Now they look more like prophets. That world is increasingly the world we live in. The question becomes, how can we stay sane in that world? How can we find enough actual truth (truth that is actually true, true in the old sense of corresponding to the reality of what is) in order to function? To function as individuals, and to function as a society? How do we deal with this?
I think the point of the postmodernists was that was always the world we live in, it's just that the Internet has made it much more visible and we can see the fraying and the contradictions. It's just that, for a fairly narrow window of time and societies, there was enough of an honor culture about being caught lying that the discourse-reality matched fairly well the actual reality. But even in the 20th century that required hiding a lot of perspectives, or only slowly and begrudgingly acknowledging them.
There's a distinction of degree but not of kind between "presenting the version of events most favourable to yourself" vs "presenting an entirely fictional version". I don't know how we get that back.
I think the internet has other effects like amplifying niche ideas.
If you were a conspiracy nut before the internet, your local friends will set you straight and either the conspiracy theories fade from your mind or they remain stagnant.
With the internet on the other hand, you can find other likeminded people, people who will accept your conspiracy theories and share their own which you will eagerly consume, and down the rabbit hole all of you will go.
It’s like a bunch of anorexic teen girls encouraging each other and sharing tips on how to starve and throw up. Very quickly you will have a bunch of dead kids.
I’ve never considered the post-truth perspective as having anything to do with intentional misrepresentation, but rather relativism (which is dangerous in other ways, imho). Outright lying has been used by authoritarians, but it really seems like we need a term to describe societies controlled by blatant, obvious lies (which is where I would consider the US at the moment). People like to use fascism, Marxism, etc., but those used similar techniques, for very different ends.
It's not just blatant, obvious lies. It's lies *designed to agitate people". I mean, the goal is "media engagement" (and secondarily, "political engagement"), but that comes downstream from getting everybody stirred up.
Edit: Literally took 5 minutes for the first downvote, despite not mentioning a single "issue". What's that old phrase? QED?
Live a little. Go ahead and share your perspectives. The maximum downvote damage is -5 points. You'll survive. I'll upvote you even if I disagree. Unless they're just the standard talking points from one side or another on some contentious topic, which is too boring to upvote.
Again, this is just an example, not my personal agenda. What I want to point out is that we've normalized that there are a handful of forbidden topics that you will get punched for if you approach them with anything but a pre-formed opinion that matches the status quo.
Edit: And just as a turn of the screw, I'm going to say that the COVID vaccines are pretty shit compared to ones like smallpox, polio, and rabies vaccines, which actually (and sometimes retroactively) prevent you from getting the disease you were vaccinated against. Oh heck, I'm not allowed to say that thing that we all know. I mean if you take a high level view of it, they take the edge off the problem, but they still kind of suck.
I was expecting something controversial. :)
The counterargument of course is that the region was annexed by aggression, which is dangerous to legitimize. Letting the bullies win is a recipe for creating more and bigger bullies.
But sometimes there are no good answers. I don't know any trustworthy sources of information from that area (only expats and news reporting which are all various degrees of clueless and biased).
Avoiding inflicting war on a reluctant people sounds humane. Restoring national sovereignty to a conquered people sounds noble. Impeding the spread of territorial aggression and natural resource theft sounds righteous.
Personal opinion, pragmatic I think: You can't retake Crimea without obliterating Russia. You can't obliterate Russia without horrifying consequences. Don't retake Crimea, but draw a very clear and public line, and allow no concessions regarding the next Crimea (Ukraine). This turns out to be very close to the foreign policy of most of the world.
And Crimea is strategic. Look at a map. Without it, the Ukraine and its ports are always under threat from the whims of Russia.
It’s probably true that you can’t crush Russia without serious consequences. Unfortunately, you can’t let it win territory without very serious consequences either.
This follows its own tragic logic now and you (we) can’t wish for a nice solution that has no consequences down the line. Letting Russia off the hook is a terrible precedent.
We were asleep when Russia took Crimea, and unprepared to react with anything more than stern words. We were not ready for Putin. He obviously saw the opportunity, took the risk, and he won.
It would be tragic to return to a world where aggressive expansionism is the norm.
But fighting back through Crimea would be tragic also. And it's not clear we would have the support of the locals. That's courting disaster even before you contemplate that the opposing leader is mercurial and nuclear.
My opinion is that we have to take the L on Crimea, but make it clear that the world is not sleeping any more, and that Ukraine is not next on the menu.
Syria is an important example. US bluster doesn't carry much weight in the world these days.
But the situation in Ukraine is very different. It astonishes me that there's political disagreement on Russia's aggression toward neighbors, but if we fail Ukraine it will be squarely the fault of one group of people, and it will be incredibly damaging to US interests in the world.
Leaving Crimea to Russia is not just appeasement, it’s strategically unsound.
Here we go, as requested:
> One voter, Grigory Illarionovich, told CNN, “I’m for restoring Crimea to Russia. Returning what Khrushchev took away.”
> Another voter in Perevalnoye, Viktor Savchenko, said he would never vote for the government in Kiev. “I want us to join Russia, and live like Russians, with all their rights,” he said.
> Victoria Khudyakova said she also had voted to join Russia, which she sees as being “spiritually close” to Crimea. “For me, Russia is an opportunity for our Crimea to develop, to bloom. And I believe that it will be so,” she said.
> CNN analyst and Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner similarly stressed that Sunday’s vote was in no way staged. “When you look at the celebrations, you can’t doubt that these people really are very happy,” he said.
> DEMID KUPAYEV: (Through interpreter) I witnessed how babushkas came up and said, thank God the time has come for Crimea to return to its historic homeland.
> KIM: Kupayev says international sanctions have made finding work in commercial shipping harder. But like many Crimeans, he calls economic hardship the acceptable price of joining Russia.
- Two dead, 23 wounded in a Russian strike on a Ukrainian medical clinic
- Ukraine secured military aid, including advanced fighter jets, at the G-7 summit
- Zelenskyy arrives at G-7 summit in Japan as leaders ramp up pressure on Russia
- Russia attacked the hometown of Ukraine's Eurovision band just before its performance
Fair and balanced reporting, right there. The first and last bullet points aren't at all the bald-faced examples of atrocity propaganda that we've just accepted as part of our daily feed.
Next, they're going to be raping nuns on tables and throwing babies out of their incubators.
(The Guardian is pretty much pro-Ukraine, pro-war in general.)
It's hard to find balanced discussion on something like the status of Crimea. Which is complicated - as you say the locals are largely Russian. Then again Russia signed an agreement recognising it as Ukrainian, then invaded and used it as a base to launch war on the rest of Ukraine which they show every intention of repeating if they can.
There's nothing controversial about saying that it'd be better if the COVID vaccines were better!
The COVID vaccines we have are measurably better than not having a COVID vaccine, and people had worse health outcomes if they believed (acted) otherwise.
Some narratives allow nuance and some do not. Public health communication is a very problematic place for nuance, and the natural nuance of science was weaponized to serve an agenda (which was sometimes blatantly dishonest) -- so avoiding nuance became a pragmatic approach to achieving better outcomes under existing circumstances.
If you felt cancelled for holding out for the complicated nuanced reality, I can sympathize with that feeling. I can also sympathize with those who believed that focusing on the nuance would, broadly, harm people!
I’m hoping at this point we can agree that the efficacy and function of the available vaccines was overstated and the pressure campaign to take it may have been some of the most intense propaganda inflicted on a western nation in recent memory.
The best information available was being provided by epidemiologists and doctors and statisticians and researchers. It was messy and contradictory and confusing sometimes, especially in the beginning. Like science.
Other information was being provided by politicians and radio hosts and religious figures and somebody's uncle. It was speculative and invented and delusional and manipulated and dishonest sometimes, according to the whims of famous personalities and media outlets. Like gossip.
Given those options, "trust the science" is a pretty reasonable message.
Not "trust the science to have all the answers immediately and with complete accuracy and no amendments", because that is not science.
More like "trust the science over the gossip".
But I take your point. People don't understand science, so it's very easy for them to feel betrayed when science does its usual messy science things.
And of course there were stochastic parrots on either side.
That said, the "trust the science" parrots had better health outcomes than the "impeach fauci" parrots. This seems unlikely to be a coincidence -- and as a blunt social influence tool, it's reasonable to conclude that "trust the science" was the better choice of intense propaganda, if not as persuasive as we all would have liked.
Social media companies notoriously blocked users from sending a story to each other in DMs a couple of years ago. It's not a stretch to go from there to deleting past messages in order to memory hole something. And the companies may not even be doing it by choice if they're being pressured by a government.
They can't do that if your data is yours and they can't read it, instead of the only copy being on their servers.
That's really all that postmodern thought says really. Naturally, for a government to be right or wrong, requires that citizens be critical of it, almost actively antagonistic in their demands for reasons, evidence (be it empirical or otherwise) and clarification. Postmodern thought is a critical tool. So that's not that different than what we have right now (most of HN for instance is hyper-critical of nearly all government truth claims), only the demands on citizens are likely outpacing their resources and abilities.
It's not just "nothing is real", which is just intellectual laziness. It's noting that we always interpret the world; we can't avoid it. Ordinary interactions usually arrive at similar interpretations, but people have a remarkable way of being influenced in that judgment. And sometimes that can lead to some really bad outcomes. It's important to recognize that the potential is always there even in things that seem obvious.
