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Author: Briggs

July 3, 2018 | 13 Comments

Researchers Forced To Teach Algorithms To Reject Hate Facts

As we learned before, hate facts “are true statements about reality that our elites demand remain occult and unuttered.”

The problem is that hate facts will routinely pop up in statistical (a.k.a. machine learning, a.k.a. artificial intelligence) algorithms, and when they do the algorithms are said to be “biased”. The paradigmatic example are algorithms which estimate the chance of persons paying back loans. Race was found to be highly informative in these algorithms, but race is also unwelcome, so modelers were forbidden to use it.

The blame for the “bias” is put on the algorithm itself, but, of course, the algorithm is not alive, not aware, and so does not know the numbers it manipulates are anything but numbers. The meaning to numbers is found only in our eyes.

Which brings us to the Nature article “Bias detectives: the researchers striving to make algorithms fair: As machine learning infiltrates society, scientists are trying to help ward off injustice.

It begins with a sob story, as is, we guess, mandatory in pieces like this.

In 2015, a worried father asked Rhema Vaithianathan a question that still weighs on her mind. A small crowd had gathered in a basement room in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to hear her explain how software might tackle child abuse…the system does not catch all cases of abuse. Vaithianathan and her colleagues had just won a half-million-dollar contract to build an algorithm to help…

After Vaithianathan invited questions from her audience, the father stood up to speak. He had struggled with drug addiction, he said, and social workers had removed a child from his home in the past. But he had been clean for some time. With a computer assessing his records, would the effort he’d made to turn his life around count for nothing? In other words: would algorithms judge him unfairly?

In other words, this father guessed the algorithm might use the indicator “past druggie”, and use it to up the chances he’d abuse a kid. Which certainly sounds reasonable. Druggies are not known to be as reliable with kids as non-druggies, on average. You dear reader, would for instance use the information were you deciding on baby sitters.

However, past drug use is a hate fact in the eyes of the Nature author. How to ensure it’s not used?

I changed the colors from “blue” and “purple” to the more accurate, but hate fact, “white” and “black” in the following passage:

Researchers studying bias in algorithms say there are many ways of defining fairness, which are sometimes contradictory.

Imagine that an algorithm for use in the criminal-justice system assigns scores to two groups ([white] and [black]) for their risk of being rearrested. Historical data indicate that the [black] group has a higher rate of arrest, so the model would classify more people in the [black] group as high risk (see figure, top). This could occur even if the model’s developers try to avoid bias by not directly telling their model whether a person is [white] or [black]. That is because other data used as training inputs might correlate with being [white] or [black].

The horror.

Knowing a person’s race is useful information in predicting recidivism. Note, again, the algorithm does not, and is incapable, of saying why race is useful information. It is entirely neutral, and cannot be made non-neutral. It cannot be biased, it cannot be unbiased. It cannot be equitable, and it cannot be unequitable. The interpretation, I insist, is in the eyes’ of the users.

“A high-risk status cannot perfectly predict rearrest, but the algorithm’s developers try to make the prediction equitable”. What is in the world can that possibly mean? Since the algorithm cannot be equitable or biased, it must be that the modelers insist that model does not make use of hate facts, or create them.

Now the author prates on about false positives and negatives, which are, of course, undesirable. But the better a model gets, in the sense of accuracy, then the fewer false positive and negatives there will be. If the model is hamstrung by denying hate facts as input, or it is butchered because it produced hate facts, then model inaccuracy must necessarily increase.

What makes the whole thing laughable, is that algorithm builders are being denied even access to hate facts, so they can’t check whether their models will be judged as “biased.” For instance, race cannot be input, or even viewed, except by authorities who are free to use race to see whether the models’ outputs correlate with race. If it does, it’s “biased.”

The best way to test whether an algorithm is biased along certain lines — for example, whether it favours one ethnicity over another — requires knowing the relevant attributes about the people who go into the system. But the [Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation]’s restrictions on the use of such sensitive data are so severe and the penalties so high, Mittelstadt says, that companies in a position to evaluate algorithms might have little incentive to handle the information. “It seems like that will be a limitation on our ability to assess fairness,’ he says.

Diversity is our weakness.

July 2, 2018 | 11 Comments

Another Example Proving Academia Is Worse Than You Thought

This is a slow week, so I do not now want to continue the discussion of what the best replacement of academia is. That is needs replacing I take as granted. But not all of you do—yet.

Here is a small item for the decreasing pile of doubters.

Here is a peer-reviewed paper—read and approved by peers, which means (1) peers exist, and (2) peers agreed. “Guilty of Loving You: A Multispecies Narrative“, in Qualitative Inquiry, published by Sage Journals, a firm some would say is reputable or respected. The work is in the category of “Research Article.”

