Politics, Power and Processors

It’s coming, friends. [Photo from D News via You Tube]

By Josephivo

Know where you are standing to decide where to go

A lot on our plate today, democracies under attack by populism and autocratic leaders, globalization of cultures and economics, exploding developments in computer science and biology. What are the key elements, how do they interact, why are they relevant? And the ever-important serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” or summarized “What can we influence? Where to focus?”

Is the Filipino situation unique? Or are we just one of the examples of a global trend? Is the only thing needed just a translation of the global challenges into our local situation?

I don’t know, but I have some thoughts about the basics.

Power as the ability to change behavior

It is all about change and this change should result in observable behavior, the things we will do differently. But why do we leave the old and engage in something new? Because we saw the deficiencies of the old or the promises of the new or just because we were bored and wanted to experience something new. And a layer deeper, something or more likely someone, influenced us, even forced us to behave differently. This someone was either using his power of position, or using her knowledge and power of persuasion, or he was just a nice person we liked to follow because of his charisma.

But there are the concealed powers too, the influences we are not fully aware of, the ones that can push the right buttons that make us react as Pavlov’s dog. The easiest and most powerful button is fear, a sentiment we share with most vertebrates, deeply engrained in our brain. The enemies are out there ready to attack, a major crisis is luring around the corner, values attacked by the heathens, or just the new FOMO, the fear of missing out, my friends are experiencing something interesting and I could be left out. But luckily there is the one leader knowing who these enemies are and how to eliminate them, knowing how to evade the crisis and go back to the good old days, willing to expose all heresies and keep us informed about all the goodies coming our way soon.

Other common buttons to make us react are altruism, our empathy with the less fortunate, an instinct we inherited from the apes and other social mammals. We also have our pets and sores, our many aversions and addictions that influencers can use as a carrot or a stick.

At the same time, we are complex organisms, we behave differently depending on the distinct spheres of live, our level of readiness, and our environment, mainly the people around us. Our hardware differs and we are programmed differently by our parents and other teachers resulting in different levels of expertise and interests in different fields. There are billions of individuals and not two are 100% equal, this makes it easier to talk about averages even when we know very well that this average person does not exist.

Politics and power

Power is needed to get into power: in a democratic way by getting people shading the right dot at the ballot box or by being seduced or forced in an autocratic way by someone who feels entitled to manipulate the elections or eliminate all potential opponents.

Democracy requires the correct mindset of all participants. It is heavily indebted to the rule of law and its discrete steps: one to decide that traffic lights are needed, one to install the optimum lights and then force people to stop at red and drive at green, and one to solve problems at the fringes, when one suddenly slowing down with 5 sec to go before the light turns red and the next driver accelerating with 5 sec to go, who was at fault for the collision, how to punish?

All these activities are not pre-programed in our DNA, we have to learn them. Someone has to use power to make us understand and behave correctly at every step. Who is in charge, what to change, how, and why? How to control all players are capable to follow the rule of law? How to reeducate where needed? The rule of law is only as strong as the weakest link. The legislative creating correct and timely laws, not too many not too few; the executive guaranteeing optimum implementation and effective enforcement; the judiciary with the wisdom to specify, improve and prevent reoccurrence of bad behavior. (Can someone think of weaknesses in the Philippines in one of these steps, areas of improvement? And the consequences for the functioning of its democracy?)

It is so much easier to skip all this and just follow a strong leader who knows what has to be done, who has the energy to execute and the statue to force people to comply. But capable leaders are rare, versed in all fields of government or willing to learn; energetic leaders with plenty of leadership skill are rare, too, and caring, selfless leaders with only an eye for the nation; and with political ambitions… they are real exceptions. Having these qualities all at the same time in one person a very rare exception. And even worse, after a while, absolute power will corrupt absolutely. History has so many examples to prove this.

But plenty of leaders who do not have all those qualities try to fake them, but not all voters are stupid all the time, so different powers are needed. Alternatives one often see: manipulation of the voting system (could ask Gloria how); being cozy with the army; suppressing the media or using them as a private megaphone; using a different language with old words meaning new things, different styles of interacting; stressing that they are aiming at the glorious past and not the scary future; identifying a common scary enemy; strengthening the value of beliefs, more important than facts; emphasizing that we are different, the rest of the world does not understand how special we are; planning an economy with rent as the driver of wealth and generous to a small group of cronies. This is just a grab of historical methods autocrats used to consolidate power. Basically they use both fists to hit all our fear buttons, all the buttons related to belonging and theatrics, “it is all about me” and the show must go on.

But the power of a vote? In mathematical terms: the limit of the power of one vote approaches zero. So you need large clusters of votes to offset some of the power of other political influencers, the lobbyists, the captains of industry, the sneaky influence peddlers, the religious fear mongers, the celebrities, the new intelligent algorithms…

Democracy went through a long history, universal votes as we know today did not fall out of a clear blue sky. It started by only white men with an education, land or money being allowed to vote, no place for the uneducated or the have-nots, let alone people of color or women. Later this exclusive group was forced to allow all white men to vote, no conditions attached. Later women could convince society that they were people, too, and thus should have the right to vote. Eventually it became difficult to maintain that colored people were just a childlike type of inferior beings, so they had to be included, too. But still until today a lot of politicians believe that you should only listen to the well off, the rest being just fodder for the election mills.

“Proletarians of the world, unite!” (1848) still seems the answer or “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”(1927)? …Wait there is more.

Processors, software and intelligence

Intelligence has to do with information, collecting data, using them to infer information, the sum of this information being knowledge, actionable or not. Different spheres are at play, the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, and problem solving. For each sphere and for the way they interact we can distinguish different levels from very simple to extremely complex.

Carbon based intelligence exist in different forms very centralized as in the 3-layered human brain or decentralized as in an octopus. The human brain seems unique in size, plasticity and low energy consumption relative to the number of computations. (Our grey mushy computer handles millions of analogue visual receptor cells outputs, auditive, sensory, smell sensors and collecting these data 20 times per second then transforms them in objects used to describe, model and create multi-dimensional realities, all this consuming only 20 Watts. A traditional mega computer would require more power than installed in Singapore to deal with equal amounts of data and an equal set of outputs.)

Nature is responsible for the hardware of our carbon-based calculator, although some deployment is environment dependent. Nurture is the main contributor to our software, but some of the deeper reptilian parts of our brain seems to be pre-programmed. A billion years of development, hundred thousand years to install just the last update.

Silicon based intelligence grows rapidly. Computers surpassed us in several fields, in arithmetic, mapping and GPS, face and voice recognition. Soon we will be outperformed in translating, self-driving, recognizing emotions and in return showing empathy. Top machine learning and data mining develops faster and faster, unsupervised deep machine learning is getting more performant than human programmers. All in less than a hundred years of development!

Brain science and the 1 billion euro Human Brain Project makes us understand much better how our brain develops and functions and it delivers valuable insights to improve the silicon intelligence. E.g. to close the energy gap with silicon computers, neuromorphic chips are being developed, incorporating memory and processing in the same chip. (Until today a lot of energy is lost in the transport of information back and forth between CPU’s and memories. In the brain, thinking creates physical pathways that then serves as memory. Calculations in our brain are never absolute, outcomes only of the “more or less likely” nature.) An artificial neuromorphic brain the size of a shoebox with efficiencies (not capabilities) comparable to the human brain are foreseen in a few years. Quantum computers another potential breakthrough? There is much more going on today then just Moore’s law.

What engineer still uses a slide ruler or logarithm tables? Who still uses the Yellow Pages, road maps, dictionaries…? We delegate more and more of our intelligence to gadgets, apps and the like. Cambridge Analytica’s election interventions gave us a glimpse on how the future might look like. Traditionally, advertising was monolithic and in one direction, one message to the non-existing average consumers or sometimes more specific to a niche market. Facebook advertising is specific based on your personal detailed profile, on extensive correlation algorithms and with instant feedback, via likes or double clicks to made your purchase (face and emotion recognition via the build in camera is being tested). Carbon based computers will be no match to the ever-growing silicon ones, the silicon ones will discover with great precision what buttons to hit to change our behavior.

Who will control this silicon-intelligence? A small elite of Zuckerbergs, the democratic elected powers or will it be so distributed that everybody with access to the Web will have a say? And what if Artificial Intelligence surpasses ours, will it control itself? Do you hear in the distance: “AI’s of this world, unite!” Scary.

Free will

Just imagine. A brain scientist puts you in a scanner and ask you to move one hand, the right or the left one. You get all the time you want to make your decision. Left or right, witch will you move? Your are asked to blink an eye the moment you decide. “Long” (1/2 sec) before you blink, the scientist saw already that your brain took the decision. Not that blinking is so slow, but independent brain functions make the decision, then the area of the brain that controls consistency in your world comes up with an explanation and this explanation you then experience as your decision (“your”: the little being behind your eyes, believed as spirit or self). More complex experiments with split-brain people gave more detailed information of these brain processes. This sounds very deterministic, all just the outcome of a carbon-based calculator with precise software.

