« Coffee With Scott Adams

Episode 159 Scott Adams: Wondering about Shadow Banning

2018-07-28 | 🔗


  • Our opinions are being manipulated by an algorithm
  • The public and press are influenced by maybe 3 engineers at Twitter
  • Your opinions are assigned to you by your environment
  • Common sense is an illusion, a rationalization after the fact
  • Jake Tapper tweet on ignoring facts and reason
  • The illusions of “history repeats” and “slippery slopes”
  • The plastic straw ban
  • The 48 Hour Rule for opinion and statements clarification


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The post Episode 159 Scott Adams: Wondering about Shadow Banning appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
but an important and bump bump bump bump home hello mike a low hello people whose names are not actually in your username gino diedre and mark he do that everybody let's talk about quality yes midst i dive and simultaneous up on a little bit later to give you time to brew your fresh party well i've been waiting and this year when we two thousand users here comes the simultaneous up everybody join me for the simultaneous hip
oh yeah so i've been watching with amusement the issue of shadow banning on twitter and several ideas about this i haven't quite gel them but in no particular order i've told you before that people think they have opinions peter i think that their brain sort of independently ways all the data comes up with an opinion but not like that is happening what's happening is that your environment it is largely assigning your opinion to you now your brain could rejected in some of the extreme cases but generally speaking whichever form of media you're attracted to the left or the right the media is pretty much the same in your opinion now
it's true if you watching the saviour only watching fox news or if your only watching msnbc your opinion would be assigned to that way but what happens if you're looking at the social media which more of a wild west and it's not a silo but rather anybody can publish any anything well people have a sort of silo themselves by who they choose to do to follow or not but noted that that or something about social media and it makes me wonder if we need some kind of constitutional change to recognise how important right now we have a constitution that
defines the various branches of government so you ve got your constitution says what's this what's the coroner look like what's the congress look like what's the executive branch look like but it seems to me that that was created before social media was a thing and i'm wondering if do if the bill of the earth the internet and i'm sorry reading your comments and trying to talk at the same time i'm wondering if the constitution is slightly a date imagine if you will the framers of the constitution thomas jefferson let's say just a imagine if the internet was one it is now and they were coming up with a constitution don't you think they'd probably work something into that constitution about their rights social media users i think they would and
no laws islander subleasing but here's what i'm wondering suppose well let's frame the problem first so twitter has said we don't shadow ban but and the users are seeing things which clearly looked at them like everybody and then when pressed twitter says um version of no no it's not shadow banning sir algorithm and we're trying to improve that improve the health of the conversations i think they say in order to do that they have some rules built into the algorithm that influence what you can see how often and all that now the the net effect of that is that you can follow people though you i want to see their content and it won't show it to you or i won't show you the show it to you wear them priority unless seems like
not really what people were signing up for by here's the thing if you as a user dont know but the algorithm is how can you really feel confident that something this is vitally important to her to our existence is being handled correctly so i would say that we should at least consider and independent board who does nothing but sure the algorithms are fair so this board would be something that doesn't necessarily doesn't even a surly after me a government entity could be just some private kind of entity could be the swiss could be something we need some kind of independent entity that can look at this the media is stuff and say ok you're algorithm is fair or not fair and then
report out why it's fair wise not foreseen in some details i dont know if you can trust a cut we need to do that for you and i dont know that you could trust the government to do that for you see you probably need some kind of trusted entity to do that and i don't know exactly symbolises the board would be cut did you could probably design one there wouldn't be for example suppose your board was changed down once a year suppose everything the board dead had to be published so that there is no doubt why they did what they did so you could probably here somebody says they pick the southern poverty law centre
yeah if you pick if you prefer a known organization that's a problem but if you re something from scratch you might be awaited might be fined waiting with they get burned well that's why you need to change about once a year so you you don't want anything like a long tenure for that kind of job they were just put them el their noble the thing i have mentioned before them continually struck by is being as i say the social media and the news assign us our opinions and i would say the twitter is sort of the topic pyramid for opinion and i say that because people in the press or all on twitter so if