Basically I rely on my own observations and experiences: don't trust and verify, to adapt the old saying.
Second I limit myself to trusted sources of information and if I can't find one then I just don't get information on that topic: no information is better than false information.
In practice what this means is no algorithmic news feeds, I'm still looking for a good news source for my local city (haven't found one yet, I moved recently), I think a lot about incentive structures and how that might bias an information source, I (try) to apply skepticism to what I read, I block as much noise as possible (for example I don't pay attention to surface level political news because its all noise and virtually no signal), I focus on long term trends rather than "points" in the timeline.
This is far from perfect but its what has evolved as my approach over time.
(Lets call this approach digital villages for the sake of argument).
We have lots of examples of digital villages working - forums, subreddits, chatrooms, MUDs, etc etc. Maybe it's a case of worse is better? Or maybe everyone who implements web of trust immediately tries to jam crypto in there and turns off all the normal people? What do you think?
I tend to think lots of social spaces have been engineered by engineers, not people. The tech has been more important than the value it can bring in a human context. (Exaggerating for emphasis here, it’s not black and white but functionally true)
Big fan of the Six Idea’s (M.J. Adler) for meaningful life that is fairly universal: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty - the ideas we judge by; and Liberty, Equality and Justice - the ideas we act on.
I feel a food online social space should strive for high marks in these areas.
There will always be people looking at any advancement and figuring out how to leverage it to expand their personal capability to project power. Nothing is immune to it. Even primitives of decentralization can be leveraged in a way that defacto centralization is the inevitable outcome.
You don't research things that can't be centralized. You just don't centralize. The cost there though. Is then you have to accept certain things just ain't gonna happen.
Newcomers to the technology clamoring for it to be more centralized is a daily occurrence. It seems almost entropic, the push towards centralization. It seems to require constant effort to keep it decentralized.
True decentralization and censorship resistance requires taking the bad with the good. I'm the case of Mastodon, if I can't be censored for sharing my views on technology, politics, or sports then the person wishing to sharing illegal photographs of threats that may be illegal in some jurisdictions can't be censored either.
It raises the very interesting question of whether freedom of speech is an all our nothing concept. Very few people would support the idea of being able to say literally whatever you want, but can you really have freedom of speech at all if someone else gets to draw the bounds with which your speech much stay?
As we start to build trust economies (which really may only be the way forward), we have to start valuing integrity and discretion, or... as you say, all or nothing.
I think this has something to do with Jefferson's "the cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate", and maybe, just maybe why they insisted on educating it. I wish they'd have made it a constitutional right, along with the right to free speech.
(edit: Bing chat says, "It is true that some of the founding fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, were strong advocates of public education and believed that it was essential for a democratic society. However, they did not explicitly include it in the Constitution, perhaps because they faced opposition from other delegates who favored state sovereignty or feared federal interference. Or maybe they thought that it was implied by the preamble, which states that one of the purposes of the Constitution is to “promote the general welfare” of the people. In any case, the lack of a clear constitutional right to an education has left room for debate and controversy over the years, and has resulted in significant disparities and inequalities in the quality and accessibility of education across the nation."
If it does, it will be our fault for not progressing fast enough in terms of knowledge.
There is no world in which we could, or would want to limit our growth in terms of scientific knowledge. Not to mention the fact that to do so would mean ceding full totalitarian control.
Even the concept of progress as a goal seems misguided and risky. We shouldn't assume something is better simply because it isn't what we had before. "Not worse than what we had before" is a great goal but one that requires effort and focus, it isn't a given law of the universe that all change is good simply because it's change.
Or we could try to progress everywhere, including in areas of safety from technological risk.
Not to me. They just look like another group claiming grand and sweeping theories of truth.
What someone like Herbert Marcuse would claim is that there is something like a "definite negation," or Jacques Derrida would call a "trace;" that is, there, sitting behind every signifier (of de Saussure's structural linguistics) its negation of another signifier that defines its position in an ordered chain or a symbolic network. They would not argue that things are relative; rather, social life is regulated by these vast signifying networks that one becomes "subjectivated" in (begins to understand oneself as a subject), where one's "agency" also stands at the limits of this intelligibility: as they say, everything you "decide" is already pre-conscious; every notion of what is "possible," is limited by what is already "intelligible," i.e. what operates in the social-symbolic function as it, like an algorithm, constantly moves and exchanges its various symbolic orderings in what we call the "economy." To be a true agent means to do something which radically restructures this network and radically redefines all its terms: Foucault's "fearless speech," Badiou's "Event." The latter thinker actually explicitly rejects relativism (and is in some ways a platonist--actually many so-called "postmodern" thinkers, Whitehead among them, are considered platonists.)
The position you claim is from "post-modernism":
>"claims of truth are just assertions of power"
finds its origins in Nietzsche, who famously claimed that truth, morality, beauty, etc. were invented by the weak because they feared the powerful and they were jealous of the fact that they couldn't kill their enemies, eat fully, and have sex all the time (Master Morality, which was just doing whatever you wanted). So they rose up, took over, and invented these categories and systems of valuation in order to justify a new regime of power where nobody was able to do what they wanted, and everything was regulated by vast systems of control justified by these metaphysical notions (he refers to this as "Christian Morality.") He claims that Christian morality, after centuries of struggle, has finally won out in the Bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, but now "God" has been subordinated to "Science" while retaining all the metaphysical baggage of christianity "truth, beauty, morality," etc. This is from Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, the argument from which was expanded in Foucault's Discipline and Punishment (the most widely read book from what most people would call "postmodernism").
>truth that is actually true, true in the old sense of corresponding to the reality of what is
The so-called "correspondence theory of truth" is considered a fallacy of the layman in academic philosophy. Truth has always been, in logic, a category: a value, specifically a boolean value. One can make claims about the structure and order of logic and the relation of that to psychological, social-processes (as Frege, Husserl, and many other "anti-psychologists" of the 19th and 20th centuries did); but to claim that language, a signifying act, somehow directly corresponds to the physical objects that it categorizes, can't really be valid: as Shakespeare said "a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet." There is no reason why the words we use have any correspondence to experience--even if there is surely some reason why words can evoke experiences, emotions, like when one hears the name of a past-lover. But that can be attributed to what the "postmodernists" claim: the name evokes an entire symbolic structure and brings it to the surface of consciousness.
Perenially underappreciated in online discussions.
Very nice summary.
So in your understanding of academic philosophy, how do you account for the critical difference between the two statements below?
“Earth is flat.”
“Earth is a spheroid.”
I don’t see what is fallacious about accepting the second statement as corresponding to facts and dismissing the former for not corresponding. If it’s merely a matter of semantics regarding the words “correspondence” and “truth”, an alternative verbalisation of the critical distinction between those two statements must nonetheless be available; and it should be prioritised in discourse.
Diversify your information sources.
(A "solution" which requires end users to authenticate everything themselves is going to have the same level of adoption as pgp, i.e. near zero)
Not to mention the inevitable abuse by whoever controls the keys.
And how do you solve the problem of a powerful entity telling you that the cropped image is authentic, or there will be consequences? People know what's going on, they bend for fear of breaking. No technology is changing that.
If it is cropped, then it would not be provably authentic. So anyone seeing it, could see that it is modified.
> how do you solve the problem of a powerful entity telling you that the cropped image is authentic
Well, because you can check. You verify the image yourself, see that it is not authenticated, and then you know.
Powerful entity can tell you to install their root certificate just like it happens in China. This is a different problem.
Advertisers are going to want to postprocess images and have the green check.
You could of course fake green checkmark in CSS but this is already an issue with faking other browser UI elements, including address bar–it’s a known problem.
One way to solve this is having a browser picker, that is a button you click in trusted area of browser UI that lets you inspect any image on the page. Similar thing is possible with smartphone UI, you go to app overview/carousel and long press on an image in app, this launches photo inspection portal.
(1) a trusted application
(2) using a builtin device camera
(3) of a device running attested trusted operating system
(4) and any subsequent edits reference such photo’s original hash.
Hopefully stronger assertions could come in the future. This is just to combat digital forgeries and synthetically generated images. It also does nothing against real-world forgeries like actors wearing costumes or makeup.
That's the opposite of what we should do. If you do case by case then people will always find reasons why it's no big deal if "their" side did it while it's really bad when the other side did it.
No, we need to universally condemn this. No matter who did it and when and how. This is lying and propaganda, and it's bad even if I agree with the ends. But the means are to be condemned by everybody.
Kind of the dual to "I disagree with what you are saying but I'll fight for your right to say it." It's now "I agree with what you are trying to achieve but I'll fight against the way in which you are trying to achieve it."
Oh you now want a 360 degree shot to prove this didn't happen? Well then they stand behind a tree or a car or some other object to hide parts of the scene behind. etc. etc. There is no technical solution to this problem.
Older photo is the real one.
Not at all. I'm not sure what I said that makes you think that.
What I say, though, is that we don't know (either individually or as a society) how to operate in this new environment. It's making it hard to stay sane as an individual, and to stay functioning as a society.
Humanity is, after all, crawling out of at least the last 3000 years of recorded history of rulers telling everyone else how to live, like it or not.
We've only really been doing this democracy thing semi-successfully for a handful of centuries.
