Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Advances in NLP to better connect people (facebook.com)
91 points by moneil971 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

I have refused to get hired by google and Facebook because they give me the creeps. Duck duck go cannot afford me. Maybe, we can start our own search/social/nlp startup? I don't care about making any money, if you are in the same boat as I am (dreading the status quo, wanting to do something, don't need or not driven by money, reply to this and we will try to make it happen - reminds me of the hypersane post from a couple days ago btw, the crazies not driven by materialism and can see through shit).

Honest question - If you don’t care about making any money, why can’t Duck Duck Go afford you?

Generally speaking, at most companies, one's credibility and therefore ability to affect outcomes is directly linked to titles and compensation (generally speaking). This is why they (or really any incumbents) cannot afford me. Besides, while I don't care about money that puts bread on the table, a privacy focused communication and/or search platform that turns into a successful and sustainable business is definitely something I am interested in.

Duck cannot afford you because the pay scales are now set by the very companies you despise, and those companies can afford those pay scales both they are able to extract monopoly profits (market structure issue) and your privacy is not a concern for them (which marketers are willing to pay for).

When we fix the market structure issue and address the legal issue of privacy, ironically, the pay issue of Duck not being able to afford you may even go away.

It's not just FAANG paying those numbers.

Hell yeah. Since deleting my FB account - and thereby being ostracised socially - I’ve spent a lot of my idle time thinking about what a decentralised, private-by-design, Facebook-like social network might look like. Is it feasible to host on-device? Does it need coordination or centralisation at all? How does privacy work? If central servers are required, can they be reliably funded? Can it be both ethical and profitable? How do we avoid consolidation of a decentralised design (cf RSS, SMTP)? How do we fund what needs to be done? Does such a network already exist? How do we know we can trust it? How do we promote it? I’ve got many more questions, particularly around ethics and sustainability, but that’s where I’ve been spending the few idle cycles that I have.

It looks a lot like Usenet with HTML & encryption.

Start there. You’ll probably build something incredible.

It sounds like you are already set monetarily, and that you are assured a job at either Google or Facebook (but that you choose not to work there on your own volition).

My question to you is - why can't Duck Duck Go afford you?

I can help you brainstorm. I just like to help to pay forward so I don’t need anything in return.

If that's true, I have a huge respect for people like you. I can't say the same for some of my friends at university who have no issue working for such unethical companies

can you link that post you're referring to?

“To better connect people” is the Orwellian horseshit phrase of the week.

It never seems to involve open chat protocols, does it?

this was my reaction, too. please don't patronize me by telling me it's for my benefit. advances in things like NLP are great, especially for the social sciences, but it's not going to connect me to my (facebook) world.

Facebook has a great AI and apparently also NLP team , a great framework , and tons of resources. They should make a search engine.

They're already modern version of web directory with millions of contributors so they probably just need to organise it. Or they already did it ? Did they ?

like the AOL of this generation

i dont think so. i dont think they have a functioning search

Facebook should probably wait for a few years until it does it. Currently it is the main traffic driver for “news” outlets and they will likely try to discredit the search engine.

Someone else will do it by then. Also, i dont think so - facebook has been better at giving traffic to other sites - unlike google they dont usually scrape and rehost them .

I totally support facebook leveraging their tech and data, all i am saying is that it will be discredited day one given the media hostility against it.

Hey, we're using NLP to help you rather than spy on you. No...really!

I’m afraid that’s pretty close to my initial reaction too. When I read the headline, there was an implied suffix of “so we can more effectively intrude on your privacy”.

It’s a great shame. There are clearly some very talented people at Facebook. But all that work is paid for by a dystopian business model that has moved effortlessly and insidiously from connecting people for benign social good (or at least relatively so) to one that facilitates erosion of privacy and social manipulation on a global scale. As a software engineer I’m deeply troubled that the craft I’ve loved since my teens is being wielded to such negative societal consequence.

The interesting part of this story for me is that computer proficiency on language tasks is improving so rapidly that a benchmark introduced just last year has become too easy. It seems like there is little reason to think this research will hit a wall any time soon? Will we have computers acing SAT's and writing college essays?

It hardly matters which tech giant paid for it this time, since they are publishing the results and the others will build from there. Next year it might be Google's turn again?

Here is the part I find scary: consider that they're publishing the models and the code, so anyone could use it. What might malware authors or nation-state actors build? (Sometimes working together.)

you don't think it was the design goal from the start?

It started as a "Hot or Not" type co-ed rating app....

Why do companies even want to spy on you in the first place? Because advertisers want to target ads more effectively. Advertisers believe they can manipulate consumer behavior through ads, so they are willing to pay facebook a shit ton for it.

As NLP technology gets better and better, you won't even need traditional ads anymore. You can control people's behavior directly just by selectively boosting real organic posts that push for your agenda.

It's only impractical right now because they don't have the tech to get that sort of high level control. For example the recent controversy about Youtube radicalizing people with more and more extremist videos is just a bug. In a more boring dystopia you would just be shown better and better Mcdonald memes until you name your first-born a Mcnugget. I can't think of anything this tech won't touch once they have algorithmic control of information. Rather than targeting ads for elections, you might be able to say something like "find all posts that swing voters will find convincing and show it to them". Whoever can convince facebook to do that will name the next president.

To be fair most of the examples and benchmarks they use are for translation.

> "Using NLP to better connect..."

> facebook.com

I'm not even going to bother clicking on that link.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact