Disrupting Democracy: Panel 1 – Internationales Sommerfestival 2017

Disrupting Democracy: Panel 1 – Internationales Sommerfestival 2017


Welcome to the International summer
festival here at Kampnagel in Hamburg today my name is Lena colander I am the
co-creator of the festival it’s a festival for theater Performing Arts
visual arts music and fury and first of all I would like to thank the koerber
foundation that cooperated with us on this conference and supported this event
and also the federal government’s representative for cultural art and
media who funded this conference in the frame of the Alliance of international
production houses also I have to thank Sascha Suhrke of the ZEIT foundation
because mr. Samir Saran who will speak on our last panel today is in
Hamburg due to his invitation to his Bucerius School on global governance
this first panel is an introduction to the mechanisms that underlie the
disruption of democracy and with that with Hannes first and then three short
lectures by Richard Gutjahr, Antonio Martinez and Paul Hilda and this panel
will only have a very short Q&A at the end so but if you are patient in the
next penalts we will have a lot more time for the discussions and questions and so
on to come back and we will have a lot more time to talk about these things
but now i would like to introduce Hannes Grassegger who is the curator of this
conference. Grassegger is an economist and reporter based in Zurich
his writing centers around how the digital transformation changes
the way we live he is known internationally for his
groundbreaking investigations on Cambridge analytical and more recently
the Facebook censorship guidelines for content moderation in 2014 he published
his book ‘Das Kapital bin ich’ ‘I am capital’ arguing that we should become
the sole owners of our data Hannes works as a reporter at large for das
magazine in Zurich and for Reportagen in Bern
Hannes has won several award for journalism and was recently shortlisted
for Germany’s prestigious nanan award his work has been translated into over
20 languages and published via propublica Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin die Zeit amongst others so welcome Hannes thank you for being here and doing this
with us Guten Morgen thank you so much Kampnagel for having me here and
bring me all the way from Switzerland and into this beautiful city and thank
you all for coming here on this early and sunny morning I know how much you
appreciate Sun in Hamburg and thank you for coming from sunny California or
Washington State right Antonio Martinez thank you Paul Hilda for
coming from London and thank you Richard Gutjahr aus München gekommen gestern oder aus Berlin? München heute morgen vielen Dank so – to understand what is currently
going on I want to go back to 1970 Chile voilà so there was a
fascinating project for run by the socialist government of Salvador Allende
the project was named Sigerson and the idea was to have a central
planning facility for the socialist planning economy meaning a control room
where you could receive information about the economy of Chile and send
orders this was actually based on ideas that had been ah
sorry this was actually based on ideas that had been developed around 40 years
before that the idea of cybernetic feedback loops was created starting in
the 1940s and the concept was to regulate any system through flows of
information ideas about this were developed by Norbert Wiener and Werner Busch amongst others he was the person who created this beautiful gorgel
system that helps you scan literature whilst reading and closely reminds me of
the Google class so all these concepts were pretty old and the these concepts
didn’t only catch on with socialist planning economies that had the idea of
understanding their markets and had the problem of gathering information about
it but also with market economists so at the time you see that little machine in
the back down there this is a machine simulating the money
flows in the United Kingdom developed by a guy named Philips
pretty famous economist and all based on cybernetic feedback loop ideas the
obvious problem at the time and also why I end this project didn’t work is that we
didn’t have the means to get all that data you need to properly model and
understand and run such a feedback loop system so here we are in 2016 and I’m
writing about the digital means for the Trump campaign and it’s actually the
story of a scientist named Michael Kaczynski who gathered a lot of personal
data and developed a method of understanding these person’s deepest
feelings and their character then a military and propaganda company named
Cambridge analytical comes in and uses this method first to help Brexit then
to help Trump both win and since then everything is let’s say disrupted the
world was shaking the future of Europe and the U.S.’ is somehow unclear and there was
a state of shock after the election of Trump at least in Europe things don’t seem to
become better so we had recently a U.S. president threatening to use nuclear
weapons and throw the bomb which coincidentally was the hashtag for my
story or the story I wrote with Michael my colleague so I believe we are just
actually seen the beginning of a much deeper and more fundamental disruption a
true reformation of the way we are living together and this conference is
actually meant to help you develop an understanding of the technologies behind
this and of what’s going on it’s a conference in three stages the first
panel will be about the mechanics of this whole process
the second at 2 o’clock will be about how Europe is currently being overturned
politically by digital parties or let’s rather say movements and the third panel
will be an outlook about whether the whole state system as we know it might
become overturned in this coming digital age
so let’s start today with Richard Gutjahr who is a well-known TV anchorman
in Germany and who in 2015 produced do-not-track one of the most fascinating
television sequels about the usage of personal data and personal data markets
in Europe the second panel will be about the second speaker will be Antonio
Martinez who will help us understanding the feedback in the system which is the
Facebook at targeting system that Antonio helped create he’s also the
author of the fascinating personal account chaos monkeys is live in the
Silicon Valley lastly Paul Hilder who’s been involved
in some of the most fascinating digital campaigning initiatives such as avarts.org change.org and the Bernie Sanders campaign and now as a co-founder
of croud pack a big data and digital campaigning platform he will help us
understand how money flows into that system and how its applied in politics
so let’s start out with Richard I hand over to you thank you Thank You Hannes Thank You Kampnagel
for setting this up this is a great conference and thank you for listening
to me for about like 20 minutes now I want to take you onto a
journey we’re going to go through like a lot of dark places but I think I know
the way this is Martin Luther we have the 500 year anniversary of Martin
Luther and I think Martin Luther has changed the world in ways that the
people back then had no idea about and I think we’re about to enter a similar
stage if not even bigger with the digitization of our world so the take
that I take from our world and what has been going on with data
throughout the past let’s say 20 years with the upcoming of the World Wide Web
is this was the world that we were used to live in right this was our perception
of the world for me as a TV anchor this is like the map that’s been shown on
like at the beginning of our news broadcast
ever since now what has changed over the past let’s say 10 years there has been
like a new world coming and it looks a little bit like this and no this is not Game of Thrones this is rather Game of phones so to speak because that is a
kind of a new digital layer that is sitting on top of the old world I would
not go that far that we are yet completely in what Bundeskanzlerin
Merkel describes as Neuland but we’re getting there so this is the situation
that I think we’re living in right now so there’s still the old like physical
world that we’re all like in here together thank you for coming but
there’s also like that digital layer that goes on top of it and here’s the
intriguing part I think one world cannot live without the other anymore
there’s no way that we could plug like out of all the digital
world anymore nobody would hand off his phone or her phone again
because we are so attached to all this world so data becomes a little bit
like electricity or a water coming out of your sink or whatever so me
coming from the media and this is really intriguing this is really this changes
everything because we all grew up with radio TV books and this concept doesn’t
work anymore what has happened over the past years so if you’re either if you
were a Gutenberg and later like the I don’t know you had a printing press so
you could teach the people what they were able to read right you were and you had the means of production and the people were just in a very
passive way with mass media just to respond to that actually they could do
nothing without having a frequency or a publishing house in their back so
they could only like passively consume so what has changed over the past 10 15
years suddenly from the mass media we’re turning into an era of media of masses
and here we have to witness how like the production of content has
changed all of a sudden the lead is in the minority and the audience actually
is deciding what they read with every like with every retweet they’re doing so
all of a sudden like the everyone within this room has become an editor
just by clicking yes I like it by sharing and so on so actually what
we’re witnessing and this was like the early beginning of like you know like
the hopes that were attached to the Internet that this is a very liberating
kind of a way that everyone here becomes their own like eight keeper we could
decide what is important in the world and not longer just the editors and
chefs or the murdogs and so on in
this world so we should all be very happy and cheerful and say hooray like
this was great right so but as often as in history like the
weapons that we were armed with and in this case we’re armed with this kind of
a weapon every one of us carries a weapon in his or her purse or like
jacket this is powerful stuff because this changes a
lot because these weapons are connected and the ultimate weapon is like the
connection of what we’re communicating with each other so and to
give it like a little more this is like how communication today
looks like you know like every one of us is interconnected with
each other and information finds its way no matter if you cut here and there like
a Street this is like how communication in the social web looks
like and that reminds us very much on like this this was a picture I’ve taken on Tahrir Square in Cairo several years ago so there was this promise of
like liberation of like a new era for democracy that we all are liberated by