In the overall scheme of things, we're still pretty new at not being ordered around by people stronger than us. It's a hard habit to break on both sides.
Think fake instagram accounts with images, coercing and shaming victims for personal revenge. Shady companies selling fake stories supported by fake pictures of "satisfied" users. Influencers and celebrities making themselves look younger, prettier, fuller.
you see anyone who wants to spin a web of lies, AI as a tool makes it easier, possible and in som cases unavoidable.
A couple weeks ago when the Patriot Front had a white supremacist rally and march in front of the Washington Monument (now of the "red bike guy" fame), many prominent right wing Twitter talking heads tweeted that it must be a left wing conspiracy to make conservatives look bad and that the marchers were federal agents, despite 0 evidence of this, and indeed despite plenty of evidence that they were just actual Patriot Front members. It was difficult for me to tell if they actually believed that fairy tale, or of they felt that it didn't really matter because they knew if they shouted "fake news" loud enough they could get enough like minded people to upvote it.
It's a tactic to call everything a false flag, even your own ops. It requires virtually zero time, effort, or education to get everyone on your side doing it. Liberals fall for this trick frequently because they are obsessed with being seen to have to correct answer, so they invest for more effort in debunking than the liars did in making their claim.
Excuse me while my eyes roll into the back of my head.
Whether "liberal" or "conservative", some of us still care that facts matter. And honestly I would never have worried so much about calling out so much bullshit in the past until I saw so many of my fellow (voting) citizens actually believe this BS and take it to dangerous extremes. For example, when QAnon first came out, I just smiled a bit and laughed - "This doesn't even reach the level of bad fan fiction" I thought. Yet, lo and behold, significant swaths of the US population believe this, and I find that frightening.
I realized Qanon was going to be a problem from when it first appeared, but that's because I've spent about 20 years paying close attention to mis- and disinformation and political influence groups. What I'm pointing out here is that the time costs of lying vs debunking favor liars, especially when aggregated across communities.
I know my good good friend Conservative Fearless Leader will never let me go to jail or die of preventable disease or banish my rites when I want defending.
oops... too late. at least I didn't need to be right.
It's like "Chinese whisper". I can't count the number of times my partner tells me when I come home "have you heard, there is this horribly stupid law that is coming into effect next month". Then I check, and it's not a law, but a proposal, it hasn't been even accepted to be discussed yet and the details are completely different too.
I understand, not many smart people these days go into "traditional news reporting". It's a pity, because good news reporting is a prerequisite of a well functioning democratic society
It will only get worse, as revenue from traditional news drops they'll be more and more dssperate to make money the only way they can, by increasing the emotional load of the stuff they report. Everything has to be extreme, outraging, horrible etc.
It's certainly not the only source of error, but I find that the answer to my first question ("What, where did you read about that?") is almost always "Facebook".
It's become a running joke in my household. It turns out though that some people read news as entertainment, and don't really care if it's particularly true. This is probably fine, but it breaks down when the evoked response is outrage instead of a laugh.
Just do your best.
Some doors were maybe better left unopened, we opened this one. Let's see how it goes.
It's like thinking beyond today is impossible and that using logic to predict behavior is akin to being a conspiracy theorist.
Some now popular conclusions around AI were flagged comments ~3 months ago.
No wonder software is so terrible today.
Look at how the "Wuhan lab leak theory" was flagged and buried, how it took Jon Stewart to voice it and take a lot of heat before anyone paid any attention, and now it's mainstream and the Federal government is supposedly officially investigating it. https://nypost.com/2023/02/28/jon-stewart-recalls-outrage-af...
Sometimes governments use it to gaslight everyone: https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/how-jimmy-carter-...
On HN, the orthodoxy was that you shall not talk about everyday causes of depression or ADD. But then in 2022 we had this meta analysis that found no evidence supporting the serotonin theory and SSRIs: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/07/220720080145.h...
Now it's OK to talk about it, whereas before it was not. So now we have a lot of taboos to talk about overdiagnosis of ADHD and gender dysphoria, talking about the DSM V criteria etc: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/feb/04/adhd-diet-fo...
So yes.. right now the thing is to hate on Web3 and to do strawmen like "how will it fix AI". It won't fix AI, it's just that Web3 may be roughly a zero-sum game for society, or at least not nearly as negative-sum as AI.
> Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, or celebrities, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.
As much as you're entirely right that HN's readership decides what succeeds or not, pretty much every example you've furnished is defined clearly as "off topic" submissions. The Wuhan lab leak theory, regardless of how we view it in hindsight, was paraded as a sensational event up and down party lines. It never had a chance on this site, like Donald Trump drama or "Ask HN: What did you think of Kardashians last night?". Maybe it is relevant - but framing it sensationally is like toxic waste to this site's readers.
> the orthodoxy was that you shall not talk about everyday causes of depression or ADD
> So now we have a lot of taboos to talk about overdiagnosis of ADHD and gender dysphoria, talking about the DSM V criteria
They're not taboo. They're just not appropriate conversation topics for a hacking/finance website. The few times that it has become a big discussion topic has been through the lens of engineering lifestyles and personal experience. Even that is arguably too sappy for a non-Reddit website.
> Now it's OK to talk about it
> So yes.. right now the thing is to hate on Web3
Very subtle foreshadowing - you almost make it sound like Web3 has a second chance or something.
Truth is, like I said at the beginning - HN chooses what they want to hear. Most websites that give their users any degree of control over their experience let this happen (see Twitter, where users block the verified users). If you demand engagement on a topic nobody cares about, it stands to reason that you'll feel repeatedly disappointed by this website.
I think it absolutely is relevant, given that the conversation itself was about changing narratives, as a meta point.
> you almost make it sound like Web3 has a second chance or something.
This thread itself, is one of the rare ones where bringing up web3 actually is relevant, yes. It is reasonable for him to make that argument, because the topic is literally about how to authenticate things when you have an opposing central authority.
> If you demand engagement on a topic nobody cares about
His point wasn't about engagement. Instead his point was about how unpopular opinions are being proved correct, and that people were way to quick to dismiss ideas.
His point was that people should be able to look ahead, into the future, instead of immediately dismissing things out of hand, just because the thing isn't directly effecting the world right now.
IE, if you were downvoting/disagreeing with opinions about how AI is going to make it hard to authenticate information online, then you were wrong and were way to quick to dismiss an opinion out of hand.
I mean, it's a stretch. I could use that stretching metaphor as an excuse to talk about taffy for 4 paragraphs, but it doesn't contribute anything meaningful to the conversation. Scrounging up discussion about Web3 on an Indian government exposé is off-topic, and readers will flag it. It's equally substantial as those "this is good for Bitcoin" posts that get flagged under every article about a government treasury.
> the topic is literally about how to authenticate things when you have an opposing central authority.
If so, his flagged post didn't reflect it. It was a vapid comment that made no attempt to reconcile either topic.
> his point was about how unpopular opinions are being proved correct
If you want to argue that the Blockchain could have prevented this from happening, then by all means - write that comment. But that's not what his flagged post was. It detracted from the conversation and quite literally read as flamebait.
> if you were downvoting/disagreeing with opinions about how AI is going to make it hard to authenticate information online, then you were wrong
Spoilers: it has been hard to authenticate information online for as long as the internet has been around. In fact, the most significant events are corroborated with real life occurrences that challenge these lies. These women can attest that they did not do this in the photo. If government officials insist that the version with them smiling is the true master copy, then you're the fool for believing them.
I'm baffled that this is even being used as a platform to discuss Web3, a collection of technologies mostly reputed for... being manipulated and exploited by bad actors that cannot be incentivized to stop.
Bombs have been around for a long time. What if everyone could have many, cheaply and easily? Why, since nothing happens with N of them, then 20,000 x N is just a little more of the same. And so what if the bots are now able to hold conversations and pass the Turing test 24x7 at scale? We have been able to hire humans to do that.
Except… no. That’s not how it works and you know it. Allowing anyone to deploy swarms of bots with superhuman memory, strategy, coordination, and now the ability to do many tasks with acceptable or good results at scale, is a game-changer and the question is whether it will make society better off.
The same questions asked of Web3’s downsides should be asked of AI. Not upsides, downsides. The fact that the guy in charge of safety at OpenAI says he thinks there’s a 20% chance of human extinction and you choose to shrug it off and focus on some other part — is the issue.
This isn’t just an academic discussion. It is like the people who profit off of coal and other things, regardless of their emissions or effect on people or climate. It matters and should be regulated.
It really isn't. Because it is one of the normally very rare use cases for web 3 stuff, and the topic is directly about a case where such a thing would be needed.
> it has been hard to authenticate information online
That's nice and all. But the claim was that people were previously dismissing opinions about AI that are now mainstream.
So yes, you'd be wrong if you were outright dismissing these opinions about AI before, which are now popular.
And it is useful and interesting to point out how previous opinions that were dismissed out of hand, are now mainstream, using this situation as an example.
> a case where such a thing would be needed.
So... suggest a solution. What is your magical Blockchain panacea for this situation? To plug all digital cameras into an online ledger and hash every image? I'd love to hear a non-pipe-dream based idea for this.
> But the claim was that people were previously dismissing opinions about AI that are now mainstream.
