I received a call from a colleague asking me if I were possibly being “a tad too harsh” in the incident that happened with Snapchat™ and its third-party vendor. “After all…” he began, “you can hardly blame them for a hack (i.e., someone outside acting nefarious) and it seems it was resolved quite quickly.”
My answer was, “Fair point, but that’s not the real issue.”
The reply came back (as is usually the case) “It’s not? Then what is?”
Glad you asked…
“Sure, it may seem as a bit of a clumsy question or example, for it’s not precisely specific to this exact situation. But what that question represents is the overview for taking the substance inferred within and then applying it to this precise situation in a more generalized form encompassing the entire subject matter under one obvious question and answer. e.g., Who is creating these algos, who’s signing off on their implementation, and who is responsible for their results, good or bad?
Yes, maybe this was the result of a “hack.” However, was the afore question I put forth asked when the “algos” were determining that the U.S. Constitution was “hate speech?” And when that was happening who was allowing it to go on, and on, and on, until there was a sizable uproar against it? That’s the reason why I made the suggestion, for it should have. It fit then, as well as fits today, even more so I’ll add.
If it had been asked back then and answers were demanded, real answers, not reams of digital techno-jargon delivered weeks if not months later. Incidents like a “hack” wouldn’t be lumped into some “Gee golly whiz it wasn’t us, blah, blah, blah.” type of response as is now usually the case. It would fall into the same understanding of possible biases that are rampant. e.g., How does the Constitution get flagged, but not such an easily and obviously identifiable racial slur?
Someone is writing the parameters to catch things or let them pass, whether it be heavy-handed this way or, kid gloves the other. This is why these questions, and by questions I mean pointed, as in very pointed, need to be asked if these hearings are to be held in the first place.If not? It’s all just a useless exercise.
I posed the questions as an overview to the subject matter at hand, not that they were the precise verbage to use in every situation.”
Hope that clears it up for those who may have the same initial reaction.
© 2018 Mark St.Cyr