Motherboard bit on this chewy goodness recently:
In 2012, Kosinski proved that on the basis of an average of 68 Facebook “likes” by a user, it was possible to predict their skin color (with 95 percent accuracy), their sexual orientation (88 percent accuracy), and their affiliation to the Democratic or Republican party (85 percent). But it didn’t stop there. Intelligence, religious affiliation, as well as alcohol, cigarette and drug use, could all be determined. From the data it was even possible to deduce whether someone’s parents were divorced…
“Pretty much every message that Trump put out was data-driven,” Alexander Nix remembers…
Trump’s people only rang at the doors of houses that the app rated as receptive to his messages. The canvassers came prepared with guidelines for conversations tailored to the personality type of the resident. In turn, the canvassers fed the reactions into the app, and the new data flowed back to the dashboards of the Trump campaign…
Cambridge Analytica, however, divided the US population into 32 personality types, and focused on just 17 states…
In the very best tradition of fake news from the Right, we have the grown-ups at Naked Capitalism:
In short, the man behind Cambridge Analytica has no background in computing, data science, psychometrics or psychology. The scientists he claimed developed the foundation of the program say he’s a liar who doesn’t know what he’s doing. There is no evidence AT ALL of this program working ANYWHERE to do ANY of the fancy things he is claiming. There is evidence that the program cannot even do the simplest first step towards understanding human beings by processing their Facebook data.
For twenty-five years, I designed, implemented and maintained databases. One thing I know is that raw data is useless until index tags of pertinent info have been generated. These indexes take up a lot of room, but search otherwise is unthinkable. Every thing you’ve ever done which happened instantly used index tags to directly access required info.
Listen to me: those tags do not exist. Saving a snapshot of a data stream and generating tags is required. The most CIA has come up with so far are transcripts of the most recorded US target, the Russian ambassador, and Mike Flynn.
Just like the 8″ floppy disks running our ICBM silos, these fuckers don’t know shit.
The unassailable challenge of Big Data remains the ability to generate metadata in real time. So, yeah, every smartphone and PC OS has been hacked and the back doors remain open to would-be thieves across the galaxy, lest Big Brother need to run down a black or brown person.
Allow me to simplify: Much will be leaked, but XKEYSCORE is useless without a specific time frame. Such is the volume of readily available public info that Obama was regularly dissatisfied with the results of his queries. The problem is not a dearth of mendacity, but simply the ability to access it.
All the really bright guys made a killing as quants for the hedge funds, leaving a bunch of sad sacks to be mocked by Snowden and today’s new whistleblower. The quants know precisely what every high frequency transaction looks like, whereas these mooks at NSA and CIA are staring into fire hoses of noise from everything.
Trust me: we can’t even build rocket engines and these guys ain’t rocket scientists. Big data only works when you define the structure, enabling access. The consequence is that leaks from the CIA via Wikileaks which support Trump may continue, but those from the opposition will not.
The Left never had a plan to defeat Trump and are desperately attempting the tactics of damage control. Essentially, there is no strategy, and certainly not one capable of querying deep state assets for actionable intel – especially as that has been their primary focus since June 2015.
The absence of damaging intel on Trump tells us two things: either there is none or they are incapable of gathering it. Occam just fucking adores the latter possibility. Cases will always be built by people who spend a lot of time looking at a lot of data and building spreadsheets of evidence. Even then, they must persuade magistrates and juries.