Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from July 30, 2018 Options

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Options July 30, 2018: Dr. Robert Epstein: watching Google manipulate the world

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This week: Dr. Robert Epstein, on how Google manipulates the world. Dr. Epstein is the author of 15 books and over 250 articles, a PhD from Harvard (B.F. Skinner's final doctoral student, in fact), and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today.

More info about Dr. Epstein's work:

@DrREpstein, Dr. Epstein's Twitter feed

AIBRT (American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology), where he's Senior Research Psychologist

DrRobertEpstein.com, his homepage

Taming Big Tech: The Case for Monitoring: How, working in the shadows of the internet, researchers developed a passive monitoring system that might soon make Big Tech companies accountable to the public — and even save democracy. "Online manipulative powers, you ask? Isn’t Google just a big, cuddly, electronic public library? If you still believe that nonsense, grow up. Google is actually one of the most rapacious and deceptive companies ever created. Those free tools the company gives you are just gussied-up surveillance platforms, allowing the company to collect information about more than two billion people every day, which they then auction off to advertisers or, in some cases, share with business partners and intelligence agencies."

Footage of Eric Schmidt: "How people get their information - what they believe, what they don't - is, I think, the project for the next decade." -Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Alphabet, Inc., November 10, 2016

USA Today article (today, July 30) by Robert Epstein, evaluating the President's mental health.

Could Google rankings skew an election? New group aims to find out (Washington Post, March 14, 2017): "95 monitors in 24 states captured more than 13,000 sets of search rankings and the 98,000 pages to which they linked... Google dismissed Epstein's research as 'nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory.'"

Social media manipulation rising globally, new report warns (Oxford University, July 20): "in 48 countries, up from 28 countries last year... there is at least one political party or government agency using social media to manipulate public opinion domestically." See the report summary or the full PDF. (Not written by Dr. Epstein but much to the point of his research.)

• "Manipulating Minds: the power of search engines to influence votes and opinions," Chapter 12 in Digital Dominance: Implications and Risks, by Martin Moore and Damian Tambini (eds.)

Fake News Is a Fake Problem (Medium.com, April 10, 2017)

Zuck Off: Six Reasons Mark Zuckerberg Should Quit Facebook Right Now (Daily Caller, June 25)

The empty brain: Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories (Aeon, May 18, 2016): "In short: your brain is not a computer."

Dr. Epstein suggests:

• Instead of Google, try StartPage.com (I also like DuckDuckGo)

• Instead of Chrome, try the Brave browser. (On mobile, I like the Duck Duck Go mobile app, which is both a browser and search engine)

• Instead of Gmail, try ProtonMail (I also like FastMail)

• See also privacy-preserving alternatives to Google surveillance platforms.

• Finally, read Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy - get off Gmail, get off Android, get off Chrome. In other words, get off of Google. Also, clear your cache and get a VPN.

Recent tech news:

How Not To Let Your Phone Ruin Your Vacation (NYT, July 25) by Catherine Price, our guest on the April 16 Techtonic episode. Remember, Price writes, that "every time you turn your attention to your phone, you are turning your attention away from everything else."

This Band Launched a Business Writing Theme Songs for Tech Companies (TIME, July 30), featuring Mobile Steam Unit - the band featured on the July 9 Techtonic episode.

Facebook’s $120 billion stock hit on Thursday, July 26 (a 19% drop) was the biggest single-day loss in US history (Business Insider, July 30)

Facebook is sued after stock plunge 'shocked' market (Reuters, July 22): "The complaint filed by shareholder James Kacouris in Manhattan federal court accused Facebook, Zuckerberg and Chief Financial Officer David Wehner of making misleading statements about or failing to disclose slowing revenue growth, falling operating margins, and declines in active users."

Facebook accused of undermining international aid efforts in Burma because it spreads fake news (Business Insider, July 28): "UK MPs said Facebook's "Free Basics" internet service, which is popular in Burma, was 'deeply unethical.'"

