Recommendation System: How AI is Controlling What You See?
Have you ever opened YoutTube to watch a 5-minute video, but 30 minutes later, you found yourself engulfed in the maze of your feed page? Well, you are not alone. Years ago, what started off as a debate on the “Ethics of recommendation system” has spiraled into a serious problem.
But, what is the recommendation system? How is it influencing us to binge more? And, does the water runs deeper in the vicious pond of attention economy than what one can see on the surface?
Recommendation System: Shaping Minds
We can take sips of the content from the fire hose of information pointed our way every day of the week, with recommendation systems, by finding a few items that seem particularly valuable or relevant in a vast catalog.
However, while the recommendation system is immensely valuable, they also have a number of serious ethical failure modes. Some of which arise from companies build recommendation systems solely on the basis of user feedback, without taking into account the broader implications these systems have for civilization, society, and young minds.
Also Read: Impact of Technology on Human Rights
These implications are significant, and they are growing rapidly. Twitter and Google use their recommender algorithms routinely to shape public opinion on moral issues of the day, sometimes by design, sometimes by accident.
All the four primary stakeholders of the modern recommendation systems have a different set of interests and reasons to care about the recommendation quality:
- End-User: The consumers directly engrossing the recommendations from Netflix, YoutTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc
- Systems: The AI or back end operators who are responsible for the immediate user satisfaction
- Companies: The operator of these recommendation systems furnishing the attention and user retention on the platform to make a profit alongside determining their long-term satisfaction
- Society: The quality of recommended content influencing human preferences of content-consumption in the long-term
The Reason Behind Your Blind Scrolling
Social media giants thrive through the recommendation algorithms fabricated in their products, but at what price? Using addiction to generate more revenue and cash cowing teens and amateur minds into binging more is the stepping stone towards a successful site.
Tik-Tok has long been accused of denting mental health, narrowing attention span, and is extremely addicting. Now, Meta with Instagram Reels and Google with YouTube shorts have joined the race of reaping money at the cost of ruining lives.
Also Read: Tiktok Blackout Challenge: The Resurfacing Danger Taking Lives
Though surfacing a bit, the issue will evolve in severity as the negative impacts compound over the coming years.
The Endless Well
Recommenders make implicit choices depending on the time horizon that matters to their users. By seducing you into taking actions that will make you happy over very short timescales, Twitter, for example, aims to dominate user attention for as long as possible.
But decisions that feel right on a short timescale don’t always feel right on a longer timescale. So, for example, even though you were performing only the actions you “wanted” to do at the moment, you could feel as if your time was wasted after you logged off. Similarly, some recommenders have different time horizons (e.g., Amazon wants to know if you trust its reviews, so they ask you to buy a product and test it before you leave the feedback), but users have little control over the horizon on which they want their interactions with software evaluated.
Also Read: Techno-Racism: Technology Automating Racial Discrimination
We desire to improve and grow in our interactions with AI systems like recommenders. In contrast, our desire to preserve agency and control our growth and improvement trajectory is naturally tense.
Twitter, for example, does more than present its users with suggestions – it shapes their views on current events and actively influences their preferences. As a result, it is transforming its users into different individuals. But, when someone’s identity can shift due to their interaction with a recommendation system, how much control should they have over the direction or magnitude of that change? That’s why ethics in recommender systems remain an open question – and a big one.
The Dark Side of Youtube Algorithm
Videos have become the native language of the digital world, from tutorials of assembling an Ikea cabinet to free crash courses on digital marketing, Youtube homes it all. It has become the dominating digital space for learning new things to entertaining users for hours with its ocean of content.
However, therein lies a dark side of YouTube. It utilizes a top-of-the-class AI-powered recommendation system to keep our eyeballs stuck to the screen. Ever since implementing the recommendation system in 2015, YoutTube’s engagement rate has skyrocketed.
Also Read: Is Social Media Inflicting Extremist Movements and Riots Globally?
But, the problem starts when this algorithm pushes whatever it deems engaging, even if it is mentally damaging or could potentially harm the user. For example, you might be done watching a tutorial on how to chop onions the right way. Still, the next one may well be about how vaccinations are poisonous; climate change is a hoax, or how starving yourself for 20-hours a day could give you your ideal body.