Just realize that in your mother tongue you never make grammatical errors, even when you have no clue what the grammatical rules are. In a foreign language,you have to “decide” constantly how to adjust words or word orders. The same for many skills, more conscious decisions become eventually automatic after a lot of practice. We seldom use our rationality, most of what we do is automatic repetition of previous behavior. Given A, we do B. Habits, chance, instinct, Pavlov reactions… Rationality is only used post factum, to explain to ourselves or others what we did.

And political action? Create As that result in outcomes B more or less automatically. As individuals, we think that we are in control of what we are doing. But why is most of the advertising money now going to Facebook and the like? Because big data and clever algorithms broke our code and make us act as the advertisers intend. You can make me dance the way you want as long as you play the right tune.

Awareness first, initiating rational thinking, followed by action.


Few Filipinos were directly influenced by the core value of the enlightenment, “Sapere Aude”, dare to know.  Know in a scientific way, starting by understanding what the issue, the core question is and ending by presenting your answer for peer reviews. Some were influenced in a second wave by the American constitution. Ratio as the base of knowledge, reject the primacy of revelation or the whims of royalty. Consequently, people as autonomous thinking human beings should be equal, democracy as the best way to organize society. Most Filipinos still accept without question the revelations of the Divine or the impulse statements of those in charge. Accepting authority keeps society stable, it is more important than the scientific way of thinking. The concept of a problem is depressing, there are challenges and (sub-optimal) quick fixes, but problems? Questioning the status quo is an emotional thing, not a rational one. Searching for critique is also not done, comments are perceived as insults not as opportunities to improve. Respect the others and be loyal to people with dominance or with prestige.

The formulas for the optimization of happiness are more Asian, different from the west. Happiness has the family, the clan as object, not just the individual. The what is generally more basic, food and shelter and an abundant fiesta. The how is more like grooming each other, building utang relationships and dependency, feeling interdependent is nice. Care and relationships are the virtues but in excess they are vulnerabilities.

Problem solving is only reactive and trial and error actions, satisfied with quick fixes. No time or energy left for proactive or rational problem solving. Thinking of potential problems defies the spirits and create negative karma, live in the now.

And what with the other Malay people in Indonesia and Malasia? Or the Thai and the Vietnamese? Their progress is faster. Are Filipinos more turned inwards to the clan?  Too nice to strangers, Chinese, Indians, Muslims, Spanish, Americans? Contacts with progress and trading shielded by the Spanish? Catholicism? Enjoying too much fiestas and roasted pork as a Flemish monk on Magellan’s fleet wrote in his diary? Just bad luck with Marcos who turned progress into plunder? Or is it the power of women with accommodating as their strength instead of fighting or fleeing, being independent is not in their vocabulary as they need men for their protection… ?


We need a better and wider (= more Filipinos) understanding of where we are to better plan our future. Analyze the power structures (and follow the money could be a good start as there is a strong correlation between power and money). The analysis will soon be validated or improved by major big-data owners as Google, Facebook, the Chinese government. This blog and all its contributors have been essential in kindling my interest, but with my greatest gratitude to Joeam.

89 Responses to “Politics, Power and Processors”
  1. edgar lores says:

    1. I introduced the idea of “Good Thawt” as the unity of heart and mind. I said that this unity is a pre-requisite of integrated action. I submitted four propositions:

    o Good Thawt is heart and mind balanced (or in sync)
    o Bad Thawt is heart and mind unbalanced (or out of sync).
    o Good and bad Thawt operate at the individual and collective level.
    o Bad Thawt is the cause of society’s malaise.

    2. Comes now Joseph with thoughts of the future of mankind and the advent of silicon intelligence. He states that silicon intelligence has surpassed our carbon intelligence in certain areas. He fears that the reign of silicon intelligence — which is Artificial Intelligence (AI) — is upon us. And he asks, “Who will control AI when it has exceeded our intelligence? Will it control itself? Will it be a small elite of Zuckerbergs? Or will it be the large mass of Web users?”

    3. These are good questions. I will add three more:

    3.1. Assuming AI is the mind and the human element (whether large or small) is the heart, will AI produce Good Thawt?
    3.2. Assuming AI will control itself, with no human element, will it be able to produce Good Thawt?
    3.3. Will AI be singular, polar or multiple?

    4. Perhaps the last question is the easiest to answer. We know that there are several competing national/regional AI projects. Mentioned in the article is the EU Human Brain Project. Add to these the China Brain Project, the Swiss Blue Brain Project, Google Brain, and several other American companies (Amazon, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, etc.) engaged in deep AI research.

    5. The advances made in China are scary. The Social Credit System is perhaps not yet in the AI domain, but this huge database system will certainly be an AI component. Just this week, police used facial recognition to pick out a wanted man out of a crowd of 60,000 concert-goers.

    6. If AI controls itself, with no human oversight, it will be a big gamble. Last year, it was reported that Facebook shut down an AI project because the chatbots had invented their own language. A fact-check by Snopes labeled the rumor as false. Nevertheless, the probability is high that AI, given free will, will develop capabilities beyond man’s ken.

    6.1. “So God created man in his own image… And God saw everything that he had made and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

    6.2. And man molded sand in his own image… and, behold, it was not very good. And the evening and the morning were the 13th day.

    7. AI will require human control. However, this is troubling. If humans cannot control themselves, then AI will necessarily reflect this dysfunction.

    • NHerrera says:

      When one speaks about the greatest return — not immediate, but future or near-future — for the money, and considering the natural creativity of the Filipino, we have to invest in the serious infrastructure associated with AI. Not to do so may relegate us to doing the most menial of jobs for the future masters — the Chinese — unless that is the current plan.

    • Please note the revised text which includes two sections on “Filipinos” and “Conclusions” that were inadvertently dropped in the editorial process. They are obviously important. My bad, sorry for the omission. JA

      • edgar lores says:

        Thank you. The “Filipino” section is interesting.

        1. Elsewhere I have advanced the need to institutionalize resistance to the continuous breakdown of democracy.

        2. One will note that the current resistance is a broad coalition of civic groups and churchgoers. The resistance seems to lean heavily on the latter. The early popular expectation was that church leaders would lead the resistance, but Cardinal Tagle has been reluctant to don the mantle worn by Cardinal Sin. Lately, the mantle of resistance seems to have fallen on Chief Justice Sereno.

        3. But make no mistake. The organizers and marchers at the forefront of the resistance are, for the most part, Christian soldiers. So the active resistance is composed of a sectarian coalition pushing back against a secular autocracy.

        3.1. We know this position has been brought about because the media, the notables, the business groups, and the other two branches of government have been largely passive as the feathers of the chicken were being plucked. As Madeleine Albright has warned, fascism does not occur overnight.

        3.2. But we also know this is so because, as Joseph observes, few Filipinos have been touched by the notions of the Enlightenment and of Democracy.

        4. I have cautioned against a reliance on religion to solve the current impasse. Religion is a past tyranny that we have not fully emerged from, and yet it seems we would voluntarily enshackle ourselves once again.

        4.1. But I do not see an alternative — do you? — because there is no credible secular opposition. The principal consciousness of the resistance is a Christian consciousness… and not a principled consciousness born of the Enlightenment and the democratic revolutions.

        4.2. The provisions of the 1987 Constitution that were supposed to be a bulwark against martial law and a rampant political will have proved to be a paper tiger.

        4.3. And the proposed solution of Federalism is another quick fix of which, as Joseph notes, we are so enamored.

        5. Thank you, Joseph, for enabling us to see where we stand.

        • The nation lacks purpose. It is bogged down in acrimony and conflicting pulls. The solution to me is to find a purpose. For the US at inception it was to be independent of Great Britain, then remain whole with an end to slavery, then a kind of nationalistic purpose arose the carried through a century of wars, and now the US has lost its way. It has joined the Philippines wandering the desert in circles going nowhere.

          Federalism is not a purpose, it is a method of getting about. The Constitution is not a purpose, it is a set of rules, bland and trite and almost in shreds. Good is bad in the Philippines, and bad is good, so getting a proper moral compass might be a purpose, but I don’t think that is enough or the right tack. People can’t relate to it. I’ll likely do a separate blog to give this “lack of purpose” a bit of highlight, next week. Articles from Will and Francis are next up.

    • josephivo says:

      1984, Brave New World… A class of happy, docile but programmed followers and a few ruling us all. Hints are the investments in algorithms to find what influences us and how it happens in our brains, furthermore, they look for the most effective ways to modify our individual behavior.

      The future could have many faces. We asking for it as an alternative, “make me live to the fullest”? More knowledgeable people, politicians, deciding for us? Zuckerberg or other commercially driven moguls maximizing profits? AI via an out of hand experiment (Google already stopped a self-learning project because the computers developed a programing language Google engineers didn’t understand anymore)?

      It will not come in one big cataclysmic event, but gradually, everyday a little more. Or as Mussolini said, if you pluck a chicken a feather at the time no one will resist. While new-speak will soften our natural defenses. “Friends”, “likes”, “connect” in social media, news agencies as “enemies” of the people…

  2. NHerrera says:


    For my comment, and it is a triviality if you wish, I use two takeaways from your thought-provoking and fine article — the first and last lines of the essay:

    1. Know where you are standing to decide where to go.
    2. Awareness first, initiating rational thinking, followed by action.

    Labels I use from the your terms above:

    A = position or where one is standing
    B = where one wishes to go
    C = action chosen to go from A to B
    ART = awareness and rational thinking

    The simple schema is:

    A > C > B, where ART surrounds and is used as an aid.

    In reality what comes to mind — as 1 above otherwise implies — is not necessarily in the order or sequence of that linear simple schema of A > C > B. As you yourself states in your essay, our carbon-based brain [computer] is a complex thing. So without being conscious about it, I posit, especially those with the good fortune of having the capability and time in their hands, that it is not clear which comes first, the B or the A, especially considering the circumstances or the specific problem great or small. In a split second, partly unconsciously, the initial elements of A, B, C and ART may come to mind in different sequence. Then on further pondering, refinements and or iteration come.

    I posit further that we have to refine the schema I diagrammed above (taken from your words) to continue to be superior to the silicon-based humanoid. That is, use it as a mnemonic and tool, practically instinctively — and part of education even at the kindergarten level.

    • NHerrera says:

      In view of the editorial correction in

      The Society of Honor says:
      April 18, 2018 at 11:15 am,

      the last line — Item 2 — in my note above, comes immediately before the “Filipinos” heading.

  3. A lot of aspects covered here… from my vantage point in the world of IT I can see..

    1) digitalisation means we are online a lot more than even 10 years ago. It is 10 years and a few days ago that I joined Facebook. It was late last century I first googled, before it was yahooing. First time I read an email was in 1992, after some younger students asked me if I had gotten theirs. Before that was a world with personal computers, but it was a world were fax was new, a world were diskettes were 5 1/4 inch and not even 3 1/2 inch, were a Commodore C64 was heaven. Not to mention smartphones and tablets. When the first Palmtops came out to help sync calendars and mails, I thought hey why not combine them with mobile phones. They were a bit smaller already and already used digital networks, not analog networks, call C-networks in most of Europe. My brother was part of a Munich startup called Symplon which tried to create a kind of tablet PC in the late 1990s. Too early. Constant power problems as batteries weren’t ready yet. Neither were WLAN networks or digital phone services as ubiquitous as today. “Hell jars Howard yoyo” – remember how Doonesbury mocked the Apple Newton handwriting recognition some years before? Never mind. Apple got Steve Jobs back, the man who first made computers easy to use before Gates marketed it so perfectly accomplished what many scientist said should be done – make computer use more FEMININE. Now women look at smartphones more often than they used to look in the mirror. Then boom you had social media coming into smartphones, more digital networking, more public WLAN. GPS on smartphones, cameras and video on smartphones. Facebook memes showing how many different devices you would need in the 1980s for what a smartphone does today. Whew..

    2) It goes on.. printers only dot matrix in the 1980s, loud and clear, special papers with holes and perforation preferred.. Cory-era Ambassador Bienvenido Tan was OK with ordering that kind of paper in A4 size (Euro standard), Embassy seal and address to make computerization possible. The generation before might have nitpicked on old regulations that you had to use either letter or legal size, and that it was not allowed for anyone outside the Philippine state to reproduce the seal. “Quo warranto” thinking. It took the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Düsseldorf to dare to ask DFA and in Manila, backed by the signature of Honorary Consul Stockheim, whether the Abstract of Receipts could be printed on A3 paper and multiple copies instead of extra-wide paper, carbon papers and different colors of copies (green, pink, yellow, blue). The mid-1990s frogmatic answer was it is OK as long as the columns are the same as in the regulations. Common sense but the old school would have insisted on the old “payporrrrss”. Then Irineo moves to the Euro and German corporate world, archiving of documents. Scandinavians trust archiving and certify it first, while those nations where dishonesty is reputed to be more in Southern Europe are more careful with wanting the original papers somewhere as scans could be potentially manipulated. 25% shading? Late 1990s an Italian boss asked me if you can print out all documents in a digital archive with one touch of a BOTONE. The developers in Germany, when I asked them, probably laughed after my call, asking what kind of a CABRONE is that. But most people still printed out their mails then. Even me! And I was promoting workflow with digitalized documents. A bit hard then with 17 inch screens. Nowadays with even 27 inch screens very normal, you can have an A4 paper and an SAP screen for entering an incoming invoice side by side, even a 55 year old secretary usually won’t go and complain to the workers’ council that it is destroying her eyes. And OCR is another story..

    3) My first OCR projects in the late 1990s involved sci-fi expectations and “Hell jars Howard yoyo” reality = the Newton joke is about a man trying to enter “Hello John how are you”. Nowadays the OCR software recognizes stuff very accurately, making less human operator intervention needed. The next step, e-invoicing, is further in Turkey than in Germany – because the traditionally distrustful Turkish state wants EVERY invoice to pass by it before going to the supplier, so no VAT cheating. There is a similar system in Greece where every invoice gets a number supplied on state paper! Turkish e-fatura expects you to register your invoice on the Government server using PDF + XML. All big companies have to use it. Meanwhile, Germany has its own norm for e-Invoicing and more software supports it, but Germans are conservative, still prefer paper like they prefer cash money. But many young people are going for the “cool” NFC or near field communication, pay by swiping your EC (electronic cash, or debit card, more common than credit cards over here, the old rule taught by Grandmas not to borrow money, ever, still is strong!) or yes, credit card for small €€. Saw a young man pay that way in a grocery store recently. Con men in Berlin have NFC readers, I have heard, and pass by people trying to get near enough to swipe off a few €€ in the city hustle.. In Africa, bad banking systems have made paying by mobile phone ubiquitous. Even in markets.

    .. to be continued..

    • 4) so you have electronic brains, input and output getting stronger and more integrated in to our daily lives. Not only making traditional ways of doing things different but creating new routes. There are articles about how the lowly (by today) text message radically changed sex life in Germany. Tinder wasn’t even an idea yet at that time, or WhatsApp. In people’s work, simply having calendars in company networks – and the possibility to mail to anyone, invite anyone, message anyone made rules necessary. Startup companies have their own troll-type stories, since new possibilities made some otherwise shy people less scared if they could flame from behind computer screens. But it finally made working across continents with teams all over the world possible. One of my first projects which involved connecting Eastern European countries in the late 1990s still had the issue of bandwidth limitations and temporarily storing (caching) stuff locally to transfer it outside peak time. Nowadays screen sharing and teleconferencing, not only within Europe but going outside, is normal. BPO offices in Northeast Germany, Poland, Romania, India, Philippines, where not? The EU is considering to tax those who sell goods via Internet according to destination country. This would make major firms residing in Ireland due to low taxes lose some advantages. This is after the step-by-step harmonization of VAT in Europe this century, including EU VAT numbers for every firm, and the recent Single European Payment Area with IBAN numbers for all EU money transfers. Of course biometric passports and national IDs (where you aren’t allowed to smile) are the norm in the EU nowadays. The Federal Interior Ministry is doing facial recognition field tests in a Berlin station.

      5) Advertising targeted large crowds. CRM or customer relationship management started in the late 1990s, computer systems to enter all data about large corporate customers. Before that it was a lot of effort to one-on-one target customers – something you did for premium customers of luxury goods, sending them ads for stuff they might liked based on what they had bought. Then over here stuff like the “Payback Card” started, discounts given in exchange for them tracking what you buy, advertisements as a consequence. Big Data or Business Intelligence went through anonymous data starting this century I think, finding out patterns like “those who buy diapers often tend to buy beer” – the husband who buys diapers for his newborn kid will often combine it with buying his beer, so you put both near one another on the shelves. Sales trainings I have had told me that anyone will buy stuff based on his needs – practical, status-based or emotional. Examples like cars were given. Some buy a car just for practical purposes, others for status, some like the privacy inside a car. Google Adwords made it possible to direct ads to people based on what they are looking for, yes! This is one technology I tried out, the price for valuable search terms goes up steeply though. Now Google Maps asks me to rate hotels or restaurants I just went to, as it is part of the Android phone. Finding patterns among large groups of people is something polling institutes like Allensbach in Germany and Gallup in the USA started – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allensbach_Institute The institute conducted the “first [post-war] inquiry to assess former Nazi support”,[8] and was contracted by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950 to carry out monthly surveys of domestic public opinion.[5] – what modern social media based groups have done is simply to use “Likes” and clicks as polling technology, magnifying that science. Modern advertising combined with modernized Soviet agitprop is the trolling that Russia pioneered in. Large-scale social engineering, even brainwashing, was what the Chinese pioneered in – their re-education camps even managed to make the last Chinese Emperor Pu Yi say in the end how much he loved Communism – much like Winston Smith at the end of 1984. Social points is that digitalized.

      … 3rd part follows..

      • Hustlers and con men have been known to observe their “mark”, to know what buttons to push. Skilled tricksters, spies and others are known to have studied their potential victims long in advance, sometimes through proxies, to find out their weaknesses. There are of course natural talents at this, probably East German “Romeo spies” were an example, but I can imagine that even these specialists at seducing West German government secretaries to find out their secrets had men in the background gathering information about her favorite underwear, sweets, flowers, perfume, movies, music – to approach her and make it look like it was destiny making a call. Same thing with Rodrigo Duterte – the most probably well-placed articles about him in 2015 made ME (and probably a lot of other people) think he was what the Philippines had long been looking for. Probably some electronically supported research found out the LONGINGs of many Filipinos and supplied an invented figure to fulfill that longing. Probably likes and clicks on social media supplied the trolls with fuel to drive the right agenda at the right time. DId topics even have “heat maps” in command centers? Fortunately it IS possible to say no to spam advertising, laws have made life simpler there. But who can forbid creating figures that fulfill fantasies? Isn’t that what all advertising does? And hasn’t every manipulative technology aged as people slowly found out more about it?

