Tag: Crime

It’s Time To Start Talking About Bail Reform

By Francis Folz | United States

Criminal justice reform is often a precarious topic of American politics. Although Americans by and large recognize our criminal justice system is broken, they often dispute which solutions are best to mend our system’s innumerable quagmires. Political inaction, or worse, further detrimental actions, only exacerbate our system’s woes.

The land of the free is the home of the brave. However, it is also home to 21 percent of the world’s prison population, but only 4.4% of the world’s general population. The United States has between 3 to 4 times as many citizens behind bars in comparison to other developed nations. And what’s worse than locking citizens up for victimless crimes is that 34% of defendants are kept in jail because of their inability to post bail.

From a fiscally responsible perspective, bail reform is a no brainer. A recent study revealed that as of 2014, almost 63 percent of local jail inmates have not been convicted. That statistic is calamitous for two reasons. First, that the state assumes 60 percent of prisoners are innocent, but still detains them without a verdict. Second, housing inmates isn’t cheap. On average, the United States spends $33,000 per year for every inmate. These costs range between states, with Alabama spending nearly $15,000 per inmate and New York spending $69,000.

A majority of Americans support the idea of bail reform in a number of ways. For starters, 57% favor removing people from jails who cannot afford their bail, except in the most extreme circumstances. Furthermore, 70% of Americans believe public safety should be the deciding factor as to whether someone stays in jail before their trial or not. Clearly, Americans broadly support altering the merits of whether individuals walk free before their trial, and for good reason.

Although the concept of reforming our bail system may be new to public discussion, the concept of bail has great historical precedent. In fact, bail has been a part of the Anglo-Saxon justice system for a very long time. Our founding fathers dedicated the 8th amendment to ensure the government could not levy excessive bails against the accused. The purpose of a bail system has always been to assure the accused return to court for their trial.

Regrettably over time, combined with diminutive oversight, our bail system has transformed into a trap for lower income individuals. For example, police accused one man in New York City of possessing drug paraphernalia for merely carrying a soda and straw from the local convenience store. Although the man had a prior criminal history, all of his offenses were low-level and non-violent. Despite the man posing no threat to his community, the state set his bail at an incomprehensible 1,500 dollars. For someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, that is an absurd amount of money, especially when your crime was possessing a plastic straw.

Unfortunately, like so many other issues we currently face, our nation has strayed from the Constitution’s limitations. And as a result, we now find ourselves in a crossroads where change is necessary to avert further dilemmas. At a time when it is imperative to reign in government spending and reduce the amount of citizens behind bars, ameliorating our current system is one of America’s most rational and promising chances at bail reform.


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Arvin Vohra Will Pardon Snowden and Ulbricht of Victimless Crimes as President

By Arvin Vohra | United States

A few days ago, I announced that on the very first day of my presidency, I would take on the role of Pardoner-in-Chief. I would first pardon Edward Snowden and Ross Ulbricht, then continue to all those in prison for non-violent offenders. That includes all in jail for drug use, sales, or networking (like Ulbricht), cryptocurrency law violators, those with only gun possession charges, sex workers, clients of sex workers, and many other victimless criminals. I have also declared my intention to encourage others to use the power of the jury for similar purposes, by saying “not-guilty” to cases involving victimless crimes.

The response has been about what I expected. Many have furiously declared that such large scale pardons would violate the will of the courts, the Constitution, the will of the people, and even moral principles. On each of these areas, my detractors are wrong.

Today, ill-considered mandatory minimum and three strikes laws block the will of the courts. Judges have lost the legal ability to give comparatively reasonable sentences. Many have spoken out against the harsh sentences that the state legally forces them to hand out. In the current legal climate, government ignores the will of the court and replaces it with bizarre, draconian penal requirements.

Also, my plans for large-scale pardons are in no way unconstitutional. In fact, the Constitution directly grants the president the legal ability to pardon. Our past presidents have used this power. Perhaps they have done so on a much smaller scale. Still, Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution grants this power without limitation.

