Probably a stupid thought, but I feel like writing it down for my own thinking process.
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An outside thermometer tells us how cold it is BEFORE we go outside, so we can prepare. Online weather radar is an even better reporter. It tells us where the precipitation is and how it’s moving, so we can shut the windows or get out the shovel and deicer.
These reporters DO NOT PROTECT THEIR SOURCES and do not cooperate with their sources. A thermometer that takes bribes from the cold front is useless, and a radar that refuses to show certain types of precipitation is useless.
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Would it be possible for a machine or a program to take bribes?
Modern answer: Happens all the time. Social media algorithms are machines that take bribes from Deepstate to alter their judgment and change their numbers. Every aspect of social media is numerically and verbally corrupted and distorted.
For pre-social machines and algorithms, the answer is a firm NO.
An adding machine MUST perform its calculations the same way every time.
The HUMAN USER of the adding machine can alter the results by omitting figures or misreading figures, but the machine itself is incorruptible. Software adding machines, from Hollerith to PC, are similarly honest.
A liquid thermometer can be corrupted by shaking it down or shaking it up before reading, or by exposing it to sun instead of shade. Again the corruption is in the human user, not the machine.
A car’s odometer can be corrupted by ‘drilling’ the speedo cable. Again the human action is obvious and should be detectable.
Social media algos are unique and unprecedented. They distort everything and hide the distortions.
Earlier machines and programs were meant to provide reliable measurements within their sphere of control. Dishonesty was external and thus detectable.