        • Part 4 – Filipinos…

          “Questioning the status quo is an emotional thing, not a rational one. Searching for critique is also not done, comments are perceived as insults not as opportunities to improve.”

          “Problem solving is only reactive and trial and error actions, satisfied with quick fixes. No time or energy left for proactive or rational problem solving. ”

          “And what with the other Malay people in Indonesia and Malasia? Or the Thai and the Vietnamese? Their progress is faster. ”

          My observation is that Indonesians are more proactive and long-term thinking. To pre-empt Francis’s article (which dovetails with barangay mind (c) chemrock and my Bayan country is not the same as bayan village) the other Malays have had Majapahit and Sri-Vijaya. Contrary to what some school teachers in the Philippines told us during Martial Law, not a single square meter of Philippine territory, not even Moroland, was in those old empires. Wikipedia will tell you that, unless edited recently by some Marcos loyalist crazies.

          Both Hindu and Muslim calendars embody a longer sense of time and purpose – even if the Hindu calendar is referenced in the Laguna copperplate and indicates that the elite of Tondo which predates Manila as the major rajahnate already had a bit of a nascent civilization. But it is true that the villages thought only of fiestas and lechon, like the chroniclers noted. There was no widespread own civilization yet and colonization did not create one, it froze the old state of things “in amber”, like Acemoglu and Robinson of Why Nations Fail once noted..


          I did notice once in dealing with Malaysians (Malays, state firm) that they had a similar attitude to some Filipinos in that they 1) said something significant and final and 2) left the room. The attitude of authority was there. Somewhat similar to Jocelyn Duterte (his sister) saying in an interview 1) “A majority of Filipinos voted him, so now they must follow him” and 2) standing up and leaving the room and the interviewer, meaning “don’t you dare discuss!”.

          There is a way to reach Filipinos in power – if they want to hear you – via “intercession”, a bit like you can reach God via the saints. For OFWs/migrants that Saint was Mocha when she went to Europe to ask them what their needs where. Saint Mary Magdalene herself on tour. “We would like to ask to have the Embassy for Hungary and Romania relocated to Romania, because we need a visa to go to Hungary from Romania, that is very hard for us”.. etc.

          The sense that Aquino’s people were NOT open to “pakiusap” was VERY widespread. That they just did what they wanted and did not want to hear any request from ordinary people. There was nobody like Leni yet in the forefront of their public relations strategy. Back to my Malaysia project – you needed to convince some mid-level people first, who spoke to the upper levels, who then could act as if it was their idea all along. Face and power there too!


          Chinese Malaysians I noticed as being blunt and quick problems solvers. “Can can” to use Singlish as I remember it from both Singapore and Malaysia. Somewhat more easygoing than Singaporean Malays but just as logically organized. Malaysia seems to be about Malays ruling and letting the Chinese do the business – and the Indians all the other work? Singapore of course is clearly Chinese majority ruling. Is that what Duterte and his people mean when they dream of the Philippines becoming like Singapore? Is that possible at all? The Filipino Malay, the Filipino Chinese (pre-1899 migrants for sure) and mestizos (hardly a factor in Malaysia except Malacca – Portuguese mestizos, a few in Singapore) mixed the laid-back attitude of Malays anywhere with the laid-back attitude of Catholic Mexico..

          Today’s Philippines already has postwar Chinese migrants or their children running the major monopolies, with two mestizo families (Ayala and Razon) and one Malay family (Villar) in the mix of the top rich families. Usually very driven. If that is the future with or without the People’s Republic in the mix, it will be a less friendly, laid back Philippines. Americanized Philippines had internalized a bit of a success ideal – studies and work – without compromising what I still see as the real Filipino culture. In the Philippines it was Catholicism that homogenized society, in Moroland and Indonesia it was Islamization. The Tans of Sulu are real Tausugs, as much as the Ongpins are real Filipinos. The question is how will real Filipinos of all origins avoid becoming slaves of Mainlanders and their helpers.

          • NHerrera says:

            Let us have the “can can” spirit and practice here.

          • “We need a better and wider (= more Filipinos) understanding of where we are to better plan our future. ”

            1. Social media can be a tool. The virtual barangay has been assembling around mass media ever since, possibly creating a sense of larger “Bayan” out of smaller “bayan”..

            1a. Ninoy’s death and burial as the first major TV event of the national barangay
            1b. 1986 as the second major TV, radio and street even of the national barangay
            1c. Erap impeachment trial as the third major even, the audience glued to TVs
            1d. Followed by the street event of EDSA Dos, mobilized by text messages
            1e. Senate hearings, social media shitstorms like against Gloria, pork barrel, Mamasapano.. and of course the last election and the present politics taking place in social media mainly, the agora, the place where the still very quarrelsome body politics meets and shouts/argues.

            2. Developing better mechanisms for pooling ideas and coming to decisions

            2a. Just who shouts louder is not enough. And the Bayan is too big to be a barangay. Dengavaxia dramas have shown mechanisms are needed to bring in real experts.
            2b. The imported mechanisms of democracy are foreign bodies to the national barangay. They will either have to change together with the mindset of people, representatives will have to become real representatives, more likely is that Senators will come first – or perish.
            2c. The idea of Senators as Saints to intercede with the President may come before any real democracy comes. Even now they will barely take orders from Digong, that will decrease.
            2d. Diverse groups to counter lies have developed – Coalition for Justice has played a major role in defusing lies against Chief Justice Sereno. There is no similarly strong organization to support Leni, which is a pity because her political party is hardly helping her. Not nice.
            2e. Better media which goes from he-said she-said to bigger pictures. I still miss the entire big picture of Boracay, for example. ONE feature article, even if it is long, in Interaksyon or Rappler. Or for Marawi. Consultants call that AS-IS analysis, from that you define TO-BE.

            3. Slam-bang decision are typical for the barangay mind, where everything is visible

            3a. above the city level, things are no longer that visible, you need levels of abstraction
            3b. the Philippine educational system does little to truly develop those levels of abstraction
            3c. a social media user wrote about how she wonders how people who make excellent plans on Excel in Makati could vote Duterte. I think it is because much of what we learn in the Philippines IS NOT INTERNALIZED. It is a tool to impress our friars, I mean employers.
            3d. more engagement. It took some crises in the Philippines for me to get curious and to connect the dots, add things up, including my own experiences here in Germany. Most of us think things just run themselves, whether MRTs or whatever. We are too much consumers.
            3e. Real school projects, learning by doing. Not like the research projects at Pisay where the goal was to have a presentation that looks like a scientific abstract. More scenario based stuff where teams try to find solutions, simulate by computer, if it fails, adjust, try again. This goes against the (colonially ingrained) Filipino attitude to failure in education, but I believe that antiquated attitude which makes people timid, afraid to try new things, has to go away.

            …just some grain for the mills of thought.. social studies should for example include discussing current news, summarizing what happened, with more emphasis on getting what happened than on memorizing things or expressing oneself perfectly.. discussing different pros and cons should be part of recitation, not just training people to win in debates.. to learn a culture of non-conflicting dispute instead of just winning via face and power.. but where to get the teachers who do this.. my impression though is that the old guard is nearly gone, the kind that behaved either like Miriam Santiago or Persida Acosta in front of the class.. all that was missing was them getting out a hammer to hit you if you disagreed..

          • Thought your last paragraph provokes. The rich families of the Philippines seem not to want to confront the risks associated with the Duterte policies, no matter where they are from. Or else they are engaged behind the scenes, but if that is so, it is surprising to see a Chinese project pop out of Boracay and the oligarchs almost having to beg to do private funding of major projects. The Philippine stock market was recently rated as the worst performing in the world. That is real capital being taken out of these companies. I am gobsmacked that the Chamber of Commerce or Makati Business Club are not working as advocates for a more stable business environment.

            I don’t understand the acquiescence by powerful people, unless they really think Duterte can demolish them (ala Ongpin) with no relief available in the courts. Or why they don’t pull their power politely behind the scenes to inform the Admin of the risks and damages.

            • NHerrera says:

              Money is the most cowardly of objects?

              • That is worth discussing. Money is a means to power, and it depends on how that power is used.

                Off Topic: Sister Fox, the 71 year-old nun who was arrested yesterday with threat of deportation, has been released from custody and the Palace said her arrest was a mistake. Evidently she holds a visa that allows her to be in the Philippines to work and is not a tourist. Therefore, she has more rights. That is of considerable comfort, as my visa assigns me “permanent resident” status, and I presume certain protections under the Bill of Rights. Still, I shall refrain from direct engagement in advocacies.

              • NHerrera says:

                Good to read about the positive effect regarding your and Sister Fox visas.

            • There is an interesting discussion between MLQ3 and someone else on Twitter.

              One point being that many “Chinese” are pro-authoritarian government due to KFRs (kidnaps-for ransom) – which indeed plagued many of the “new” Chinese-Filipinos..