technology but this was only like the first step of the technology
evolving because it is too tempting to have a weapon in the hands of the people
to turn that weapon actually against you so what am I talking about here soon very
soon the nations especially their suppressing nations became aware of what was going on like
in Cairo can hit us the very next day so all the states were fearful of the
people to develop too much independence so they used the very technology not to
inform the people but to control the people and I’m not talking here just
about states like China which is actually right now in the process of
like cutting deals with big technology firms and also can Valley
actually surrenders to China these days if you read the papers closely they
all build into their censorship model in order to get the market and the
people to sell their products too but I’m not talking about like suppressing
states like China or in Turkey we’ve seen that lately that form of
censorship is going on there I’m talking also about our Western civilization and
our Western states we all are aware of at what Snowden has revealed to us
by the way I like this very much like here we see a document from the
NSA files and look what they Dennis a wrote here we actually interfered
between Google and the rest of the world and that’s where we kind of like spy on
so with a little smiley here like that very much
so anyways I was wondering what can be done with the data and what’s actually
happening and again let us remind us this is not just Putin this is not just
China this is also us so one day I boarded a plane there went to Utah
because I was interested in where is all the data that they gonna like
such where the gum will be stored and the NSA has built a beautiful
like server in the middle of nowhere in Utah it’s about an hour drive
from Salt Lake City like really in the in the desert in the open fields it’s not that open let me show you like some footage of that rocket as
far as I understand it’s a data storage facility the NSA facility the
main headquarters back east they send them all there their information to here
it’s like that one’s the central headquarters and there are several that
are throughout the country but this is the main data facility where they store
all their information so when they have it right there next to the military
base camp Williams all those hills and everything are owned by Camp Williams
and so they’re just kind of inside of Camp Williams you know protection since
the NSA facility has kind of been up and running there’s been a lot more activity
certain times of the night I’ll always hear something you know a chopper that
goes over and it’s like at a weird hour of the night but it’s every night for
the past couple of months and so you know I don’t know what that’s about but
that’s a regular and it’s you know it’s a newer development so I don’t know what
they’re doing with that so if you want to read more about where all your phone
calls or whatsapp messages are stored check out my blog so what I was trying
to say is like data is tempting and wherever there’s data like there are
forces that want to to possess these informations and we’re talking
about States but we’re also talking about corporations and we’re going to
talk I’m sure a lot about corporations like Facebook
like later on so I don’t want to go too much into that
but we are also talking about individuals right so there isn’t you know we’re
beyond a world that consists only from like out of states and in states
man we also talk about individuals and we must talk about the elephant in
the room mr. Trump and I’m not talking about mr. Trump as the President of the
United States I’m not talking about him like as being part of the party anymore
he became his own party he’s not attached to a party he is independent so
to speak and by his own means became like he hijacked both the party and the
nation and he could do that because of and because he knew the right people to
call and Hannes already talked about cambridge analytical and the power that
these kind of data analysts possess which brings us to a new form of
cooperation public-private partnership and this is intriguing because
public-private partnership means that you know like our data does not need to be stored at the NSA anymore or at I don’t know the Bundesnachrichtendienst no they just need a backdoor on the Google servers Facebook
for servers and so on and here’s the intriguing thing you don’t need
public/private partnership anymore between like the government and private
corporations you can take any government and combine it let’s say with an
individual and that individual becomes very powerful so to break it down a
little bit we all know that there’s been something going on within the
campagne of Trump that needs to be more investigated I don’t want to go too
deep into that because I think we’re all sick and tired of what we’ve learned
already but here’s something that I think we must address and this is like
how technology and data can change democracies and I think we should hear
it from somebody who actually knows has had to learn quite a lot about that
throughout the last several months this is her first appearance into like to a conference her first time that she actually talked about what
happened to her let’s hear it from Hillary Clinton herself was the first
time that you had the tech revolution really weaponized politically before it
was a way to reach voters you know collect fundraising do things that would
help the candidate who was behind the messaging that changed this time what we
thought we were doing here’s the arena we were playing in was going to like
Obama 3.0 you know better targeting better messaging and the ability to both
turnout our voters as we identified them and to communicate more broadly with
voters here’s what the other side was doing and they were in a different arena
through content farm through an enormous investment in falsehoods fake news call
it what you will lies are really a good word too the
other side was using content that was just flat-out false and delivering it in
a very personalized way you know both sort of above the radar screen and below
and I you know I’m not a text expert by any stretch of the imagination that
really influenced the information that people were relying on and there have
been some studies done since the election that if you look at Facebook the vast majority of the news items posted
were fake they were connected to as we now know the 1,000 Russian agents who
were involved in delivering those messages they were connected to the box
that are just out of control we see now this new information about Trump’s
Twitter account being populated by millions of BOTS and it was it was such
a new experience I understand why people on their Facebook pages would think Oh
Hillary Clinton did that I did not know that well that’s going to affect my
opinion about her the very next morning when Trump was elected I had confidently a meeting at the Washington Post I’ve never seen so many shocked
faces in my entire professional life which was interesting because before I visited Washington I was at the West Coast I was at the
headquarter of Google and at Google in Mountain View California people were not
that surprised about the win of Donald Trump it’s funny to remember I met a guy
from Google Trend and he said he would not be too sure about Hillary
Clinton to win and he explained it to me here in the soundbite yeah you’ll never
zona stay as you are with your search engine
and this isn’t about you know when you search you’re not expressing publicly
your position on something you’re trying to find out more about something and
that’s what’s unique about the data that we have I think every other kind of
social media data sources really just a list of the ways that people publicly
express themselves but it’s different it’s an insight into what we genuinely
care about and what we want to find out more about what we’re worried about the
plan I think what’s really changed if you compare 2016 2012 is the ability to
see what’s happening in real time the fact that so many of us are online all
the time and now we can see in Google Trends data what’s happening two or
three minutes ago how the reaction come some you’ll say something and
immediately people go online to find out what they were talking about and what
what whether what it said was true and so we’re seeing that and the ability of
us to measure that is a new thing we’ve never had an election before and I think
that gives us a real insight into the current America’s brain right we can
look inside America and see what people really care about any moment let me
write that out to you again it’s fascinating and I wanted to know like
how our brain actually looks on Google or vice versa and so every one of you
can download their information from Google or parts of it I’m sure they
don’t provide you everything but let’s have a look into our data
this is the data that Google has collected on me over the past four years
and if we run it down a little bit you see every query every search that I’ve
done throughout the past four years and not only that we can also see when did I
search where did I search what were the words what was the machine that I used
and so on and so on I could like have that rolling like the matrix for over 20
minutes and we still haven’t gotten seen all the information that Google has collected on me over four years and here’s the intriguing part because you will be saying that okay if we anonymize like my name if we
attach it from my name so anybody could have searched for this
kind of stuff people don’t let yourself being fooled by lobbyists each and
every one of us has a certain pattern how to look for things how it works
that we’re using the phrases even the titles that we’re making and the search
in itself becomes a fingerprint so I don’t even have to attach my name
anymore to my computer Google knows that is me no matter if I’m googling from
from Reykjavik or from Hamburg for that matter so that becomes
very clear and that’s also something that we should address why am I stating this because in the discussion over like the
immigration law that Trump tried to pass like in the shadows of it a very
important law has been passed through Congress which allows private companies
to sell our data like everything that you do online if you’d like your browser
history everything is there to be sold and this largest task at the
end of March this very year nobody took notice of that right because we’re all –
like who was hired by Trump yesterday makes the headlines but things like that
actually have a much deeper and bigger impact on all our lives
so as Hannes mentioned we have been pardoned in the documentary that
actually tried to make visible what happens behind our beautiful screens
and I have a look like right down do-not-track dot-com and try it for
yourself I give you a little a brief
example of what you can do and you can actually like type in like the website