This could be said about just about everything. I still dismiss the flying car, even though I was "proved wrong" in the 60s and 70s when some coked up engineers built one. I still dismiss cryptocurrency, even though many coins will outlive me. There is no world in my lifetime where cryptocurrency obsoletes the IMF. Betting against the powers that be is like playing chicken against a shotgun.
I am not sure if you read the rest of the comments and suggestions in this whole post, but multiple people did, over multiple discussion threads.
Feel free to go back and read them.
Also, it is still interesting and useful to suggest part of the solution, without writing dozens of pages on the exact specific details of it. Even just recommending crypto, is interesting enough, due to the fact that real usecases for crypto are so rare.
> This could be said about just about everything.
Ok, well in this case, related to AI, lots of people were wrong. And those people who were wrong, should figure out what mistake they made, to be so wrong, and why they were so quick to incorrectly dismiss these arguments.
Why was GP flagged? They made a good point.
The point was that Web3 was mildly zero-sum for society, while AI is shaping up to be massively negative-sum, as more people get access to it. It's like giving bombs to everybody and hoping no one will use them in bad ways. At least with nuclear bombs we knew who was enriching the plutonium. Here, everyone has access to weapons, to be used as they please.
The key to when things go bad is swarms. When HN is overrun with swarms of bots a few years from now, you'll remember reading this. Web3 by contrast is just an immutable ledger, its worst applications are convincing people to voluntarily put some money into a buggy smart contract.
The truth came out this time. To borrow from Ozark: this isn't the only time they doctored photos, it's the only time they got caught.
The obvious end state of this all will be news channels customized per-person. It's already starting with the custom-tailored Facebook/Twitter feeds. If you personally believe A, Y, and C, but not X, B, or Z, your news reports will be customized to show A, Y, and C as factual and ridicule X, B, and Z. Someone else will get presented an entirely different set of facts. Once the algorithm knows your beliefs, AI can produce an unlimited number of articles confirming those beliefs, complete with photos, videos, sources, fact checks, official reports and references.
The WSJ, Forbes and the National Review were what I considered reliably conservative sites that I use to be able to quote to conservative friends. Once they turned against Trump, they became part of the untrusted “mainstream media”.
Then when FoxNews called the 2020 election fairly, then they became sellouts and people started flocking to NewsMax. Whatever I thought of FoxNews over the years, I always thought their election night coverage was straight down the line.
RedState kicked out all of their neverTrumpers because they were losing readers.
Then conservatives started criticizing NewsMax when they would slightly push back against the “election was stolen” claims.
We're likely going to see a few cases like this that take off while people are adapting, but this naivete won't last forever. There will always be a few gullible people, but, just like with Photoshop, we'll get to the point where most people understand what's possible and adapt their reactions accordingly.
Before that media was written text and everyone knows anyone can make up anything they want in that domain. Before that most people were illiterate so it didn’t matter much. Media wasn’t even much of a thing.
We are headed for the post-media era when any arbitrary piece of media depicting anything can be created for little or no money by anyone with a computer. Nothing can be believed unless you were there or hear it from a known reliable source that was there.
There’s going to be an ugly transition period when we have tons of people who haven’t gotten this memo yet. These people are going to be manipulated en masse with tremendous effectiveness. The push to deplatform misinformation is largely an attempt to stop this, but I think it’s futile. People just have to learn that media is dead and they can’t trust anything anymore.
Hunter Thompson was ahead of his time. The only journalism worth doing in this future is individual gonzo journalism where you go and experience and tell the tale directly to your audience. That of course is vulnerable to spin by the teller, but so are all tales. It’s the best we have. Hopefully honest tellers of first hand tales will exist and get the reputation for honesty they deserve.
That is easy enough. What is difficult is to teach people they cannot just trust the people who tell them what they want to hear.
> Hopefully honest tellers of first hand tales will exist and get the reputation for honesty they deserve.
The odds of that are basically zero. There is no reliable way for people to know whether someone's tales are first hand or not, nor whether they are honest or not. If people stop consuming mainstream media and turn to gonzo journalism, powerful interests will manipulate information channels to direct eyeballs to the journalists they buy. The audience will not notice.
From what I gather, Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico was pretty much fanfiction (had somebody write?) about himself. This problem may be older than I thought.
Bill Watterson had a series of strips about this in Calvin and Hobbes in 1992 .
> CALVIN: This is what I like about photography. People think cameras always tell the truth.
> CALVIN: They think the camera is a dispassionate machine that records only facts. But really, cameras lie all the time! Select the facts and you manipulate the truth!
> CALVIN: For example, I've cleared off this corner of my bed. Take a picture of me here, but crop out all the mess around me, so it looks like I keep my room tidy.
> HOBBES: Is this even legal?
> CALVIN: Wait, let me comb my hair and put on a tie.
 This is the one I quoted, but the one before and after it are related: https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1992/09/17
(There is also the sad business of the 1932 Pulitzer https://www.pulitzer.org/news/statement-walter-duranty )
This is also about as long as we’ve had popular democracy. (Something like a fifth of Indians are functionally illiterate .)
It will require a significant mental shift to now question practically every single piece of audiovisual content.
Maybe _you_ do that, but I would not generalize, and I would not necessarily think I’m always capable of doing that myself “by default”
And that's nothing new. We have been lying since we figured out how to talk.
The sky is not falling.
Instead, they will have to learn to identify good explanations and rule out bad explanations.
Actually, I would place the soviet union in the global north (you cannot go much further north, than russia is). And the difference is the extent, what they did to rewrite history. The famous removal of Trotzki out of revolution pictures, after he was not with the main party anymore. Stuff like this, did not happen in the west. Lots of other manipulation and misinformation, sure, but not blatantly rewriting history.
What about stolen land. Along with the death, destruction that ensues. Would stolen land that is “edited out” in the US or caused because of the US come close?
But it still makes no sense to me, to exclude russia from the global north.
Some one said the west cares about social rights and freedom vs Soviets or Indian people. Both societies were better with many forms of expression including gender and sexuality.
This is a good example of history being rewritten for the Global North as the vanguards of social justice and liberal freedom. IE India has been better with trans people and Soviets with gay people.
The Trotsky stuff is a big deal in the context of socialist states. Not the Global North. I fail to see the difference of the extent with some victims of COINTELPRO or the rewritten history of figures like Ho Chi, Ernesto Guevara, Cuba (Castros), Allende, Lumumba, Mao, Sankara, Kabil, Bhutto, Tito, and so on.
"historical analysis of modern history shows why Slavs are not included in the Global North."
Then please show me this analysis?
How do you think the russian empire worked before the revolution? (or after)
Or how it became an empire in the first place?
And how exactly was for example the history rewritten for the worse regarding this person?
He is mostly regarded a hero with lots of merchandise to buy everywhere on the west. If his history was rewritten, then by socialists who dreamed of the clean, heroic revolution and closed their eyes to the bloddy, murderous work he did. (Not saying that those who hunted him down were any better)
And Castro did not allow his underlings to leave the country at free will. Among other stuff.
Or how did the indian empire(s) worked before the britains came? (would you enjoy being born in a low caste?) Or china. Or the Zulu. Or the aztecs, etc. etc.
Or read a bit about Haile Selassi.
It seems you are making a artificial line and claiming all or most of the evil came from the north. How is that helpful?
Making the world more simpler by creating us vs them?
> Verified account @randomsena tweeted the same image
> Another verified account, @RealAtulsay, tweeted the same image
Isn't "Verified" on Twitter just a subscription now, meaning it's just that these people have given Twitter money? Why it matters (in a journalistic sense) who has paid Twitter or not? And why are only some of the verified accounts mentioned as verified accounts, while others are verified but not mentioned as verified?
Such a weird article overall.
This is how BJP government uses public money to run troll campaigns on social media against opposition leaders. 
Possibly hundreds or thousands of persons or "journalists" are getting funds from government to abuse the opposition leaders.
This is the exact main problem with paid Verification. Blue tweets surface to the top, disproportionate to the attention they actually receive, meaning you're more likely to see them. You're effectively paying for attention.
I’m sure the government of India can make as many numbers and cards as they want, but the problem is still that Twitter can know who issued both and a lot of information about them, including if they’re burner numbers. It still helps tremendously
https://imgur.com/a/6blpTqF shows my recent advertiser blocks from about 10 mins of browsing. Clearly inauthentic accounts, some paying the $1k gold check fees.
Your account must have no signs of being misleading or deceptive
Your account must have no signs of engaging in platform manipulation and spam
So Twitter is telling us that those accounts should not be deceiving. Yet, they are.
If you're running an article on how the India ruling party used AI to paint protestors in a false light, it isn't relevant. Worse bringing attention to it like this could give less-informed readers the false impression that "verified" actually meant something like "verified by the government".
Whenever I see blue tick accounts now, I notice most of them have <1000 followers and have no authority in the subject matter and I ignore most of them. I have noticed a lot of right-wing handles, all having the blue tick and getting priority on spreading their misinformation as it was in this case.
Elon has broken the verified system on purpose to fit his new anti-government / anti-"woke" agenda.
It doesn't matter what people say on 4chan or fox "news", why is twitter any different?
It's all just opinions, not worth anyone's time. Ignore it.
For my understanding the purpose was to help newcomers to distinguish @realDonaldTrump with @veryRealTrump. It is supposed to prevent impersonating, but that’s just a shift of trust from your own judgement to the Twitter chosen fraud algorithm or whatever method they choose. Can’t see how 10$ add more credibility.
