markets for behavioral surplus

On the last Friday of each month I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“It’s very funny to me that the dominant Twentieth Century conception of AI was a slightly awkward nerd with an inhuman mastery of facts and logic, when what we actually got is smooth-talking bullshit artists who can’t do eighth-grade math.”Adi Robertson

“ChatGPT gets treated like technological magic, but that ignores the humans behind the curtain that make it function. OpenAI paid Sama to hire Kenyan workers at $1.32 to $2 an hour to review ‘child sexual abuse, bestiality, murder, suicide, torture, self harm, and incest’ content. Their work made the tool less toxic, but left them mentally scarred. The company ended the contract when they found out TIME was digging into their practices”. Paris Marx

“There is no such thing as a ‘job creator’. There are employers, who hire employees, *because they need them*. And then employers pay the employees less than the value they generate. That’s the system. How did we get to the point at which people behave as if the wealthy are giving a gift to working people? I realize it’s not a new attitude, but it remains proudly f’d up.” Mark Sumner

Increasing ventilation reduces SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission in schools

For classrooms equipped with mechanical ventilation systems, the relative risk of infection of students decreased at least by 74% compared with a classroom with only natural ventilation, reaching values of at least 80% for ventilation rates >10 L s−1 student−1. From the regression analysis we obtained a relative risk reduction in the range 12%15% for each additional unit of ventilation rate per person. The results also allowed to validate a recently developed predictive theoretical approach able to estimate the SARS-CoV-2 risk of infection of susceptible individuals via the airborne transmission route. We need mechanical ventilation systems to protect students in classrooms from airborne transmission; the protection is greater if ventilation rates higher than the rate needed to ensure indoor air quality (>10 L s−1 student−1) are adopted.

“I’ve been repeatedly sharing this surveillance capitalism graphic because the bird app drama is revealing the business model, whose extractive processes have second and third-order impacts on users, their behaviors towards each other, and the environments they occupy as data citizens.

Image is by Shoshana Zuboff demonstrating the discovery of markets for behavioral surplus (i.e. attention)

The lack of industrialized mechanization at scale produces a radically different user experience.”—Sampath Pānini

discovery of behavioral surplus

“Surveillance capitalism begins with the discovery of behavioral surplus. More behavioral data are rendered than required for service improvements. This surplus feeds machine intelligence – the new means of production – that fabricates predictions of user behavior. These products are sold to business customers in new behavioral futures markets. The Behavioral Value Reinvestment Cycle is subordinated to this new logic.” —Shoshana Zuboff

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