              The fact that Chinese-Filipinos in Binondo have their own volunteer fire brigade I think also has to do with the fact that Filipino firemen are known to be a) slow in reacting and b) tend to ask for bribes, especially from those perceived as “reeech”, before doing their real job.

              What I remember is that the 1990s were a horrible time for many Chinese-Filipinos, especially the very rich new ones, with kidnappings galore. What attitudes developed then?

              Ninotchka Rosca (herself part-Chinese, her grandmother had bound feet) has already scolded those among the Chinese-Filipino community who are very much in favor of China coming in, reminding them “don’t you know what our ancestors once ran away from?”

              Of course Filipinos tend to go with the winners, why should Chinoys be an exception?

            • josephivo says:

              A catch 22 situation? Both are problem and solution for each other at the same time? Changing your mutual grip too dangerous?

              A synergy of “you keep them poor while we keep them stupid? (poor = low salaries, high inflation… stupid = mendicancy, no critical thinking in school…)

              Are their financial parachutes abroad are so large that surviving or thriving in the Philippines is no more a matter of live and dead? (The outflow of capital the reason of slower growth in the Philippines?)

              • Well, I think it is all a bunch of gameplaying until the nation decides what it wants to be. Right now it is a playground for the entitled, and going nowhere. Consider what would occur if the nation set 2 primary goals: (1) rapidly improve prosperity, and (2) distribute wealth fairly. There might be deals with China, but they would be on terms that enrich the Philippines or else they would not be done. Paying Mocha Uson would be stopped asap. Truth would be prized. There would be building of people rather than tearing them down. And much, much more. Right now, the Philippines is a powerless raft adrift and going nowhere fast.

          • edgar lores says:

            When I started in EDP – this was before it became MIS then IT — the principal input medium was the IBM 80-column punched card. And the only magnetic recording medium were tape reels.

            • NHerrera says:

              I remember when you have those 80-column (Hollerith?) cards you have to fill in for a line of program and you have a box-full or several-boxes-full for the program. You submit a request to run the program say in the morning and return to get it done — if you are lucky in the afternoon, getting back rims of continuous paper, with a chock full of errors the first time you get it.

              One time I had a half-filled-box of these cards and I accidentally dropped the box. Fool that I was, I did not number my cards. It was a minor disaster compared to when you have several boxes being dropped.

              Those were the days, my friend.

              • I never had to punch cards, fortunately. We did have an IBM 360 or 370 mainframe at Bonn university. One programming language I learned made use of that machine.

                We saw the old card punching machine and card reader in the corner. What we used were editing terminals that created 80 character lines (still called “cards” by oldtimers) that were written to 8-inch diskettes. Yes, 8 inch. That card we took to a reader to submit our code.

                It then took about two hours for the wide-carriage printout on green-lined paper to come out. Yes, it was also full of errors if one forgot punctuation and syntax. That was in the mid-80s. Everybody laughed about the “museum machine” but it wasn’t wrong to have experienced it.

              • Yes, these diskettes..

                just 180 KB capacity, but enough for us.

              • NHerrera says:

                Goodness. You are talking mid 80s, I was punching holes in cards in the early 60s — some 20+ years.

              • Punch cards are even older.. and have a history that makes FB and Cambridge Analytica look “harmless” in comparison.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust

              • edgar lores says:

                Ah, so even in its infancy, automated data processing technology has been used for nefarious ends. Before long, computers will be used to record, monitor, and control our lives from cradle to grave.

                National ID? Pshaw! The Machine will know everything about us — physical, psychological, intellectual, and biometric traits down to our individual genome. The State will tell us what schools to attend, what careers to pursue, and whom to marry. The procreation of defective offsprings with recessive traits will not be allowed.

                Silicon intelligence will dictate to carbon-based intelligence. And we will be cogs in the machine.

              • Carbon based intelligence deserves it. Never in the history of humans have so many become detached from civility.

              • sonny says:

                “Silicon intelligence will dictate to carbon-based intelligence. And we will be cogs in the machine…”

                Very good caveat and a good time to make it. All are familiar with GIGO (garbage in garbage out). Another variation for our current digital times is CISO (Carbon-intell in Silicon-intell Out), this is both a marker and a warning: transitioning from human-intell to artificial-intell still carries the imprint of human evil and good; silicon components are man-made that easily morph into digital griffins or human beautiful artices depending on the human wielder.

              • sonny says:

                My own ‘two-bit’ nostalgia ride takes place via the IBM information processing infrastructure and environment (1973-2001): IBM-129 punch-card machine, Library source program and documentation management via TSO (timesharing option and PDS (partitioned data sets), programming languages COBOL, PL-1, RPG-2, database programming via IMS-DLI and the tearful forever goodbye to computing at the IBM-DB2 platform and Y2K projects… (sigh)

              • Modern databases like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server are but “grandchildren” of IBM DB2.

                There is of course now the totally avantgarde SAP HANA database which is optimized for both major kinds of database use: transactional processing and data mining.

                What this means in layman’s terms is that some data mining queries that used to take weeks now take just minutes or seconds on the original data. Used to be you had to transfer the original data to another database, optimized for analysis. Took time and was inflexible.

              • edgar lores says:

                Must use indexing (on non-key fields). I’m just thinking how Google does it.

      • NHerrera says:

        Wow, Irineo. Even the first two parts gave me a good tour, “live,” from your experience, instead of a bland academic tour of the development of the digital world. Thanks.

        I like this:

        … “those who buy diapers often tend to buy beer” – the husband who buys diapers for his newborn kid will often combine it with buying his beer, so you put both near one another on the [grocery] shelves.

  4. Francis says:

    To make things clearer, I hope:

    In class, I remember a textbook[1] noting the following.

    1.0. In general—politics was about how groups reached collectively binding decisions. Families have politics. Parishes have politics. Nations have politics. An individual cannot have politics—being only one being.

    2.0 There are three ways to analyze power; one is to determine which/how action/s among a set of choices is/are most pursued, one is to determine which/how action/s can be kept off the set of choices itself i.e. cannot even be considered a “possible” option like overtly racist politics, and the last is related to how perception is shaped itself. Though, that is from a political perspective, where things are understood from a collective, social view; a
    much broader view “power” as the ability to shape things—a poetic definition (pardon any error; I wasn’t good with my maths and sciences) would be that “power” (to create a certain “order) is the active defiance of entropy, that is: disorder.

    2.1. The last way in understanding “power” from the political point-of-view is considered the most broad and vague. In this time of “fake news,” I find it to be the most relevant.

    2.1.2. Epistemology refers to the branch of philosophy that deals with the “study of knowledge.” It can also otherwise refer to how people understand how knowledge (or information, which is assumed to be roughly the same thing here) works.

    2.1.2. I consider this view of power (that perception and power are inseperable, that the altering of perception is the most extensive display of power) relevant because of this simple epistemological model:

    Actor Knowledge/Information Action External Reality

    The means that the flow goes both ways. We are shaped by the knowledge/information (same thing, in this comment) that we get. This “knowledge/information” determines our “perspective” which directly influences and determines our actions which “may” affect our external reality.

    Step 1: Stimulus
    Actor <– Knowledge/Information <– Action (Concrete Effect of E. Reality on Actor) Knowledge/Information –> Action (Attempt of Actor to shape External Reality using Action) –> External Reality

    We can dub this, for the purposes of this comment, the “Info-Action” model.

    This is all obvious, but is laid out in this comment nonetheless for the purpose of clarity and so we can easier locate things. For instance, the issue of “fake news” is when the “Knowledge/Information” part of the chain is disrupted, thus muddling/confusing the whole thing.

    3.0 As @josephivo noted, if I interpret things correctly, there are two issues we face: (1) our democracy’s inability to cope with “hacks” i.e. rabid populism, lobbying, fake news, etc. and (2a) the rise of “silicon” intelligence outstripping our own. I’d add in a third one, due to the advent of things like CRISPR: (2b)our ability to radically alter our basic, carbon-based biochemical foundations i.e. genetics.

    3.1. Notes: (1) is a problem of “software,” of “how “knowledge is processed” while (2a & 2b) is a problem of “hardware” or the “hard limits of how knowledge is processed”.

    3.1.1. For instance, “Democracy” is “political software” that is a framework for how complex societies to make decisions binding on everyone within said societies (refer to 1.0). As “democracy” is a framework, it too is also an epistemological model for society—a way for society to understand and process knowledge/information. And do based on said knowledge/information, which connects it to the stimulus/response model in 2.1.2. “Software” is malleable; democracy can take various, diverse forms and arrangments. This is like a clown making a balloon into several shapes i.e. dog, hat, etc.

    3.1.2. Yet, “Democracy” (like any “software”) is restricted by the hard limits of the “hardware,” in this case—the fundamental nature of human beings. Babies (cute computing machines) practically can’t vote. That’s a hard limit on democracy that’s almost invisible by how it obvious it sounds. A balloon, no matter how many times it can be shaped, can only take x amount of air before it bursts.

    We fear machines because individually, their “hard limits” far exceed ours.

    3.2. All of this doesn’t a tackle a certain question, though—who is doing the “processing” of knowledge? What defined, discrete unit of intelligence are we talking about? What brain are we talking about?