look at what kind of social media influences the the national conversation about politics i would say that mostly twitter even though facebook has a lot of reach and adds and stuff i think the press is influenced by twitter would you sent us that's true because the press is all on twitter and that seems to be more immediate and more more political and stuff so it feels like our political opinions are being determined by an algorithm and the how many people lower dear gas of how many people in the world many people in the world now what's in the twitter algorithm like actually know what variables are in it and what is designed to do people in the whole world this actually understand it
certainly not management because it will be a little bit more technical more detailed than management normal it would be asked to understand and it must be complicated because if it were something simple reproaches tell us yeah it's the variables where that easy they just like yours over algorithm this is what we're doing but probably complicated so i would say eighty three people in the whole planet no what's in the algorithm and here's the interesting thing the algorithm will determine how the individuals in the press feel and then they will create stories that make that make you know how the rusty feel so they're probably three engineers and they're probably engineers
who are determining the brain of the world because as here's use the chain of events theirs say three engineers probably know each other i soon and they decide what to do present at least in terms of how much of each message now that the mt of each method message is very influential so we know that the more you see something more influential this so those fewer here's to say which messages you see that influence goes to the india because the media are all on twitter people like me people follow the news people write about the news pundits thrall following media twitter and i'm pretty sure twitters by far the most influential thing then their press goes in they re stories the producers create content for all the various press platform
but all of that traces back to three there's a twitter probably now if you believe that people have something like free will then you say well that's not much of a pro like you i know a lot probably a lot of you were saying some version of this sleep well i can see what you're saying that there is little ripple effect from what the engineers do that goes all the way through but it's probably a small all the fact i dont know it might be the only thing that matters does it would look exactly the same to us those of us who have opinions we feel like that came from ourselves our own heads because we lived in the world and then we had an opinion and then we so well i guess that was my opinion i feel the way i feel it is
i'm just looking at the data using my mind i have an opinion but nothing like that is actually happening opinions are assigned to you by some combination of year genetic make up that causes your brain to be formed in a certain way there's little but that your experience which further formed rain so it's it's a certain tool at any moment changes over time but is being programmed by the environment and by the things that you are exposing yourself so i think that maybe three engineers who are effectively running the world right now because they can change what you care about what you see that and foot that in turn changes your opinion somebody says and how much i do my own research i would call that an illusion
so whenever i hear somebody say something like my opinion is not assigned to me because i do my own research often you'll see that about was a climate change people say now i've i've looked into an have done my own research that is not a thing that is a pure hallucination if you believe you ve done your research and that you have used their research to form an opinion you're completely mistaken now the could be somebody in the world who is capable of looking although at all the research on both sides and really digging in that there might be a few people in the world who could do that but they would be really expert level if you're just a consumer and you're trying to figure out anything complicated like trade agreements or young
almost anything when you look into it you have this imagination that you're looking at all the information but you're just you just following the little rabbit path that's already been created for you by people have gone before so you're tendency will be to follow the path that you think is the best one because you said yourself while of course on other information why wouldn't i look for the best information and ignore the bad information but right there i just told you the problem if it's your opinion which information is good and and which is bad you not really being influenced by the information you using the information to reinforce your bias so most people say i feel a i know some people are our sheep but not me not leave room for god's sakes i
i do my own research those people are perhaps the most hypnotized because they have a firm the hallucination that their own research is useful now there are no absolutes so they're probably some people in the world who can do that and maybe even come to better conclusions because but when the average person says it it doesn't mean anything somebody says what about you will remember my messages that i dont know the answer uncomplicated things from trying to be consistent so if you ask me do you understand climate science i was a no i mean i would to rely on other people and i dont trust those other people that's it that's all i know
then there are some big things i know such as humans are good at solving problems if they see them coming we know there's some technologies or probably that will make a difference we know they're waiting sometimes is better than acting quickly so there's some big concepts that weakens air are true for every situation just because of the way the world is organised bought or no i don't know the truth of climate and sword necessarily what we should do don't know the best answer on trade tariffs but i can tell you that if we negotiate hard will probably get a better result than if we don't they're just some general things you can say but beyond that i did my own research the i i decided i the figure out what's going on with trade deals in the european union and our deals with china i'm gonna dig into that get becoming