that you like to get your news from like I just put on that focus now just to shock you and you see all the trackers that are actually reading you
while you are reading the website right but that’s of course not all because we
have to deal with the internet so let’s bring in another news site like Süddeutsche Zeitung okay so if I now go to Süddeutsche.de see what happens like
Süddeutsche uses 18 trackers and they interchange so focus and Süddeutsche
benefit from each other and most of all of course like those red dots in between
because they follow you wherever you go online so and this
becomes a very very detailed image of yourself and you know people were always
like saying you know Google knows you better than you know yourself maybe at
one point it gets even juicier who here in the room has one of these okay
one okay smart speakers by the end of the year apple also jumped into the that
game smart speakers are devices that you put in your house and you can
communicate with them they’re like tell you what the weather is or who won the
soccer game and so so what they are basically doing is they’re listening into your private home 24/7 and just to give you a
brief like feeling for what it means to like have your data running through the
internet onto servers I’ve downloaded a few samples of this
very morning I did that at the airport just to demonstrate to you what
it means to have that data all of a sudden from your private home flooding
and this is like downloaded from a cloud that is sitting somewhere in Seattle or
I don’t know where Amazon has its cloud anyways
so listen to this and just closure it’s my son he loves to talk to Alexa so the machinery itself becomes like kind of a
like meshes like into our private life and my six-year-old son actually
talks to the machine as if it would be just another human being right are you
okay when she didn’t answer and so but make no mistake this data is
stored on the same server and it can narrow down our voices can
distinguish between me and my son by now it learns my voice and yeah this is only the beginning we’re carrying sensors with us like Apple
watch who has an Apple watch? they’re only four sensors built into
this gadget to read your pulse a smartphone like this processes at least 10
centers and you have them with you all day long
now that generates a lot of data and we’re not talking about the Google
search data anymore you produce data and you don’t even know about it you don’t
even have to use a terminal you don’t even have to speak to something you
produce data while you’re sitting here like Google knows that we’re all sitting
here together because it has the data of us being all at the
same venue so we’re producing more and more data and you
don’t have to do anything like the data will be produced you don’t even have to
be in Facebook you don’t have to be on Google the data you dude you
leave a lot of traces and a lot of data points with you without even knowing so
which brings me to my final question that I want to hand over to the forum who do you think it’s creepier who do
you think is more dangerous who do you think is the real threat when it comes
to abusing data is it the government is it a state or are these private
corporations and I could not think of anybody better to address this question
to as this to this young man after question last year in a conference I’m
on the long run who do you think is a bigger threat to our privacy is that the
FBI is that Facebook is it Google or the government so there is a different
category of powers that are available to these different sets of actors and there
are different challenges depending on the gravity of impacts that these actors
can assert through their use of these capabilities for example I mean Facebook
they can spy on you they can change your ad preferences they can sell and share
information about you to other groups which is quite dangerous especially if
they begin sharing it with more and more governments with fewer and fewer
restrictions which we have seen in many cases almost every major technology
provider of services online today stores and Linux data when you log in to
look at who your friends lists are and everything like that many cases your
private messages and they’ll hand these to any government as long as they can
stamp record order now we want them to be responsive
to court orders in many cases of course this is proper and appropriate in many
contexts because we need it for legitimate criminal investigations that
are truly effective however there are many countries in the world that have
courts you know North Korea has court Syria has courts Iran has courts Russia
has courts China has courts France Germany you know Latin America any any
country any region that you look at they can all do the same thing but they all
have different standards now what facebook can’t do is put you in
prison directly you know they can’t say you violated our Terms of Service so
we’re going to aim a missile at you at least yet but this is I would say the
category difference that makes abuse of these powers by governmental
actors much more dangerous but abuse by corporate actors I would argue is much
more common so we’re making a category error there’s a false dichotomy when we
try to choose between which of these is the greater threat instead we should be
focusing on policing both and ultimately looking on for ways that we can enforce
our rights through new means such as science technology that are not reliant
on trust but instead we let math do the work for us so and with that I want to
hand the microphone back to Hannes thank you very much all right Antonio thank you Richard for
this wonderful introduction coming from politics into the role of
personal data and so we’ve been talking about cybernetics feedback loops so part
one of the loop is getting information and Richard has been talking about the
role of sensors and machines and now part two in a feedback loop is how
to inject information back into the system and there’s a great method called
targeting developed by companies in order to better adjust the information
they’re sending to the individuals preferences that have been observed and
I think the best person to explain this is here with us right now
Antonio Martinez helped develop Facebook’s ad targeting system and will
be giving us some explanations and insight into this and here you go Antonio are you ready well said absolutely ready all right so why should
you all be sitting here patiently listening to me so a quick little CV
just so you know who I am so I was the founder of this company which you’ve
never heard of called egg rock that was bought by this company that you’ve
probably heard of although perhaps were not very much longer and then I
eventually ended up working for this company which you certainly heard of a
year before the IPO and my official title there was product manager for ads
targeting and if you don’t know what ads targeting means Hannes use the term
earlier my goal on this talk is so that you actually understand what it means by
the end of this talk so I’m going to explain to you the basics of ads
targeting and how Facebook you know helps pay for the Internet in 25 minutes
more or less hopefully okay but what did I really do when I was
there these are all retargeted ads right let me ask you something everyone here
is on Facebook right and and those who say no you’re lying
probably because I’ve seen the usage dashboards URL on facebook or at least
the three quarters of every Internet user in a mature market is on
Facebook right so you know when you go search the internet and you go shop for
a pair of shoes or maybe even buy something in a physical store and then
it seems like Facebook reacts to that and shows you ads based on things you’ve
done outside of Facebook who’s had this experience out of curiosity as everyone
right okay so believe it or not I actually created that I
created the first versions of what is used by Facebook to track all of you
actually online believe it or not I actually pitched that to Zack in the
summer of 2012 Facebook did not like that at all Facebook was very primitive
ad system actually until the IPO when there was suddenly a lot of pressure to
make a lot of money really quick and Facebook at the time was such a start-up
that even some mid-level product manager like me could raise a hand and say look
we should do this really cool thing and go do it and a month later we had shipped
it right and so I’m going to talk about a little bit about how that works
and then the other thing I did is I wrote this book and it’s not just a
total plug for the book although it’s kind of sort of this because I am a
marketer but if you’re actually interested by anything that I have to
say the second half of my book actually has it in way more detail and the reason
I wrote the book is precisely so that you know people can have informed
conversations about how Facebook helps pay for the Internet right because I
love the discussion around Facebook in my opinion is very inaccurate and
throughout this entire conversation I hope not only to put information in your
heads but also to take bad information out of your heads because I can almost
guarantee you that in many ways you’re thinking about Facebook kind of the
wrong way by wrong I don’t mean morally wrong I mean just inaccurate like not
actually how it works okay so let’s get going you know
Richard mentioned the elephant in the room which is Trump right and you know the shit in the saying in English when the shit hits the fan right
which if you picture it in more or less expresses the sentiment of the
expression is when everything just blows up right and so you know two days after
the election in everyone was accusing Facebook of having helped elect
Trump and Zack gave up went up and said something that I thought was monstrously
stupid and as we’ll see my last slide is him changing like literally three days
later in statement saying that oh there’s no way that Facebook could have
could have elected Trump and I mean that was I mean either it was a lie in
the sense that he was actually lying through his teeth or he still doesn’t
really know how the Facebook Ads system works which wouldn’t surprise me because
in 2012 he didn’t know how it worked out or he doesn’t care about money at all
Cheryl does basically everything with ads he doesn’t care about ads so when he said that people I give interviews people ask me like is
it possible that Facebook actually did it and my answer was of course Facebook
could throw the election in fact I’ll tell you how I know this I was a guy who managed ads targeting again all the data targeting during the
last election 2012 right so I know very well actually how Facebook gets used
by politicians to market itself and he in case you don’t know what this is I’m
guessing you guys have a general election right in a few days or like a
week or something right well Merkel is she gonna you know be along as Helmut
Kohl whatever right if you had an election in United States and you open
Facebook you’d see one of these announcements right as a public service