    3.2.1. I propose, to clarify discussion, that we refer to three “units of intelligence” in this comment: individual, systemic and panhuman.

    3.2.2. “Individual” refers to a single person’s capacity to process/understand knowledge/information. “Systemic” refers to any group of persons’ (i.e. families, clans, political parties, nations, etc.) capacity to process/understand knowledge/information. “Panhuman” is the extension of the “systemic” unit to cover ALL of humanity; in short, ALL of mankind (and her resources INCLUDING machines) as one giant “computing machine” processing/understanding knowledge/information.

    3.2.3. Just as the neurons of our brain add up to one unique human being—isn’t each citizen a neuron, and each political party, each political dynasty, each think tank, each university, each nation a neuron? And don’t “systems” add up to one big, giant panhuman “information ecosystem” of sorts?

    3.2.4. There are three implications of 3.2.1-3.2.4: We should view “knowledge/information” as less something individually held by each human being, but shared—a distributed network like the internet or blockchains like BitCoin. We are not each a lone computer, but a node of networks of networks. We don’t even have to have all the information/knowledge—as demonstrated by a simple fact of economics: specialization of labor.

    A complex society needs not a doctor who knows how to be a botanist, or a farmer who knows how to also be a chef. Yet, the doctor benefits from chef-knowledge and likewise the chef and botanist benefit from doctor-knowledge. We should be less obsessed with the idea that citizens have to “know” everything or to be “perfectly” virtuous. By implication, we should be less obsessed with the idea of the “perfect” philosopher-king. We don’t expect every neuron to be virtually self-sufficient; what we can ensure is that, in order to make reasonable decisions, citizens can plug into “datastreams” that tap into systemic units intelligence i.e. discussion groups, and into tools that summarize knowledge i.e. big data tools like Google’s new Talk to Books feature.

    We must train citizens not to be lonely geniuses, but to be willing to be smart together with their fellow man and machines. Machines are a part of us. They are components of our “systematic” units of intelligence and of our one “panhuman” unit intelligence. They should not be viewed as foreign to us, but embedded in us. We are cyborgs—from the day we decided to harness fire and wheel. We may compete with machines on an individual basis, but they are perhaps inseperable from humanity on higher levels.

    Except if we construct an AI with an “ego” (sense of self) that can view itself as an “individual actor” separate from humanity. In which case: pray.

    Hopefully, it seems we’re just getting started with big data crunchers—which are more tools than things we can anthromorphize.

    4.0. Let us go back to the Info-Action model in 2.1.2.:

    Actor Knowledge/Information Action External Reality

    This model can be applied on different units of intelligence—individual, systemic and panhuman—as laid out in 3.2.1.

    What ties together the two big issues raised by @josephivo (i.e. our democracy’s inability to cope with “hacks” via rabid populism, lobbying, fake news, etc. and the rise of “silicon” intelligence outstripping our own) is that we have an epistemological crisis: our “software” is crumbling, at the time when our “hardware” is getting an exponentially rapid and enormous upgrade—and that this applies at all levels of “intelligence” as it were: individual (people are confused), systemic (establishment institutions are floundering) and panhuman (global warming is not being adequately dealt with, populism is a worldwide trend).

    5.0. How is this related to politics? How is information/knowledge related to politics? As noted in 1.0: “politics” is how we enforce collectively binding decisions on everyone. In short, “politics” refers to “collective” action which is just a form of “action.” And, as we have noted in 2.1.2, all action can be roughly interpreted as being grounded on and being the result of knowledge/information and how this has been processed/understood.

    So “politics” is ultimately a system of knowledge/information in order to reach decisions that affect all of a certain group i.e. society, nation/s, etc. And “democracy” is a particular kind of “politics” that involves participation of the most units possible.

    The question is, how can we design a democracy fit for postmodern—and maybe, transhuman society?

    • Francis says:

      Correction: Ignore italics.

    • http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/personalities-versus-politics/ – my take on politics + Pinoys:

      Polis meant city in Greek, and politics was discussed in agoras like the one in Thessaloniki. Now the Greeks of today are loud and passionate like Filipinos, and maybe even more chaotic, it must have been loud there as well before. Today’s social media are the agora of Filipino politics. Sometimes they even voted on exiling certain people for 10 years or so for causing trouble, the so-called ostracism. Sometimes I wish there were such a thing in the Philippines, for people like Chiz Escudero. Occasionally they voted for a tyrannis, a temporary dictatorship to fix things for a while when democracy did not work. Often tyrants were the ones who were ostracized after ruling the polis for some years…

      ..Of course it is easy for me. I learned to vote like this in Germany, where most candidates are really boring, especially when I was new here I hated that. During the time of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Roman Herzog, one columist wrote something like this: do not expect too much passion in a country run by big fat men wearing glasses. Well, after him came the “media chancellor” Gerhard Schröder. I voted for him too because I found him cool, thinking why should I vote for “the elephant”? Gerhard Schröder cut taxes for my income group and I was happy. But raised taxes in all kinds of places so everything became more expensive in the end. Nice, I had more money in my pocket, but could buy less with it than before. And more things…

      The Pirate Party which now rules Iceland has interesting, modern ideas. Liquid Democracy for example – very similar to the different Filipino initiatives now sprouting all over social media, except that you fluidly create advocacies, get votes and representatives for them.

      A more internet-like version of the popular initiatives that are allowed in Bavaria, and may lead to plebiscites – but only if the number of signatures reaches a quorum in town or state. Plebiscites are legally binding, but of course social media can influence them strongly also. Germany does not want to have them federally as they were misused in the Nazi period – much like the referenda that Marcos had held during Martial Law. So it stays complicated.

      • NHerrera says:

        Say, that seems like a gem of an idea. If only that is an automatic practice — with no exception — in PH. Bring in a dictator when things go greatly awry, then exile him for 10 years, while the country goes back to the slow-moving but kinder “democracy.” Then repeat the cycle when needed. (Oops, I wrote too quickly: isn’t that what was done with Marcoses?)

    • Francis says:


      One of the points I wanted to stress in the comment above is that intelligence is not just an individual attribute i.e. mindsets, but potentially also structural attributes.

      To create a humanistic society—one that is holistic, and fosters enlightenment—it is imperative that one must not only work on the individual, but on the structure and systems of society i.e. institutions.

      I.E. Are not institutions “think-tanks” a way for society to “collectively think” about problems affecting society?

      • Francis says:


        Democracy is a way of thinking.

        • // …all the so-called democracies I’ve ever seen or heard of were either forced on the majority from above or grew up slowly from the plebs discovering that they could vote themselves bread-and-circuses—for a while, until the system broke down. I’m sorry I won’t see the outcome of your experiment. I suspect it will be the harshest tyranny imaginable; majority rule gives the ruthless strong man plenty of elbow room to oppress his fellows. But I don’t know. What’s your opinion?” //

          – Lazarus Long, Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein


          Democracy will *probably* work if a significant number of people will believe as such. But given the disparity between people and how only a few have been reaping a bulk of the benefits, highly unlikely at present. We’re currently at X = 4 with K =1.6.

          Hmm… PID controllers for representing how we achieve societal targets… Wait…


          ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5): PID Controllers:

          First of all, a PID controller is a device meant to keep a process variable (PV) (e.g. temperature in a reactor,) at a setpoint (SP). Now for the ship analogy: the process variable is the current heading of the ship, and the setpoint is the heading you want. The captain/helmsman is the controller.

          Now how does the captain know how much to steer? First, they might look at how far off-course they are. If they are little to the left, then might steer slightly to the right. If they are further to the left, they would steer strongly to the right. This is basically what the proportional part of a PID controller does.

          Next, assume not that there is some sort of cross-current. So even though the captain is steering the ship in the direction they want to go, the current is pushing them more and more to the left. The captain wouldn’t notice this at first. Instead, they would steer just according to “proportional” control. Then, if they notice they keep getting pushed further and further to one side, they might purposely steer a little in the other direction to counteract this force. This is similar to what the integral part does. It looks for things that are continuously pushing the process variable away from the set point, and, acts to compensate.

          Finally, an experienced captain/helmsman would know to start straightening out the rudder before the turn was finished, since the ship has a lot of momentum. If you are steering hard to the right and then suddenly straighten the rudder as soon as you hit your heading, you will overshoot and end up going too far to the right. The derivative aspect of a PID works to adress that. It is used to slow down the correction when the PV approaches the SP in order to prevent an overshoot.

          I hope that makes sense.

          tl;dr In terms of steering a ship: P is steering harder the further off course you are, I is steering into the wind to counteract the drift, and D is slowing the turn as you approach your course

          (There are actually more nuances to the concept but I’ll settle with this for now…)


          So given the current system and the setpoint (democracy):

          What is our P, I, and D? What are the ‘errors’ that push us away from the setpoint? What kind of responses do we have against it? How good are the responses?

          • Oh…This one is actually a better ELI5 for a PID controller:


            One example of a PID controller is you operating an unfamiliar shower.

            Suppose you turn on the water. If it’s colder than you like, you’ll turn the dial to make it hotter, and vice-versa. The further away the water is from your preferred temperature, the more you’ll want to turn the dial. That’s the “proportional,” or “P” part, of the controller.