The origin of the image is unclear. Sure, one can speculate that "India ruling party's IT cell" is behind the morphed image. This is what this comment section is for. But without hard proof the title is as much of an propaganda as are the morphed image.
Are we going to tag everything a Democrat does as "US ruling party's" doing?
HN was fooled multiple times during that episode. It looks like HN likes being gullible when simple common sense would have prevented that.
I think the American Narrow Minded view of the World is due to they growing up in a 2 party system that only looks at things as Black and White ( Not the race ), as Right and Wrong ( that's better ).
They are basically fed what they are supposed to think by CNNs, NYTs, Guardians etc etc
Like Uncle Soros they believe they understand India better than Indians.
Uncle Soros wants to bring 'Democracy' to World's largest Democracy, because 1 Billion Indians don't know what they should vote for - They need a White Man to tell them that. .
In their own Country they created False Accusations against their President - Published in all 'respected' mainstream Newspapers.
United States of Gaslighting is where they are at.
Let's see if @dang is open minded enough to do something about the title after 400 upvotes are already made.
While I believe it's ok to discuss politics on HN, my view is that accounts that exist solely for political propaganda should be discouraged.
The article btw is of questionable newsworthiness; and is a link to a propoganda blog. It's not really an accredited news organization.
Even if political, I personally expect better on HN.
I think AI manipulation of public opinion is a great topic for HN, IMNSHO
This is among many that I have seen gain traction that are politicized.
I believe the moderator sees no issues when the articles pertain to India.
“Turn the other cheek” and “love your enemy” are very old philosophies, after all. So is there something different about this situation or about Indian politics in general that makes this a damaging attack?
This was to paint them as insincere and implying that protestors are on the payroll of <insert boogeyman here>.
I wonder if these are universal or if different societies have different "greatest sin". Like, does Japan, unbeknownst to me, have shamelessness as its?
Between the politics and the pollution in Delhi, I fear I can never really return home.
The last time I was home, I was struggling every day to breathe because Delhi has crazy air in the winter. While high school friends were telling me about how they don’t believe in equal rights, justifying any means to achieving a Hindu country. This is just one more nail in the coffin of a potentially great, secular country that once dared to v̵o̵t̵e̵ place a g̵r̵e̵a̵t̵ scientist as president. How far we’ve fallen since.
I’m just heartbroken over what my country has become.
Edit: for the countless fans of India that will show up to tell me how to feel about the country, please don’t. I really don’t care to hear the latest talking point on why Infrastructure is worth human rights abuses or whatever lets you sleep at night. My opinion is my own and you can please pound sand. You are part of what makes me mourn my country.
The ban on crop burning (main cause of Delhi's pollution) was central to the farm bill. But protesting farmers (widely supported in the west) opposed it, and the bill died despite having democratic approval (both national opinion and sufficient votes)
> dared to vote a great scientist to president
We do not vote for Presidents in India. The president was selected by the ruling party (The same BJP as Modi) to be the ceremonial president. The same one that has now elected a tribal woman to President, to signify secular allegiances.
> believe in equal rights
If we are to use leaders as a yardstick to measure equality opportunities and rights, then the incompetent ~6th generation heir of the Nehru/Gandhi family leading the opposition is hardly a good look.
> disappointed by the country I called home for most of my life
As a fellow NRI, this is counter to what I hear from my fellow Indians. There is a ton of optimism around jobs, infrastructure growth and economic policies that are finally opening up the nation, as India embraces the US after decades spent close to the Russia.
> potentially great, secular country
Even as a big supporter of liberal (as in valuing liberty, low authoritarianism) democracies, the evidence for free-democracies industrializing is exactly zero. Every big nation that has successfully escaped poverty has done so through suffocatingly authoritarian means (SK, Japan, Taiwan, Chile, China, Thailand, Malaysia). Every single one of them only transitioned to a proper liberal democracy (if at all) AFTER industrialization had been achieved.
It is depressing. But, the numbers don't lie.
I don’t think I agree with your other points. But I do hope your optimism pans out because right now things feel bleak.
You do a disservice to your country by following that tired playbook.
Did you ever stop to consider that I am actually well informed and genuinely disappointed with my country.
Criticism of the country and party doesn’t mean I’m simply misinformed. I was critical of things when I lived there, I consume my news directly from Indian news sites.
Maybe you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to assume it’s western propaganda?
I won't name names but I am pretty sure you have already guessed who I am talking about. Even in these wrestlers protests we clearly see who is the puppet master who is controlling the marionette. The same puppet master active during farmer protests. The same puppet master active during CAA protests. That face is pretty much constant.
Right now let us just accept this basic fact that there is no one, in the Opposition at least, who is a serious contender to Modi at the National Level. Or even Yogi or any of the other BJP leaders. This is sad truth for Opposition parties that it has to accept first before it can work on finding the right candidate for the job. But doing that is easier said than done. When the Opposition is fragmented and bickering amongst itself, there is no way it can put on a United front. It tried it multiple times and failed miserably every single time. And being just anti-Modi/anti-BJP won't win votes. You need to present a viable alternative that is actually capable of taking on not just Modi but also be able to represent India on an International level. I don't find anyone in the Opposition fit enough for that position. Sorry.
So any opinion other than your own is propaganda fed by the west, but the only true reality is the one you agree with that paints India in a flattering light.
Using “the world happiness index” as some kind of gotcha propaganda is hilarious, when we’re discussing actual issues like arresting protestors. Just ridiculous.
I won’t be replying again to you because I don’t think you are capable of accepting that other people disagree with your world view. It’s unhealthy and I really think you need to leave your own bubble.
Some day you will realize the Western media is a propaganda tool wielded by the powerful arms and other lobbies to paint their targets and give the Western governments pretext to begin interfering in the matters of a non-pliable foreign government.
When social and political norms can vary within individual states, let alone the entire country, it causes people to feel reporting about very negative or very positive news is propaganda one way or the other.
A lot of this is then further inflamed by IT Cells from parties across the board, especially because most NRIs are getting news about India via the internet plus social media.
Add to that the fact that most Western media isn't biased (I've worked with them), but might write articles using a broad brush that pisses other NRIs off and then we all devolve into regionalist or casteist bickering.
Eg. When the Unnao tragedy happened (which was horrible), it was reported in some western media that it was in India and broad brushed as an Indian issue. A number of Tamil and Malayali friends too offense to that and began saying "oh, it's actually Uttar Pradesh. Bhaiyyas are always like that" and regionalist shit like that, which obviously pissed off the UP+Bihari wale in my office.
On the side, you can see propagandists like Agnihotri inflaming Hindu-Muslim tensions by bringing up the Kerala Story as if every single Malayali Muslim is a future Jihadi and inflaming Hindi-Southern tensions by making a number of idiots assume Malayalis are a 5th column, which is an extremely horrible broad brushed assertation
And finally, a lot of people say that BJP voters are illiterate and illiteracy is pushing back India. As someone with family from small town India who has known illiterate people, they are smart as you and I. Just because they didn't get the opportunity to learn to read+write doesn't mean they can't think rationally and logically. So for NRIs from lower middle and working class (as a lot of NRIs increasingly are now), it feels very classist and insulting.
Basically, what I'm getting at is that we use our prior experiences and background to understand a country, but when you are dealing with a country as large and diverse as India it automatically falls apart.
Have you forgotten the New York Times job ad for South Asia Business Correspondent for India?
Since you say Western media isn't biased and that you have worked with them, I would like to see at least one huff piece published by Western media on Modi/BJP. Surely there has to be at least one article to counter all the anti-Modi/anti-BJP articles we keep seeing propping up in the Western media. If you can't find even one piece that can counter-balance the mainstream narrative about India and its ruling political party then it isn't actually "unbiased". The tilt towards one side of the political spectrum is pretty obvious to all those who have been seeing Western media play its game.
> so large and diverse that commentators can be right and wrong at the exact same time when painting a brush with the term "India"
Yeah and since when has Western media ever understood this nuance? The bias is deep seated and pretty obvious to observers like me who fall on the other side of the political spectrum.
The NYT is not the primary source of truth for policymakers in the United States.
I agree there are a number of issues with the NYT's Delhi office, and a lot of that stems from bad pay.
The media ecosystem in the US works the same way as how the media works pin India. I haven't seen very nuanced discussions about American institutions in the Dainik Jagran, Hindustan Times, or WION either.
> Yeah and since when has Western media ever understood this nuance?
In the Media that is actually consumed and read and used by policymakers like when I was on the Hill, as well as in the educational programs that bring future Americans into the Foreign Service.
I don't have any issue with most current policymakers in US (for the past decade at the very least). Surprisingly most US lawmakers have their own individual views on India (unaffected/not influenced by Western media) and have a good working relationship with the GoI (including Modi and more specifically Jaishankar). This includes policymakers from both sides of the political spectrum (Republicans as well as the Democrats). Thank God for that. Else if they actually believed half the articles that came out of papers like NYT or Washington Post, they would have a totally warped understanding of India. And a really negative one at that. Policymakers pre-Bush era got most things about India wrong (and paid a price for it too with WTC bombings, 9/11 and finding Osama Bin Laden hiding close to their Ally's military complex). US Policymakers have changed their outlook and very few actually hold on to the anti-India stance that they once had. That's welcome.
