Where Cambridge Analytica came from:
Cambridge Analytica emerged from the alignment of two companies:
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- Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), a UK company
- Renaissance Technologies, a US hedge fund.
It was founded in the 90s by Nigel Oakes (ex-Saatchi & Saatchi):
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- SCL is a behavioural research and strategic communication company.
- Core business is data mining and data analysis on a specified audience.
- Based on results, communications will be specifically targeted to key audience groups to modify behavior in accordance with the goal of the client.
- It started in the 90s with commercial work: targeted advertising.
- It then moved into political communications (particularly in the developing world), and military psyops.
- It has influenced elections in Italy, Latvia, Ukraine, Albania, Romania, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Colombia (. . . )
- It has worked on counter-radicalisation in Pakistan and Yemen.
- It has helped Nato counter Russian propaganda in eastern Europe. ('Recoding the mass consciousness to turn patriotism into collaborationism')
- Renaissance is a hedge fund, founded in 1982.
- It was one of the first successful funds to use 'quantitative trading'. (From 1994 through mid-2014 it averaged a 71.8% annual return.)
- The most influential people in the company are computational linguists, recruited in the 90s from a group at IBM.
Peter Brown and Bob Mercer (co-CEOs since 2009)
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What quant methods make Renaissance so good?:
- Both at IBM, they pioneered statistical natural language processing.
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SCL + Bob Mercer: Cambridge Analytica:
- Sentiment analysis, information extraction on news items.
- Good models of many languages.
- Well-designed complex statistical models.
Cambridge Analytica is an offshoot of SCL, created in 2013 to participate in US politics. Bob Mercer was one of the main investors in the company. Politically, Mercer is ultra-conservative.
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Cambridge Analytica's database:
- He's one of the main funders of the far-right Breitbart website.
- Steve Bannon (until recently exec chairman of Breitbart) was a VP on the board of Cambridge Analytica.
- Its CEO is Alexander Nix.
Cambridge Analytica took Aleksandr Kogan (SCL)'s Mechanical Turk Facebook data and amplified it from many sources. From a presentation given by Nix:
The company 'buys personal data from a range of different sources, like land registries, automotive data, shopping data, bonus cards, club memberships, what magazines you read, what churches you attend.'
[Nix displays the logos of globally active data brokers like Acxiom and Experian in the US, almost all personal data is for sale. For example, if you want to know where Jewish women live, you can simply buy this information, phone numbers included.]
Now Cambridge Analytica aggregates this data with the electoral rolls of the Republican party and online data and calculates an [OCEAN] personality profile. Digital footprints suddenly become real people with fears, needs, interests, and residential addresses.
'Nix likes to boast that Analytica's personality model has allowed it to create a personality profile for every adult in the U.S, 220 million of them, each with up to 5,000 data points.'
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Analytica in the Brexit campaign:
In November 2015, Leave.EU (founded by Arron Banks, supported by Nigel Farage's UKIP) announced it had commissioned Cambridge Analytica to support its online campaign using OCEAN-based microtargeting.
(No money changed hands.)
Everywhere he went, Kosinski had to explain that he had nothing to do with this company.
Meanwhile, Aleksandr Kogan moved to Singapore, married, and changed his name to 'Aleksandr Spectre'.
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Analytica in the Trump campaign:
In 2015, Analytica became known as the data analysis company for Ted Cruz’ presidential campaign. (Prior to this, several other US political campaigns.)
In 2016, Analytica started to work for Trump's campaign.
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- Trump talks a lot about 'another Brexit' during his campaign.
- Jared Kushner and Jason Miller [on his campaign team] told Andy Wigmore of Leave. EU (in 2015, prior to Analytica) that's the holy grail is Artificial Intelligence.
Die hebben al heel wat op hun naam staan zeg, deamn.
Dit begint gewoon eng te worden, als het dat al niet was.
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[Reactie gewijzigd door SSDtje op 3 mei 2018 11:46]