Also Read: TikTok: The Unhealthy Glorification of Eating Disorder Amongst Teens
Though Google tries to take most of the inflicting videos down, but not before they have influenced millions, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the intermingled profit game with AI. It is a new ear with newer challenges as real as that climate change is real-no matter what the video claims.
Recommendation System: The Ethical Dilemma
Recommendation systems are the cornerstone of the internet, especially the social media economy. They make it easy for you to funnel the content you might want to consume in todays’ unimaginably large data present online.
Perhaps we should start by asking some big questions about the kind of world we want to live in and then work backward from there to determine how our answers would affect the way we evaluate recommendation engines.
In Palestine, no peace before the slate is clean
It seems that peace in Palestine will remain confined to the realm of wishful thinking. For the vast majority of people around the world, the racist apartheid entity known as Israel is probably the most gargantuan crime against humanity ever committed in the history of mankind.
Israel was conceived in sin, misbegotten in evil when it was established nearly 75 years ago, remains completely evil today, and will always be irremediably evil, no matter how many people sing its praises.
The creation of Israel in Palestine may not be the most heinous genocidal act in history. But it is most certainly the biggest and most obscene theft ever. How else can any honest person describe the arrogation of an entire country by the British empire and surrendering it, as a (National home), on a silver platter to another people ( Zionist Jews) on the ground that these people were stateless and persecuted, especially following the tragic events of the World War II.
Indelible calamity for Palestinians
Indeed, the very creation of Israel and its malignant growth into a powerful evil entity has inflicted a huge indelible calamity to every Palestinian family.
Yes, thanks to Zionism’s triumph, thanks to overwhelming, unlimited and sustained backing by racist, anti-Islam Western powers such as UK and US, every Palestinian family had its share of the still ongoing agony, immense suffering and misery resulting from the establishment of the evil entity, which is nothing less than a protracted, unrelenting and unceasing crime against humanity.
It is probably impossible to find a single Palestinian who has escaped the impact of the Zionist Jewish crimes, still, continues unabated.
Israel: When will the Jews say Mea Culpa?
This writer’s family, for example, was forced to dwell in a cave for 20 years, following the near extermination of my father’s family in 1953. In that fateful year, Jewish terrorists massacred his three paternal uncles, Hussein, Mahmoud and Yousef not far from the village of, al-Burj, about 30 km southwest of the town of Hebron.
The three, along with other relatives, were totally innocent shepherds, grazing their folks of sheep near the armistice line. In addition to murdering my family, the Zionist murderers stole hundreds of sheep upon which our family depended on for living.
Read Also: Expect a Srebrenica-like massacre anytime by Jewish Settlers in the West Bank
Interestingly, up to this day, Israel, the so-called only democracy in the Middle East, has not said “Mea Culpa“! let alone paid compensations for their crimes When will the Zionist Jews say a simple sorry for their unwept victims? Perhaps when kosher pigs fly!
Yes, every single Palestinian has a story to tell about what happened to his or her immediate family, relatives, neighbours and fellow villagers.
The Zionists, notoriously selfish and narcissistic, calculated that old Palestinians who experienced the holocaust-like Nakba first-hand ( the brutal, violent extirpation of an entire people from its ancestral homeland does constitute a form of genocide), would die and the young would forget.
However, the Zionist calculations proved utterly faulty as the cause has been kept alive and living, strongly and firmly, in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, including in Palestine itself where close to eight million Palestinians continue to live as a thorn in the Zionists’ side despite all their nefarious designs, plots and exploits to consign our just cause to oblivion.
There are several reasons for this exemplary resilience and steadfastness on the part of the Palestinian people, including the following:
1-The colossal Nakba, was by no means a one-time event lasting for a few weeks or a few months, followed by peace or an end of hostility. The Palestinians actually never encountered circumstances or conditions conducive to making them or their descendants forget or overcome their pains. Indeed, ever since 1948, the collective Palestinian experience has been a sequence of atrocities, pogroms, repressive measures, mass internment and imprisonment, home -demolitions, land-grabbing, sporadic massacres, and similar acts of persecution and oppression. This would draw a conclusion that peace in Palestine belongs to the realm of fantasy.