An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: our child died at Sandy Hook – why let Facebook lies hurt us even more? (The Guardian, July 25)" We have endured online, telephone, and in-person harassment, abuse, and death threats... In order to protect ourselves and our surviving children, we have had to relocate numerous times. ... We are unable to properly grieve for our baby or move on with our lives because you, arguably the most powerful man on the planet, have deemed that the attacks on us are immaterial, that providing assistance in removing threats is too cumbersome, and that our lives are less important than providing a safe haven for hate."

...all of which led The Onion to write on July 27...

• Not to be outdone by Facebook, Twitter plummets 18% after reporting a decline in monthly active users (Business Insider, July 27)

Google fined a record $5 billion by the EU for abusing the dominance of Android (Business Insider, July 18) - and here are three reasons why they got the fine.

• Below, from Jason Kint, a thought on Google vs. Facebook:

Ahh, for the good old days...

...vs. what happened instead...

Tonight's outtro, "This Is The Future," is from the New Jersey band 3RDegree. Here's their album Ones & Zeros: vol 1.

- - -

Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Dr. Robert Epstein talks about how Google has the power to manipulate the world.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack 
  Mark's intro    
  Interview with Dr. Robert Epstein    
0:18:11 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your calls and comments 201-209-9368    
0:42:24 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
3RDegree  This Is The Future   Options Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 
0:55:37 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar 5:47pm herb.nyc:

I'm at the apple store in soho, (pre)tuning in. and that is A LOT of stuff of import for us to read, on the left. thanks, mark. I've never heard of StartPage.com (mentioned previously on this show?).
Avatar 6:01pm geezerette:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Linda Lee:

hi Mark! are we ready?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm listener james from westwood:

Your link section is expanding at almost the same rate as Amy Siskind's weekly listing of Trump admin horrors.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Bas NL:

Mark! Techtonici!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark, robotechtones.

To what degree could anyone on the ground floor be credited with the foresight that Google would/could be could become the verb for conducting a web search? It was never going to be webcrawling, altavistaing, yahooing or even jeevesing. That such a silly name would do so much for them locking down the top spot.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm listener james from westwood:

Folks who have gotten clear of Facebook and Google as a result of this show will be known as having had Hurst Mover Advantage.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Linda Lee:

alas i feel the verb will fall into decline with the corporation.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Linda Lee:

or rather, yay!!! :-)
  6:05pm Warren from Australia:

Hi everybody
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm ultradamno:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Linda Lee:

you sure have your finger on it, Mark!
just don't get it dirty.
Avatar 6:08pm dale:

shareholders are supposed to be in it for the long haul. screw em if they just day trade.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Ken From Hyde Park:

The FB stock closed at $171.06, down $3.83 or 2.19%. Nyah!
Avatar 6:09pm dale:

freebase? that almost killed richard pryor!
  6:10pm melinda:

@dale haha
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm Linda Lee:

probably helped kill him eventually, for sure.
Avatar 6:11pm geezerette:

This business model is destroying the future.
  6:11pm melinda:

How slimy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Sig:

Some people name the Internet Facebook
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm Sig:

Some places on Earth
Avatar 6:12pm geezerette:

We're living in a horrible comic book.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm ultradamno:

Damn, free is costly.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm Linda Lee:

fb has been incredibly successful under laissez-faire capitalism & laissez-faire capitalism has absolutely no intrinsic morality.
Avatar 6:15pm dale:

geezerette - i hope we don't get buggered by a bear in this comic book.
Avatar 6:15pm geezerette:

LL, once again cutting to the chase.
Avatar 6:15pm herb.nyc:

everything I'm hearing makes me deeply ashamed that I'm still using facebook. ugh. -- also, has InfoWars been kicked off facebook?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Linda Lee:

you need the heart of a fucking corpse, honestly..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm queems:

Avatar 6:16pm geezerette:

Dale, fingers crossed! Plus running shoes.
  6:17pm melinda:

I think censoring the denial of reality, which is what holocaust denial is, only feeds the denial and sense that something is being hidden.
Avatar 6:17pm geezerette:

Melinda, yes!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Folks can download 3D printable guns now, so there's that potential new problem.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Linda Lee:

