Tag Archives: Google

Wells Fargo’s Artificial Intelligence Defies Analysts, Slaps “Sell” on Google and Facebook, by Wolf Richter

SLL’s bet is on the artificial, rather than the human, intelligence. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Google, which makes almost all of its money on ads and internet user data, is undertaking herculean efforts to get a grip on artificial intelligence (AI). It’s trying to develop software that allows machines to think and learn like humans. It’s spending enormous resources on it. This includes the $525 million acquisition in 2014 of DeepMind, which is said to have lost an additional $162 million in 2016. Google is trying to load smartphones with AI and come up with AI smart speakers and other gadgets, and ultimately AI systems that control self-driving cars.

Facebook, which also makes most of its money on ads and user data, is on a similar trajectory, but spreading into other directions, including a “creepy” run-in with two of its bots that were supposed to negotiate with each other but ended up drifting off human language and invented their own languagethat humans couldn’t understand.

And here comes an AI bot developed by stock analysts at Wells Fargo Securities. The human analysts have an “outperform” rating on Google’s parent Alphabet and on Facebook. They worked with a data scientist at Amazon’s Alexa project to create the AI bot. And after six months of work, the AI bot was allowed to do its job. According to their note to clients on Friday, reported by Bloomberg, the AI bot promptly slapped a “sell” rating on Google and Facebook.

Human analysts on Wall Street are famous for their incessantly optimistic ratings and outlooks. They generally only put a “sell” on a stock after it has already plunged. They’re part of Wall Street’s human hype machine. Their job is to help inflate stock prices and make CEOs feel good so that they will do business with the analysts’ firms and send fees their way. But Wells Fargo’s AI bot hasn’t gotten the memo.

Last month, a group led by Ken Sena, head of Global Internet Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, introduced this “artificially intelligent equity research analyst” or AIERA. Its “primary purpose is to track stocks and formulate a daily, weekly, and overall view on whether the stocks tracked will go up or down,” Sena, said at the time.

So “she” did Big Data analysis of Alphabet, Facebook, and some other stocks, and after seeing what’s there, averted her eyes in disgust and slapped a “sell” recommendation on both stocks and a “hold” recommendation on 11 other cherished stocks.

To continue reading; Wells Fargo’s Artificial Intelligence Defies Analysts, Slaps “Sell” on Google and Facebook

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Google Apocalypse Looms Large, by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Google is inserting its slimy tentacles into every aspect of life. From Dr. Joseph Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

I’ve written about the dangers of monopolies within the drug and agricultural industries on numerous occasions, but Google is perhaps one of the greatest  monopolies that ever existed on the planet. The reason why I’ve decided to address Google here is because the technology giant is injecting itself ever deeper into our day-to-day lives, from childhood education to patented meat substitutes1,2 and health care, and with its internet monopoly and personal information tracking and sharing,

Google poses a very unique threat. Anyone concerned about their health and food and their ability to obtain truthful information about both needs to understand the role Google plays, and whose side Google is really on.

Starting with the issue of health care, the company recently partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and is getting deeper into the drug promotion business with its launch of a depression self-assessment quiz.3,4 Just like WebMD before it, this test funnels you toward a drug solution. No matter how you answered WebMD’s questions, you were diagnosed as being at risk for major depression and urged to discuss treatment with your doctor.

That test, it turns out, was sponsored by drugmaker Eli Lilly, maker of the antidepressant Cymbalta. Now, any time you use the search term “clinical depression” in the Google mobile search engine, you will find a link to a page to “check if you’re clinically depressed.” The quiz is part of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHG-9), “a clinically validated screening questionnaire” according to MedicalXpress.5

Beware of ‘Patient’s Rights Groups’ Working on Behalf of Drug Makers

While it may seem like an altruistic ideal to raise awareness about mental illness, the “stop the stigma” campaign is actually funded and driven by the drug industry itself, under the guise of various front groups, of which NAMI is one. As noted by PsychCentral, nearly 75 percent of the organization’s funding comes from drug companies.6 Evidence also shows that drug companies have instructed NAMI to “resist state efforts to limit access to mental health drugs” and “how to advocate forcefully for issues that affect industry profits.”

