Phil 10.26.17

7:00 – 3:30 ASRC MKT

  • Listening to BBC Business Daily this morning on Facebook vs Democracy:
    • Presenter Ed Butler hears a range of voices raising concern about the existential threat that social media could pose to democracy, including Ukrainian government official Dmytro Shymkiv, journalist Berit Anderson, tech investor Roger McNamee and internet pioneer Larry Smarr.
  • …and had some thoughts on adversarial herding in information space
    • Herders can teleport, since they are not emotionally invested in their belief space position and orientation
    • Herders appear like multiple individuals that may seem close and trustworthy, but they are actually a distant monolithic entity that is aware of a much larger belief space.
    • Herders amplify the most extreme positions and may also amplify opposition. The insight is that they are not herding in a direction, but to increase polarization
    • To add this to the model, I need to do the following:
      • Make the size of the agent a function of the weight
      • When in ‘herding mode’ the overall heading of the group is calculated, and the agent that is furthest in that direction is selected
      • The weight is increased to X, and the radius is increased to Y.
        • X represents amplification of the concept, by trolls, bots, etc.
        • A large Y means that the bots can swamp other, normally closer signals. This models the effect of a monolithic entity controlling thousands of bots across the belief space
    • Got it! Note that the influence radius is 1/3 of the range normally needed to polarize. Also note that the amplified agent is not leading. This reflects Arendt’s insight that totalitarian rulers follow and amplify the mobTrollfarm I need to make it so that there is UI support (on/off, amount), and make it so that each flock can have its own bots.
    • I expect this to produce extreme polarization (low time to border) more quickly than emergent, ‘organic’, echo chambers
    • This may describe some applicable group hunting behavior: Predator-prey interactions in two schooling fishes, Caranx ignobilis and Stolephorus purpureus
      • Interactions between the jack, Caranx ignobilis, a facultative schooling species, and the Hawaiian anchovy, Stolephorus purpureus, an obligate schooler were studied within an enclosure in the field in Hawaii. Single predators were the most successful at capturing isolated (individual) prey, and relatively unsuccessful at capturing individuals in schools. Grouped (schooled) predators were the most successful at capturing schooled prey. The leading, or first, predator was the most successful member of a group or school at capturing isolated or schooled prey. Following predators tended to make it possible to catch more prey earlier in the experiments. Larger predator groups were able to break up schools of prey quickly, resulting in increased numbers of prey becoming isolated. These prey were captured before they could reform or join other schools. As the initial size of the prey school increased, the per cent of individuals captured declined. Schooling in prey reduces the time a visually orienting predator has to align himself with an individual prey. Schooling in predators may have co-evolved as an adaptation, making it possible for predators to break up and isolate schooled prey. Larger prey schools may have co-evolved to satiate or swamp the feeding capacity of a finite number of schooled predators and decrease the probability that a specific given individual would be captured.
  • Finishing up Suppressing the Search Engine Manipulation Effect

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