tv Documentary RT December 12, 2019 6:30am-7:01am EST
at the end of the 20th century silicon valley industry titans like steve jobs and bill gates made a promise that would forever alter how we perceive the world it spans the globe like a superhighway it is called internet and you suddenly are part of a new mash of people programs archives ideas the personal computer and the internet ushered humanity into the information age laying the groundwork for unlimited innovation at the dawn of the 21st century there would be a new revolution a new generation of young geniuses made a new promise beyond our wildest dreams. the idea that we take all the world's information and make. everyone limitless information artificial intelligence machines that would know what we wanted and would tend to our every need the technology would be beyond our imagine. nations almost like magic yet the
concept would be as simple as a single word search. this was the beginning of google and less than a decade later facebook they would make a new promise to humanity what i think so interesting about google and facebook is they were founded at american universities stanford university you had 2 students larry page and sergey brin decide they wanted to create the ultimate search engine for the internet across the country you had in the case of facebook mark zuckerberg who was a student at harvard decided he wanted to create a social media platform basically to meet girls and to make friends and hence we got facebook you never think that you could build this company or anything like that right because i had interest in college students right in our just building stuff because we thought it was cool it was all about promise it was all about the shiny future was all about the free flow of information but there was also a certain idealism behind it i think that
a company like google we have the potential to make very big differences really big positive differences in the world and i think we also have an obligation as a consequence of that facebook and google started with a great idea and great ideals unfortunately there was also a very dark side the goal there which are was it should make it our life where it is but certainly there are real community that existed realized. google handles 65 percent of all internet search in the u.s. and even more overseas. in the early days google was just a search engine all the search engine was initially was an index to what's on the internet the internet was pretty small back then they had a better index. other indexes they were around theirs was not the 1st search engine
page famously said that the point of google's to get people onto google and off of google out into the open web as quickly as possible and largely they are really successful but that the success of google led to in many ways the success of the open web and this explosive growth in startups and innovation during that period google had developed this incredible technology called page rank unveiling what was known as the back row about algorithm and it was just leaps and bounds ahead of services like yahoo altavista and quickly became the clear winner in the space just from a technology basis and what page does is it spiders around the internet instead of being a directory service like yahoo was it's taking pictures of web pages and analyzing the links between the web pages and using them to make some assumptions about relevance and so if you're looking for some history of abraham lincoln and there's a bunch of links to process the web pointing to a particular site that must mean that this page is the quote unquote most relevant
. now they had to figure out how do we make money off this we've got an index how do we make money well they figure out how to do that it's pretty simple all you do is track people searches your search history has a very very informative that's going to tell someone immediately whether you're republican or democrat whether you like one breakfast cereal versus another that's going to tell you whether you're gay or straight it's going to tell you thousands of things about a person over time because they can see what websites you're going to and where do they go did they go to porn site they go to a shopping site did they do web site looking up how to make bombs this information essentially are building blocks they are constructing a profile of you and that profile is real it's detailed it's granular and it never goes away. doubled its pop. you know last year selling internet
advertising with microsoft and yahoo gunning for its search engine users' fortunes can quickly change. this was really the 1st large scale mechanism for targeted advertising for example i want to sell umbrellas well google can tell you exactly you know who is looking for umbrellas because they have your search history they know so they could hook up the umbrella makers with people searching for umbrellas basically send you targeted ads and that is where google gets more than a 90 percent of its revenue. if you look at how they structured the company it was structured so that the founders of the company would always have controlling shares and would always determine the direction in the future of the company anybody else who bought into the company was simply along for the ride in terms of making money so there was this idealism that they said motivated them and their corporate motto was. don't be evil. when the don't be evil
slogan came up it was during a meeting i think in 2003 if i recall right people are trying to say what are google's values and one of the engineers who was invited to this this meeting so we could just sum it all up by just saying don't be evil what's so interesting about this term that they were not going to be evil is they never defined what evil was a neighbor even give us a sense of what it meant but people latched onto it and sort of adopted it and trusted it because of course nobody wants to be associated with an evil company so people gave the term evil their own meaning even their home page indicates to you that you're not being manipulated and they sort of broadcast to you the idea that this was a clean simple reliable or honest interface and that the company that produced it wasn't overtly nefarious in its operations so there were no ads on the whole on the front page for example which was a big deal and so everybody in that initial phase. of excitement of course was more