In fact, I would argue that the Eighth Amendment nearly creates a constitutional requirement to pardon. This amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Today, those in prison for victimless crimes are in danger. They face the constant and all-too-common threats of assault and rape at the hands of other inmates. While this is not the legislated punishment, it has certainly become a de facto one. The existence of this environment, in my eyes, is a clear and blatant violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Do large scale pardons violate the will of the people? Absolutely not. I have made my intentions clear, over two years in advance of the election. There is no bait and switch here. If the people elect me, they will do so knowing that I will pardon those the state convicts of victimless crimes.

Ultimately, however, this is a question of conscience. I cannot, in good conscience, stand by while the state unjustly imprisons my fellow Americans. I cannot, and will not, do nothing while those who have harmed no one are locked in cages under a constant threat of sexual assault.

In the eyes of many, those people are the bottom rung of society. Perhaps they are. But, that doesn’t mean that their rights matter less, that their freedoms matter less, that they matter less.
While I am not a religious person, I draw great inspiration from the world’s religions. I do believe that whatever the state does to the least of us, it does to all of us. I have no intention of doing nothing while the state unjustly imprisons people in my name, with my money.

To those of you currently imprisoned wrongfully: I don’t seek your vote, as I know you cannot vote. I only ask you to keep fighting, to not give up hope. I know you feel that most of America has abandoned you. Believe me when I tell you that there are more of us than you can imagine, working to set you free, to let you live with dignity. We are going to keep trying. It is not over until we win, until every one of you is free.

To those who enjoy freedom, I ask you to become Pardoners-in-Chief in your own right, but using the power of the jury. As a juror, you have the ability to say “not guilty” if you believe that a law is unjust. Such a process is called “jury nullification” and is a fully legal option for all juries. Essentially, this means that the jury declares the person on trial guilty, but the law unjust. Thus, there is no sentence. That idea isn’t new. It’s the reason we have freedom of the press in America. The famous Zenger trial was decided based on judging the law itself: the defense admitted that John Peter Zenger broke the law, but the law itself was wrong.

As St. Augustine said, “An unjust law is no law at all.” I stand by my pledge to pardon those convicted of victimless crimes on my first day, and ask you to apply the same principle through jury nullification.


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Victimless Crime Laws Have No Place in a Free Society

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

When our great founding fathers fought to create this great nation, they envisioned a land where every man, woman, and child would be free to pursue whatever path in life they wished. They had just rid themselves of a tyrant in King George III, and many settlers who emigrated out of Europe saw the beautiful young nation of America as a bastion of personal liberty.

People of all backgrounds traveled thousands of miles across open ocean to flee persecution of all sorts because they knew that the newly established country was a safe haven for the oppressed. The first settlers of the New World would be very disappointed to find out that less than 250 years after it was founded, America has become the same type of nation that they left those many years ago. We, much like the 18th Century Brits, are clear victims of victimless crime laws.

Countless people are convicted of victimless crimes each day, at the local, state, and federal level. Taxpayers spend millions of dollars each year to imprison those who have done something that the state has deemed wrong, yet has not directly violated anyone’s rights or harmed them in any way.

Beyond being simply not pragmatic, victimless crime laws are immoral. They suggest that the State has supreme knowledge and jurisdiction over our bodies. This is most clearly seen in laws regarding the personal, small scale possession and use of drugs. When the state controls what substances we are permitted to consume, it assumes the role of “nanny” and pretends to know what is best for us. The use of a harmful substance is a personal decision, and one that, unless it becomes an extreme addiction, is unlikely to affect others in the user’s life.

In fact, incarcerating someone for a non violent drug offence introduces them to a world of crime. Once incarcerated, new prisoners are encouraged to join gangs by other inmates and are often pushed to commit worse crimes upon their release. They are eventually caught and sentenced to even longer in prison, continuing the cycle on indefinitely. Between 2005-2010, about two-thirds (67.8%) of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within 3 years, and three-quarters (76.6%) were arrested within 5 years. Cutting down on the many victimless crime laws will ensure that those convicted on minor charges are not thrust into a cycle of incarceration.

Government only has three legitimate roles- to protect life, liberty, and property. Rather than restrict the actions of citizens via legislation, the State should prosecute people once they have infringed on any of the aforementioned three characteristics of our lives. Instead of posting a speed limit and preventing me from driving at whatever speed I feel that I possess the skill to drive at and be safe, government should prosecute those whose unsafe speed caused damage to someone’s property or resulted in the loss of life or liberty. This approach allows for the maximum amount of liberty to be ensured to each individual, while punishing those who cause harm to others and their livelihoods.

