Chris Albon: Machine Learning @ Wikimedia

Notes On Using
Data Science & Machine Learning
To Fight For Something That Matters

I am the Director of Machine Learning at the Wikimedia Foundation. I have spent over a decade applying statistical learning, artificial intelligence, and software engineering to political, social, and humanitarian efforts.

Learning machine learning? Check out my Machine Learning Flashcards, my book (Machine Learning With Python Cookbook), or come study with me.

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Creating Communities of Distributed Trust

39:04
up the down escalator no III think I
39:07
think there are real possibilities of
39:09
creating communities of distributed
39:14
trust right which is which is at the
39:17
core of the to in my mind the whole
39:19
effort right have now how do you create
39:22
a community of distributed trust and and
39:27
and what I’d like to see is that that
39:29
distributed trust is applied to areas
39:32
that are not so fiercely guarded by the
39:38
you know the the powerful you know
39:42
states governments and and and
39:45
businesses right because again it when I
39:48
think about how to play the long game
39:49
here I think that is possible to carve
39:53
out
39:55
areas of got resistance but what I
39:58
really mean is areas of sovereignty self
40:00
sovereignty over issues again they’re
40:02
not so fiercely guarded as money yes
40:04
about the state and and so again this is
40:07
an issue of tactics or other than
40:09
strategy right and and and so that I
40:11
would pursue a different tactical
40:14
approach to the I think the goal we all
40:17
or most of your listeners share with you
40:20
and I for sure it it does seem to me and
40:27
I want to bring this back to the run of
40:29
iris now right which is that everything
40:34
you’re describing whether it’s whether
40:36
it’s your tactical approach my tactical
40:39
approach I
40:42
I think it’s tempting to think oh the
40:44
instability that the virus brings is
40:47
going to be an advantage in fighting
40:51
this long game right I actually think
40:54
it’s it’s it’s it’s a very much
40:57
disadvantageous to both of us right the
41:00
both of our tactical approaches here and
41:02
and I don’t think you have to look much
41:04
farther than what happened in Hungary
41:07
right over the last two days where the
41:09
the Hungarian Parliament and this has
41:12
been building for a while right and
41:14
event but Hungarian Parliament in
41:17
response to the throne of iris emergency
41:21
and it is an emergency gave really
41:26
dictatorial powers to to Viktor Orban
41:29
the the Prime Minister where he now has
41:32
the ability ability to rule by decree
41:34
right don’t have to pass the law doesn’t
41:37
have to go to Parliament whatever the
41:40
executive says is law there’s no time
41:43
limit on this now in hunger there’s a
41:47
new law that if you spread false
41:49
information I think and use as the
41:53
executive describes this what at stake
41:54
or not you’re in prison for five years
41:56
and if you try to leave the areas of
41:59
confinement quarantine that they’ve set
42:01
up that’s in the this this is what
42:04
happens I think in weaker states
42:07
go back to some you know idyllic state
42:09
of nature where you know you can set up
42:13
your you know Kingdom of Wakanda you
42:15
know alright what happens is they’re
42:17
taken over by thugs they’re taking them
42:19
by warlords and by thugs and and you
42:23
know in Hungary is uh it’s a member of
42:26
the yeah I mean I mean it’s a core
42:28
member of Europe so when I when I think
42:31
about what’s going to happen in the next
42:33
year and a half in Indonesia what’s
42:36
gonna happen the next year and a half in
42:38
Egypt it’s going to happen in today
42:40
what’s happening right now in Iran for
42:42
God’s sakes I I don’t think it works to
42:46
our advantage
42:47
III think that the impetus in every
42:50
country and particularly in the weaker
42:52
States is going to be for reclaiming of
42:55
the physical of the violence of the gun
42:59
and so this is why I think it’s more
43:03
important than ever that we identify
43:06
each other in our communities of empathy
43:09
in our communities of our pack right so
43:14
that we can fight this long game this
43:18
long war and so we can support each
43:19
other so anyway that’s not I’m just
43:23
trying to bring it back to what’s
43:25
happening today and and how we should
43:28
think about this unfortunately I don’t
43:29
think it’s a great opportunity but I
43:32
think it’s something that we all need to
43:35
come together even more around so that
43:38
we can can stray stay strong or the the
43:42