*if* wer're still on fb we have to ask ourselves why. if it serves a purpose for us, we have to ask ourselves if those purposes can be served another way. that's all it takes to disengage.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Linda Lee:

gee, how will the NRA feel about that, considering they represent the manufacturers?
Avatar 6:19pm geezerette:

Ken FHP, I couldn't believe that! Was ranting about it all weekend.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm queems:

this show exacerbates my anxiety by like 481237398721983%
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Linda Lee:

i see a potential rift between the NRA & the gun rights folks.
Avatar 6:21pm dale:

curtis sliwa was slamming the nra earlier for their support of printable guns and hollow point bullets etc etc. the nra needs an active shooter situation at their headquarters to see the irony but it would just backfire on us.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Linda Lee:

it's not a bad thing to know what's happening.
just don't let it overwhelm your day.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm ultradamno:

The Onion's "Onion Social" series is just lacerating on the subject: www.theonion.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Linda Lee:

i don't understand how they support printables unless their constituency is making a buck on it. are they?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Sig:

Avatar 6:23pm geezerette:

LL, must be,somehow...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Linda Lee:

i guess they are! but where's the industry on printables?
Avatar 6:24pm geezerette:

Software and printers...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Bas NL:

I am trying to remember.. There once was a caller in a talk show uttering desperately: "I'm not interested in facts, i'm talking about what is real!" Brilliant.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Michael 98145:

the agenda of the NRA is to avoid all liability when weapons of mass murder are used for the purpose of mass murder.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Linda Lee:

@Bas ~ wow :-)
Avatar 6:26pm herb.nyc:

Dr Epstein says "national elections being very close" - don't we know it, during November 2016.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Linda Lee:

well sure, because they're anti regulation in the interest of a sustainable market..
Avatar 6:27pm geezerette:

It's painful to be awake but essential.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Linda Lee:

it's painful to be asleep as well. might as well be awake :-D
Avatar 6:28pm geezerette:

ha! :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Mark Hurst:

Hi robotechtones, Techtonici! James, "Hurst Mover Advantage" - heh. Good to see everyone here this evening.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm Mark Hurst:

Yes, Herb, the 2016 election was the case study for Epstein's research into Google's SEME (search engine manipulation effect) - hackernoon.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Mark Hurst:

Queems - don't worry, I'm going to try to get to positive next-steps later in the show :)
Avatar 6:37pm herb.nyc:

450,000 votes for Clinton. like, in what states? in the states that *mattered*?
Avatar 6:40pm geezerette:

No, it doesn't look the same on the surface.
Avatar 6:40pm herb.nyc:

Dr Epstein has 5 kids? Is he starting a basketball team?
Avatar 6:41pm geezerette:

It's a bit late. Still, hope remained at the bottom of Pandora's box...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Linda Lee:

back in the day, 5+ kids was average for the catholic families i knew, since the pope was against birth control. Dr. Epstein is obviously catholic.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Ken From Hyde Park:

The 'duck returned this search for the Skinner box: simplypsychology.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Sig:

Loftslag eða veðurfar eru þeir eiginleikar veðurs sem eru einkennandi fyrir lengri tímabil, og er þá oft miðað við 30 ár. Nákvæmari skilgreining tekur til tölfræðilegra eiginleika veðurs, svo sem breytinga á milli daga og ára. Milliríkjanefnd Sameinuðu þjóðanna um loftslagsbreytingar skilgreinir loftslag á eftirfarandi hátt:

Loftslag í þröngum skilningi er yfirleitt skilgreint sem „meðaltalsveður“, eða á nákvæmari máta sem tölfræðileg lýsing (sem tekur til meðaltals og breytileika) á viðeigandi stærðum og eiginleikum yfir lengra tímabil, sem getur varað frá mánuðum til þúsunda eða milljóna ára. Hefðbundið viðmiðunartímabil er 30 ár, eins og það er skilgreint af stofnuninni World Meteorological Organization. Viðeigandi eiginleikar eru oftast yfirborðshitastig, úrkoma og vindur. Loftslag í víðari skilningi er, auk tölfræðilegrar lýsingar, almennt ástand veðurfarskerfisins.[1]
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Linda Lee:

for me it's critical to remember that our basic existence is *not* virtual.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm ultradamno:

