to believe.

And...

>We need to teach our children to observe the world accurately and debunk pseudo-science.

These two ideas directly conflict with one another and create a dichotomy: If I have the freedom to beleive what I want, how does this translate into having the initiative to observe the world accurately and debunk pseudo-science?

The better approach would be to understand that a lot of the laws that govern our universe (or whichever other science) has been peer-reviewed. While this doesn't mean that they're infallible (see: ether), it does mean that we should still shouldn't question them, if there's something that doesn't align with our thought-processes on it.

The harder part, of course, is proving/disproving these ideas that they may have because of limitations - whether it be levels of education (such as in the states) or the time available to go through the scientific method until they have arrived at 'x' conclusion regarding it.

People working 40+ hour work-weeks, with their own families, etc. are - generally - less inclined to take-up the mantles of science because, at the end of the day, the cost versus rewards are too askewed for them.

Instead, what I think should happen is that the sciences should have bounty programs, much in the same way that technology does, to incentivise these ventures.

At the end of the day, people still need to put food on the table and deal with day-to-day life. While some are hobbyists (e.g.: hobbyist astronomers), I don't see such large communities around the heavy sciences (e.g.: hobbyist cosmologists, hobbyist theoretical physicists, etc.) and I think that would change if either people had more free time to donate to such ventures and/or it was incentivised.

Even the old precepts of the scientific minds gathering weekly for banterings about (might be stuff of media to blame for this, if untrue) to challenge and expand our understandings isn't something openly lauded - which, to me, should be. (I want to say this was something practiced by Einstein and friends/colleagues?)

Let's face it: Despite the advancements of the last 50 years, the word "nerd" is still a pejorative.

  • FigmentEngine 7 days ago

    > These two ideas directly conflict with one another and create a dichotomy: If I have the freedom to beleive what I want, how does this translate into having the initiative to observe the world accurately and debunk pseudo-science?

    no these two ideas work well. be curious, but question what you see, and question yourself.

deckar01 7 days ago

No matter how educated you are about the scientific method, there are going to be hypothesis that you don't have the technical skills to test yourself. Scientific knowledge has advanced, in part by accepting consensus. Not until a new idea fails do the assumptions it is built upon really need to be scrutinized.

stunt 6 days ago

I think the proposed solution in this article also covers educating people to find a qualified source of information.

I was prepared to read an article talking about a problem without giving a proper solution for it. But it seems proposed solution is covering (not all) but a lot of the ground.

claydavisss 7 days ago

> We don’t know what causes autism

> There is absolutely no doubt: vaccines do not cause autism

???

> A growing group of people now believe the earth is flat

No, you just fell for an internet meme

vfclists 7 days ago

It’s easy to see how people might wonder if vaccines cause autism—many children regress developmentally right after receiving vaccinations. It’s been conclusively proven that this is correlation, not causation. There is absolutely no doubt: vaccines do not cause autism. But it’s emotionally easier to for parents to believe they have a reason and someone to blame than the stark truth that their child’s autism is not yet understood

Tell that to the parents of the afflicted children. If the autism was not a genetic condition then the vaccines must be the cause. Simply because the mechanism by which autism develops is not understood doesn't mean the vaccines were not the cause.

post hoc, ergo propter hoc

It is similar to the argument of those who maintained although there was a correlation between the presence of the HIV virus and the AIDS disease, it was only a correlation because the mechanism by which the HIV virus caused AIDS was not understood. I for one not being in the medical profession cannot say for sure that the actually mechanism is well understood.

I say again, tell that to the afflicted.

And what has this got to do with the Internet? If the Internet gives the opportunity to spread falsities as well as truths at Internet speed is it an inherent fault?

  • SketchySeaBeast 7 days ago

    Sorry, I'm a bit confused - are you trying to lay out the faulty reasoning, or are you saying that vaccines COULD cause autism?

    • vfclists 6 days ago

      Wasn't there a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in African-American boys that the researchers suppressed in the initial findings?

      As far as autism was concerned research showed a correlation between autism and African American boys and the parents of those boys noticed that it began soon after the boys were adminstered the vaccine, and that was way before the researchers themselves admitted that there was a correlation.

      As far as I am concerned vaccines cause autism in some cases.

      Just because the actual mechanism has not been discovered doesn't mean they are not the cause, for the simple reason that you cannot simply vaccinate human beings with the intention of finding the causal link between vaccines and autism, which assumes that the neurological basis of autism is clearly defined.

      https://www.ageofautism.com/2014/08/whistleblower-says-cdc-k...

      https://thevaccinereaction.org/2017/05/african-americans-vac...

      On the other side are numerous horror stories involving vaccinated children like that of Harvard-educated attorney George Fatheree, who was pressured by a pediatrician to resume vaccination despite seizures his infant, Clayton, experienced after a previous round of vaccines. That night, Clayton’s seizures returned and he stopped speaking for three years. He grew into a severely disabled teen, suffering dozens of seizures a day. Because of similar vaccine-related injuries and deaths, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program—a fund under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up to shield vaccine manufacturers from liability—has paid out over $3.6 billion in compensation to affected families.

      If the blogger wants to give an example of false notions propagated at Internet speed, they can do a lot better than using the link between autism and vaccinations as an example.

      • SketchySeaBeast 6 days ago

        >Wasn't there a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in African-American boys that the researchers suppressed in the initial findings?

        > As far as autism was concerned research showed a correlation between autism and African American boys and the parents of those boys noticed that it began soon after the boys were adminstered the vaccine, and that was way before the researchers themselves admitted that there was a correlation.

        You're going to have to find some articles that aren't from suuuppppeeerrr biased sites. Only the age of autism has any sort of scientific paper link, and that paper they referenced was withdrawn due to Brian Hookers conflict of interest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Hooker_(bioengineer)).

        > Just because the actual mechanism has not been discovered doesn't mean they are not the cause

        That's a weird thing to assume. In that case turning 1 is the greatest cause of autism.