Facebook actually reminds you when an election is and actually tells you where
to go vote and actually tells you who the candidates are right it’s all part
of the patriotic American Democratic thing right that little button you see
up there I voted if you if you’ve ever been to the US during election day they
hand those out at the polls and everyone walks out with a little I voted thing
right so this is the Facebook version of the I voted sticker right and it’s
supposed to be this universally good thing right but Richard use the
word weaponized right so you could weaponize this very easily how would you
do it how would facebook throw the election right and we were aware i just
to be clear if there’s journalists in the room facebook never did this never
seriously discussed doing this but we did joke about it i would joke about it
basically how do we do it be very easy actually right if you know anything
about the American electional system and it always amazes me how much
Europeans tend to follow American politics way more than the reverse
that’s for sure if you know anything about American politics right you know
that it all comes down to swing states right everyone knows what a swing state
is right more or less given the electoral system right well that’s
actually an oversimplification because it’s not just swing states its swing
counties inside swing states right so what this is and shit the color just
completely screws it up but the red counties which is most of them okay by
the way are the counties that switched from Democrat to Trump in 2016 okay so
these are the ones have slipped these are the counties that won the election
for Trump effectively right and look how many counties there
are there’s almost none and even this is effective these are mostly rural
counties right and so the number of people that actually decide in American
election is very small right like most Americans votes actually don’t count in
presidential election everyone in California can basically not show up and
vote it doesn’t matter what they do actually right it’s only the people in
these key counties so what would you do what would you do well you’d show that
remind to go vote selectively only in the red
counties and not the blue ones get out Trump’s vote don’t get out
Hillary’s vote and that’s it you’d throw the election right and what we
could do is and again this was the joke well you know instead of all this
advertising and back and forth and why don’t we just you know auction off the
election we just throw the election and then just sell it whoever is the high
bidder right so there’s two arguments against that right I told you I was bad
cop right so there’s two arguments against that one is obviously it’s
completely legal two actually would suck because it means advertisers were
spend less money on the platform which is why Facebook ultimately would never
do it right because it’s actually a cheaper way of selling the election than
just having an advertising so and that’s why you know having made
this joke that’s wise duck statement is completely ridiculous I thought that Facebook couldn’t have thrown an election is absurd in fact he may not
know this maybe but Facebook has a sales force with hundreds of people who every two years just try to convince every politician that
Facebook can give them the election right they literally have a sales force
and by the way it’s divided by party there’s Republican and Democratic sales
and they never talk to each other because no one trust each other in
politics and so you know in the U.S. politics is big business there’s about a
billion dollars in digital media spend in the US which isn’t that big compared
to the 60 billion of the total market but it’s a big enough bucket of cash
that when they show up you know Facebook pays attention right and so this is a
quote from one of my favorite American humorist you know when buying and
selling are legislated the first thing bought and sold are legislators right
obviously right and so in the U.S. believe it or not a political spending
is actually protected free speech according to this reading court and so
you can actually find candidates and that’s protected free speech in the
United States right which I’m sure everyone here finds mystifying and
horrifying just like our gun laws but there it is right in the Constitution
remember number one that’s how it works right so let’s talk about how aside from
my crazy plot to take over the American government through voting reminders
let’s talk about how targeting actually works in ads which is probably not how
you’re thinking at all this is how Facebook makes money off of you and the
phones that you’ve all got in your pockets right now okay so first thing so
this is Jesus I have to really lean back I can’t see shit okay so there’s three classes of data right go into decide
what ad you see and let’s bust the first myth that you have about Facebook
who here has at some point thought or posted or whined God why is Facebook
showing me this shitty stupid ad right who has thought that or like ask
that question everybody right okay so there’s a couple of problems with that
for starters either the ad is crappy or it’s creepy right do the crap you’re
creepy it’s never in between right it’s never just creepy enough right to be
like accurate but not so much that you feel weirded out by it right so it’s
either always crap you’re creepy right but the second error with that analysis
is Facebook actually isn’t showing you anything right here’s the flaw
right ads are simply a paid messaging system in which the addressing is this
data that we’re about to talk about right Facebook actually isn’t
showing you anything the advert by and large Facebook doesn’t actually affect
what ads you see very much at all as a matter of fact and it’s funny because I
always ask myself why do people get this so wrong right when you get a spam
email message for example right for whatever do you sit there and say Google
why did you show me this commercial email no of course you don’t right when
you get maybe in Germany it’s not legal but in the U.S. you get marketing calls
on your phone trying to sell you something do you say dammit t-mobile why
are you showing me you know marketing ads of course not because you
understand that the messaging system because you all make phone calls and
emails but most of you hopefully don’t actually create ads for a living so you
don’t understand it’s a paid message system but it is and that’s one of
the things I think hopefully maybe you get out of your head a little bit when
you think about you know how Facebook makes money off you okay so let’s get to
the actual data the first class of data is the data that Facebook knows about
you and then expose this to advertisers give you the targeting system these are
the levers that advertisers have and I’ll show you the actual interface like
the actual levers themselves in a second of how they actually target you and what
are those levers so the first one is likes and interest targeting right which
is like your actual likes Plus semantic tagging what that means is a lot of your
user data your posts conversations whatever get tagged and what that
means is if you’re talking about football or Formula one then you might
be put in the football or Formula One cluster frankly I spent the first year
at Facebook it was a project called I’m also a Spanish
citizen so it was called project chorizo which dirty so if you know is like a
sausage right and so we’re basically sucking in every user action that you
produce on Facebook and seeing if it improve the targeting
system and the reality is almost nothing actually improved it which you
know brings me to my second fallacy that you probably all have that I think you
should remove from your heads if you want to talk seriously about Facebook
here’s another flaw that everyone has you entrust so much to Facebook right
and you’re worried about it and you understand we will all be worried about it
right I mean conversations with your girlfriend’s with your parents pictures
of your birthdays you know your entire social life is on there and you should
be you know a little worried about it but here’s the reality right the data that
you most want to protect that you are most private about in fact almost
certainly is the data that’s least valuable to Facebook or to advertisers
I’ll express it with a slightly salty metaphor just because there’s a nude
photo of you on the Internet does not mean anyone would actually pay
money to see it right that’s the reality of it right like your most private stuff
I mean sorry to say it nobody get offended but frankly has almost zero
value from the commercial point of view so even assuming evil behavior in the
part of Facebook they don’t care right and so but let’s see what they do
care about so it likes an interest they sort of care about there’s a saying in
ads just because it doesn’t work doesn’t mean you can’t sell it right and so even
if likes targeting really doesn’t work by large it doesn’t matter a lot of
targeting is just a license to spend money the agency wants to justify its
spend to the advertiser and that’s one way of saying hey we have targeted people who
like Formula One even though you’re not going to go and see a Formula One
race but anyhow that’s one thing agent gender very important for various
reasons Facebook has very good data their geography geo very good why does
Facebook got very good geo data because you’re all broadcasting your location to
Facebook right now as we speak the little object of your pocket is
actually tracking you and Facebook uses that data to see where you are right in
the political context that matters a lot right because where you vote is
important to the candidate also there’s a lot of census data that goes with that
like in Germany may not be legal but in the U.S. you know their census data
compiled around average income education asmik make up everything that matters
around zip code and so it’s a proxy for all that data and then there’s some
other models interested of that you know Facebook doesn’t actually have the
data but it works with other companies to generate so end of talking what does
this actually look like so here’s this is actually taken like if you go on
Facebook right now and create an ad you’ll see this in the drop-down to
create an ad so this is shit I can’t quite see it so this is
the ethnic targeting which is illegal in the EU but it is legal in the United States
in which Facebook figures out who is a Spanish who’s an Asian whose black whatever and you can target ads based on that this is I can’t see it sorry I felt like I was like being
like part of the phenomenon but anyway so new image new vehicle shoppers
for example like who’s in market for a car is a massive thing like car
companies will pay a fortune for that interests right that comes from likes
and interest and then likely to engage with political content conservative
liberal moderate etc again very relevant for political targeting right so this is
some of the data this is your data that Facebook exposes again it’s not giving