My issue is with the common citizens getting a warped view of India. That's all.
> In the Media that is actually consumed and read and used by policymakers like when I was on the Hill, as well as in the educational programs that bring future Americans into the Foreign Service.
That's good to know. But Western Media still has a lot to catch up vis-a-vis being unbiased. They still heavily tilt towards parties that are non-BJP. That is fine if that is their intended outlook. But at least let it not pretend to be unbiased then.
> The media ecosystem in the US works the same way as how the media works pin India. I haven't seen very nuanced discussions about American institutions in the Dainik Jagran, Hindustan Times, or WION either.
Yes I agree with you that Indian media is biased too. Most of the media outlets are pro-Modi/pro-BJP. And in a way it should also be seen as a counter to Western media outlets and continuous disinformation/propaganda that kept coming from there. Let us not forget that people who work in Media organizations also have their own individual biases and they typically hire people who subscribe to their biases. It is not always necessarily a money thing (where the ruling party pays a media organization to speak in its favour). Many a times it is purely for ideological reasons.
Much the same as NYT or WP. The only problem is when NYT/WP is that it proclaims itself to be unbiased. That's when I go "Come on man I know you aren't. Quit the pretence".
Also Indian media typically is reactionary. We don't particularly have nuanced discussions about the West because first and foremost we don't have our own statistics bureau that can create all sorts of indexes that the West creates out of thin air. Some of the Western Indexes are based on factual research but most of them aren't. And we just typically counter them in a reactionary manner. We do not invest efforts into actually coming up with actual statistics or at least indulge in counter-propaganda. That appetite simply does not exist. Many of these Western statistics, stories and news articles go unrebutted.
Like I gave an example of World Happiness Index. Let us take World Press Freedom Index. India ranks below Afghanistan in World Press Freedom Index. 11 spots behind Afghanistan. This is a total joke. Is the West actually trying to say that Taliban, which is ruling Afghanistan now, has more Press Freedom than India? You see how these nonsensical statistics go unchallenged? Because what would you even counter these with? It is that ridiculous! Surely if everything was so bad in India we wouldn't be a thriving and one of the fastest growing economies in the World today. We would all be on the streets rioting (like what happened in Sri Lanka) and storming Modi's residence. Most of it is hyperbole.
Good to know you consider the World Happiness Index 2023 as hubris. We can finally agree on something.
> I won’t be replying again to you because I don’t think you are capable of accepting that other people disagree with your world view
Funny how you believe "I don’t think you are capable of accepting that other people disagree with your world view" and in the text rejected my valid argument which you had absolutely zero counter for.
Either accept that the World Happiness Index is a fabrication of the West or rebut with facts as to why India ranks below Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. You got stumped with just this easiest piece of fact that you couldn't even counter. Tells me everything I need to know.
> when we’re discussing actual issues like arresting protestors
Cry me a river. The West is so pristine it doesn't arrest protesters at all. Nor do Government agencies kill people randomly. Nor does it indulge in assassinations both within its own soil or in countries that it has no jurisdiction over. Nor does the West bomb other nations to bits. Nor does it arrest farmers and confiscate their properties and bank accounts. The West is epitome of truth, fairness and justice. While puny Indians back home, which you incidentally rejected because of the deep seated hatred, are the horrible ones who do not have capacity to discern truth from fiction and do not understand how a Democracy functions.
Give me a break!
Classic Example of whataboutery.
Honestly, this attitude—equating moderate criticism with “rabid hate”— causes me to pause every time I get excited about India. There are democratic trade-offs in development. India has made them decently historically, and well recently. But the way you tank that balance is with blind jingoism.
I was responding to this comment: "I absolutely hate the way fellow Indians will just try and deflect negative stories about India as western propaganda."
Nice try trying to change the tone of his sentence (which was "I absolutely hate") to "moderate criticism". There is nothing "moderate" about "absolutely hating" something/someone. I was just responding to that "extreme" emotion he was projecting. Such extreme emotions might win you the mob but it won't change facts.
> causes me to pause every time I get excited about India
Okay. And? What difference would it make to India's growth trajectory if you lose your excitement? Is it going to make any dent?
> But the way you tank that balance is with blind jingoism.
Lol. As an Indian the only content I get to consume majority of the times, from Western media/press, is how shitty India is. And this has nothing to do with BJP/Modi but has to do with how India has always been projected in the Western media. Take literally any media clip of India showcased on Western news channels and you will have at least 1 clip of Mumbai slum (which is the smallest portion of Mumbai, a part of Maharashtra state in India) projected as India itself. It is like Indian channels showing Skid Row as USA. So if you feel some sort of "jingoism" coming from me it is purely a response to the nonsense I always see on Western media whenever India is talked about. As it almost always projects and enhances stereotypes already existing about India and Indians. And lets not forget the most common tropes: poverty, illiteracy, drinking water, sanitation, slums, education, electricity etc. No matter how much India improves and solves these issues (many of which are close to 100%) it still wouldn't satisfy West's craving for denigrating India just for kicks.
So if I feel defensive about it, don't construe it as jingoism for the sake of it. I actually feel the difference in standard of living after being born here and lived for 34 years. I presume I have more experience about how much India has changed compared to Westerners or even NRIs who abandoned India for greener pastures and sit in the West and pontificate. Sorry if I sound jingoistic but I don't really care. Especially when the West doesn't really care about how India is denigrated repeatedly in their Media.
And if anyone has even a mild amount of criticism of the West, they get banned/cancelled in the West or worse bombed out of existence (Iraq/Syria/Libya). So much for tolerance to free speech and human rights.
Fair enough. “I hate” in American English is a complaining—not raging—tone, though I grant it’s ambiguous and concede it shouldn’t be used.
> What difference would it make to India's growth trajectory if you lose your excitement?
Not much. Generally speaking, “fuck you, I’m beautiful” cultures that turn insecurity into a national sport have a common path.
India’s elites are savvy enough to build trade and diplomatic relationships, learn from others’ successes and failures and show outward strength. But I’ve seen this dismissive attitude towards criticism of any kind in my own family, and it’s paused at least my investing in India. (The only other places I see this, ironically, is in the U.K., Russia and rural American south.)
> I presume I have more experience about how much India has changed compared to Westerners or even NRIs who abandoned India for greener pastures and sit in the West and pontificate
Right. This attitude. It’s limiting in its rejection of unexpected sources of information. Again, it’s not common. Particularly among the elite and worldly. But as in America, when this attitude spreads, it diminishes prospects.
And why is this so important? If you don't invest someone else will. The World is huge. There are plenty of players who are willing to invest in India's growth: both within borders of India as well as people from outside India. No dearth of those who believe in India's future.
> Generally speaking, “fuck you, I’m beautiful” cultures that turn insecurity into a national sport have a common path.
You know who excels at this the most? The West. Its penchant for "installing democracy" in various countries, by force, and then leaving it completely destabilized and destroyed is something we have seen happen time and time again. Which is why you see trends of de-dollarization and non-alignment picking up rapidly. If India doesn't toe the Western line of thought we are targeted, either with sanctions (like in the 90s after reciprocal nuclear tests) or pompous pontifications on democracy/human rights in 2020s (because the West no longer can simultaneously sanction as well as invest in India's growth can it?). You see we Indians know how to survive and thrive even in the worst of conditions. The 90s are a good reminder for all of us as to how reliable the West is. If we go further back into the 70s we had to face off a Western Alliance which sent ships to nuke us out of existence because we chose to side with Democracy against an evil Dictatorship which the West was mollycoddling with. If you don't know what I am talking about read up on the USS Enterprise and the 7th fleet (Task Force 74). 
So yeah it applies more to the West compared to ancient cultures rooted in tradition like India.
> (The only other places I see this, ironically, is in the U.K., Russia and rural American south.)
So you are saying you don't see the West indulging in this but only U.K., Russia and rural American south? No wonder why the West is failing the past decade. Do you not even see the strong anti-West sentiment in the air as well as the de-dollarization that is gathering rapid speed/progress? If I were in your position I wouldn't be bothered about investing in India being an issue but be more worried about protecting my investments in the West considering the crazy geopolitical decisions the West has been taking lately. It has eroded a lot of confidence/trust other countries had towards the West. To the point where we are building alternate infrastructure to settle trade (which is currently dominated by the West with its SWIFT infrastructure). Not a good outlook for the West at the very least. Western hegemony will end. It is no longer a question of "if" but "when".
> India’s elites are savvy enough to build trade and diplomatic relationships, learn from others’ successes and failures and show outward strength
We don't need to learn from others' successes and failures. We have plenty of our own successes and failures if we just bother to look back into our rich Ancient history (which many Westernized Indians lack basic knowledge in). And most Indian elites/diplomats/businessmen have given examples from India's Ancient history as their source of strength. Have linked an example of the same from India's best EAM that we have ever had until now .
> limiting in its rejection of unexpected sources of information
Please. Do not try to simplify this issue as an issue of rejecting "unexpected sources of information". The Western media has been playing this playbook for decades now. Most articles you see about India or the Indian Government (irrespective of who is in power) is mostly anti-India. Even positive news (like a successful rocket launch by ISRO) is sprinkled with at least some amount of negativity. The usual trope being poverty. There is no two ways about it. None of this is "unexpected". Rather Indians would find it "unexpected" if the West does not use any of the usual stereotypes associated with Indians and broadcasts news as is. We are so used to the denigration that many have become immune to it over time. We just expect to see at least one b-roll of Mumbai slum, of a heavily crowded marketplace, people hanging from trains and if not for these then definitely one of monkeys hopping buildings stealing food. Pick any news story about India from any Western publication, watch the story and tell me you don't see at least one of these typical racial stereotypes.