concerned about exploring the possibilities of the technology then concerned about the potential costs of the technology it was always kind of a generous thing we're going to give you discreet tools when we give you these things that you can years. and then google see this is so google was saying no actually we're going to keep your data and we're going to organize a society you know how to improve enough to most world. there are a couple trends i think lead google off of its path of being the the place that just match people with the best information on the web and led them off into the internet and that was the birth of smartphones steve jobs unveiled the i phone in the rise of facebook and this notion that time spent on a site where users are doing lots and lots of time on facebook became really important metrics that advertisers are paying attention to and so google's response
was basically to deviate from that original eat those and becoming a place where they were trying to keep people on google so they very rapidly started to branch out into other areas they were getting a lot of information from people using the search engine but if people went directly to a website. that's bad because now google doesn't know that so they developed a browser which is now the most widely used rouser in the world chrome by getting people to use chrome they were able now to collect information about every single web site you visited whether or not you were using their search engine but the course even that's not enough right because people do a lot of things now on their mobile devices on their computers without using their browser you want to know what people are doing even when they're not on line so google developed an operating system which is called android which mobile devices is the dominant operating system and android. records what we're doing even when
we're not on line as soon as you connect to the internet android uploads to google a complete history of where you've been that day among many other things it's a progression of surveillance that google has been engaged and since the beginning . when google develops another tool for us to use and they're doing it not to make our lives easier they're doing it to get another source of information about us these are all free services but obviously they're not because huge complicated machines aren't free your interaction with them is governed so that it will generate revenue. and that's what google docs is and that's what new maps is and literally now more than 100 different platforms at google controls companies that use this surveillance business model the 2 biggest being google and facebook don't sell you anything they sell you
we are the product that will google will tell you is we're very transparent there's a user agreement everybody knows that if you're going to search on google and we're going to give you access to this free information we need to get paid so we're going to take your data the problem is most people don't believe or don't want to believe that that data is going to be used to manipulate you. it's of. can you let loose in that. sandu legacy because the loosely.
defined what they were all of the kook on the standards of that night as you had checked on bush. knew the football team. knew of those damone from little known to the sustanon in 1000 so not. so would you hire them when he tried to use in their. one on one with your house on them classroom. you know world of big partisan news lot and conspiracy it's time to wake up to dig deeper to hit the stories that mainstream media refuses to tell more than ever we need to be smarter we need to stop slamming the door on the back and
shouting past each other it's time for critical thinking it's time to fight for the middle for the troops the time is now for watching closely watching the hawks. is your media a reflection of reality. in a world transformed. what will make you feel safe from. the isolation or community. are you going the right way or are you being lead somewhere. direct. what is truth lost his faith. in the world corrupted you need to descend. to join us
in the. aura maybe the shallowness. of. the commonality between facebook and google even though they're different platforms is mass they're driven by math and the ability to collect data you sign on you make a profile about yourself by answering some questions and then some information such as concentration or major at school. contact information about phone numbers instant messaging screen anything you want to tell interests what books to movie and most importantly who your friends are the founders of these companies were essentially mathematicians who understood that by collecting this information you
not only could monetize it and sell it to advertisers but you could actually control and steer people or nudge people in the direction that you wanted them to go. now where them basically comes up with how certain things should react so for example you give it some inputs be it in the case of google you would enter in a query a search phrase and then certain math will make decisions on what information should be presented to you algorithms are used throughout the whole entire process in everyday life everything from search engines to how cars drive the variables you decide and when you have a human factor deciding what the variables are it's going to affect the outcome i want you to imagine. walking into a room. control room with a bunch of people 100 people hunched over a desk with little dials and that that control room will shape the thoughts and feelings of a 1000000000. people. this might sound like science fiction. but this actually
exists right now today our ethical presuppositions are built into the software but our unethical presuppositions are built into the software as well so whatever it is that motivates google are going to be built right into the automated process is that sift our data i used to be in one of those control whips i was a design at the cystic google where i studied how do you ethically fear people's thoughts because what we don't talk about is a handful of people working at a handful of technology companies through their choices will steer what a 1000000000 people are thinking today what google is essentially is a gigantic compression algorithm and what compression algorithm does is look at a very complex environment and simplifies it and that's what you want when you put a term into a search engine you want all the possibilities sifted so that you find the one that