it away but it exposes it through an interface so an advertise can go in and
choose to address a certain segment right this is how that works there’s literally
like this is what you’d be doing if you were running Facebook ads okay so
there’s a second class of up data which is what advertisers know about you right
separately from Facebook like Facebook not really in the picture but they
choose to express that data on Facebook right and what’s that well I mean you
know Richard mentioned some about your browsing history
for example everywhere you go you’re being tracked your online purchasing
history you know Amazon or whatever your local online retailer is here at or you
know in the US may not be legal in Germany but your in-store purchasing
history if you use loyalty cards they get discounts that I don’t know all
these are your version of Walmart or Safeway that all gets tracked by the way
and there’s a reason why you’re getting a discount it’s not really free and then
huge amounts of census and population data and then you might be asking well
but how does that get the Facebook’s a very good question okay the process is
actually called data onboarding I mean Facebook calls a custom audiences we
actually came up with that name but the general names you want to google it it’s
called data onboarding and the key thing here what I’m trying to capture in this
graphic and again Richard sort of hinted at it there’s so much of your data that
is actually keyed around things like your email when you sign up with an
email for a newsletter or a newspaper or an online dating site for example online
dating sites don’t just make money by charging subscription they sell that
that email in that data as well you’re at my old address nobody some your
letter okay that’s the old address my my dress which in the US there’s so much
advertising in the mail understood it you know we didn’t invent this tracking
shit in the internet like Direct Mail has been doing this for decades I’ve
been tracking every American family ever American hustle the United States it’s
known how many members there are what age their income level their education
level how they consume that’s all gets tracked right and that all gets joined
to the Facebook experience right so what advertisers do is look I know that you
bought this thing at all these or Walmart or whatever I just want to find
you on on Facebook and that’s what Facebook does you basically take all
that data it goes through Facebook and it produces an online experience right
getting back to my point about you’re worried about data that you that you
shouldn’t be worried about here’s a piece of data that actually is valuable
that I mean you can choose to worry about it or not the key thing why
Facebook is worth four hundred billion dollars and is I think the fourth or
fifth most valuable public company in the world right now the long-term reason
for that is because Facebook has become the one single immutable meaning
unchanging ID for Humanity on the Internet wherever it might be what’s the
first thing you do when you buy a smartphone you install a Facebook
Instagram or whatsapp and you log in right right so that device ID gets
sucked in by Facebook and then they know who the real you is like the Antonio
Garcia who’s married to so-and-so and just checked in there they know that
that’s attached to that device and so they know basically every media
experience you have Facebook knows where that is and can either serve you ads
there or track what ads you saw there and what you did later down you know
down what’s called the conversion funnel when you go and buy stuff right so this
is the outside data being used on Facebook side of things okay and then
the last thing is the stuff that you’re worried about that actually is the least
important thing in this picture which is what Facebook knows about you and then
uses it itself right and this is not what you’re thinking it’s you know
things like your entire click history right you put everyone claims though I
don’t click on ads and yet somehow Facebook makes 24 billion dollars a year
or where did that come from you actually do click on hats right and so Facebook
knows that entire history on every device you’ve ever touched and then uses
that the optimized ad and so the total picture we’ve got here okay the final
picture here is that on the bottom we have targeting right so that’s Facebook
data used by others right that’s the team that’s the product I used to build
and run and then we’ve got data on boarding outside data right that is
brought to Facebook and then the final frankly least important part is what’s
called optimization which is Facebook using its own data to sort of tweak that
and try to get out an extra 5 or 10 percent of revenue from data that it has
so getting back to my metaphor about how this is a messaging system okay so the
people and the lower boxes right that’s how they that’s how they address you
yeah similar you write an email you you know you make a phone call
these people are addressing you with that data that they have that’s kind of
how it works and let me bust another myth while we’re there I’m sure everyone
has read the piece every tech journalist in the world once a year has to write
the piece that’s called how is Facebook selling your data everyone freaked out
right like everyone always right since we started Glee in Germany where
everyone is freaked out about data and privacy for historical reasons etc right
so it’s funny because everyone says Facebook sells your data based like she
does not sell your data it does not Facebook is the sync of data
that will never leave the moment you write user native Facebook Facebook will
never let that leave ever but why would it it would be it would be suicidal to
do that Facebook let them sell your data it actually buys your data right cuz
think of it Facebook doesn’t have the data at once it wants to know what you
buy at the grocery store e wants to know what you bought at Amazon you want to
know what car you drive they wants to know are you getting married they want
to know are you traveling to the United States and it doesn’t know any of those
things right but it wants to know them so what it has to do is produce products
and experiences and tools and measurement tools that convince
advertisers to give Facebook that data that’s this lower box the data
onboarding so Facebook doesn’t sell your data it buys your data by creating
products that convince people who are very private with your data Amazon does
not want to give up with conversion data or its sales data to give it to Facebook
instead right that’s that’s really how ads targeting works right this is the
reality of it okay like unfiltered unvarnished not going to sell you
anything I don’t care about Facebook anymore I read a whole book you know
kind of partially criticizing them this is the reality okay so it was that more
or less understandable or was that just like completely over booties heads yeah
Honus what do you think four times more or less yeah okay how much time do I
have let’s see so um okay so so far I’ve woven this story this very cynical
Machiavellian story about how you can buy a political position and you can buy
influence and all the rest of it but some of you might ask incorrectly well
but hold on you know Trump actually didn’t actually
raise that much money in fact Hillary actually out raised them two to one
Hillary actually I took twice as much money as I was Donald it spikes Donald
and even spend that much money on Media in fact he this might sound like
it’s not zero like harness was reported on the whole on this whole story like
that’s you know that’s that’s true but I don’t think that’s why he won so Sarah
Lee right because here’s I’m here I’m quoting myself by the way which I know
he’s very modest but you know Americans aren’t exactly known for humility right
so marketing is like sex only losers pay for it right and it’s true right if you
have to pay for a mess just to get a message out it means that message kind
of sucks right like you’re literally imposing it on somebody right and you
know that’s like does Trump have to pay for media marketing let’s let’s look at
this week’s covers in magazines right which I think today would sit this week
is a unique week okay ready everyone can take a picture the quote I see Juho take
Chris all right ready so this is this week’s Economist this week’s Der Spiegel
and this week’s New Yorker when’s the last time you actually solve the same
topic on the three leading weekly magazines in the world using the exact
same iconography around the exact same theme when’s the last time you saw them
I can’t recall right the last time right so Trump for as much as we might hate
him or whatever is still a master at getting earned media in fact estimates
say that he got anywhere between two to five billion dollars in earned media
throughout the course of the entire election right he didn’t spend a dime
right he just had to tweet and we had to react right that’s the key that’s the
key thing so um so how does this work right like now that we’ve covered the
ads targeting I did my job I said explain ads targeting I’ve explained ads
targeting now I’m going to have a little bit of an opinion about where we’re
headed with this okay so here’s a personal confession privacy
is dead right so I don’t care I’ll share personal stories with you and harness
fraud doesn’t even know this my first paid job was actually in journalism I
was an intern at the Miami Herald I was raised in Miami Florida when I was 17 a
little a kid I worked in a newspaper this pre-internet days we didn’t we
didn’t even have email I think right and you’d have what’s called an editorial
meeting right and this is where you know very smart educated people with a sense
of responsibility and very serious and sober terms decide which stories get you
know get published them on the front page of a newspaper right so but what
who decides what actually gets read now well this guy does is actually Freight
Facebook’s news feed algorithm has become the front page editor too you
know Media as a matter of fact and if it’s
pure research which is an American think tank said has shown that over fifty
percent of Americans get most of their Muse or find their news through Facebook
and if you talk to publishers and they don’t publish this because it’s horribly
embarrassing anywhere from thirty to sixty percent of their actual inbound
traffic comes from Facebook right what they put on the front page doesn’t even
matter anymore like it’s irrelevant actually it’s it’s how well it does on
Facebook that’s the that’s the reality of that and you might be asking like is
this accidental was this planned I’ll quote myself again very modest but this
is from a page in my book when you joined Facebook by the way it’s like
joining a cult and I’m not actually serious about that and in the baptism
net cult it’s called onboarding in which the the leading members of the company
come and preach to you the philosophy of Facebook and one of the things gives the