To continue reading: Google Apocalypse Looms Large

Welcome To 1984: Big Brother Google Now Watching Your Every Political Move, by Robert Bridge

Robert Bridge accurately diagnosis a problem—Google’s dominance and its political leanings—but then intimates that an even more dominant institution with even stronger political leanings—the US government—should take it over. From Robert Bridge at rt.com:

Google has taken the unprecedented step of burying material, mostly from websites on the political right, that it has deemed to be inappropriate. The problem, however, is that the world’s largest search engine is a left-leaning company with an ax to grind.

Let’s face it, deep down in our heart of hearts we knew the honeymoon wouldn’t last forever. Our willingness to place eternal faith in an earth-straddling company that oversees the largest collection of information ever assembled was doomed to end in a bitter divorce from the start. After all, each corporation, just like humans, has their own political proclivities, and Google is certainly no exception. But we aren’t talking about your average car company here.

The first sign Google would eventually become more of a political liability than a public utility was revealed in 2005 when CEO Eric Schmidt (who is now executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc, Google’s parent company) sat down with interviewer Charlie Rose, who asked Schmidt to explain “where the future of search is going.”

Schmidt’s response should have triggered alarm bells across the free world.

“Well, when you use Google, do you get more than one answer,” Schmidt asked rhetorically, before answering deceptively. “Of course you do. Well, that’s a bug. We have more bugs per second in the world. We should be able to give you the right answer just once… and we should never be wrong.”

Really?

Think about that for a moment. Schmidt believes, counter-intuitively, that getting multiple possible choices for any one Google query is not the desirable prospect it should be (aren’t consumers always in search of more variety?), but rather a “bug” that should be duly squashed underfoot. Silly mortal, you should not expect more than one answer for every question because the almighty Google, our modern-day Oz, “should never be wrong!” This is the epitome of corporate hubris. And it doesn’t require much imagination to see that such a master plan will only lead to a colossal whitewashing of the historic record.

To continue reading: Welcome To 1984: Big Brother Google Now Watching Your Every Political Move

Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me, by Kashmir Hill

The empire has been striking back for a while. From Kashmir Hill at gizmodo.com:

The story in the New York Times this week was unsettling: The New America Foundation, a major think tank, was getting rid of one of its teams of scholars, the Open Markets group. New America had warned its leader Barry Lynn that he was “imperiling the institution,” the Times reported, after he and his group had repeatedly criticized Google, a major funder of the think tank, for its market dominance.

The criticism of Google had culminated in Lynn posting a statement to the think tank’s website “applauding” the European Commission’s decision to slap the company with a record-breaking $2.7 billion fine for privileging its price-comparison service over others in search results. That post was briefly taken down, then republished. Soon afterward, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the head of New America, told Lynn that his group had to leave the foundation for failing to abide by “institutional norms of transparency and collegiality.”

Google denied any role in Lynn’s firing, and Slaughter tweeted that the “facts are largely right, but quotes are taken way out of context and interpretation is wrong.” Despite the conflicting story lines, the underlying premise felt familiar to me: Six years ago, I was pressured to unpublish a critical piece about Google’s monopolistic practices after the company got upset about it. In my case, the post stayed unpublished.

I was working for Forbes at the time, and was new to my job. In addition to writing and reporting, I helped run social media there, so I got pulled into a meeting with Google salespeople about Google’s then-new social network, Plus.

The Google salespeople were encouraging Forbes to add Plus’s “+1″ social buttons to articles on the site, alongside the Facebook Like button and the Reddit share button. They said it was important to do because the Plus recommendations would be a factor in search results—a crucial source of traffic to publishers.

To continue reading: Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me

Google Has Become a Major Threat to Democracy in America, by Michael Krieger

Google is branching out to the acquisiton of political power. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term network neutrality, made this prescient comment: “To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king.”

Wu was right. And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.

When Google was founded in 1998, it famously committed itself to the motto: “Don’t be evil.” It appears that Google may have lost sight of what being evil means, in the way that most monarchs do: Once you reach a pinnacle of power, you start to believe that any threats to your authority are themselves villainous and that you are entitled to shut down dissent. As Lord Acton famously said, “Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.” Those with too much power cannot help but be evil. Google, the company dedicated to free expression, has chosen to silence opposition, apparently without any sense of irony.

