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Anything you post can and will be used against you

Mike Elgan | March 13, 2017
Sure, the CIA can hack your TV, but public posts on Facebook could really hurt you

That's an extreme case where a company is rightly public about its analysis of user mindset based on social media posts. But the ability for social posts to detect mood is demonstrated by a site called We Feel, which aggregates the mood of everybody on Twitter to track the global collective mood.

The analysis of social posts to find out what kind of person you are, how you think, what you believe and how big a "risk" you are to various organizations is about to become big business.

Here's what's going to happen.

 

'Social media profile' will take on a dark new meaning

In the near future, social media and A.I. will enable any organization to rank people based on trustworthiness.

A Chinese government program called the Social Credit System, which is currently in "beta," seeks to rank everyone in the country.

The Chinese government is compiling data on all citizens based on their legal or criminal records, their financial activity and their activity on social networks. All this data is to be collected, compiled and crunched, resulting in a "social credit score" for each citizen. The score will determine rights, privileges and acceptability in various realms.

Though the program is still in its infancy, the government has already banned some 6.7 million people from flying or even taking high-speed trains because they haven't paid their debts on time, according to a report in The Financial Times.

The social media aspect of this is especially alarming. For example, posting pro-government posts and comments on social media is expected to raise one's score. Posting anything about Tibet or the Dalai Lama is supposed to lower it.

A planning document quoted by The Wall Street Journal summarizes the purpose of the Social Credit System: to "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step."

Data-driven government control of the population is the Chinese way.

The American way is based on freedom, which in this case means corporations may be free to use social media to decide who they trust.

Software applications are being developed that can identify any person's social media accounts, download every post they've ever made public, and "profile" those people categorically based on comparative analysis.

The ability to use data to categorize people is magnified enormously by the rise in artificial intelligence.

To oversimplify the inevitable process: Everything known about you (say, your name, location, age, gender, your family and friends and other information) will be fed into A.I. systems that will scan the social web to find all your profiles. The systems will then copy every post, photo or comment you've ever posted. The A.I. will recognize patterns, interpret the photos and parse the comments.

 

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