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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Company Specific]
2017-12-13 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 270 references
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Gee, how many founders who tell you that you're being psychologically exploited and abused do you need?

One?

Two?

When do you wake up America and destroy these firms, reducing their stock price to ash?

There are legal ways to do it.  You can delete your profile and stop using it.  You can ban your kids from using it under pain of losing their Internet access, computer or cellphone.  You can target anyone who advertises on these sites and boycott them.  You can shun, refuse to associate with and even picket anyone's home who works at these companies -- which is now incidentally a very large number of people, and extend the same sanction to all their family members who are existing on the back of said exploitation.

All of these things are both peaceful and legal forms of protest.  You can raise the cost of operating such a firm and destroy its revenue because it relies on you being a drug-addled sheep in order to survive.

If you and others push back in any material quantity then these firms will cease to exist and their abuse of the public will end.

Now we have another founder who has reinforced what was said before about Facebook intentionally targeting psychological addiction and knew at the time that it was destructive, not positive for anyone other than those making a profit from same:

"The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it's not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."

He said that he rarely, if ever uses Facebook, posting maybe twice in seven years, something that has caused "huge problems" in his own social circles. He also added he would not let his own children use it. 

This guy helped cause the problem.  If he had a hint of actual personal responsibility for the destruction he himself brought upon society he would commit seppuku in the middle of Times Square.

So does this guy really feel "tremendous guilt" or is he worried that the people might literally eat him?

Good question.

But in the meantime perhaps you should consider whether you wish to feed a beast that will eat you, as he states very clearly will be the case, or whether you will do your damndest to unplug from said beast and then destroy it and all who work to continue to build, feed and make their living by and through it.

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2017-12-04 17:53 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 345 references
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Folks, we have already had one of the original founders of Facebook admit they use psychological manipulation to addict you -- they manipulate your brain to produce dopamine, which is a drug, and it's addictive.  In fact the dopamine system in your brain is why most drugs of abuse are addictivethey tamper with the normal clearing mechanism and thus amplify the normal response to pleasure.

Facebook was designed, on purpose to deliver this same sort of "high" to users and manipulate the delivery of said "high" to get you to come back.  That's addiction and it's no accident -- it's intentional and was part of the firm's design.

This addiction was designed for the purpose of making money, which is the exact same motivation -- profit -- that the corner heroin pusher has.

May I quote?

A like or a comment on a post sends users "a little dopamine hit," he said, encouraging them to post again.

"The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway," he said, according to a transcript of the interview.

The above isn't my allegation it's the bald and direct statement of Sean Parker, founding President of the company.

There is now emerging scientific evidence that this addiction is real and, far worse, it is altering brain chemistry -- that is, it's not "simply psychological" in its effects.  This alteration in brain chemistry changes mental function and since it is happening in school-age kids the impact on children and teens is direct and permanent harm to their learning and thus lifetime achievement potential.

Facebook, unsatisfied with addicting adults, is both going after doing the same thing to kids and soliciting their parents as willing and intentional co-conspirators by also soliciting them to hook their children!

In other words Facebook (and other social media) are knowingly tampering with the brain chemistry of children for their own financial benefit and to the direct detriment of said children.  And by the way, no, it's not ok for kids 13 years and older either unless of course you think a 13 year old should be able to openly buy alcohol or tobacco.

If you gave your kids alcohol or addictive drugs without a solid clinical reason to do so your ass would go to prison, and rightly so.  So would all the pushers of said drugs we could identify.

Well?

Where are the handcuffs, indictments, trials, convictions and hangings?

PS: CNBC's reporters have today actually used the word "hook".  Just like smoking is perfectly fine for kids too, right?

Oh, you mean it's not?

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If you brought an "Alexa" into a workplace that I had responsibility for you would be fired.

Immediately.

There would be no discussion, no second opportunities, no "oops", no thinking about it, no taking it back home.

You'd be handed a box and the guard would stand at your desk while you filled it with your personal effects, your access card would be revoked, your password shut off for the office network, and your ass would be out the door.

Period.

There are already enough issues with people having apps on their phone that might spy on them -- including turning on the microphone and/or camera without formal request.  The corporate espionage capacity here is off-the-rack already when it comes to personal smartphones, which is one of the many risks that nobody pays attention to but damn well should.

This is ridiculously specific, however, and intentional.

And by the way, if you think Spamazon will ever be held accountable when (not if) they steal some corporate secret and abuse it you need your ****ing head examined.  May I remind you that the company has already, many times, almost-certainly done exactly that?

How many times has the firm had a fulfillment relationship with a vendor on their store and from that been able to determine how much product moves and where it's sourced from, then sourced the product itself and effectively forced out the vendor, destroying their business?

Oh, you say that doesn't happen eh?  There are people on this very site who say it has -- to them.

By the way that conduct is outrageous and actionable at best (while possibly being criminally illegal under the Sherman and Clayton acts as well); the implied term of fair dealing is part of all contracts, and you don't need to specify or negotiate it.

Have you ever heard of any attorney general going after Amazon for this sort of thing?  Has the FTC ever done so?  Are you telling me that it's not blatantly obvious that it has happened thousands of times simply by looking at all the items on which both Amazon and a third-party seller has the same item listed?  How hard would it be to look at who had it on the site first?