Although much more free than other countries, America and her citizens have not had a taste of true personal freedom in over 100 years. Victimless crime laws are a severe infringement upon liberty and in order for the US to be considered truly free once again, must be eliminated. Government must return to protecting only Life, Liberty, and Property, and letting its citizens live life as they please.


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Ocean’s 8: Sandra Bullock Stars in Female-Lead Film

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

So, it has been eleven years since the release of the last ‘Ocean’s’ film… and filmmaker Gary Ross has in front of him an all-star cast and a $70 million-dollar budget to bring us his twist take on the ‘Ocean’s’ series. This all-female cast showcases the likes of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson. Here is my review of ‘Ocean’s 8.’

‘Ocean’s 8’ opens with Sandra Bullock’s character, ‘Debbie Ocean’ getting out of prison after spending the last five or so years behind bars, and as following the other ‘Ocean’s’ films, she has a plan. From here we see the plan get created and the crew get recruited. Going into this movie I was hoping to see some good build up towards the heist with some great interactions considering the star-studded cast involved.

I must say I was not disappointed by what I saw as the build up sequences and recruitment of these different individuals to join Bullocks’ characters heist plan were quite enjoyable. The cast really knocked this one out of the park. Bullock offers a great performance that really enhances a mediocre dialogue and direction job all around. I also quite liked Helena Bonham Carter, who plays an Irish fashion designer. I found she did a great job in this film and offered some of the best entertainment throughout. Anne Hathaway as always did a stellar job in her role and really fit the part in ‘Ocean’s 8.’

Mindy Kaling plays her typical role that she seems to have been accustomed to ever since the hit show ‘The Office’ and Rihanna does an okay job as well. Other leads in this film, Sarah Paulson and Cate Blanchett do their part and also deliver good performances. Awkwafina in this film did not feel quite right. Her character was interesting but I do not believe it was executed well, coming off as annoying. She was there mainly for comedic relief but in reality, we got some unneeded useless jokes and unnecessary character interactions.

Director Gary Ross had his ass saved in this film. There were times where I almost wanted the group to get caught in their heist just so we could see something a little more interesting and risky happen. Ross managed to lay together a movie that felt so dry and was absolutely spiced up by its incredible cast.

Sure, the group runs in to some bumps here and there but there is almost no friction within the group that leads us to actually feel the level of intensity rise. There were times where I sat back and truly did wish that one of the characters would question the plan or even have a strong disagreement with how they went about things.

Instead, Ross and the writers had them play it safe, keeping everyone for the most part on the same page in this film, which is a drag. Another negative of ‘Ocean’s 8’ is that it lacked a good laugh. I never found myself laughing at this movie or really appreciating a well-executed joke that was told or comedic sequences that was played out. There were some chuckles here and there but ‘Ocean’s 8’ would benefit from some more light-hearted comedy to go along with its light-hearted heist film.

This movie had some shots and different angles taken that looked absolutely stunning. The beginning scenes showing scenery in the city all looked great and that is a plus to the photo direction and cinematographers that worked on this movie. Another positive in my mind is that this was not a political film. Coming into this I knew it was an all-female lead film and that is the main purpose of this movie. I was interested to see if they played it off as a political film and went in on social issues in society today, but they did not. I found this to be a bonus because it would have been a distraction to the storyline and to the great performances being given by the actresses on screen.

Despite enjoying the build-up very much, I felt underwhelmed by the end of this film. The heist was for the most part fun to watch but the aftermath and the act following the heist felt rushed as a viewer. They would have benefited from sacrificing bits from the beginning and middle and putting more into the heist aftermath. Doing this would have made ‘Ocean’s 8’ a potentially more layered movie, missed opportunity.

The big plus: The excitement of this movie is seeing all the super star actresses own this film entirely. Go… sit back and enjoy some of this generations top talents!

Where it lacks:‘Ocean’s 8’ may feel underwhelming and just not as fun as it should be at times.

Score: 71/100

In conclusion, ‘Ocean’s 8’ was a good time at the movies. Director Gary Ross and his mediocre storytelling is saved and enhanced positively by some incredible jobs mainly from the likes of Bullock, Carter and Hathaway. The interaction and recruitment is a good lead up and fun watch going into the much-anticipated heist sequence. Although in the end I did feel slightly underwhelmed at times, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a good time.