well i would convince myself i was an expert after a while i would say to myself i have now looked at enough information i have common sense so common sense somebody wrote in all caps common sense is an illusion common sense is an illusion if two people disagree on any topic which one of them has common sense well why don't you ask them hey you to disagree completely which one of you as the common sense what will be the answer well i well i do i've got plenty a common sense common sense is is a rational after the fact it's something you do after you ve made your decision after you make your decision for a rational reasons you say to yourself well
i made this decision because of this fact this fact and all of my common sense it says just there common knowledge and common sense was not as a after the fact the exception to what i just said is some topics that have no emotional content in those cases you probably do you use your common sense in other words just your ability to reason and your ability to use facts so if you're looking you know were so let's say i want enough cos so i don't run out of coffee before i'm done doing a task on my computer and i've got to size mugs one is big one small there is no emotional content to this decision i that's it
that's a decision where my common sense totally works as a her i need more coffee than i can put in the small mug i'll use the big one common sense tells me a bigger and bigger but will last longer ok if there's no emotional content you absolutely can use your common sense or you're just save your sense of reason or something you don't need needs common sense but everything else politics love your career these they're just riddled with emotional variables there overwhelmed me your sense of reason and facts and that's why we are in the way we are a nose dead jake tapir addy retweet end a comment about jonah goldberg article he was talking about the how people are
nor in truth and facts in reality and just making their own reality up out of whole collusion allegation and every time i see a story like that i say to myself are we just discovering this how long have i been telling you literally the subtle and my book how long about been telling people that the facts are just not part of the conversation never will be never have them in and by the way i don't exempt myself from these statements so when i say facts no matter i dont mean oh you die people standing over there you guys know you guys women can use facts announcing that i'm saying people an important a subset of people
i give an example when the news came out that that the gdp use can be four point one and people were celebrating and celebrating too and i was under the impression no borrowers economy never reached four point one no i don't know why i believe that i guess i've i felt i heard it me or maybe i only heard it i'm social media maybe i heard it on the press but they were you maybe and what really talking about the whole term and it turns out this just false there's just there's not even close to being true so obama hit this level of past presidents have had this level and different terms during their
so everything that i thought was a pretty solid fact about this gdp which by the way is a great number i'm not diminishing the fact as a great number and things are going in the right direction but i'm pretty well informed and they the word to me for a while and i'm not i'm not tv pundits informed young informed as an expert i got but as a casual observer the news i am i observe news all day long and i'm looking at both networks at em you social media i'm getting from lots of different sources you would think that on a simple question like that that somebody saying obama never here
gdp numbers this i but we haven't either so we have also never achieved young annual numbers over for we had we had at once for it so when people or are even making the simplest observations about fact i got fool i absolutely had the wrong facts and if you'd send me hey scott use your common sense to make a decision about which president did with the economy i would add a problem there goes my common sense and well everybody saying this is the best answer burns
bottom line it would all be based on fake news the failures and an essentially created in my own and now there are three concepts which i'm gonna be writing about pretty soon i have agreed to do a new book by the way and the working title for the new book was suggested by those of you here shake the box but one of the things i write how is the illusion that the illusion that history repeats here here some things the sound the same as history repeats an analogy like oh this reminds me of this thing from history that's bad thinking this history doesn't repeat
and also the slippery slope whenever i hear the slippery slope but just my spine goes goes i feel like i hate hearing that term so much because it's not the thinking and i know i'm not gonna be able to convince anybody that is not thinking i'll try as i have tried through my life but you cannot convince people the slippery slope is nothing it's not thinking in any way now it is trivial the things change over time but whether you call that a slippery slope or progress it just depends on your political opinion serve you said if you said hey you know if you bear this kind of gun next thing you know you