May be World Happiness Index 2023 data is bit flawed. But I don't think that means whole world is sharing propaganda against India.
>> Heck we get 100Mbps-1Gbps unlimited internet connectivity anywhere in India at the lowest rates possible in the entire World.
How is it an achievement of Government while this was done by private companies like Reliance at the cost of public owned BSNL? Government actually let the loss of public tax payers money by giving favourable treatment to private companies.
Modi and his fans always talk about low prices of internet in India, while its a failure of government to control Reliance where Reliance is using money raised from state bank to give dirt cheap internet connection to public and killing the competition. They have already started raising the prices now that several competitors are gone. 
Reliance raises money from public banks, Reliance uses that money to get tower network of public owned BSNL, Reliance gets priority over BSNL to launch 4G, Reliance is in profit while BSNL is in loss, Government employee phone connections are transferred from BSNL to private entity Reliance.   
>> I don't need some stupid organization in the West to tell me I am more unhappy than these countries.
Why care about other stupid organizations while you have "Whatsapp university" to keep us informed. 
Okay then lets take the World Press Freedom Index 2023. India is behind Afghanistan by 9 points in Press Freedom. Explain how Taliban ruled Afghanistan grants more Press Freedom than Democratic India.
Make it make sense to me.
: Afghanistan Press Freedom Index: https://rsf.org/en/country/afghanistan
: India Press Freedom Index: https://rsf.org/en/country/india
What nonsense. It is exact opposite of what you are saying. BSNL was always a loss making company that never innovated and was kept stagnant for decades. We all saw how shabby the 2G rollout was. And who subsidized BSNL? It was us, the tax payers. They never turned a profit even once. Even now they are "expected" to turn a profit in 2026-27.
What you are advocating for is maximum Government. That almost always ends in disaster. What you should be aiming for is minimum Government. We, the People, have granted Government powers through the Constitution. The reason we did that is because somethings are best managed by the Government than either free markets or people themselves: building infrastructure, security, law and order, healthcare, protecting borders. Anything beyond this is not mandate of the Government. Government has no business being in business. The more private players are encouraged the better for growth of an country/economy. The less Government intervention the better.
Reliance bought the licenses for 4G through an auction. And it was bought in 2010 (during Congress ruled UPA era). So your ridiculous accusation of "giving favourable treatment to private companies" applies to Congress more than anyone else. Either ways, I don't find anything wrong in it as it was a fair auction that did not go the ways of 2G scam. The auction happened during the Congress regime. Reliance won. But Congress failed to setup the infrastructure needed for Reliance to build the network. This is where the Government is needed to intervene and help out by building infrastructure. PPP partnerships are forged for this reason only. Government builds basic infrastructure (like connecting roads, electricity lines, plumbing etc), Private Companies build plants, machinery and in this case installing antennas and laying of fibre optic cables. It takes two to tango. Congress was missing in the picture as it was busy with corruption. It is only when BJP came to power that this project was fast tracked.
> where Reliance is using money raised from state bank to give dirt cheap internet connection to public and killing the competition
Lol you are talking as if Reliance had underdogs as competitors. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea etc are all billion dollar companies. They could have easily taken on Reliance. In fact they were quite content with their dominence in the sector and refused to innovate. It is not Reliance's fault if the competition was caught sleeping at the wheels.
> They have already started raising the prices now that several competitors are gone.
Welcome to Capitalism 101. This is how it works everywhere. Not just in India.
> How is it an achievement of Government while this was done by private companies like Reliance
Did I say it is achievement of the Government anywhere? I talked about positive changes that are happening in India and the infrastructure developmental projects that are shaping such outcomes. For Reliance to lay their antennas and fibre optic cables it requires Government to support through infrastructure development. By making connecting roads/highways and digging necessary lines for fibre optic cables to be laid. This is the work of the Government: infrastructure. The Government did not setup the network. I never said that anywhere.
> Reliance raises money from public banks, Reliance uses that money to get tower network of public owned BSNL, Reliance gets priority over BSNL to launch 4G, Reliance is in profit while BSNL is in loss, Government employee phone connections are transferred from BSNL to private entity Reliance.
Dude how different is it from the West? Even in the West you have Verizon, AT&T etc. Does the US have something equivalent to BSNL? Nope it doesn't. In fact I want Modi to shut down BSNL. It is a big drain on tax payer money. Just like US doesn't have any state owned telecom companies, India shouldn't have one either. Especially one which is stagnant and unable to innovate. We can use the tax payer money for other better causes.
> Why care about other stupid organizations while you have "Whatsapp university" to keep us informed. 
When you have no proper rebuttal this is the crap you come up with. This is why Opposition can never win the General Election in India. You guys suck at this. Most of your information is hollow at best. No proper study. Just a bunch of links from media stories. If you had known that Reliance won the 4G auction during UPA regime you wouldn't have even made this point.
Wasn't the work on UPI started in 2009 and the vision statement was prepared in 2012, 2 years before Modi/BJP came to power?
>> In April 2009, National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) was formed to integrate all the payment mechanisms in India and make them uniform for all retail payments. RBI in 2012 released a vision statement for a period of four years that indicated commitment towards building a safe, efficient, accessible, inclusive, interoperable and authorized payment and settlement system in India. UPI was officially launched in 2016 for public use. 
So no matter if you have great ideas, if you do not even believe in those ideas let alone execute on them it is as good as dead ideas.
We would have progressed rapidly had UPA not indulged in corruption and working tirelessly to convict Modi in the Gujarat riots cases and instead focused its efforts on doing some actual developmental work, many of those ideas rightfully was thought of in its time (which i'll give credit for). But they lacked big time on execution. Modi had a proven track record in Gujarat which helped him beat Congress in 2014 elections. He just has brought most of Congress's plans to fruition which Congress doesn't like for obvious reasons.
UPA losing power is its own doing more than BJP's coming to power. Heck even Modi keeps taunting Congress in the Parliament saying that most of the policies that Congress opposes today was all their own plans that they never brought to life. That's the reason the Opposition is unable to counter BJP. BJP is just doing exactly what the Opposition promised in its manifesto when it came to development but never delivered.
Is this or is this not P. Chidambaram, Indian Finance Minister during the Congress-led UPA regime, criticizing the government's digital payment plans? You think such a pessimistic guy or his government would have done anything to make UPI a success except in a half-hearted fashion?
There is a saying: success has many fathers while failure is an orphan. No wonder when UPI has turned out to be a resounding success, people either turn up to claim credit or to run down the success of the current government.
The fact that they are elected by electoral college does not make them non-democratic or non-elected. We live in a representative democracy.
> As a fellow NRI, this is counter to what I hear from my fellow Indians. There is a ton of optimism around jobs, infrastructure growth and economic policies that are finally opening up the nation
One wouldn't rely on anecdotal evidence to justify policy. For example my own experience is the opposite of yours. I hear complains about unemployment, lack of safety for women, cost of living crisis, lack of safety of Muslims.
> Every big nation that has successfully escaped poverty has done so through suffocatingly authoritarian means
Just because others failed doesn't mean we should too. Keep in Mind that the Republic of India has survived until now, and people at it's inception said it wouldn't.
>> The ban on crop burning (main cause of Delhi's pollution) was central to the farm bill.
Crop burning is already outlawed in India and enforced with fines. Why you need to make a new law for something which is already illegal? Below was the actual central idea of the farm bill:
"The laws would have deregulated a system of government-run wholesale markets, allowing farmers to sell directly to food processors, but farmers feared that this would result in the end of government-guaranteed price floors, thereby reducing the prices they would receive for their crops."
>> We do not vote for Presidents in India.
Again, wrong. The 2022 Indian presidential election was held on 18 July 2022 to elect the president of India. The election was the 16th presidential election in India since the Partition. 
>> incompetent ~6th generation heir of the Nehru/Gandhi family
>> There is a ton of optimism around jobs, infrastructure growth and economic policies
Source please? You must be living in an alternate world.
>> Every single one of them only transitioned to a proper liberal democracy
So, China is a "proper liberal democracy" as per you? Also can you please share a source to support your claims?
> Again, wrong. The 2022 Indian presidential election was held on 18 July 2022 to elect the president of India.
It's not a general election. Only MPs and MLAs get to vote for the president.
> Source please? You must be living in an alternate world.
There are indeed concerns on job growth but infrastructure growth and economic policies have caught pace in the last decade. There's a reason why Meta, Google and Aramco want to pour money into the country.
My reply was to this comment which said:
1. "The ban on crop burning (main cause of Delhi's pollution) was central to the farm bill"
2. "We do not vote for Presidents in India. The president was selected by the ruling party"
Can you please let me know how any of above 2 statements are correct?
Also, to your other comment:
>> There's a reason why Meta, Google and Aramco want to pour money into the country.
Companies like Meta, Google and Aramco invest and try to invest in all the counties for their own growth. This is also to target the huge population of India. These companies also invested in China, that does not make China any better. Can you please share a source for "infrastructure growth and economic policies have caught pace"?