you can take action on essentially and so google simplifies the world and presents the simplification to you which is also what your perceptual systems do and so basically we're building a giant perceptual machine that's an intermediary between us in the complex world the problem with out is that whatever the assumptions are that google operates under are going to be the filters that determine how the world is simplified and presented. so when you want to find something a term a person do you google like it to really ask no doubt about that are you getting to the answer to your question in the algorithm that they use to show a search results it was written for the precise purpose of doing 2 things which make it inherently biased in those 2 things are number one filtering that is to say the algorithm has to look at all the different web pages it has in its index and it's. billions of them and it's going to make
a selection let's say i type in what's the best dog food it has to look up all the dog food it has in its database and all the websites associated with those dog foods that's the filtering but then it's going to put them into an order and that's the ordering so the filtering is biased because why did it pick those websites instead of the other 14000000000 and then the ordering is biased because why did it put purina 1st and some other companies 2nd it would be use less for us unless it was biased that's precisely what we want we want it to be biased so the problem comes in obviously when we're not talking about dog foods but we're talking about things like elections and running for president. because if we're asking questions about issues like immigration or about candidates
well again that algorithm is going to do those 2 things it's going to do the filtering so it's going to do some selecting from among billions of web pages and then it's going to put them into an order it will always favor one dog food over another. one on my music service over another one comparative shopping service over another and one candidate over another the google search algorithm is made up of several 100 signals that we try to put together to serve the best results for each user just last year we launched a work under chain just to get at them so by some counts we change a lot of it i'm almost every day almost twice so we're now it's possible that they're using unbiased algorithms but they're not using unbiased algorithms to do things like search for unacceptable content on twitter on you tube and on facebook those aren't unbiased at all they're built specific. to filter out whatever's bad.
what happens is the best technical people with the biggest computers with the best benefits to those computers become more empowered than the others and a great example of that is a company like google which for the most part is just scraping the same internet the same did any of us can access and yet is able to build this huge business of directing what links we see in front of us which is an incredible influence on the world by having the bigger computers the better scientists and more access as. we feel like we are on the cutting edge of the issues but societies grappling with that any given time where do you draw the line of freedom of speech and so on the question precisely is what's good and bad according to whose judgment and that's especially relevant given that these systems serve a filtering purpose there are denying or allowing us access to information before we see and think so we don't even know what's going on behind the scenes the people
who are designing these systems are building a gigantic unconscious mind that will filter the world for us and it's increasingly going to be tuned to our desires in a manner that will benefit the purposes of the people who are building the machine . what these algorithms basically do is they create bubbles for ourselves because the algorithm learns this is what peter schweitzer is interested in and what does it give me when i go online it gives me more of myself i mean it's narraway in your vision and it's finally my vision it's leading me to a view of the world and it may not be facebook's view of the world but it's the view of the world that will make facebook the most money they're attempting to addict us and they're addicting us on the basis of data the problem with that is that you only see what you already know and that's not a good thing because you also need to see what you don't know because otherwise you can learn. facebook this morning is defending itself against takis a. political bias an article posted monday on the tech news side gizmodo said
facebook workers suppress conservative leaning news stories in its trending section and that creates a terrible dynamic when it comes to the consumption of information and news because it leads us to only see the world in a very very small and narrow way it makes us easier to control and easier to be manipulate. the. i think what's so troubling about google and facebook is you don't know what you don't know and while the internet provides a lot of openness in the sense that you have access to all this information the fact of the matter is you have basically 2 gatekeepers facebook and google which control what we have access to news organizations have to be prepared that their home pages are less important people are using. they're using twitter as their own
those. are their portals world of information google and facebook started out as internet companies and it has changed they morphed into media companies they've morphed into telecommunications providers and at least in the u.s. media companies are regulated newspapers are regulated telecommunications providers are regulated internet companies social media companies like google and facebook are not if the roles have changed studies show now that individuals expect the news to find them. and we turn to them and the number one thing that we were out with our company with that. they are that doesn't make any every month for their baby and you need to create a different format. or so much. this information and it's packaged very well that looks the same when you.