be banning other kinds of guns it's a slippery slope well it's only a slippery slope if you don't like the concept abandoned guns if you do like the concept of banning guns it's a little thing called progress so if you think that labeling something a slippery slope has added to the car relation that's a complete illusion because things change if you like that change you say this is progress i love progress and if you don't like to change its a slippery slope now i also believe that everything moves until there's a competing force in other words politics is like physics in the sense that a body in motion will keep moving lesser some competing forest like gravity or it runs into another another object
so any policy will head in the same direction forever or until it reaches an opposing force but there is always an opposing force and when the opposing forces big enough it stops take an example of taxes if you raise taxes on the ridge is a slippery slope to taking all their money well it's a direction but what will happen is at some point the people whose taxes are rising will organise and bill grab power back and though fight until then stops and maybe even reverses the fact that something is going in one direction ignores the fact that counterforces i will always organised slow it down and ass does the world you want to live in you want to live in a world where
you want to live in a world where you can have progress but there is still little gating factor this is ok that's as fast as you need to go in essen and made you ve gone far enough so adding the words slippery slope to an argument add absolutely nothing because history does not repeat things do not go forever and when they go in the right way sometimes people will call them progress as they like that direction what about drug use drug use is the same you you ve got the spell a case i guess that the larger point is that everything's a special case again once you once you get the big point that everything is its own special case then you could say this thing is likely to go for a while this other thing is likely not to go for a while because of their special case in the case of drugs
somebody is not being watched and are addicted to drugs it is a slippery slope in the sense that they will keep doing drugs until they run out of money or die or hear bottom or something like that or go to jail so that there is definitely a limit to how far we can go and that's true just about everything the operator epidemic yes so the employed epidemic was a slippery slope but until it became big enough that the public funded and public does not yet have an effective response but i am confident that it will chip away at it until i get something look at the children in cages problem under obama there were some children engages smaller number then there were under trump because just the number of people coming increased so that was a problem that was slippery slope there were few kissing
issues and then there were a lot of kids in cages and what happened and soon it became a logic is engages the prescott more interested suddenly and then there was some push back so things can go in one direction for a while but the slippery slope doesn't add anything to the conversation no one wants kids engaged so i had a conversation with they will say and entertainment person who is very much in the liberal camp who when questioned this purse question me about my thoughts about the trump and he said well what about kids in cages i looked at him for a minute i thought to myself does he believe somebody's in favour that because it
can't i so the question is that there might be somebody who thinks that's ok nobody likes the kids engages just took a while to fix it and i think that the the press and the attention and put on it was good eye the times i'm happiest is when the system is working because you need the system the work in the system work there was a small problem the became a big problem when it became a bigger problem the system took notice the social media did its thing it influenced the government the government put more
the emphasis on it probably some more money little more energy on god closer to a solution still still lots to go it's never you never done with this but i said i was a pretty good system that to me it's encouraging when there's a problem and then the system works its way and solve that that look pretty good to me even though what he likes children engages what about this idiotic plastic straw ban why do you think it's a idiotic the reason that you think the plastic straw ban is idiotic is because the press has assigned that opinion to you there's nothing about common sense involves in this straw situation the straw situation is complete political bias there
fed back to you to your side of the press to say it's going too far it's a slippery slope ban the straws they're going ban or close will be walk around naked next because with no plastic straw as one thing will lead to next year's the way to look at it you know anything about this plastic straw situation i dont know how many tons of plastic straw find their way into the ocean or kill birds or whatever the hell they're doing no idea i dont know if it used to be a small a small problem this become a big problem i dont know of it the tipp of the spear and they want to get rid of all the plastic pretty soon i dont know if these new technologies for cleaning the plastic out of the ocean and there's some goodwin sparely that are just coming on board
the work so i don't know anything about this plastic straw situation but i'll tell you this if it's true the plastic straws our environmental problem and they probably are i mean seems reasonable to think that maybe some problem there is the biggest problem in the world that are technologists have to figure out a better straw feels like a small problem to me it doesn't feel like a slippery slope it just feels like one more thing somebody s surface as a problem is probably bigger than we thought it once i don't know but probably and there's probably a perfectly good work around that we'll get to over time so the if you think it's just political and is too much of a reach i would say we don't really know that none of you have studied the straw