The President of India is voted by electoral college. We live in a representative democracy. Just because the President is voted by electoral college doesn't mean they are not elected. Keep in mind that the Prime Minister of India is also not directly elected, they are chosen by the Lok Sabha.
> China is a "proper liberal democracy" as per you?
The exact line you quoted, literally ends with an "if at all" in brackets right after.
> Source please?
That Rahul Gandhi is the 6th generation heir ?
Motilal -> Jawaharlal -> Indira -> Rajiv -> Sonia -> Rahul. What's disputable here ?
That he is incompetent ? I mean, even the most ardent congress fan won't deny that Rahul Gandhi is incompetent at best and a BJP plant at worst. He oversaw the downfall of the freest of wins in world politics anywhere.
Sonia is not the child of Rajiv, it's his spouse.
BJP under Modi-Shah lost 8 states, 218 by-elections in last two years 
Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh are the two states where the BJP has lost to Congress in the last six months. The BJP lost deposits in 38.4% of the seats it contested in Southern Karnataka.  
Modi was the face of election campaign and spent whole centre government money and machinery to campaign. Modi speaks a script written by someone else by using a teleprompter and has never given an open & live unscripted press conference in last 8 years (  ). By your logic, are you trying to say Modi is also incompetent?
>> The exact line you quoted, literally ends with an "if at all" in brackets right after.
Got it. So you are hoping some day China will transition to democracy AFTER industrialization had been achieved, and you think India might need to convert to an authoritarian state in order to successfully escaped poverty? Is my understanding correct?
Also, you haven's still answered my 2 questions:
1. How is "The ban on crop burning (main cause of Delhi's pollution) was central to the farm bill."?
2. What do you mean about this: "We do not vote for Presidents in India. The president was selected by the ruling party"?
Then why is Delhi's air quality consistently poor, unhealthy, severe and hazardous even when there is no crop burning? https://www.aqi.in/us/dashboard/india/delhi/new-delhi
Of course we need to do something about crop burning, but is it the "main" reason? Nope.
Btw, selling government assets to private companies, or getting the new roads constructed and charging tolls on them does not exactly considered as a government achievement.
It is easy to shit on the party in office which is BJP right now but show me a country that can have hundreds of languages, all religions and still survive for centuries as one country. Europe couldn't do it. They broke into EU (for better or worse). There are flaws but India is a complex country of various cultures and you have to understand the nuances.
Congress party ruled India for decades after Independence in 1947 and all they could do was to keep India as a 3rd world country while other similar countries progressed economically. Fun fact: Until the early 1980s, India and China were same econonically when COngress ruled India for decades. And talk about authoritarianism ? Who was the one who declared emergency in 1974 and suspended all "civil rights". That was Indira Gandhi from Congress, the so called "secular" party.
My point is that there is no saint and people in india like BJP because they are at least doing some work in various areas including infrastructure, economy and areas that have been neglected for decades. So yea, people wanted change and they got change with Modi as a strong leader.
Source: Also an NRI who is a naturalized US Citizen and I see a lot of positives among all the negatives that Media loves to portray.
I think NRIs are praising Modi because he is helping with the fall of Rupee as compared to other currencies so NRIs get maximum return when they send home USD.
Will you be able to share some examples of "at least doing some work in various areas"?
1. I see BJP government as expert in data manipulator and creating smoke screens through their network of social media cell and mainstream TV channels. 
2. As per Govt data, over 80 crore people in India currently depend upon government for free food. 
3. Modi government manipulated the GDP calculation method to show higher GDP growth. 
4. Modi government changed the calculation method to measure the length of highways. Going by lane km, the total length of highways constructed during 2017-18 fiscal comes to 34,378 km as against 9829 km if counted linearly. 
"changed the calculation method to measure the length of highways."
Do I think Modi Govt doesn't manipulate some data ? Oh you bet they do. But I see real progress regardless and you cannot just throw some stats to change my mind. I see progress and I commend it and welcome it. Most people who live there don't care that Govt is manipulating how they measure the length of highways. They see that highways are being built. Congress didn't do shit for decades when my parents grew up in real shit 3rd world infrastructure. We are much better off in last decade or so.
I will agree with you that India has a long way to go but change is happening no matter how slow.
If You Earn Rs 25,000 (USD 300) Per Month, You're Among India's Top 10% Income Earners 
>> I travel to India once or twice a year for both pleasure and business. I can only tell you what I feel and see.
You may be able to travel to India and got 1 USD converted to INR 80, then may be its a win for you, but not for other Indians. I am not sure, but you might have been able to afford somewhat better way to travel/stay/eat than most of the Indians can. So what you feel and see might not be closer to reality for most of Indians.
>> I see incredible infrastructure changes...
So if a few private companies own most of India's infra, and building shopping malls, or if few politically connected builders building high rise buildings, or if roads/flyovers being built by private companies for which public will pay toll through their noses for years to come, then in my humble opinion, this is is not real development that you should give credit to the government. This is indeed the failure of the government.
>> Tons of airports being built and improved.
Government did sell a number of already built airports to Adani. Now Adani may make it a shiny new airpot and start charging fees for everything in airport but I don't see it as an achievement of Government. 
Under new methodology, highway stretch built = Number of lanes * kilometer stretch.
This is actually the international standard. However, when the current government compares itself with prior government, it compares apples with oranges: new methodology numbers versus old methodology numbers.
Very rare to see slip lanes even in normal roads of Tier 1 cities.
Just laying down asphalt isn't building highways.
India’s economy is getting a push as is clearly visible from some indisputable numbers like the digital transactions, sales of cars, homeowners count, etc. It’s just that all sources of income are not yet formalized in the huge country that is India so there is some extrapolation that needs to be done.
The Guinness book has recognized the Indian govt’s work for the most kilometers of roads constructed in a day and the new methodology is in use in other countries like the US as per the Minister, then it means the foreigners must be okay with manipulated numbers.
I have no idea what you’re referring to here. Europe has never been one country, and will likely never be. Having smaller countries isn’t something bad, nobody would consider multiple Europeans countries to be a failure, or the result of a broken Europe. Even proponents of a United States of Europe (I am one) don’t see having multiple European countries as a failure.
If you're a proponent of the balkanization of India, then you're by default a proponent of of the biggest as-of-yet-unrealized genocide of the 21st century.
We could all use a little drama to support our points here.
When was Europe one country?
You have drunk the koolaid, my friend.
India became 'India' in 1947. Before that (and even now) it was exactly like Europe ... many languages and cultures and food very very different from each other (ask a Naga what he has in common with Tamilians or Kashmiris), a large shared Hindu ethos similar to how Christianity was a common factor for Europe) and lots of warring kings with their own territories. There was no "Indian" identity.
About Congress ... no defence about their fuckups. But don't be so dismissive about what they accomplished. I say this as no fan of Indira Gandhi.
Remember that India had become free after 200 years of enslavement and harm to our self-image, from being one of the world's richest areas to the poorest, and millions of lives had been torn asunder under partition.
In Congress's era, esp. Jawaharlal Nehru's time, we got a beautiful constitution, the premier institutions and facilities (TIFR, IISc, IITs, FTII, BARC, AIIMS), developed a massive power infrastructure with hydel and nuclear, became a nuclear strong power, developed an in-house rocket and satellite program etc. It had a strong court system; recall that Indra Gandhi was thrown out by the Allahabad supreme court on electoral fixing.
Manmohan Singh was (and is) a learned economist who righted many of IG's fuckups. He led the 1991 reforms. A large large portion of the projects that Modi has lent his beaming face to were fully funded and started in the Manmohan era (Chandrayaan, Mangalyaan, Atal tunnel, UPI, Aadhar, so many airports and highways). The Modi govt has been successful in rebranding all of them in his image, but don't be fooled.
I can give you a huge laundry list of things that are terrible under Modi. The COVID response, the complete takeover of august institutions by deranged Hindus, the complete submission of the media, the complete takeover of massive projects by a few crony friends (a profitable and well-run Mumbai airport was taken over by Adani, who literally had zero experience in running airports, with no formal publicly transparent process). The "PM Cares" fund, which every single govt employee and every corporate was FORCED to hand over money too, apparently is not a fund of the govt; there is no transparency about how much money has been collected, let alone spent where. I could go on about how every minority (Dalits, Muslims, tribals) have been rogered.
Yeah, Indira Gandhi wasn’t great either. Congress has its flaws.
None of that justifies the actions of today. Yes, the BJP has done some good things, but that’s true of many heinous authoritarians in the past as well.
No number of good things simply wash their hands of the bad stuff along the way.
People are crying all over every conceivable media about how racial, sexual, financial discrimination is taking place.
Millionaire celebrities are 'Victims' of a variety of abuse - Racial, Sexual etc etc
People getting randomly shot in a shootout every other day.
Stores can't stay open due to getting robbed as it's 'legally' allowed.
Kids can't pay loans for college, people are barely living thanks to shtty minimum wage.
Seems like it's common for people to sh*t on the roads in San Francisco.
Kids education becoming sub standard thanks to politicians.
Most of the West seems to be heading in the same direction.
Since you see are obviously comfortable in that environment.
Please don't come back.
You can remain heartbroken in the West.
Sometimes what the symbol represents is more important than the contents itself