The main purpose of these evil measures has always been to force the Palestinians, or significant numbers of them, to leave their homeland for good. Indeed, in many instances, the Zionist authorities offered attractive sums of money to “encourage” Palestinians to emigrate to countries such as Australia and Canada. However, very few Palestinians would swallow the Zionist bait.
The unrelenting suffering and the protracted oppression and savagery kept alight the torch of resistance even to this day as most Palestinians came to realize that they were facing two main alternatives: continued resistance even at a high price, or going into oblivion and repeating the experiment of the “American Indians” of the Middle East.
2-The second reason which enabled the Palestinians to keep their struggle alive is their strong Islamic faith. Islam encourages its followers to resist oppression and not succumb or give in to oppressors. True, Palestinian nationalism played and continues to play an important role in sustaining the resistance. However, it is amply clear that Islam is more able to provide an inexhaustible source of motivations for the increasingly religious showdown with Israel. More to the point, Palestinians feel they have a paramount religious duty to protect, defend, and liberate al-Aqsa Mosque from the claws of Zionism. Indeed, most Palestinians realize there can be no Palestine without Jerusalem and no Jerusalem without the Aqsa Mosque. Hence, their resolve to sacrifice body and soul for the liberation of Islam’s third holiest sanctuary.
No Peace without Justice, but Justice is more than impossible
Since there can be no lasting peace in Palestine without true justice that leaves the slate thoroughly clean, it would be safe to argue that reaching a genuine peace between Muslims and Zionist Jews would be as unlikely as Satan the devil entering the Garden of Eden in the company of prophets, saints, martyrs and righteous people on the Day of Judgment.
But since Satan will go to hell rather than paradise, peace in Palestine will remain confined to the realm of wishful thinking.
And even if Zionist Jews were to reach the conclusion that enough was enough, they still would have to agree to a system of redress for the egregious injustices inflicted on their victims from the very inception of the gargantuan crime against humanity.
For justice, even a semblance of justice to materialize, the Jews of the world would have to pay the Palestinians adequate and prompt reparations for the purpose of promoting justice and redressing the horrible and still ongoing crimes against the victims and their descendants up to the 10th generation. I cannot determine the exact amount of reparations and indemnification which Jews would have to pay for the victims. But an initial amount of 30-50 trillion dollars would probably suffice for a final rapprochement. Am I undergoing day-dreaming. Definitely. That is why even invoking the possibility of a real durable peace between Palestine and Israel belongs to the realm of fantasy and wishful thinking. (end)
26 Million People Affected By Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Powerful earthquakes and aftershocks struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on the 6th and 20th of February, 2023.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 26 million people need humanitarian assistance. The death toll is climbing above 50,000 and is expected to rise as many victims remain missing.
Furthermore, the WHO calls the Turkey-Syria earthquakes the “worst natural disaster” in the region in 100 years.
Turkey-Syria Earthquake: What Happened?
On February 6th 2023, the first earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and the northern Syrian border, measuring a magnitude of 7.7. Within minutes entire cities turned into rubble. Following this, a second earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.6 hit the same region a little later.
Two weeks later, on February 20th, another earthquake of 6.4 magnitudes struck the same border area previously hit. Moreover, there have been more than 9,000 aftershocks recorded since.
The Aftermath of the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
These earthquakes caused immeasurable devastation for an estimated 26 million people damaging and destroying homes and infrastructure, including approximately 214,000 buildings across both countries.
An estimated 240,000 rescue workers continued working in quake-hit provinces in Turkey. They persevered for weeks to find survivors trapped under rubble despite no survivors found for long periods of time. An estimated 1.9 million people are in temporary shelters, hotels, and public facilities.
As of February 25th 2023, in Turkey alone, 44,218 people died due to the earthquakes, while the announced death toll in Syria was 5,914 people.
Selective Humanitarianism During Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
The international response to the Turkey-Syria earthquake has disproportionately overlooked the Syrian people’s suffering. Syria has faced 12 years of civil war, and with international borders blocked, many Syrians received no help in the first few days after the earthquakes.
Read more: The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria 2023: A Forgotten War.