the plastic straw problem all you saw was something on fox news or wherever you're watching tv and you said plastics they ve gone too far now the reason that the plastic straw thing has any any attention at all is that a plastic straw is by its nature a trivial the thing it was not an automobile it's not a person not a war this is the last straw but that doesn't mean that when you some them up as no impact on the on the on the economy nope not knowing the straw thing you know i think this plastic strutting will
other way become like so many other things in this domain the things that we do now the just seem normal that there was a time when it seem crazy for his outlaws changing the light bulbs and i'm i'm reminded the california used have incandescent light bulbs but they changed law and now we have a ladys and efficient light bulbs and i remember will have that law first came out and i thought light bulbs here i just have my light bulb why i want the i love that early this old light bulb creates in the o my first my first impression was i am opposed to this change why can't they leave me and my light bulbs alone but i have other light bulbs there more energy efficient in the long run it will save me time their less hot so that no heat up the house that i'm there than trying to
our condition now i just go to the store to buy a light bulb and is just different light bulbs that's all we just ever labels so we we tend to get worked up over light bulbs and straws in plastic bags and stuff i think society largely is crawling in the right direction without stuff if we can figure out ways to chip away at what were what would have been wasteful and find a better way to do it i'll take a little bit affection friction together no big deal now people are saying that the new borders or worse than the bad ones well if that's true i think science or figure that out and will readjust
metals draws make things tastes better do they where they make it is worse i don't like the taste of metal if ever noticed if you use a metal fork food tastes better or worse any i don't like the taste of a fork you're a little trick for a future if you really little little finger food like say olives or just anything that small if you can either with a wooden toothpick actually take less moon was less moon bears heresy bs accused by six women of me two sorts of things i think this situation just more of what we seems there's not much more to say about the trend i once had a meeting with less moonbeam is one of the way things about me me is that when
you watch the news here just watching stories about the strangers when i watch the news after the news is people i know this weird isn't it for example if i'm watching you know any news programme chances are the the host somebody had mad or they ve interviewed me or somehow i know them so a lot of the pundits i've and her head interactions with and less move as is another one of those so back many years ago i was pitching dilber movie and he was one of the one of the pitch stops on that
on that tour and so i had a brief pitch session with him my pitched dilbert and he said now for us now he had a good reason because cbs was sort of the older persons network and dilber was at the baby it right now would be perfect perceive yes but at the time it was a younger product and in relation in there in their portfolio are still going to make the dilber movie now that's probably permanent hold right now i would not be able to market a movie as a first while i wouldn't be able to get good people to work on it right now because my brand is little toxic in hollywood and it is they went
let me do women i'm not i'm not scheduled to be on gregor fell show but we are appearing together on stage for part of his book to her but i think that's sold at this point james gun lobby suggest once again all for making the world a better place i have said this before the but the more i think about it the better i like this idea watch me influence the world right now there there are not that many cases where i get to call d you know
call the home run and say i've gotta hit the home run over that field but do there right now i'm i'm gonna inject some persuasion into the system that i think you're gonna see in real time change how people treat the news i ready so here's some persuasion longer relations of the universe and the reason it will be persuasive is because it's a in new thought a normal topic and that makes something viral anytime you inject the the person by the dog instead dogged by supervision is on you but is also a high ground maneuver which is always the best and here it is how many times have you seen politicians mostly politicians but also celebrities famous people get in trouble for something they said
and then later they clarified that the thing that they said does not what they meant its arm one of our most common front right so i recommend the four our rule for clarification and it goes like this if somebody says something that sounds rageous and provocative and god it's raises the sexes is something and then public says hey what do you mean are you saying are you saying what we think you're saying did we hear you right here's the new rule you ve got forty eight hours to clarify and that once you have clarified the clarification has to be the news from that point on in other words when we say what is your opinion it has to be the the clarification now i give him for eight hours because a rules or when their little bit specific
and forty eight hours is plenty of time forced we need to say wow so what you heard that's at all believe me my speaking is it i gave you that impression that's opposite of my actual opinion so roseanne would be the i would call roseanne the perfect example of this you see the president of this problem with charlottesville and other things and we say forty eight hours to spin i think you're not being a good citizen when you say that cause you're saying spin here's what i think the rule should be we should believe people when they tell us of their opinion we should not assign people opinions we should not say looking in your secret thoughts and i'm sorry something bad and i now because the way you ordered that thing the rules should be that the only people who