Box Office Forecast:

Watch for the continual plummet of the box office bomb ‘Solo’ as it enters its third weekend. Warner Bros. Pictures ‘Ocean’s 8’ should take the box office and is expected to gross over $35 million this weekend. A24 studio’s much anticipated horror ‘Hereditary’ hits theatres this weekend and is surely set to break records for the small-scale studio.

Upcoming Releases:

June 13: SuperFly

June 15: Incredibles 2, Tag

June 22: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom


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Cambridge Analytica: A Case Study In Behaviorism Run Amok

Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

By Craig Axford | United States

Using information about people to manipulate them is nothing new. Psychologists refer to theory of mind as the capacity to attribute various mental states to others. Once we begin developing a theory of mind, using information we’ve acquired on others to our advantage follows very quickly. While this isn’t a uniquely human ability, our capacity for language and large brains have enabled us to take far greater advantage of it than any other species on the planet.

One indicator of a theory of mind is the ability to deceive. Animals do it all the time. In some cases deception is actually hardwired into a creature’s biology by evolution. Even in insects and plants we can find examples of false signals intended to convey the message to potential predators that they are poisonous when in fact they are not. But when it comes to skullduggery humanity can reach levels of sophistication other species couldn’t even begin to imagine, let alone implement.

. . .

The latest example of the use of information mined from our social environment and exploited for nefarious purposes involves the use of data gathered on around 50 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, a company specializing in targeting voters and consumers on behalf of clients in order to “move them to action.”

If you had just arrived from Mars you might be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the London based data firm with academic ties to one of England’s best known universities was the first to ever seriously undertake an effort to intentionally manipulate millions of people without either their knowledge or consent. However, such manipulation has been playing an increasingly overt role in our society since the early 20th century.

From Madison Avenue to political capitals around the world, psychology’s latest ideas regarding why people believe and behave the way they do have been a source of increasing fascination since at least World War I. After all, nothing requires a good sales pitch more than a war being fought for reasons that are as opaque as the blood tinged mud of the Somme and Verdun.

World War I propaganda poster

In his book How Propaganda Works, the philosopher Jason Stanley describes propaganda’s appeal this way:

Propaganda is not simply closing off rational debate by appeal to emotion: often emotions are rational and track reasons. It rather involves closing off debate by ‘emotions detached from ideas.’ According to these classical characterizations of propaganda, formed in reflecting upon the two great wars of the twentieth century, propaganda closes off debate by bypassing the rational will…Propaganda is manipulation of the rational will to close off debate.

Behaviorism is among the first non-Freudian theories to emerge in the developing field of psychology. It isn’t so much closed off to ideas as it is tailor made to advance any notion that happens to come along without concern for either its validity or ethical implications. Behaviorism’s founding father, John Watson, was a living testament to the amoral character of the doctrine of human nature he promoted. His experiments could be downright cruel, but making his point seemed to justify the means in his mind. Though not itself a form of propaganda, behaviorism’s linear mechanistic notions of human motivation made it the perfect psychological theory for both governments and industries increasingly seeking “scientific” means of mass manipulation.

Unlike the Freudians and Jungians preceding him, Watson saw people as scaled up and somewhat more sophisticated versions of Pavlov’s dogs. Perhaps we didn’t salivate as obviously when we heard the proverbial bell ring, but our responses to stimuli were typically no less conditioned. More importantly from the perspective of advertisers, politicians, intelligence agencies and other interested parties, Watson’s theory of human nature rendered us predictable and came without the messy and often baffling interpretations of the human psyche that men like Freud and Jung were known for.

To demonstrate humans are ultimately indistinguishable from Pavlov’s famous canines, Watson experimented on an 11 month old dubbed “Little Albert.” This unsuspecting infant was conditioned to fear rats, though it turned out the test had other effects beyond what even Watson could have anticipated. In The Attention Merchants, the media and technology writer Tim Wu describes the “Little Albert” experiment as follows:

“[Watson induced the phobia of rats] by striking a metal bar with a hammer behind the baby’s head every time a white rat was shown to him. After seven weeks of conditioning, the child, initially friendly to the rodent, began to fear it, bursting into tears at the sight of it. The child, in fact, began to fear anything white and furry — Watson bragged that ‘now he fears even Santa Claus.’”