dark times that are ahead and I do think
43:44
they’re dark times well never one to
43:48
mince words and and and I certainly
43:50
appreciate the perspective on I’m
43:52
slightly more optimistic for the reasons
43:56
that I outlined you know in the physical
43:57
realm but in the digital realm right is
44:00
the internet still a bastion of freedom
44:02
and can you ultimately get people to act
44:05
freely outside of you know some of the
44:08
more restrictive social media platforms
44:11
for instance but just any type of
44:12
peer-to-peer communication system
44:14
peer-to-peer digital realms would seem
44:17
if you’re more conducive for the silent
44:20
distance the quiet resistance yes and
44:22
that individual thesis but how exactly
44:26
we get there not not debating that it
44:29
could get ugly I want to change gears
44:32
for the the last a little bit that we
44:34
have and just talk about your
44:37
understanding of the investment you know
44:40
as I guess for this generation of
44:45
investors because one of your more
44:47
popular posts this is water and yeah
44:51
it’s still water it kind of talked about
44:53
this shifting mindset where deflation
44:56
expectations that were driven by
44:58
technology are now inflation
44:59
expectations there’s and this isn’t
45:02
necessarily new but I like the way they
45:04
laid it out the the globalism that had
45:09
permeated the the macroeconomy for so
45:12
long is now becoming more nationalistic
45:13
now in some respects that’s not a bad
45:16
thing because now you might have
45:18
countries that are more resilient in the
45:21
face of issues like pandemics when when
45:24
today you know we’re seeing just how
45:26
levered we are via global supply chains
45:31
you talked about the kind of shifting
45:33
from you know capital markets into you
45:36
know true market mechanisms just
45:38
political utilities and um and then just
45:41
overall how financialization is kind of
45:43
exacerbated you know all of those trends
45:46
what what’s what’s the what’s the next
45:49
step in in financial markets right yeah
45:51
if if you run out of the capacity to
45:53
print if you run out of the capacity to
45:55
spend let’s not even talk about the u.s.
45:58
let’s talk about some some country like
46:00
like Hungary they don’t necessarily
46:02
control their own currency it’s a small
46:05
but usually functioning democracy what
46:09
does a market system look like in a
46:11
situation like hungry and then how do
46:13
you ever get back to normalcy or how do
46:18
you set the reset button so that the
46:24
short answer is that for in a I’ll go
46:30
back to
46:32
I’m gonna go back 2,500 years yeah this
46:37
is the academic in me right I can’t I
46:38
can’t I can’t give you a straight answer
46:39
right what you’re asking has all
46:43
happened before like it’s all happened
46:46
before right so Peloponnesian War you’ve
46:52
got a thens and Sparta the big countries
46:56
you know fighting each other and then
46:59
the question is well what happens to the
47:00
little countries what happens to ya
47:05
you know magar you know all these these
47:07
these little city-states and the the
47:11
Athenians they’re trying to get their
47:13
their allies together in one of the the
47:18
little allies is saying well you know
47:20
but you know you’re asking us to
47:22
sacrifice everything is all for you I
47:24
mean this this sounds this justice out a
47:28
great deal and the Athenian ambassador
47:31
says you know it was ever thus the
47:33
strong do as they will the weak do as
47:36
they must strong do as they will the
47:39
weak do this they must
47:40
and nothing has changed in 2500 freaking
47:44
years when it comes to the ability of
47:49
countries to chart their own course to
47:55
deal with the exigencies of power hungry
48:02
will do as they must even weaker
48:07
countries than hungry will definitely do
48:08
is they must and the strong do as they
48:10
will so what they will when it comes to
48:15
Europe when it comes to the United
48:16
States when it comes to Japan which
48:17
comes to to China is that there are no
48:20
limits on you know printer Gober right
48:24
there are no limits on you know we we
48:29
haven’t even really touched yet modern
48:33
monetary theory in the notion that well
48:35
there’s not even a relationship between
48:37
spending and taxing right
48:38
you can run deficits as much as you want
48:40
go on go for it we’re just getting
48:43
started man
48:45
getting started hey we’re not at the end
48:48
game of this where yeah it’s like it’s
48:52
like this is halftime hey this this
48:55
isn’t the last few minutes of the fourth
48:56
quarter
48:57
with how governments are going to