The authors of this peer-reviewed paper are Susan Naomi Nordstrom, Amelie Nordstrom, Coonan Nordstrom. The listed affiliation is The University of Memphis. Which is a university, mind.

The corresponding author is Susan Naomi Nordstrom, a necessity, because the other authors are cats.

I say: the other authors are cats.

Don’t believe me. Believe the author biographies.

Susan Naomi Nordstrom, homo sapiens, is an assistant professor of educational research specializing in qualitative research methodology at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Her research agenda includes poststructural and posthumanist theories about human–nonhuman relations and qualitative research methodology.

Amelie Nordstrom (ca. 2001-2017), felis domestica, was a black cat specializing in making kin with humans and (sometimes) other nonhumans.

Coonan Nordstrom (ca. 2009-present day), felis domestica, is a tuxedo cat specializing in a Haraway-influenced becoming with other species.

So not only were two of the authors cats, but one of them was a dead cat.

That a deranged feminist (pardon the redundancy) cat lady wrote an article about her cats, which she was delusional enough to believe were co-authors, is not the point. We expect feminists to be cat ladies. Nor is the point the vast distances from reality achieved by Nordstrom, not per se. Distance from reality is another well known expectation of feminism.

The article is a diary of how Nordstrom picked up the not-yet-dead cat from the pound. “Her green eyes followed me back to my apartment. Her name was Nicky, but the name ‘Amelie’ (admittedly not properly spelled) created soft susurrus in my body as I thought of her that evening.” Et cetera, for seven pages. I admit to ignorance of what a “susurru” is, but I also not want to know.

Note how the deranged Nordstrom speaks of herself as if the cats were writing.

Over 15 years, Amelie and Susan developed an affective communication system through repetitions of living-with and dying-with each other. Over time, Susan learned that certain meows carried meanings such as “Hungry, I’m going to my food dish,” “You were away too long,” “Stop. Don’t touch me now.” We smell each other for changes in scent or as a way to check in with each other without vocalizations. Our physical proximity to each other creates affects of desired intimacy–sometimes wanted other times less so. Our sleep-dream practices meld into one such that we always know how to position our bodies. We gaze at each other, slowly blinking, wide-eyed, or a shared sideeye. We sense each other’s emotional states.

Lunatics are everywhere, and everywhere includes academia. So it is not the point that here is a prime specimen inside academia.

No. The real point is that passages like this were judged to be of academic quality. The real point is that Nordstrom is not adjudged off-her-rocker. The real point is that not only is her lunacy not recognized as lunacy, but that it is in no way unusual.

Drivel, and worse than drivel, is now accepted as prime “research”. Not just here, at the University of Memphis, but everywhere in the West.

Here’s another peer-reviewed paper from the same source: “What Is Peace? Being an Autoethnographic Account of Methodological Musings From the Beach” by Anandam Kavoori at the University of Georgia.

This autoethnographic essay is focused on methodological space of “problematization”—the wrenching intellectual and emotional process (and lived experience) that a scholar goes through before settling into a long-term writing project—in this case travel to different parts of the world, in an attempt to explore the idea and experience of “Peace” in each of those places.

Another: “On Not Being Able to Sleep: After the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election” by Ronald J. Pelias.

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, I find myself struggling, wanting to find a narrative that will let me sleep, but I am unable to find any comfort in the current political landscape. I call upon a fragmentary structure in this autoethnographic essay to display the troubling thoughts and incidents that have assailed me since the election, to point toward a frightening right wing agenda, and to demonstrate why I cannot sleep.

The journal goes on and on and on and on and on and on some more. It never stops. There is nobody inside academia with the guts to stop it.

Everything is summed up in the same’s issues Maria Lahman’s article “Who Cares?“, which, as far as I can tell, is empty. The classification is “research poetry.”

July 1, 2018 | 2 Comments

Summary Against Modern Thought: Ultimate Happiness Comes In Contemplation Of God

Previous post.

Finally, the grand (and not unexpected) reveal!

That the ultimate felicity of man consists in the contemplation of God

1 So, if the ultimate felicity of man does not consist in external things which are called the goods of fortune, nor in the goods of the body, nor in the goods of the soul according to its sensitive part, nor as regards the intellective part according to the activity of the moral virtues, nor according to the intellectual virtues that are concerned with action, that is, art and prudence—we are left with the conclusion that the ultimate felicity of man lies in the contemplation of truth.

2 Indeed, this is the only operation of man which is proper to him, and in it he shares nothing in common with the other animals.

3 So, too, this is ordered to nothing else as an end, for the contemplation of truth is sought for its own sake.

4 Also, through this operation man is united by way of likeness with beings superior to him, since this alone of human operations is found also in God and in separate substances.

5 Indeed, in this operation he gets in touch with these higher beings by knowing them in some way.

6 Also, for this operation man is rather sufficient unto himself, in the sense that for it he needs little help from external things.