passage from cows monkeys Chris Cox who’s had a product and instilled a set
of products came out and said you know what’s Facebook someone said a social
networking like nine area Facebook is the New York Times of you its channel
you it’s your personalized use of your experience it’s the prism through which
you see the world and this you know very well-crafted feel and this was in 2011
and at the time it seemed a little arrogant you know a little hmm that’s a
little bit up there but then well now we have Trump right and maybe indeed it is
the case that Facebook defines the the reality that we see and so I’m going to
ask the question and end this on a slightly down note maybe not so down but
you know can democracy actually survive Facebook it’s a real question and I’m
not asking that rhetorically and as proof I’m showing you this so believe it
or not two days ago I had a beard out to here and here out to here did I’d spend
two months building this cabin in the woods my little hideaway getaway in case
like literally democracy ends the United States in case you think I’m crazy
I’m actually not the only one this which is called prepping in English is
actually very popular among the Silicon Valley set a lot of my friends actually
have hideaways all over California all over Washington in case the American
experiment 241 years of democracy finally and right it’s a good question
I’m not sure that that democracy can survive Facebook one positive and I’ll
end here in case someone actually Yanks me off the thing this is an American
story so I have to have a happy ending okay so um mark after that ridiculous
thing about Facebook not not impacting you know three days later said okay look
we’re taking a different tack we’re actually going start filtering tech news
we’re going to use third-party sources to actually authorize content effect
etcetera which I mean if you know anything about
this should be like a bomb going off Facebook has always claimed look we’re
not another content company we’re a media company we’re a tech company like
we do math we write code that’s it we take no editorial responsibility post
Trump post brags that post everything the world is just not going to let it
get away with that right and so it’s ironic though right we worry about the
power that Facebook has over us and as a result we’re asking them to actually
assume more power right because in the past Facebook filtered almost nothing
literally almost nothing right but now we’re actually asking them to step in
and play an editorial function in the hopes in the hopes that democracy can
survive because the reality is that now you know in a democracy every citizen
has a right to an opinion and now every citizen has a right to their own reality
right to their own truths to their own facts and the reality is you can’t run a
democracy in which citizens don’t actually have a common set of facts they
can even have a conversation around right and so hopefully hopefully you
know Facebook can make it such that we can actually have common conversation
because right now I mean coming from the United States I’m telling you I’ve never
seen the country in this state of complete political polarization it’s
insane so thanks all right let’s see how the tank is going with our friend Paul
Hillier Thank You Antonia that was excellent so some of you those
of you who are interested in getting a little more details about Antonius
laughs there’s not only his book which I highly recommend but there’s also a very
recent BBC two documentary called the secrets of Silicon Valley where you can
see Antonio and shooting a lot with his guns and in his retreat just in case
democracy doesn’t work out so fine in the future I’m actually actually I’m
more of an optimist in that regard than you are but where I’ve had a very long
chat yesterday night with Paul so because he arrived very late and it was
a very dark conversation so I might change my attitude pretty soon but still
Paul has the role of the Sonny Boy in his three part panel and because he’s
done a lot of campaigning helping people to voice their opinions and to bring
their opinions to a broader public and to powerful politicians I think I think
it’s interesting what he has to say he’s been part of the he’s been following the
Bernie Sanders campaign seeing the team he’s been with change.org and with a vos
in a leading position and now crowd Peck is helping people to finance their
political campaigns globally so is there probably a question for Antonio just to
use the time in between if there’s somebody who wants to learn about
Facebook’s details pick up yeah did Facebook
sue you oh no none think so you know the United Sates has
many flaws but free speech is near absolute and so as long as it’s truthful
and as long as there’s no I mean a lot of this truth truth is over the
defenseman so no matter what you say so if you have to sign a non deterministic
company actually knows that any any partner or any competitor or even
hackers who hacked the system and actually figured out something on
Facebook that leaves confidentiality and it’s you know at least in the u.s.
confidentiality is kind of like insider trading or kind of like hate speech in
the u.s. actually it’s a very narrow set of things and it’s actually very
difficult to get sued for confidentiality breach in the US and
also aside from all that crap no one understands social media better than
Facebook and I mean my book was you know briefly on the bestseller list it would
have been on there for eight months had Facebook so you’d be right and they
understood that and so of course they didn’t and by the way Facebook actually
didn’t come out that negatively I’m actually very positive in some regards
for Facebook so yeah um second question over there could you maybe tell a little
bit more about the law that mr. cotija mentioned in his first presentation
which passed in March that makes selling data even more legal it sounded like
representation as the onboarding system already uses all this data pile
yeah yeah so that’s why I think that was not such a huge news event so just the
specifics of what if I understand that’s all I’m not a huge expert on it but
basically it’s ISPs Internet service providers the guy who gives you internet
expense sell your internet traffic so like literally the router logs of like I
connected this IP address they can in theory sell the thing is it doesn’t
actually give you that much more than having a pixel like everything that guy
he’s showing on that thing does have pixels firing on the site it doesn’t
actually give you that much more data than that it just it’s just in the hands
of somebody else it’s your ISP so in terms of that data getting used it’s
already getting used it just changes who’s using it which I guess is not
that’s the real thing but it doesn’t like change the game in a huge deep way
I mean in my opinion but but yes it doesn’t mean that somebody else can
exploit that data sure yeah definitely we’re basically having the same
technology already in Europe every time like they place a cookie on your site
and you’re aware of those like banners that they are forced to put on your
website now and it’s a we use cookies do you agree right and there’s just one
button I agree there’s no I don’t agree there’s just
one button you can only agree but with that they have in a way like bypass that
ridiculous law from the EU yeah I think that that was something I’d be
interested in what what are you during your research on data markets in Europe
and in the United States and the flows of personal data what did you find the
biggest differences just between us data markets where you can buy mostly
everything even like water rolls where people register whether they go rolling
with their full names and birth date and the European Union like what’s just to
give people an idea about what are the big differences between where we are
here in terms of what you can buy from data companies such as axiom and
experience that Antonio was mentioning and what you can not buy here like
officially we have actually good ruling and good rules and good legislation but
what is a good legislation for if nobody cares about it and what Facebook
actually is doing today in Europe is completely illegal
it’s out of question is completely illegal what Facebook is doing in terms
of our like data regulation laws but you know when you park your car like like 10
minutes you’re like you’re you and you get a ticket you get a ticket and you
have to pay for the ticket and if you don’t pay it you actually go to prison
and the the states the government is enforcing that with Facebook they sell
your data like to turn to to anywhere although they learned a lot they’re not
allowed to do that without your content comes in
and nothing happens so it’s it’s and I ask myself why is that one thing like
why is small crimes are you you you they put you in prison for and big crimes
such as like reading your your your brain literally is not enforced okay can
I can I respond I put my favorite hat on professionally so okay yes I mean
Facebook does also do crazy stuff that’s completely gone the yeah without
question absolutely but imagine I can try to put yourself in the shoes of
Facebook how could you possibly operate a company with two billion users subject
to one hundred and eighty national legal jurisdictions it would be literally
impossible it would just be impossible there’s no way Facebook could do that
right sure and I mean that’s I mean that’s the reality right and if the EU
has that expectation I mean how do their startups make it right like I’ve picked
around the startup scene a little bit in Europe right and it seems like you’re
putting serves as a real problem scaling to all of Europe right and if you
actually have to play ball with every legal regimen that you’re in I mean does
it definitely I’m on the same page with you but please give the people like the
the like honor your users by telling them what you’re actually doing but feel
like we have sights recognition and once like that you got really crazy about it
they shut it off they did never shut it off they don’t let you see that they’re
still doing it yeah but does anyone really care like like everyone cares
about this shit until I give you a 20% off coupon are your favorites exactly
and then nobody gives a shit but they’re like section your photos themselves
naked like I’m with you right I’m with you on those yes so like please give the
people the decency of letting them know what you’re doing
with their data to begin with okay well okay well let’s see who here has
actually read the Facebook Terms of Service out of curiosity nobody right so
it’s all there you can read it it’s like like I actually helped craft the Terms
of Service to do all this crazy shit they had to be changed and by the way
there was a vote Facebook users voted on whether they wanted the new rules and
there was almost nobody voted because nobody cared and two it passed and so we
changed it which is why we could do all the stuff but that’s a thing like no one
really deeply cares about it that’s yeah but that is like a glitch in