I feel for kids right now, between this adminstration and social media what model is there for integrity, if not just a solid factual base for understanding what's going on around them?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Linda Lee:

the usual ones, i think. their parents.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Bas NL:

Would be great if Dr. Epstein keeps us updated on his findings.. very interesting!
  6:47pm Johnzon:

MLK, Malcolm X... there are some good living role models too they just don't get much press
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Michael 98145:

i does seem like our foundation is turning entirely virtual, doesn't it?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm Linda Lee:

a parent should be a role model. *the* role model. i refuse to give anyone intentionally getting pregnant a pass on that. this world is too dangerous for small people to support sloppy parenting.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm ultradamno:

Facts are now served à la carte.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Linda Lee:

i think unplugging for set periods to balance connected time is really, really important. problem is, many of us just don't find ourselves as interesting as the net. :-D
  6:51pm MplsCoco:

I'm currently in an Adolescent Health Conference and this is a big part of the topics covered!! I'm so sharing your show with others and all the amazing content you provide us! ❤️
Avatar 6:52pm northguineahills:

Been listening, but busy at work.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm melinda:

@Linda totally
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm Linda Lee:

unplug for sufficient time to become reacquainted with what the virtual is *not*. what it's *not* is actuality.
Avatar 6:53pm geezerette:

It's useful to try to remember things rather than always searching.
Better for your brain too.

Feed your imaginations constantly.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm Bas NL:

Mmmm... There's still some work to do Mark: en.wikipedia.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Linda Lee:

right on, g.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Linda Lee:

there's a new meaning for 'head's up' :-)
Avatar 6:54pm northguineahills:

Hey, I like to cuddle, not sure if Google is my type, but I have an open mind... ;p
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Michael 98145:

well said, gz'ette
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Linda Lee:

Google will use & abuse you, ngh. my advise is to keep it casual.
Avatar 6:55pm northguineahills:

I play games w/ my mind to make sure it still works, and memory is the only think I have going for me....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Michael 98145:

we -are- our memory
Avatar 6:57pm northguineahills:

My younger (and lacking critical thinking skills) jokingly say that I'm now obsolete w/ google around.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Linda Lee:

  6:57pm Russ:

Does anyone else think caller Peter is caller Know It All from Shut Up Weirdo?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm melinda:

I've gotten good results with Startpage
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm chris:

dang. missed the show. to the archives! yes, Russ.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Linda Lee:

could be!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Bas NL:

Matt... nice!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Michael 98145:

thanks again, Mark H
  6:58pm Sherry in Somerville:

Thank you Mark. Another excellent program that totally freaks me out! In a good galvanizing way.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm melinda:

Haha, that will be fun
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I hope there will be a nice duet to close next week's show.
  6:58pm MplsCoco:

it is most definitely Know It All!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Linda Lee:

wash that youngster's mouth out with virtual soap, ngh! :-D
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 7:00pm northguineahills:

Thanks Mark and Dr Robert!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Linda Lee:

thanks Mark!
Avatar 7:00pm geezerette:

My computer had a seizure for five minutes just now!
  7:01pm Warren from Australia:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 7:01pm geezerette:

Thanks, Mark and pals!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Michael 98145:

help, i'm a rock
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Have a great week.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Linda Lee:

help, i'm a rock!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:03pm Michael 98145:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:03pm Mark Hurst:

p.s. Bas, you can make it happen! :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:03pm Buddha of Suburbia:

Hello, I'm scissors. Who's paper?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:03pm Linda Lee:

help, i'm a cop!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:04pm Mark Hurst:

OK, let's all move to Dan Bodah's playlist page!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:04pm Buddha of Suburbia:

Hi everyone!
Avatar 7:04pm geezerette:

Ha! I'm a rock too! :)
Avatar 7:04pm future transport:

FREAK OUT !!!!!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:04pm Michael 98145:

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