tell you what their thinking is the person now if they take longer than forty eight hours to correct something i think it's perfectly reasonable say ok maybe that sort of what they meant that's a year later and hear some weird spin rationalization a year later you can ask yourself why didn't they say right away that would be fair but if if they erected within forty eight hours i there are rules should be that's what they think nobody gets to tell other people what they think now i of course have a personal investment business because there have been many times and i guess a lot of you i've seen it yourself you see how many times i have been misinterpreted were somebody will say you said so
you said the aliens are real and they broke do and then i'll say no no daily i didn't say that say anything like that i said other people claim that happened to them or whatever is my opinion should not be dales interpretation of my opinion from that moment on the forty eight hour rule should be i got forty eight hours to address any is i of my misinterpretation assuming i've seen it you know you can't address everybody's interpretation everywhere but if the big big misinterpretation is the story forty eight hours imagine how much better the world would be if people had forty eight hours and i think that could include apologizing it get him a kid include clarifying but that's the big picture if you want a better world
for forty eight hours and especially politicians because we judge them interfere politician funded celebrity you're talking in public all the time your odds of saying something the sounds wrong is a battle percent that's about it hundred percent eventually you gonna say something that people misinterpret forty eight hours you ve got to clarify so that's gonna be my new rule serve so if you asked me in the future hey what about that thing that somebody said though dahmer on reform now whenever i say gimme forty eight hours once is clarified i'm taken clarification now some of you were gonna say hey i think the mistake the whatever the original thing they said was is really a better reflection of what they think what they did in the next four eight hours was really trying to covered up conniston spinning it
do you know what i say to that good good let's take that exists low so somebody will say there's some celebrity who says something terribly sexist and it gets cold elsewhere and then for hours later the person says no no no i was misinterpreted i would never say such things now let's say you believe they're just lie and here and there billy did mean the thing they said for eight hours ago here's my rule doesnt matter because what you really wanted was for people to understand the difference between the bad behaviour in the good behaviour which layer menstruating by telling you that they really didn't mean the bad behaviour you want them to do it in public to remind the world what good behaviour looks like and what good opinions look like if assuming that there is a good and bad opinion in this case
and i think we should accept when people say there clarification even if it's not true this is really important point even if the clarification absolute lie the world is way better off if we let people say are as i said this axis thing but now i'm clarifying it because i get it like we don't say these things the clarification terms that personally into the thing they said that that they really believe there's a principle of in persuasion in which if used it publicly in opinion you you end up adopting the opinion even if you didn't believe it when you first said it so it was really a sexist and really cybersex this thing
and then within forty eight hours they said no i don't mean that that's not what i that's not who i am let them here's the key let them become the person you wanted them to be let them do that even if it's not real then become lepers let them pretend to be that person because they will become that person by pretending you know that the nature of human beings is if you pretend to be a jerk it just becomes who you are if you pretend to be nice it becomes who you are a few if you show love to people before you even feel it you come to love them so let people become the people you want them to be give them that their freedom and gives them that pass
and let people be in charge of of what they want you to think as their opinion it's ok that you give them some pushed back i did i ask cathy griffin to come on i haven't but that would be fun i will think i will ask you to do that i'm waiting for others there's an upgrade coming to my startups up the interface app so there's a important upgrade coming that will now a few weeks and then maybe i'll do more some more appearances also have some really interesting stuff coming up next week i don't wanna teaser yet but as you know i tried to help the the world in ways that i have any special
to do that and so there's something very interesting that i'm working on though you hear about next week and by the way all of you will participate at least with your ideas some going to ask you to participate with your thoughts and your ideas doesn't have to be your money and it's gonna be exciting and it will be fun and you'll see that next week i no it's not about vote malaria alive malaria to the gates foundation they seem to really be all over them which is great but disorder phone ring within only fools
no it's not about black lives better it's something something there all could influence all of you in a good way and that's all for now i've got a few things to do and i'll talk to you later
Transcript generated on 2020-04-02.