Começando com um mea culpa, infelizmente eu sou responsável por boa parte dessa merda toda. Na década de 90 eu tinha website e fanzine digital, ajudei a criar a cultura brasileira na internet. No começo do século eu trabalhava criando dispositivos de inclusão digital, e depois eu fui desenvolvedor do Orkut, a rede social que ensinou os brasileiros a usar a internet.
Eu fiz tudo isso na inocência, achava de verdade que a internet iria trazer mais informação a todos, e que isso melhoraria o mundo. Hoje vejo que fui ingênuo, subestimei o papel da falsa informação e de como a internet permitiu a manipulação de massa de um jeito muito mais eficiente.
Mas se me permitem, eu acho que sei onde a coisa deu errado e tenho uma sugestão para melhorar. Eu acho que o foco do problema é o *broadcast privado*.
Broadcast nunca fui problema na internet. As pessoas mandavam mensagens em lista de discussão, postavam em comunidade do orkut, e nesses meios o fake news nunca teve esse poder que tem hoje.
O que mudou é que hoje em dia você pode fazer broadcast para grupos fechados (tipo o zap da família). Isso foi o game changer. Quando você postava na lista de discussão ou na comunidade do orkut, você estava aberto à contestação, se você posta X, alguém sempre pode postar não-X logo abaixo. Em termos de evidência acumulada, as coisas se cancelam.
Mas o zap da família é diferente porque é uma rede de contatos confiáveis. Você confia nos seus parentes. Quando chega uma mensagem nesse grupo, você tende a confiar por default na mensagem porque você confia em quem mandou, e essa confiança no emissor transfere para a mensagem.
Aí você forma uma rede de confiança. Não importa que o emissor original seja um bandido na cadeia, escrevendo de um celular que entrou na cela enfiado no cu. Se a mensagem dele passar de grupo em grupo, ela vai ganhando confiança ao longo do trajeto, porque cada broadcast privado aumenta a confiança dela. A confiança vem do caminho, não do conteúdo.
A solução fácil para isso seria banir broadcast privado. Não pode mais ter grupo de zap, ou pelo menos não pode ter botão de share para grupo privado: se você quiser repassar, vai ter que reescrever. Aumentando a fricção no processo de share, a mensagem falsa tem mais dificuldade de propagar.
Outra solução seria fazer tracking da confiança da mensagem. Eu não faço idéia de como implementar isso, mas cada mensagem teria que ter um score que medisse a confiança da origem. Uma mensagem que transitou inalterada de uma fonte primária teria score alto, uma mensagem enviada por celular tirado do cu teria score baixo.
Mas eu não sei se nenhuma dessas alternativas é economicamente viável, dado que os times que implementam esses apps medem sucesso baseado em quantidade de shares. Se alguém tiver uma idéia melhor para atacar o problema eu agradeço.
What rich people don't like to do when they solve problems is talk about who did it. There's always this thing when I'm at every event I do, it's always like, "Okay, great. Yeah, yeah. But what are the solutions? Let's just move forward." [...]
I make the following analogy to people, which is, some kinds of problems are like engines that need to be tweaked. Right? And there are many problems that are analogous to that. You turn this dial, you turn this, you tighten that and you fix the engine. Other types of problems are like crime scenes. A crime scene is a very different kind of problem than an engine that's not working.
You don't show up at a crime scene and say, "You know what? Let's just move forward. What's done is done. Let's just solve this." Right?
That's a preposterous response to a crime scene.
A crime scene, it's entirely for the larger sake of preventing it -- for various forward-leaning goals -- you have to first look backwards. "Who did this? How did this happen? Where is the person who did this? How do we help the person to whom this has been done?" [...]
I just had this long argument on a podcast with Mark Zuckerberg, right? I kept saying, "And how do you feel about what you did?"
That was painful. Four times. [...] Four. We didn't edit anything. It was four times that I asked the same question.
"How do you feel about the deaths in Myanmar and India based on your creation?" "What we really want to do is fix the problem. We really want to get to solutions. I think getting to solutions is important."
I was like, "Yeah, I got that. But what was your fault here? What did you do wrong and how do you feel about that? How do you feel about people dying? Right? Dying?" "Well, you know, solutions are what is important to us. I think whenever there's a problem, there's a solution."
"Well, you caused the problem, so how do you feel about causing that problem?" And it went like that, it was four to five times. Finally, he goes, "What do you want me to say?" I said, "I want you to say, 'I'm sorry and I cannot believe that what I made did this and I feel sick to my stomach.'" I said, "You might start there. Not to give you any cues about what it was."
But the point I wanted to make there is they can't get there, they cannot get to that idea that they are at fault or take responsibility and contemplate what went wrong. They don't want to do that. [...]
It goes against the positivity that the elites like, the relentless positivity. And one of the things, I think asked Sheryl Sandberg onstage, "Who got fired for this?" She couldn't answer. "Well, we don't look at it that way." I'm like, "Why? People get fired for all types of things when they fuck up, and it seems like this is a fuck-up. Looks like a fuck-up to me."
And she wouldn't answer... Not wouldn't, couldn't. They don't think like that. "Well, that's not how we wanna... Well, let's just move forward with this." The concept of "The bill always comes due" never occurs to people.
It's hard to hear Zuck call Facebook a company. He always calls it a community. Like they're like a drum circle [when] nation state is closer to the reality. It's not just a verbal tic or a clothing thing. They understand completely what they are doing. By not being seen as power, they get to behave like babies. [...]
Emmett Carson said something very interesting. When he was at other foundations, he always talked about social justice and inequality, and those were his buzzwords. He gets out to the Valley, it's made very clear to him, very quickly -- I mean, he's a counselor to Zuck and all these others -- it's made very clear to him very quickly, drop this language. Social justice doesn't work, inequality ... You gotta stop talking like this. Talk about opportunity.
And I said, "What did you understand by having to cater and dance around these people's needs in the Valley?" And what he basically explained to me was they really want to help people, as long as, as you say, they're driving the ship. The help is voluntary. It's not the government compelling them to give money for programs the government decides about. It's them deciding where their money goes. They like to feel useful. They like to feel involved.
But can I tell you what those are the values of? Those are the values of a feudal culture.
This is feudal giving, right? I mean, to go back to where we started, when I used to travel to India as a child, the thing that strikes you is all these affluent families, they all have servants. And they all tell you, "Oh, our servant is just like family to us." The problem is the servant sleeps on the floor. There's no restrictions on their hours. They're not subject to any labor laws. Their passport is usually kept in a lock and key somewhere, which is the definition of human trafficking.
Pretty sure I have more regret for my prehistoric role in enabling the existence of Facebook than Zuckerberg ever will.
"This is some advice I got from a priest mentor of mine years back. He said: "Here's the rule, the airtight rule. Criticize someone precisely in the measure that you are willing to help him or her deal with the problem you're raising. The point is that if you are 100% willing to commit yourself to helping the person deal with the problem you're raising, off you go. Critique 'til the cows come home. If you're totally unwilling to take even one little step to help the person deal with the problem, then keep your mouth shut. Don't say anything. Maybe a little bit of commitment? Maybe a little bit of critique. That has never left my mind, that little piece of advice. When I feel the urge to criticize someone, 'alright Barron, are you willing to commit yourself to helping him deal with his problems? If not, keep your mouth shut." - Robert Barron
That's what open science is about: collaboration, good practices, and in the end coming up
with something that is larger than each individual piece. Now sourmash is better,
bamnostic is better, reflow is better. I would like to see this becoming more and
more common =]