48:59
transform capital markets and the fourth
49:01
key utilities with how they’re going to
49:03
you know transform the meaning of money
49:06
into what supports political power yeah
49:09
this is just half time so I I think we
49:14
really do have to take that long-term
49:16
perspective that the printer can go burr
49:20
for a lot longer and it doesn’t matter
49:25
who gets elected you know you know it’s
49:27
it’s it it’s all the same that the last
49:30
10 years have been the greatest transfer
49:32
of wealth – I call it the managerial
49:35
class then I really think anything in
49:40
history it has come through stock
49:42
buybacks through stock sales through
49:44
stock based compensation it’s all
49:46
happened in the last 10 years and it’s a
49:48
transfer of hundreds of billions of
49:50
dollars of wealth to managers not
49:55
entrepreneurs not founders not Shinya to
49:59
managers managers and when that much
50:04
wealth is transferred to that number of
50:06
people in such a short period of time
50:08
it doesn’t reverse itself yeah you know
50:11
you know people don’t the the cheese may
50:14
move but people still want their cheese
50:16
yeah and and and I just I just think
50:20
it’s so important to remember that we
50:24
really are playing that long game to
50:26
remember that the strong do is they will
50:28
and the weak – as they must and to have
50:32
in mind a set that that we’re just half
50:34
time right now and that we need to play
50:39
the game accordingly because what you
50:42
don’t want to do is you don’t want to
50:46
yeah you don’t want to storm an
50:48
entrenched machine-gun nest you know
50:50
with you know huzzah now is our time you
50:53
know then you you really do I think want
50:57
to play the long game
50:58
I think there
50:59
a real power of conviction and belief
51:03
that allows us to play a long game
51:06
mm-hmm and to keep it all together
51:11
of course people like you doing your
51:13
podcast it requires people like me doing
51:15
our writing and most of it all it it
51:18
requires a critical mass of people who
51:22
whose greatest regret would be to give
51:26
up and to be co-opted by the powers that
51:30
be rather than play the long game and
51:32
fight the long fight I can’t think of a
51:36
better way to wrap up this conversation
51:39
than calling for conviction and long
51:42
term ISM and a market remedies panicked
51:45
and and you know short termism generally
51:48
drills the day then where can people
51:51
find you on twitter I’m easy it’s it’s
51:54
it’s all epsilon Theory all the time so
51:56
at epsilon theory and epsilon Theory
51:59
comm it’s for you to read and love to
52:03
love to have you on board it’s a it’s an
52:06
excellent read always I’ve been
52:08
following you for years now and and
52:10
definitely appreciate your commentary
52:11
and watching it at all even as we get
52:14
into a slightly darker period and you
52:16
can tell for those that are tuning in if
52:19
you can hear the background noise that
52:20
naptime just ended so we we just wrapped
52:23
up with the most perfect time because I
52:25
just I just heard my kids wake up and
52:27
surprise that they haven’t run in here
52:28
already thank you for having me Ryan’s
52:32
really a pleasure anytime Thank You Ben
52:35
and stay safe
52:36
YouTube take care

BRAVE BROWSER: TAKING BACK CONTROL OF YOUR DATA

Brendan Eich, founder and CEO of Brave, joins Ash Bennington, Real Vision senior editor, to discuss the Brave browser, basic attention token (BAT), and controlling your own data. Eich explains that Brave was created as a way for users to control the ads and cookies in their browser, noting that simply blocking ads and removing data hurts publishers. He wanted to allow both Brave users and publishers to benefit, so the basic attention token was created to allow users to pay publishers while still coordinating their own ad preferences. Describing Brave as leading the way in implementing data privacy for browsers, Eich states that their mission is to increase accessibility to privacy tools for the masses, putting the control of user data back into the users’ hands while also supporting publishers. Filmed on January 29, 2021.

Key Learnings: Brave is a browser aimed at supporting privacy and user-controlled data while supporting publishers and content creators. Privacy tools are becoming increasingly accessible to average users, and Brave pushes this to the next level by embedding user control in the browser. Regulators and users are demanding more user control and privacy of data, pointing to the fact that society is moving towards a user-centric era of data.

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