In recent years, Google has become greedy about owning not just search capacities, video and maps, but also the shape of public discourse. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Google has recruited and cultivated law professors who support its views. And as the New York Times recently reported, it has become invested in building curriculum for our public schools, and has created political strategy to get schools to adopt its products.

It is time to call out Google for what it is: a monopolist in search, video, maps and browser, and a thin-skinned tyrant when it comes to ideas.

Google is forming into a government of itself, and it seems incapable of even seeing its own overreach. We, as citizens, must respond in two ways. First, support the brave researchers and journalists who stand up to overreaching power; and second, support traditional antimonopoly laws that will allow us to have great, innovative companies — but not allow them to govern us.

– From Zephyr Teachout’s powerful arcticle: Google Is Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism. It’s Time to Stop Them.

Damore’s Revenge: Google Faces Growing Legal Threats As Other Googlers Come Forward, by Tyler Durden

James Damore is apparently not the only Google employee (now former Google employee) who has come under pressure from Google for his political views. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

James Damore gained instant fame earlier this month when he was fired for “un-Googly conduct” after publishing a paper on an employee chat board suggesting that men may be better equipped biologically for engineering jobs than women.  Apparently science is embraced by the Left when discussing climate change but not so much when it’s used to suggest that anatomy might just be coded in a person’s DNA rather than being a personal choice that each millennial can make, and change, on a whim.

But, according to a new note from Wired Magazine, Damore’s firing for discussing an ‘un-Googly” political position might not be just an isolated event.  As Damore’s attorney and prominent San Francisco Republican Harmeet Dhillon points out, several other Googlers have come forward claiming that they too were discriminated against for challenging Google’s liberal political orthodoxy.

In an interview, Damore says his firing was not “an independent or isolated event. What I was trying to complain about was the history of political discrimination at Google.” After he was fired August 7 for violating Google’s code of conduct by perpetuating gender stereotypes, Damore says other ex-Googlers told him they had been fired for similar reasons. “It’s a much stronger story and something that Google really has to respond to by actually changing their policies, rather than giving me hush money,” Damore says.

Dhillon is a prominent San Francisco Republican who was considered for a post in the Trump administration. Wednesday, her firm posted a notice on its website saying it is “investigating Google’s employment discrimination against employees on the basis of their political views.” Among other things, the notice seeks people who may have been “written up for ‘un-Googly conduct’ for refusing to comply with the political orthodoxy at the company.”

Damore says at least five others have expressed interest in pursuing legal action. Dhillon says she cannot verify that number. She says she is considering several possible grounds for a lawsuit, including penalizing people for their political beliefs, which are protected in California.

To continue reading: Damore’s Revenge: Google Faces Growing Legal Threats As Other Googlers Come Forward

One Statistics Professor Was Just Banned By Google: Here Is His Story, by Tyler Durden

See if you can find from this story one reason why a stats prof should be banned from Google. The stats prof doesn’t know why, either. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Statistics professor Salil Mehta, adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown who teaches probability and data science and whose work has appeared on this website on numerous prior occasions, was banned by Google on Friday.

What did Salil do to provoke Google? It is not entirely clear, however what is clear is that his repeated attempts at restoring his email, blog and other Google-linked accounts have so far been rejected with a blanket and uniform statement from the search giant.

Here is what happened, in Salil Mehta’s own words.

Dont do a googol of evil

Freedom is not free unless corporations who exert a large influence in our lives believe in our well-being.  I am a statistics professor and understand that there needs to be reasonable standards to control a large social network and make sure everyone is able to enjoy it freely.  Invariably people disagree (we all see this), but some principles, such as simply showing probability and statistics with the sole hope of educating others, should be acceptable and in the middle of the distribution.  I am for a higher standard, and a higher purpose.  There is great care that I have taken to make sure that people treat one other well, admit faults, and present math and probability education to a wide audience.

On Friday afternoon East Coast Time by surprise, I was completely shut down in all my Google accounts (all of my gmail accounts, blog, all of my university pages that were on google sites, etc.) for no reason and no warning.  A number of us were stunned and unsure, but clearly we know at this point it wasn’t an accident.  Here are some examples commented from best-selling author Nassim Taleb, and they have been retweeted by government officials, and the NYT and WSJ journalists.

To continue reading: One Statistics Professor Was Just Banned By Google: Here Is His Story