It took over a week after the earthquakes for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to issue a three-month authorization for United Nations (UN) aid deliveries to pass through two more border crossings. These significant aid delays resulted from the regime’s influence over affected regions.
These unacceptable delays entirely defy the principles of humanitarian law. As a result, Syrians have limited access to search-and-rescue reinforcements and lifesaving aid, unnecessarily costing many precious lives. The UN has failed the people of northwest Syria, highlighting inadequacies within the current system.
The slow humanitarian response to the earthquakes severely affecting northwest Syria illustrates the inadequacy of the UN Security Council-mandated cross-border aid mechanism in Syria. Thus, this crisis highlights the urgent need for alternatives to be put in place.
Read more: The Repatriation of ISIS Children Detained in Camps in Northeast Syria 2022.
The UN Pledges a $1 Billion Appeal For Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
The UN launched a $1 billion fundraising appeal to support the humanitarian needs of those affected. This appeal fund will support Turkey’s “once in a generation disaster” for three months and a $397 million appeal to help 4.9 million people in Syria.
So far, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has donated $11.7 million. The UN held that so far, Denmark is the only country recorded to donate aid worth $1.5 million.
Human Rights Concerns Following Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
Health infrastructure was destroyed in many places, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid. In Gaziantep, a major city in south-central Turkey, hundreds of people are sleeping in tents in different parts of town, and trash has begun to pile up in public parks where some of these tents are located.
Therefore, hygiene problems, as well as inadequate housing, are some of the biggest problems in the region. In addition, the inadequacy of public toilets and the lack of infrastructure to use these toilets increases the risk of epidemics in the region.
Children’s Rights in the Aftermath of the Earthquakes
According to UNICEF, the recent earthquakes have affected an estimated 5 million children. Natural disasters such as earthquakes have severe consequences for vulnerable groups in society, such as children.
As the recovery efforts in Syria and Turkey continue, children’s rights must be a priority. All children must have access to fundamental rights such as food, clean water, and housing. Furthermore, children’s access to education and protection from exploitation and abuse is imperative. Many children in the region are unidentifiable as they are too young to know their full names, while hundreds of children’s parents remain missing.
Implementing the general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is of fundamental importance, especially in times of crisis.
Syrian refugees in Turkey Face Forced Return to Earthquake-Strikken Regions
An estimated 1.7 million Syrian refugees lived in the ten southern Turkish provinces devastated by the earthquakes. Unfortunately, these refugees rely on temporary or international protection status. Without prior authorization, these refugees cannot travel to other provinces.
However, following the earthquakes, Turkish authorities issued a directive allowing refugees in these ten provinces to travel to other regions, except Istanbul, for up to 90 days if they could secure their accommodation.
However, in the first few days following the disaster, many fled to Istanbul, resulting in the Directorate General of Migration Management revising its decision to a case-by-case basis due to Turkey’s economic difficulties. There has been a growing anti-Syrian sentiment in Turkey which has become the host of the world’s largest refugee population.
Following this, a second directive provided refugees with a 60-day exemption to travel to other provinces without prior authorization. The question remains as to where these Syrian refugees will return to following the expiration of the directive.
A Committed and Sustained Global Humanitarian Response is Needed
The aftermath of these devastating earthquakes requires a committed and sustained international humanitarian response. Thousands are missing, and 1.5 million are homeless without shelter, food, clean water, and access to healthcare.
The true impact of this disaster will not be fully understood for decades. The international community must step up and provide aid and relief to the earthquake victims. Most importantly, human rights protections must be at the heart of the response.
Expect a Srebrenica-like massacre anytime by Jewish Settlers in the West Bank
Encouraged by the Israeli government’s acquiescence, millenarian Jewish settlers in the West Bank seem to miss no chance to emulate “Hitler youth,” the para-military Nazi gangs that murdered, and terrorized Jews prior and during the Second World War.
“Hitler Youth” carried out some of the most outrageous acts of mass terror against Jews throughout Germany and Austria prior to the outbreak of the World War II.
During their rampages, they murdered people, vandalized property and torched businesses. They took an active part in Kristallnacht’s “Night of Broken Glass” on 9-10 November, 1938, burning down numerous synagogues.