Amazon gains not only the knowledge of what's bought and from whom it also knows "for how much", in other words, what your cost as a vendor looks like.  Maybe not to the penny but it certainly knows what the ceiling is, because it knows its 15% commission rate, shipping deductions, the probable cost to ship it to their warehouse and your price.  It therefore knows the maximum you could have bought it for and remain in business.  This is information nobody else has, but gee, they've got it.

How hard is it to abuse that?  Very simple, and if even one time Amazon has solicited a supplier to undercut a third-party marketplace seller..... well?

Now you want to bring a spying device from this very same company into your building in which it must inherently listen to conversations that take place within range of it in order to work and it must upload that speech to its "cloud" in order to process it?

You're out of your ****ing mind.

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2017-11-30 09:19 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 154 references
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There's never a bad side to "automation" that could indicate an impending suicide, right?

After all nobody wants suicide.

If the software detects a potential suicide, it alerts a team of Facebook workers who specialize in handling such reports. The system suggests resources to the user or to friends of the person such as a telephone help line. Facebook workers sometimes call local authorities to intervene.

Uh huh.

And if there's no suicide in process or about to take place?

"Local authorities" don't always simply knock on the door.  If there's no answer they are at least somewhat-likely to kick it down, guns drawn.

It is simply a matter of time before someone gets shot this way -- or worse.  Maybe it will be the person who was "allegedly intending" to commit suicide.  Or maybe it will be a cop.

Or maybe -- just maybe -- someone will game this thing to get Facesucker to send the authorities to a house full of explosives on purpose.  AIs are at their core all simply pattern-recognition engines and while Facesucker claims it's got plenty of human intervention involved if you believe that then look at what Youtube has recently had happen with their allegedly-expert means of "interdicting" inappropriate sexual content.  May I remind you that Google arguably has the "best" AI technology in the world?

Oh, and let's not forget that Zuckerpig and Facesuck have intentionally manipulated you to feel ****ty in the first place -- so they can give you that "hit" of dopamine and keep you coming back.  It's intentional, it's been admitted to and yet you.... do nothing about it.

So about that "there's never any harm in this" thing......

Like this piece?  Look here for Softness.

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It's not enough to lobby.  Nor is it enough to buy a newspaper that then has one of its "allegedly honest" writers show up as a speaker at a hard-left political confab the purpose of which is to tilt United States political policy.

Now we've got another report -- this one from merchants, and it's ugly.

Mike Molson Hart, who sells toys on Amazon.com Inc.’s marketplace, realized earlier this month something was amiss. His company’s popular disc-shaped plastic building set, called Brain Flakes, had dropped precipitously in the ranks of Amazon’s best-selling toys as the critical gift-giving season approached.

He visited the product page on Amazon.com and suspected he was the victim of "sniping," when one merchant sabotages another by hiring people to leave critical reviews of their goods and then voting those reviews as being helpful, making them the most prominent feedback seen by shoppers. 

This is a problem trivially solved by Amazon: Do not allow "reviews" from people who haven't bought the product through the site!

But that would cut off the ability of Amazon to exploit people like Mike.

You see, Amazon basically runs a "free" slander service for Mike's competitors right in the middle of his ****ing store!

Amazon knows it too, and what's even worse is that Amazon has many "competitors" for a lot of products on their site.  As a result there is plenty of incentive for unscrupulous vendors to do this sort of thing to their competitors and there is nothing Mike can do about it, especially given the layers of indirection and the offshore location of the places selling this "service" to his competitors where he is effectively prevented from suing.

Of course Amazon will say it polices these sorts of things.  Suuuure they do.  How else, other than through willful blindness, could 10 people slander Mike's products from a nation he has never shipped them to?

Allowing this sort of fraud doesn't cost Amazon any money and in fact probably makes them money since the "competitor" who does this is doing it because he or she sells the same thing and thus Amazon gets a cut of the business either way.  They thus simply do not give a crap; if Mike gets bankrupted and someone else takes all of his business on Amazon Jeff Bezos does not care.

But this means to be "successful" if one of your competitors is slandering you in this fashion then you need to slander all of them or you will lose sales, comparatively, to them -- maybe enough to ruin you!

In other words Amazon has built an environment where not only are the incentives built-in to do actionable or even illegal things they become effectively mandatory to be successful once any of your competitors begin to engage in these tactics.

I think there's a pretty clean argument here that this is an intentional "attractive nuisance", given that Amazon could trivially prevent it -- but for commercial reasons has chosen not to.  Further, by allowing such slander right in the middle of your store with absolutely no way for a merchant to stop it how is it that Amazon escapes joint and several liability with the competitor and the slanderer?

If you're curious why I find the entire concept of opening any sort of business repugnant in today's legal and political environment here's your poster child for the reason.  My competitors could easily abuse such a capacity to damage me and I would have no means of addressing it other than engage in the same conduct aimed at them.

In other words I have to be a crook or I'm bankrupted by all the crooks since those who allegedly "partner with" in some sort of business relationship will sit back and let the crooks ruin me, effectively providing them with the means to do so!

Amazon needs to be sued out of existence for this crap and destroyed, along with any other firm that puts forward such an outrageous enticement to and protection for people engaged in these sorts of nefarious activities.

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