A film still from the Little Albert experiment shows baby Albert with a rabbit, flanked by Dr. John Watson and Rosalie Rayner. (Wikimedia)

. . .

It should be obvious why behaviorism has considerable appeal to the advertising industry and certain professional political campaigners eager to find a short cut to the hearts and minds of the voting public. If we can in fact be conditioned to respond to a particular message or signal by buying a specific product or voting a certain way, the person or firm finding the best means for conditioning the most people will literally make themselves rich selling this service to the highest bidder.

What gets consistently overlooked to this day is the fact that “Little Albert” didn’t just develop a phobia of rats, but of other things as well. In poor Albert’s mind harmless rabbits and benevolent if fictitious characters like Santa had enough similar fuzzy qualities to induce anxiety. In other words, Watson didn’t so much prove that conditioning works on people — or at least people in the very early stages of emotional and cognitive development — as demonstrate that conditioning produces all sorts of unintended responses in addition to the intended one. This potentially leaves behaviorism’s predictive power as watered down and ineffectual as a homeopathic remedy. It also raises a number of thorny ethical questions regarding its application to both individuals and large groups.

That all behaviorism ultimately demonstrates is that under the “right” circumstances people will begin to associate two or more otherwise unrelated things with each other hasn’t kept it from having a powerful placebo effect on corporations and candidates convinced by the appeal of simplistic formulaic approaches to human complexity. It is precisely this kind of appeal that Cambridge Analytica was able to take advantage of.

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and yes, even beggar-man thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. ~ John Watson

Cambridge Analytica’s work on the Trump campaign is a clear example of how data-driven marketing techniques can change behavior in target populations. Applied to the commercial sector, these techniques can strategically engage your key audiences, improving conversion rates and boosting sales. ~ Cambridge Analytica’s website

For quite some time the news has been full of stories about social media’s ability to provide insights into the human condition we otherwise wouldn’t have. By now we’ve all heard or read about the potential for Google search trends to reveal everything from pending flu pandemics to our secret sexual desires and hangups.These stories have convinced much of the public as well as industry, governments, and other institutions of social media’s power as an analytical tool.

It’s not that Google searches don’t say something about us. It’s just that virtually everything we do says something about us. To really get to the heart of the matter we must address salience and context in addition to correlation. That requires real research and that kind of effort requires money. That’s why so few are willing to engage in truly meaningful ways with the data social media captures.

Here are just a few of the questions that we should be asking:

  • What exactly does a particular data point reveal and how should it be weighed against all the other actions a person takes in the course of their day?
  • To what extent is two or more people clicking the thumbs up icon under the same story an indication that these individuals share the same or similar personality traits?
  • To the degree people could arguably have been conditioned to “like” (or dislike) something in either the more traditional sense or in a social media context, to what extent have the same environmental and social influences conditioned them to do so?

As with the rest of an individual’s life, the list of variables that influence a person’s choices online gets long quickly. To find out what they are will necessarily involve more than just searching the data for patterns. It will involve follow up interviews or other forms of direct outreach with a significant number of the people providing the data in the first place. The “like” icon on Facebook doesn’t allow a person to indicate how much, on a scale of 1 to 10, the person liked the post in question. Nor does Facebook provide a dropdown menu people can use to select what motivated them to like it in the first place. Maybe they had a stronger connection to the person sharing it than they did the content itself. Who knows? Certainly not any of the firms out there pitching themselves as the one with the magic algorithm that reveals the answers to these questions.

But neither scientific integrity in particular or ethical standards in general were high on Cambridge Analytica’s priority list when they gained access to the Facebook habits of 50 million users and began searching the data for patterns. As is usually the case when it comes to the use of big data, the focus is almost entirely on correlation with little to no effort being put into the follow up research necessary to determine what, if anything, the correlations found in the data actually mean.