our like in our psychology because we do not feel anything yet we do not feel
it’s like it’s like like radiology like well it’s like it’s like it’s like you
don’t see what you’re doing to yourself until it’s too late but what’s the
downside the downside is that your data will get used by in all states like you
can you can you actually like nobody here in the room knows who in 10 years
from now we’ll run this country and you didn’t yeah I know that either right so
nobody can predict what the data that you produce today will use will be used
against you one day we will decide about whether you’ll get you get hired but can
decide whether you go to prison it’s all there
we just have to look deep enough into our very data and will 100% don’t find
something that we can actually use against you and threaten you with and
you know we have neighbors we have other one we have other other states persons
around us and it’s far away no this is it you know like we said can never
happen to us well look at the United States right now I I guess my last
response to that would be Nick Denton who’s founder of Gawker right middle
acock or whatever right but he’s had a very smart thing once which is you know
the only sin in the future is going to be hypocrisy right
I think privacy is can be basically dead I know it’s heretical Savior but it’s
basically dead and the only thing will that will be held against you is a
difference between what you publicly claimed to have done in practice and
what you privately actually do right to me that’s I think the last sin really
left and so anyhow in that world I don’t know that Facebook data
collection is really the end of the world but of course I would say that of
course haha who’s got the guns okay so now AG we have Paul Hitler here finally
I think we made it and let’s start out all this is your
chocolate variety I need to need to kill myself fantastic so this is a piece of Street
graffiti I store in Miami and I was hanging out with my friends on a Bernie
Sanders campaign I do think we’re in the middle of a political revolution which
was one of Bernie’s phrases I think that political revolution could go lots of
different ways big data is a big part of it
big organizing is also a part of it and I just want to sort of zoom out from
some of the technical stuff we’ve been talking about and talk a little bit more
about the political context and how this stuff is is landing and where it might
go next I am a consistent optimist of the will
for those of you who know Graham sheet which also means I’m a pessimist of the
intellect but I try to constructively move this up in the right direction
risk of an electronic mafia this is a phrase which I encountered in a book
from oh gosh here we go the connection to harnesses Internet is now very Shady give me what are we going to do yeah can
we can we connect this to my phone so can you just get an old another Artie
okay this mile ham the unban Titan problem but this noise problem and I’m
so excited okay from equilibrium so I’m just linking okay and I’ll talk as we so
I’m going to talk as we make this connection so this guy is Allison I had
this very interesting conversation last night I had not realized he was going to
talk about project cybersyn which was the experiment in Chile in the early
1970s which was visionary far beyond its time they were using telex machines they
were actually trying to enable more decentralized management of the economy
rather than central planning and to use the kind of central headquarters for
information gathering coordination support of decentralized management the
guy who was the cyberneticist who built it with a and his teams was a brick
called stafford dear he wrote a book called designing freedom which is based
on some lectures he gave in calendar in 1973 and I think that I found in recent
years this little diagram hang on a we got it connected let’s let’s reconnect
because we’ve got we’ve got got images now if we yeah connected okay I think this is hopefully okay
you’re only getting half the half the slide here but I’m just going to work
with it as we’re short on time so and I don’t want to talk through all the
details of this I just want to touch on it but the fact that in 1973 people who
are thinking about more systematic data informed ways of organizing society also
had these great concerns about the way in which data could be collected not to
empower individuals and communities but to identify their susceptibilities and
deliver to them their new lifestyle kha’zix religion so this is not a new
challenge in the age of mass media there was a much more centralized way of
delivering new world views to people for instance the Fox and finger which you
will be familiar with the story of here in Germany the the centralized Nazi
radio system although the mass media could also be used for more positive
purposes as it was by Roosevelt to drive the New Deal in America and indeed the
fight against Nazism I think that there are similar positive and negative
potentialities in our new and more networked and decentralized media
environment obviously you do have this stuff going on and I’ve talked to people
in quema janitorial just as Hanna says and to other practitioners and I’m
convinced that this stuff does work and some of what they’re doing is similar to
what Antoni was talking about in terms of data on board a.d anonymizing and and
building whole profiles of people how good at
actually as it is is is not yet clear but at least in principle the
possibilities are very powerful and the guy who invested in them versa as some
of you will know is also the guy who made has been most successful on Wall
Street with these kinds of models based on sparse data to predict behavior in
marketplaces so take it seriously take these people seriously as well Peter
Thiel was one of the friends of the Trump Network who helped in the early
days I believe to connect them up with marketers he’s also one of the key
investors in Facebook and a very interesting worldview this is one of the
most striking quotes I’ve seen from him he talks about the single person who
builds a propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for
capitalism and of course this is one of the things that Steve Bannon said when
he was chairing Trump’s campaign he now describes himself as Unchained and ready
to go nuclear I think is looking forward to getting back to his outsider role but
anyone who works in the political campaigning environment will tell you
that Facebook is really the most powerful channel through which you can
reach people online you put together Facebook and face to face and then
you’re really cooking and then this is the thing one of things Antonia was
referring to about the trends in fake news and some of the top stories one of
the things that happened in the middle there around that transition was that
they transition away from a more editorial system to a more automated
system which was then more easily gained by various different people this is the map of the media landscape
in the United States as it emerged over the course of the election and you see
the way in which Breitbart in particular came to play a central role in that
there’s a whole network of these kinds of outlets which played a critical role
in developing a particular world view which was self reinforcing and that that
network just as much other aspects of modern marketplaces all enabled by
various forms of commercial high-tech and data brokers in particular the stuff
that goes on in the middle of this chart with things like things like Facebook
actually and also Gen Dex and now part of the daily marketing cloud axiom live
around various other companies this is also as far as I can make out I’ve
talked to lots of people who are well-informed on it real and there’s a
long-standing tradition of what they called political technology in Russia
which will use any tactic possible with it some of my friends on the Bernie
campaign told me there was a period early on where they were seeing a lot of
money going into and see Clinton money going into online advertising platforms
like our brain and tabouleh promoting fake news which they had nothing to do
with and didn’t know where it was coming from this quote is from Vladislav Surkov
be preeminent political technologist works in the Kremlin for a long time
from a story he wrote called without Sky about something called nonlinear war sort of postmodern form of warfare there
are a lot of people who say that’s kind of the world that we started to live
through now it’s all very frightening and then this happened this happened in
my own country I know the person this campaign whose quote is quoted here
as well as those around the campaign on the other side
this guy was much smarter and more effective as you’ll see the large
majority of the impressions they served with very Facebook for the campaign
differently the drunk campaign they were hammering a very small number of
messages they are densified some wedge messages which appealed to a group of
about nine million people who they’d modeled with the help of some of the
best data scientists and in the UK and and and pushed messages at them which
were frankly very misleading but very effective in appealing to people’s
underlying frustrations grievances concerns anxieties and also in driving
the the the media narrative and this famous fact in inverted commas which is
not a fad that Britain was sending 350 million a week to the European Union
achieved 78 and recognition and a very large pleurisy almost half of people
thinking it was true many more than thought it was false so that’s a quick
canter through the way in which big data and has been used by particular insurgent campaigns and powerful actors
a lot of you familiar with the story but a lot that comes down to black boxes
people are building models for informational advantage they’re building
them in workplaces Azorian marketplaces
in Wall Street they’re building a new Silicon Valley they’re building in many
other places and there’s a very important question about who benefits
from information which is one of the greatest sources of value in the 21st
century and whether given the sort of scratching the table is it’s good enough
now I don’t really really going back to the past nineteen nineties or the 2000s
I do think that the status quo is broken there is when I first started working in
this arena Philip Gould who’s one of the architects of new labor in the UK was
around the time the Iraq war was becoming very anxious about its
trajectory and talking about politics being played in the same world way by
the same old rules but the stadium becoming empty and then calling for a
sort of participatory democracy revolution and you see that in the
turnout their goods particularly youth turnout figures crashing during the
period of that period and and then you see something very interesting happening
in the UK in the last couple of years to turn out both of the referendum and the
latest election particularly with youth turnout a massive reengagement in
politics so something happened both in the brexit campaign and in the campaign
