What’s Up Wednesday #22 - Bullshit everywhere
This week I was arguing with a family member about Wifi-Security concerns. That’s why todays topic is Bullshit.
Often meaning is obscured without adding any additional information, simply to impress. - callingbullshit.org
🤯 Detecting bullshit is becoming more and more important in a world that leans towards Fake News and manipulation of the public by various actors. One recent example: Belgium is considering new laws on 5G Networks that would grant only specific telephone companies the use of the 5G frequency band. In reaction to that Huawei and China (maybe there is no difference anyways) created fake Twitter accounts with AI-generated faces. Real Huawei Execs retweeted the fake tweets but could not gain much traction. I recommend reading the first Summary page of the report on the incident. I am quite glad the US took a hard stance against Huawei and I guess the US Intelligence has some strong reasons.
🇨🇳 While probably all international and big Chinese companies are somewhat integrated into the Chinese State and Intelligence System, I guess it is similar to European and US Companies. However, I am more or less sure that the US three-letter agencies track us as well. This post shows that most popular Apps track your location. A lot of the most used apps even use a banned (by Apple and Google) software (X-mode). Either Apple and Google do not care about their rules or they are incentivized to keep the trackers running… „At least five more Muslim prayer or similar apps worked with data broker X-Mode, which has sold location data to military contractors and by extension U.S. military intelligence, according to multiple technical analyses.“ Vice article.
🤦♂️Facebook in need of location data for advertising tries to push their users hard to allow tracking on iOS14 (Apple Devices), which is set up to block tracking by default. So remember, when you’re not paying, you [or your data] is the product. Medium Artricle
⌚️Bullshit and fake news can hurt a business too. The problem of fake reviews and unethical marketing of competitors pushed one developer into leaving the App Store. „First, they made an app that appeared to fulfill the promise of [his app] - but was practically unusable. Then, they started heavily advertising on FB & Instagram, using [his] own promo video, of [his] own app, with [his] actual name on it.“ More in his Twitter thread.
🥷 So, I guess now is the time to polish your bullshit detection skills. The best resource I found on detecting bullshit and how to handle it is https://www.callingbullshit.org/. It is a great resource and I can only urge you to take their free course „Calling Bullshit: Data Reasoning in a Digital World“ which was developed for the University of Washington. I enjoyed it a lot. You can learn how statistics can fool you, what kind of biases screw us and how to call bullshit out. I also recommend their book Calling Bullshit.
Jeff Bezos announced to step down as CEO this fall. Here is his letter to the employees.
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