Both the crime rate and ice cream consumption go up in the summer, but it doesn’t follow that criminals like ice cream or that ice cream consumptions causes crime. In addition, piracy has dropped as global temperatures have risen. Should we conclude that climate change is therefore linked to a decline in piracy? These are silly examples, but no more silly than many of the ones actually being offered as proof of concept by some data analytics firms. Cambridge Analytica’s website actually briefly references a correlation they found between car ownership and voting history, boasting that this is the kind of information a candidate can expect to find in their massive database. That there’s no reason to believe that knowledge of what a person drives will tell us anything meaningful about their concerns as a citizen seems not to have even occurred to Cambridge Analytica, or apparently to their clients.

Regardless, wouldn’t we much rather have candidates looking at files that describe how we actually feel about education, healthcare, and the environment instead of analyzing our car ownership records and driving habits for clues about how we’re inclined to vote in the next election? Unfortunately for us, neither Cambridge Analytica or other targeting firms care much about the science behind what they do. They seem to care even less, if that’s possible, about civics. Like John Watson before them, they genuinely believe human beings truly are programmable machines that can be made to behave in particular ways if only they can identify the right correlating buttons to push. To them we’re not citizens, spouses, parents, siblings, or friends. We’re all just their Little Alberts.

. . .

Tim Wu points out in The Attention Merchants that targeting isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. That we can make certain assumptions about people according to where they live, the magazines they subscribe to, whether or not they attend church weekly, etc., has long been broadly asserted.

Of course these assertions are not completely without foundation at the population level. However, it’s never safe to assume that just because a person lives in a particular place or belongs to a particular group they share the same attitudes or beliefs which, on average, can be identified with the group as a whole. Every community has its outliers. In many respects these outliers are far more interesting and informative than the bulk residing closer to the peak of the bell curve. That said, we have a name for the habit of making assumptions about people based upon real or perceived characteristics that have become associated with their group. It’s called stereotyping. That companies in the stereotyping business like to refer to it as “targeting” instead doesn’t make it any less pernicious or fallacious.

Wu tells us that a business known as “Claritas” was “probably the first modern targeting company.” Claritas was built around a concept known as “audience fragmentation,” a reference to a cable television term used in that newly emerging industry to describe increasingly identifiable segments within the cable TV market. Cable television was just becoming popular as Claritas opened its doors in the late 70s. “Of course,” Wu points out, “it was never entirely clear whether ‘fragment’ was being used as a verb or a noun: Were the [cable] networks reacting to fragmented audiences, or were they in fact fragmenting them?” Wu concludes that “In retrospect, they were doing both.”

The problem was then as it is now that by targeting people in specific areas in particular ways the very geographical and ideological divides the targeting company’s model assumes already exist risk being either created or enhanced. Cause and effect become difficult to distinguish when engaging in the act of targeting produces the world targeting claims is already there.

Behaviorism may have demonstrated that, up to a point, we can condition people to believe and do all kinds of crazy things. However, as John Watson’s cruel experiments on Little Albert show, it never seriously stopped to consider whether or not we should or to what ends we should limit its application. It is precisely because advertising, social media, and targeting have the power to create and reinforce (i.e., condition) the environment their algorithms claim to uncover that ethics as well as science must be central to any assessment of the methods and technologies these industries utilize. Data doesn’t just mold and often skew our own perspective. To the extent it is actively used by others without our consent to determine the information, products, services and choices that will be offered to us it will reshape the world to fit agendas, both conscious and unconscious, that we would likely be better off without.

. . .

Cambridge Analytica is just the latest consequence of the belief that people are blank slates; easy marks for additional conditioning experiments using the modern equivalent of bells and metal rods to to make us crave or fear particular products or groups. Madison avenue and political campaigns have been showing and sending us targeted material rationalized implicitly by this premise for decades. The rise of social media and the modern computing power it utilizes have, however, added new urgency to the need to critically reflect upon the flawed psychological theories and amoral philosophies behind the practice.

Madison Avenue and professional political operatives are never likely to seriously consider the ethical consequences that follow from their cynical and simplistic view of the human condition, never mind confess to it. That’s why we must. Whether or not you decide to delete your Facebook account in response to the latest scandal, that large numbers of us are actually taking that choice seriously for the first time signals a renewed willingness to proactively shape our own world instead of having it shaped for us by others. Perhaps Silicon Valley at least will realize that the species they’ve been evaluating through their algorithms is an X factor that still retains the capacity to surprise them.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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