particular Jeremy Corbyn in the latest election to reconnect with people who
had turned off who had left the stadium and I think really something promising
in that as well as something frightening why did they turn off this is one of the
reasons that people backed away and this is one of the reasons why the status quo
is broken and this is one of the reasons why people are also getting a
we now people are realizing that the benefits of modern society is not being
equally shared you’ve had people in a large majority of countries thinking the
economy is rigged that the government is not priorities the concern that people
like me and also in many places that business is not really to be trusted in
and particularly in the more economically advanced countries we have
hope of a better life and future dissolving and this feeling that many
people have in relation to information capitalism that the product is you
particularly they’re not paying for it even if you’re paying for it sometimes
so you know what is a counterpoint to this very talk and scary picture instead
of the stuff that I’ve been working on is how do you connect citizens in new
ways and to challenge the status quo there’s a whole tradition of this in
American politics we still head up to the Obama campaign
in 2008 which was quite different I think to the campaign in 2012 which was
much more data-driven in 2008 was much more people powered and moving driven
and organizations like Google and others played a big role in this
internationally you’ve seen similar things I was involved in helping the
build of ads which has over 40 million members around the world and various
other campaigning organizations that come back to here that does this kind of
work I was in foundational and driving push back on things like TTIP and the
promotion of climate action and then I was also a global vice president at
change.org this is a topical cluster of campaigns 52 different campaigns which
is run around the United States on this issue of Confederate flags and symbols
there so changes really a platform for anyone to start a campaign on an issue
that they care about I want to talk a little bit about Bernie because I think
it’s a counterpoint to the story of big data and in fact some of the architects
of the most interesting part of the campaign the most people powered parts
of the campaign explicitly counterpose the model of big data to the model of
big organizing which they were trying to promote I recommend this book rules for
revolutionaries which tells some of the story and share some of the tips this is
person means which circulates that Bernie Sanders and in the specific
political conditions of 2016 well the answer this question was that he could
do things like outraged Hillary Clinton through small donations in a number of
months and you know the extraordinary people powered energy tens of thousands
of supporters organized events now remember this guy had 3% name
recognition 30 million calls in three months a wide variety of passionate
storytelling on lines on which was expressed through means some which was
expressed through videos this is a facebook video
data from the people for Bernie Sanders which was a citizen establish page shows
you that I thought remember on tania’s ways but if you’ll if you have good
stuff then people will love it the organic reach on this almost 10 million
paid reach eight thousand similar dynamic in the recent UK election
actually so these are the most shared stories on social media in the UK
election and you’ll see that they also leaned in a certain duration the first
two are basically the same story which is about a Facebook comment which is
very passionate very unvarnished one of them is the manifesto and that’s what
happened in the polls during the course of that election it’s actually something
we’ve never seen I can’t remember seeing an election we had such a reversal with
people going from Corbin down from a massive negative and may massive net
positive to a complete reversal of fortunes a huge amount of that was about
what was happening on social media partly momentum the movement behind
Corbin was able to reach a quarter of the UK public on Facebook in one week
with only seven hundred pounds budget and a promotion and you had this sort of
thing police say sit down ornithology it’s probably speculative I’m going to
skip over that because it’s it’s jumping a little bit but there’s he it’s
basically a mashed up piece of popular communication which reached millions
people which has a nice bit of our Apple Google place but not pay any I’m going to finish because I know I’m
running out of time we’re running out of time to the session as a whole by
talking a little bit about in a more utopian way about weather and how we can
open up big data to have more of a constructive impact and here I want to
talk first very briefly about two traditions which have emerged in recent
in the recent decade or so one is civic technology which actually
interface with all things a contribution to their own journey of references but a
lot of that happens in the non market space
another is open data which is opening up government information and to some
extent market information as well I’m powering people growing the commons
providing a better basis for our societies so these are movements which
which are having an impact although not fully transforming the market at this
point in time I wanna talk very briefly about what we do at Crown Pat so we’re
using big data rather than to manipulate and market to people we’re trying to use
it to inform and empower citizens so we do data on the politicians we have all
the donation data back to 1980 or so done big data analysis of correlations
between that which seems to describe and predict about 90% efforts in Congress at
the moment unfortunately we also analyze votes and Bill’s on social networks and
speech and tax and then provide people with these sort of simple analyses of
where people stand all spectrums eg from liberal to conservative men you can
drill down into the underlying data as well and this is some of the data
journalism stuff we’re doing on top of that around conflicts of interest and
corruption we use the data to power voter information engagement tools so
this is for instance of some of the data we had on macron in the recent French
elections according to our data his supporters
actually significantly more interventionist than him which may be
one of the reasons why his support is looking thin and fading at the moment
given some of his recent actions and we’re also trying to open up both it’s
an increased classification across the board to increase participation in
primaries in the US withdraw from the election that matter
crowd funding helping people stand for office as a cut around here who’s
challenging or the incumbent Republicans in Utah and it’s got a real traction on
that partly around the Russia issue we’re not a traditional company although
we do have investors we’re social that venture we really care about user data
and user trust we don’t won’t sell I users individual data and we’ve got a
revenue model which is user aligned we actually invite people to basically give
us a chunk of their donations to sustain the platform and as far they seem to be
doing that in large numbers a couple of other signs of hope currently going
through a election here in Germany this initiative who targets me in the UK
elections was quite effective and interesting people were installing
browser plugins which were tracking the political ads that were being served to
them through Facebook this is really to work around the challenge of dark aunt
where you don’t know what is being served to you where it’s coming from and
they built up a very comprehensive database of how Facebook was being used
to advertise it’s being launched in this election is Pritam going to target any
election in Europe I think it might be this one so I’d encourage you all to
have a look at that just launched with BuzzFeed Germany I think people like us
as and other movements are looking at campaigning and pressuring
exact the word on this issue of Delft down specifically which is fairly
critical when it comes to transparency of what’s happening in the public sphere
although all sorts of challenges I’m trying Tonio would identify I think
there is a sort of utopian question for us all which is you know can we open the
black boxes who benefits from all of this stuff can we make information work
for the many and is there a brighter Samiha future ahead for us in a way if
there isn’t what are we all doing it should be all be retreating to Islands
there is a utopian calls very your teacher is yours that a great deal of
the value that’s accumulated by people like Facebook is being created by people
in their in their behaviors and actions and in thus far as I could love is
showing a great deal of responsiveness actually on some of these issues like
fake news after initial resistance which indicates that you may be concerned
about legitimacy and user trust and those sorts of things
there are utopian questions about whether either an existing social media
platform or a new one pretty merge in which users part owned the data that
they have on that platform and/or the platform itself I don’t think we’re
there yet but we may not get that far away things are moving fast at the
moment and there is and it’s laughing now see analysis image earlier there is
this question about you know that we are now living in the world whether in new
monopolies should they become networked public utility instead I’m going to
finish with this which is the ending of that little parable were drawing from
suffered there in his 1974 book about a better outlook for cybernetic man than
the one in which your new politics is delivered to you on a plate which
he looks quite a lot like the web it does have a principal in it which is
don’t tell anyone else unless I say so anyway I think that we are in the middle
of a dark wood on this stuff I do think that leadership movements and
communities can play a huge role in shifting and changing the terms of
engagement in markets and States and I continue to be an optimist building
building civic ventures to try and constructively engage on this but I
think it’s worth us all also understanding the challenges and
confronting them very seriously so thank you thank you for for kind of showing us
that these new technologies can also be used to enhance transparency and get
people involved in campaigning I think I think we have a lot to discuss but
probably we’ll have a lunch break right now and get your beer Paul thanks for
going to all these technical difficulties and don’t be scared we have
one hour to fix it and are looking forward to a great panel with radicchio
Carol Cadwallader fabio qz from Italy and operati only below telling about
their specific the way they use Facebook to actually combat the populist leader
in Switzerland thank you so much thank you Paul I can Tony oh thank you Lisa you

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