facebook page we can lose. so much of what we've gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market based economies. come to take for granted both google and facebook as they are updating their company policies to ban fake news sites from using their advertising networks both tech giants have come under scrutiny in recent weeks for presenting fake news during a presidential election will take news is not even really a description of anything anymore it's a weapon it gets tossed around if there's a real news story that somebody doesn't like they just dismiss it as fake news it's kind of a way of trying to get it to go away and it's being misused is being used as a way to dismiss actual factual evidence that something is happening right now in the news you'll see a lot of concern with so fake news stories there are 3 reasons why we should not worry about fake news stories fake news is come headed to you can place your fake
news stories about me and i can place my fake news stories about you is completely competitive there are always been fake news stories there's always been fake t.v. commercials and fake billboards that has always existed and always will 2nd is that you can see them they're visible you can actually see them with your eyeballs because you can see them that means you can weigh in on them you also know that there's a human element because usually there's a name of an author on the fake news stories you know you can decide just to ignore them. generally speaking most news stories but like most advertisements are not actually read by anyone so you put them in front of someone's eyeballs and people just kind of skip right over them the 3rd reason why fake news stories are not really an issues is because of something called confirmation bias we pay attention to and actually believe things if they support what we're. already believe so if
you see a fake news story that says hillary clinton is the devil but you love hillary clinton you're not going to buy it you're going to say that's ridiculous on the other hand if you happen to think hillary clinton is the devil you going to go yes i knew that so you don't really change people's opinions with fake news stories you know you you support believes that people are ready have the real problem is these new forms of influence that number one are not competitive number 2 people can't see and number 3 are not subject to confirmation bias if you can't see something confirmation bias can't kick in so we're in a world right now in which our opinions beliefs attitudes voting preferences purchases are all being pushed one way or another every single day by forces that we cannot see. the real problem of manipulation of
news and information is secret it's what google and facebook are doing on a regular basis by suppressing stories by steering us towards other stories rather than the stories we're actually seeking and that's the real manipulation that's going on they can use is the shiny object they want us to shays that really isn't relevant to the problems we're facing today we use google so extensively the average person does you know multiple queries for a day and some more than others and over time you don't realize that it's impacting you and we already know that people are not necessarily fact checking on their own they they rely on the media companies they rely on mainstream media they rely on companies like google to give them answers about the world without necessarily looking at is that true facebook has become the number one source of news for americans well gee what if they were biasing the news toward one cause or another one. to date or another would we have any way of knowing that 1st not.
crank. russia expelled 2 german diplomats and a mere response to berlin to every murder probe. also this hour russia could be put on the u.s. list of state sponsors of terrorism that's a very new bill making its way through congress. and time magazine's person of the year in 2019 its product we take a closer look at the 16 year old climate change activists who some see as a hero and inspiration others will brand her as an alarmist and a hypocrite.