7 In fact, all other human operations seem to be ordered to this one, as to an end. For, there is needed for the perfection of contemplation a soundness of body, to which all the products of art that are necessary for life are directed. Also required are freedom from the disturbances of the passions—this is achieved through the moral virtues and prudence—and freedom from external disorders, to which the whole program of government in civil life is directed. And so, if they are rightly considered, all human functions may be seen to subserve the contemplation of truth.

Notes The internet, upon which these words are delivered, excels at disturbing the passions. So that if anything is learned upon it it is only by supreme discipline of the reader not to distract himself. This is why quiet is needed for superior contemplation, and it why (I am convinced) we cannot find quiet easily.

8 However, it is not possible for man’s ultimate felicity to consist in the contemplation which depends on the understanding of principles, for that is very imperfect, being most universal, including the potential cognition of things. Also, it is the beginning, not the end, of human enquiry, coming to us from nature and not because of our search for truth. Nor, indeed, does it lie in the area of the sciences which deal with lower things, because felicity should lie in the working of the intellect in relation to the noblest objects of understanding. So, the conclusion remains that man’s ultimate felicity consists in the contemplation of wisdom, based on the considering of divine matters.

Notes Any true scholar will tell you that the greatest joy is found in figuring our or discovering the most difficult truths.

9 From this, that is also clear by way of induction, which was proved above by rational arguments, namely, that man’s ultimate felicity consists only in the contemplation of God.

June 30, 2018 | 2 Comments

Insanity & Doom Update XLI

Item Great writers are found with an open mind

I’d been suffering under the misguided illusion that the purpose of mainstream publishers like Penguin Random House was to sell and promote fine writing. A colleague’s forwarded email has set me straight. Sent to a literary agent, presumably this letter was also fired off to the agents of the entire Penguin Random House stable. The email cites the publisher’s ‘new company-wide goal’: for ‘both our new hires and the authors we acquire to reflect UK society by 2025.’ (Gotta love that shouty boldface.) ‘This means we want our authors and new colleagues to reflect the UK population taking into account ethnicity, gender, sexuality, social mobility and disability.’

First, diversity always leads to mandatory quotas. Absolutely always. Second, diversity enforces and creates banality. We do not want books written by authors who “reflect the UK population”. We want books written by authors who soar far above it. Diversity is mind cancer.

Item Southern Baptists Call Off the Culture War

America’s largest Protestant group moves to cut ties with the Republican Party and reengage with mainstream culture…

“The generational shift happening in the SBC has thrust the group into the middle of an identity crisis,” says Barry Hankins, the chair of the department of history at Baylor University and co-author of Baptists in America: A History. “The younger generation thinks differently than the old-guard Christian right about culture and politics, and they are demanding change.”…

Greear has promised to lead the denomination down a different path, which, he has said, must include efforts both to repent of a “failure to listen to and honor women and racial minorities” and “to include them in proportionate measures in top leadership roles.” If the meeting in Dallas is any indication, his vision is resonating with a large number of the next wave of Baptist leaders.

Skip the nonsense that “Republicans” are creatures different than the enlightened. Note the call for diversity. Then study instead this bet. Ten bucks (bloggers are not rich) says the Southern Baptists embrace gmarriage within five years of this writing. Anybody want to bet against me?

Item A Society for the Prevention of Knowledge

I have recently read that the Diversity office at the University of Michigan employs 93 people, many of them at princely salaries. Nice digs if you can get them. The notice came in an article that logged the stunning growth of college administrative positions at the expense of tenured professors and, of course, the bank accounts of the parents who send their children to college, apparently not to be educated but to be diversified, like a mutual fund.

I wouldn’t like to disagree with Esolen, but I can’t believe it’s only 93. If we cobbled together all “FTEs” of people sworn to uphold Diversity, I’d guess we have at least double this figure. And that’s not counting students. I’m also guessing that 93 doesn’t include the secretaries and other support staff. Diversity is a vampire leach that will suck the organism dry if it is not burned off.

Item Judge blasts peaceful pro-lifers as ‘dangerous,’ jails them 45 days

A Michigan judge sentenced two pro-life advocates to 45 days in jail on Thursday.

Monica Migliorino Miller, executive director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and Will Goodman were arrested June 1 outside the Women’s Center of Michigan, run by abortionist Jacob Kalo at 6765 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield county.

They were charged with breaching 48th District Court Judge Marc Barron’s probation order to not go within 500 feet of any abortion center in the United States.

Barron told the two Thursday they were “anarchists” who followed their own laws, and referred to Goodman, a full-time pro-life activist, as “a danger to society,” according to Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Michigan, who was at the hearing.

This item is only here to prove that the USA, and also other Western countries, have political prisoners. The Constitution somehow doesn’t stop this.