Is Cambridge Analytica watching you?

By Alfredo Violante Widmer

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After the scandal that hit Cambridge Analityca and their data mining strategies, a new video emerged. Undercover reporters from Channel 4 News speak to Executives from Cambridge Analytica about the company’sĀ persuasive methods.

Only two months ago Julian Assange published a tweet that sounds even more worrying in the light of today’s news:

“The future of humanity is the struggle between humans that control machines and machines that control humans. While the internet has brought about a revolution in our ability to educate each other, the consequent democratic explosion has shaken existing establishments to their core. Burgeoning digital super states such as Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are integrated with the existing order, have moved to re-establish discourse control. This is not simply a corrective action. Undetectable mass social influence powered by artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity.”

Assange continues addressing protagonists and dynamics that feel very close to what we are witnessing today. Whatever you think about Cambridge Analytica and their relationship with Facebook, it seems clear that this could be the beginning of that struggle.

“While still in its infancy, the geometric nature of this trend is clear. The phenomenon differs from traditional attempts to shape culture and politics by operating at a scale, speed, and increasingly at a subtlety, that appears highly likely to eclipse human counter-measures. Nuclear war, climate change or global pandemics are existential threats that we can work through with discussion and thought. Discourse is humanity’s immune system for existential threats. Diseases that infect the immune system are usually fatal. In this case, at a planetary scale.”