According to historical sources, the pretext for the attacks was the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a German-born Polish Jew living in Paris.
Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed by some historians as part of Nazi Germany’s broader racial policy, and the beginning of the holocaust.
Jewish Settlers in the West Bank: Judeo-Nazis
Today, more or less the same scene is being replayed by the Nazi-like Jewish settlers in full collusion and coordination with the Israeli government and security forces in the West Bank.
Read Also: Will the West embrace Kosher Nazism following the instalment of the new Israeli government?
The settlers play the role of Hitler Youths and other Nazi paramilitary gangs while the Israeli security forces play the role of Gestapo and SS.
I know there are differences between the two cases. However, one must be faithful to one’s rectitude, which compels us to recognize the immense similarities.
In both cases, we are talking about a nefarious racist ideology (Aryan Supremacy -the Master Race) in the German case, and (Jewish supremacy or chosen people) in Israel’s case.
Indeed, when subjecting the two movements to cool examination and analysis, the two terror groups (Jewish settlers and Hitler Youth) look as two sides of the same coin, notwithstanding some secondary differences.
Most of the Jewish settlers now marauding through the West Bank and Jerusalem are graduates or students at Talmudic schools known as Yeshivot. They are thoroughly indoctrinated in the Talmudic ideology which views non-Jews as virtual animals. This means that the life of any goy (non-Jew) has absolutely no sanctity. This is far worse than the Nazi concept of the lower classes or Untermenschen.
The Jewish Settlers’ terror : Never forget
On 13 July, 2014, Jewish settlers in the West Bank kidnapped and burned alive a Palestinian child, after pumping gasoline into his body. Typically, when hair-raising incidents like this occur, the perpetrators often blame Torah sages and Talmud teachers in their communities for okaying the hideous crime.
I don’t know why these Jewish settlers in the West Bank chose this particular gruesome method to end the innocent child’s life. Did they want to vicariously punish the Nazis, on the ground that all goyem are the same, irrespective whether they are Germans, or Palestinians or Chinese?
What was even more outrageous was the behavior of the Israeli government. The Israeli security officials spread disinformation alleging that Abu Khdeir was murdered by his own family.
Israeli Offilcals: Lying like breathing
Indeed, only when there was no room for denying the obvious did Israeli leaders admit the occurrence of the crime. The reluctant admission was not due to concern about the monstrosity of the crime. It was rather imputed to concerns about the public relation damage that Israel would incur as a result of the crime.
The Jewish settlers’ terror against the Palestinian people in the West Bank occurs with the knowledge, acquiescence and direct or indirect encouragement of the Israeli government. Claiming otherwise would be like committing an act of lewdness with truth.
In fact, it is well known that some Israeli security officers often teach Jewish settlers how to conceal evidence of murder just as the Israeli justice system easily exonerates Jewish murder suspects accused of murdering Palestinians. A few weeks ago, I asked a Jewish lawyer from Haifa to explain the chances of a Palestinian receiving true justice in a Jewish court.
The lawyer, a lady, told me this: “No non-Jew can hope for true justice in a Jewish court, period.”
Jewish settlers and their supporters from within the army and Shin Bet security agency have burnt and vandalized dozens of mosques in the West Bank. However, so far, not a single perpetrator has been apprehended let alone punished. This amounts to a green light that encourages the terrorist settlers to “keep up the good work.”
Jewish Settlers in the West Bank: Expect the worse
Today, the Israeli government is using these genocidal fanatic Jewish Settlers to murder and terrorize unarmed and unprotected Palestinians for the purpose of driving them away from their homeland in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The criminal Jewish settlers pray for a miracle to empty the land, the West Bank and Jerusalem, of its indigenous inhabitants, the Palestinians. They invoke the 1948-Nakba, saying “if we did it once, we could do it again.”
This is why these evil people are willing and ready to embark on the unthinkable, including carrying out a Srebrenica-like massacre of Palestinian villagers.
The settlers believe they could do such heinous act with minimal or no impunity. They cite Jewish domination of the American government and Congress as well as the settlers’ domination within the Israeli army.
Yes, they could embark on the unthinkable. Don’t say “we didn’t know.”
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