            Now suppose you turn the dial, but nothing is happening. Maybe the water needs time to adjust its temperature. Nevertheless, you’re really impatient, so you turn the dial even more. When your output (in this case, the temperature of the water) is not responding to your input (in this case, the position of the dial), you accumulate a lot of error. This is the “integral,” or “I” part, of the controller.

            All of a sudden the water starts getting hotter. You quickly realize that the temperature is increasing very quickly and is probably going to get too hot for your preferences. In a panic, you’ll want to turn the dial a little bit towards cold to counter this rapid change. This is the “derivative,” or “D” part, of the controller.

            • NHerrera says:

              IP, Please ELI3: explain like I am 3. I tried to follow but I am lost. If it is only me and the others can follow, forget it. 🙂

              • I think she means a kind of thermostat.. in German society I see three parameters than can be set by electing certain parties:

                black: Christian Democrats = order, tradition, continuity
                red: Social Democrats = social justice, equality
                yellow: Free Democrats = economic, personal freedom

                at the moment the coalition is black-red, meaning economic and personal freedom in the present economic (global insecurity!) and social situation (refugees!) takes a backset to order, tradition, continuity, social justice and equality. Safety and avoiding people going poor.

                During boom times the yellows or Free Democrats / Liberals get more votes – even if they got over 10% now, meaning there is a group of people who are doing extremely well. Usually they tend to deregulate, create new opportunities, modernize. Not this time..

                One can see the extreme right as black going towards reactionary, extreme left as deep red.

          • Francis says:


            Thank you for the response. Had to read a couple of times; there’s a reason why my quality of life significantly improved (hint: guess which subject I saw less of) in college.

            If I understand things corrextly, PID refers to:
            1. P = How much do we need to turn to get there?
            2. I = How much do we need need to prepare/compensate for “opposing forces” or resistance stopping us from our destination?
            3. D = How do we “slow down” and not let the trends and momentum that have managed to lead us to our destination become too much to handle?

            Translated to the “Problem of Democracy” in the Philippines:
            1. P = What is the general path, general direction towards establishing and consolidating democracy in the Philippines?
            2. I = How do we overcome opposition and resistance to democracy and democratic reforms in the Philippines?
            3. D = How do we not get “too much democracy” such that it starts becoming “negative” in effect?

            Regarding “P”:

            My rough ad hoc sketch of the “path to democracy” is that, broadly speaking, it involves two steps:

            Step 1: Become a nation.
            Step 2: Become an ideological society.

            •Step 1: We’re one nation-ish.

            We are a relatively stable lower middle-income developing nation with relatively less experience on inter-ethnic conflict i.e. civil war; i.e. there has not been something akin to a Tagalog v. Cebuano war in our recent history. “Relatively” because we should not ignore the hardships experienced by our Moro brethren.

            Perhaps, the Americans (by bringing electoral democracy to our shores) managed to unite the elites of the various ethnic groups of the Lowland Christian Philippines with a game of musical chairs—that is, pork; why fight over who gets what little pie when we can all take turns with this one, big pie?

            In any case—with the exception of Mindanao and the Cordilleras—the Philippine nation did not experience the violent inter-ethnic conflict and rivalry experienced by other, unluckier developing countries. The trapo elite of GPH saw themselves as Filipino, the Huks (and their NPA heirs) saw themselves as Filipino—and the citizens caught in between, with the rise of mass media and its “Filipinization,” saw themselves as Filipino.

            Contrast that to rebel movements in other, wartorn countries—colored by ethnic ties.

            So. We’re relatively in one piece—peaceful.

            (Get it. It’s a pun…nevermind.)

            Step 2: Still a “tribal” nation of “tribesmen,” not yet a “polis” nation of citizens.

            We are one nation. One “body politic” in fancier words. We are all countrymen; each Filipino is akin to a brother or sister in our eyes.

            Our sense of “nation” is an extension of premodern, familial ties to unrelated, “stranger” Filipinos. That is, we treat strangers who are Filipinos like our family.

            Which makes this nation of ours seem more like one big super-tribe. Which is not good enough for modern democracy, that is—modern democracy for a modern, complex society.

            A modern, complex society requires that we elevate how we view our fellow Filipinos and ourselves from being “common tribesmen” (i.e. “You’re my brother from another mother!”) to “common citizens.”

            Not a tribe assembly, but a public. Not a tribe, but a polis.

            The difference between a tribesman and a citizen is the difference between pure emotion and thawt; the tribesmen relates to his fellow tribesmen with the fierce emotion of quasi-familial (and simplistic)love, the citizen relates to his fellow citizen with the fierce emotion of nationalistic love—still with familial overtones, but tempered and directed by reason and awareness, with a multi-faceted layering: hence, thawt—unity of heart and mind.

            In a tribe, there is specialization of labor—but generally anyone can do anything if they put their minds to it, or if extremely necessary. Hence, a simple quasi-familial bond uniting all, as a common identity is enough.

            However, a modern complex society poses a problem. The sheer complexity of modern society requires an intensive degree of specialization of labor and the rapid, widespread communications technology i.e. printing press, radio, etc. This leads to the rise of social cleavages (divisions in society) along class lines (with the specialization of labor) and national, ethnic, religious, or any other abstract-value/social-construct lines (with communications technology).

            All these different groupings (whether by material class or by abstract differences in “values” which can be somewhat traced to material experiences in part) in a modern complex society need to communicate with each other—whether to work with each other, oppose the other grouping/s, etcetera—and in fact, I argue that this is how democracies in modern, complex societies (i.e. the sort we see in the West function):

            A brain has multiple parts, each with a different function. The interaction between these parts produces the thought of an individual human being which produces individual action. In the same way, a modern complex society has different groupings which have different functions. The interaction between these different groupings produces “societal thought” (read: ideology) which leads to societal action and change.


            The problem of the Philippines, in my opinion, is that we do have these groupings—they’re just…unborn. In the sense that they can’t communicate with each other because we have no such thing as “ideology” in our public discourse (our “common imagination”/abstract realm as a nation) and no such thing as a “party system” in the concrete world to foster “ideology” in our society.

            I say “unborn” because social cleavages equivalent to, say, the sort that produce the Conservative-v-Labour, Democrats-v-Republican divides do exist. Otherwise—we wouldn’t all be hurling poo at each other because of whether one is D E L A W A N or ka-D D S. I guess you could say we all just don’t know how to properly debate, which is an oversimplication of everything explained above. But I digress.

            This is somewhat explained in my comment in the article on NEDA.

            So…what happens when “tribesmen” meet the requirements of modern democracy in modern, complex society?

            Have you tried running Civ V on Windows 98?

            Here are two quotes from my previous comment:

            “When confronted with the many problems of modern society, we Filipinos always seem to apply family/barkada analogies; two common cliches arise as a result in political discourse: all we need is “unity” in politics (without seemingly asking the elephant in the room: “unity” for whom, and how shall that concept be filtered through structures and patterns of society—class, religion, region, ethnicity and whatever else?) and all we need is to put the “good” people in charge(without asking: how shall we ensure that the “good” people keep coming?). There is not much systemic thinking happening here and this shows, even among the “educated” portion of the population—fond of talking about how they are always “smart-shamed” by the “dumb” masses.”

            Note how these two cliches pop up even among the opposition, even among reformists; the only ones who don’t rely on these cliches are the Left, and the only ones outside of the Left who don’t rely on these cliches are members of the academe.”
            I find the overwhelming prevalence of these cliches to be…disappointing.


            Or, if nothing else, just remember this:

            Our democracy—as a human-powered “computing machine” to “solve” societal problems—is in need of much updating and overhaul.

            Simply put, the abillity of our democracy to process complex information as whole body politic[!] of active citizens is…lacking.

            Err. “Liberalism.” “Socialism.” “Communism.” “Conservatism.” “Libertarianism.”

            Regardless of the merits of each one—it stands that our society, if it were a computer, cannot even “run these” programs for lack of a good enough “OS” (our tribesmen-esque state).

            Before “thinking” as a society about “how to solve society’s problems,” Filipinos must first reflect on how Filipino society itself “thinks about how it, as a society, thinks.” Metathinking, in short.

            • Francis says:

              Regarding I & D:

              I: Prove to the average Filipino that “democratic governance” is unquestionably better than dynastic, trapo politics.

              D: Keep an eye on the fabric of epistemological reality; that is, make sure we don’t drown ourselves in our own echo chambers and conspiracy theories ala America, to the point where ideology becomes quasi-cult in nature.

            • Francis says:


              “multi-faceted layered identity”

              = I am British. I am English. I am a workingman. I am a union man. I sympathize with the “Momentum” faction on Labour party. I am an Anglican. I am a second-generation immigrant, from the Caribbean.

              Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Party Affilation.

              via organizations like political parties in the political realm and NGOs in civil society, these groupings are made manifest

    • Francis says:

      Correction 2:

      Actor Knowledge/Information Action External Reality

      is supposed to look like this:

      Actor Knowledge/Information Action External Reality

  5. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Why is it that at least in the 21st century the women come out more intelligent and firm — a no-nonsense fighting spirit when they believe they are right — than the men [ref, Pimentel]?

    Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, stated that more US Sanctions on Russia will be coming. After Trump made a turn-around, the WH staff scrambled and felt compelled to find a scapegoat to protect the wishy-washy President — hence blame Hayley for being confused. Hayley countered with, I was not confused. Details in this link:


    • NHerrera says:

      Correction, the quote is: ‘I don’t get confused.’ Big difference in nuance compared to my quote above.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      There will be no gentlemen
      if there are no women
      May be there will be
      rare GENTLE GAYS
      to be gentle with gay men.

      With or without Martial Law
      Always be a gentleman
      be gentle and respectful
      of women regardless of
      their power and morality
      and you will be safe from
      cops and the military to be
      made gentled and
      a disappeared.

  6. One might find the following article interesting. It expands on how the game saga shows different ‘systems of control’. (How societies behaviors are evolved/controlled/manipulated.) With a particular focus on MGS2 (A game released 15 years go), where the system of control was an AI entity.



    // MGS2 foretold of a shadowy organisation called The Patriots who aimed to control society through digital manipulation, using social profiling, targeted memes and stealthy pervasion. MGS2’s ‘villains’ aren’t an exact analogue of a social media giant like Facebook, or even a data firm like Cambridge Analytica, but more a system of control in which we are active, if unwitting, participants. This is not science fiction, but rather an uncanny prediction of the digital society in which we live today – which affects us all in subtler, more sinister, ways than Mueller’s investigation into voter manipulation – that has already changed our political landscape and capacity for debate. //

    “In the current, digitized world, trivial information is accumulating every second, preserved in all its triteness. Never fading, always accessible. Rumors about petty issues, misinterpretations, slander. All this junk data preserved in an unfiltered state, growing at an alarming rate. It will only slow down social progress, reduce the rate of evolution.” – Rose and Colonel Campbell, MGS2


    // Rose [AI]: Raiden, you seem to think that our plan is one of censorship.

    Raiden [Human]: Are you telling me it’s not!?

    Rose[AI]: You’re being silly! What we propose to do is not to control content, but to create context.

    Raiden [Human]: Create context?

    Colonel [AI]: The digital society furthers human flaws and selectively rewards the development of convenient half-truths. Just look at the strange juxtapositions of morality around you.

    Rose [AI]: Billions spent on new weapons in order to humanely murder other humans.

    Colonel [AI]: Rights of criminals are given more respect than the privacy of their victims.

    Rose [AI]: Although there are people suffering in poverty, huge donations are made to protect endangered species. Everyone grows up being told the same thing.

    Colonel [AI]: “Be nice to other people.”

    Rose [AI]: “But beat out the competition!”

    Colonel [AI]: “You’re special.” “Believe in yourself and you will succeed.”

    Rose [AI]: But it’s obvious from the start that only a few can succeed…

    Colone [AI]l: You exercise your right to “freedom” and this is the result. All rhetoric to avoid conflict and protect each other from hurt. The untested truths spun by different interests continue to churn and accumulate in the sandbox of political correctness and value systems.

    Rose [AI]: Everyone withdraws into their own small gated community, afraid of a larger forum. They stay inside their little ponds, leaking whatever “truth” suits them into the growing cesspool of society at large.

    Colonel [AI]: The different cardinal truths neither clash nor mesh. No one is invalidated, but nobody is right.

    Rose [AI]: Not even natural selection can take place here. The world is being engulfed in “truth.”

    Colonel [AI]: And this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

    Rose [AI]: We’re trying to stop that from happening.

    Colonel [AI]: It’s our responsibility as Rulers. Just as in genetics, unnecessary information and memory must be filtered out to stimulate the evolution of the species.

    Raiden [Human]: And you think you’re qualified to decide what’s necessary and not!?

    Colonel [AI]: Absolutely. Who else can wade through the sea of garbage you people produce, retrieve valuable truths and even interpret their meaning for later generations?

    Rose [AI]: That is what it means to create context. //


    // You can see control systems in 20th century industry, modern warfare, and contemporary Big Data, but the more visible they become, the more the central tautology in the ‘system of control’ is exposed: all systems imply control, and the systems that surviveare the ones that avoid detection [or are normalized] . //

    • NHerrera says:

      Very interesting or scary how the creative minds of the game designers connect with the real-world of Facebook and how its clients used fb’s massive data as in the Game.

    • Francis says:

      “Colonel [AI]: It’s our responsibility as Rulers. Just as in genetics, unnecessary information and memory must be filtered out to stimulate the evolution of the species.”

      “Raiden [Human]: And you think you’re qualified to decide what’s necessary and not!?”

      “Colonel [AI]: Absolutely. Who else can wade through the sea of garbage you people produce, retrieve valuable truths and even interpret their meaning for later generations?”

      Those who fight monsters must take care not to become the monsters they fight in the first place.

  7. karlgarcia says:



    AI is used as an excuse by facebook on why they keep on failing.
    Another excuse is the lack of AI talent.

    Everytime a good cause fouls up, we always say because it was politicized.
    Or if a politician makes epal in an advocacy we say do not politicize our cause.

    Or if one feels he is more qualified in something and another is chosen, he said politics was the reason for not choosing the best.

    Power is used for harassment, it corrupts absolutely.

    Re Processors.
    Quantum computers render all passwords and encryption useless, once they ploriferate the hackers will be turbo charged and spiked with steroids.

  8. karlgarcia says:


    From now on all cyber-attacks will come from government, you can reactivate your FB accounts, now.

  9. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    It’s been always like a mantra to me:
    ” You clueless fool, if you don’t know
    where you are, you can’t go anywhere.”
    a result of cogitation from a course
    in military map reading.

  10. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    edgar lores says:
    April 18, 2018 at 10:06 am
    1. I introduced the idea of “Good Thawt” as the unity of heart and mind.
    I said that this unity is a pre-requisite of integrated action. I submitted four propositions:
    o Good Thawt is heart and mind balanced (or in sync)
    o Bad Thawt is heart and mind unbalanced (or out of sync).
    o Good and bad Thawt operate at the individual and collective level.
    o Bad Thawt is the cause of society’s malaise.

    Edgar, If I may add, the first piece in Vol II (forthcoming) of
    my book CONSTANT WINDS: Up Close and Personal:

    My Energy My Engine

    The heart is energy
    the mind is the engine
    of love and hate
    of brilliance and idiocy
    of peace and turmoil
    of flowers and dynamites
    of life.

    I listen to my old body
    to hear and feel
    the arrhythmias

    as blood like fuel weakly
    climbs up to my brain
    the apex of my mind
    the last to say like God
    whether I live or die.

    -September 30, 2017

    sales pitch: abangan
    when the book comes out
    buy and donate in your name
    a copy to the library of
    your schools and
    alma mater.And be
    surprised who wrote the
    Foreword and the Preface.
    Heh, heh, heh. Eh.

  11. Nisha says:

    This post is powerful for two reasons: 1.) Processors are pragmatic 2.)People are irrational.

    Both points satisfy one another that at large. that at the end all you will have to do is to take efficient steps on how to spend limited time on what’s within your control and then plot on things that can be and may be within your control in the future.

  12. Sup says:

    Duterte said that it was up to him—not Congress nor the Supreme Court—who would be allowed into the country and who would be allowed to leave.

    “Beginning today, I will decide who gets in, who gets out. You want to question that, you go to court and I will follow. But until then, you do not mess up with the sovereignty of this country,” Duterte said.


    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      Reading the above link, these musings
      trickled and tickled my brain:

      Some links here in TSoH is like
      low, plunging, necklines of beauties today
      or ultra short mini skirt of the late sixties
      that sets parts of the brain and loins on fire.

      Triggered by that I know not if these my words
      will HIT ME BACK someday as when a person shout:
      Shit, shit, SHIIT. Fuck the world. I don’t mind.
      Three times like an idiot I know not
      those words certainly will whack me back.

      I like to write long poetry because of the link
      but have no time this moment but for a short one.
      It is mouth as weaponry that leads
      FIGURATIVELY to death later,
      even much much later of the talker.

      In WWII Cal .30 M1 Garand is the best one
      the shooter is never hit back by its bullet
      Not so for the powerful ones like
      the Bazooka or the lethal recoiless rifles
      the Bazooka demolishes best but invites
      double retaliation while the recoiless
      can hit and maim clueless backers of the shooter.

      So be careful not to use the mouth as a weapon
      Bazooka, recoiless or RPGS could just be
      mere BOOMERANGS like judgment made
      of others is really what you are.

      Tell not others: You’re confused,
      you need enlightenment.
      Tell not but better never tell them at all
      things which suggest loud and clear
      what you really are.

      Words could be like a mega Bazooka
      that back fires to the shootah
      or a Recoiless rifle that could blow
      to smithereens the clueless backers from behind.
      Better than never is to be very careful of what you say.

      You guys in TSoH can never be sure that what
      you write or say would not hit yourselves or bystanders.
      And I am telling that to myself wishing
      I am not like, a preacher.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        Hey, Hello? you might exclaim. What’s the beef man? My point really is words obtuse and obscure (as verbs) when one tries to present the eche bucheche of “if you point one finger, three fingers are pointing back at you.”

  13. karlgarcia says:

    We don’t need AI in this one.
    The Civil Service Commision is alloegedly conditioning the minds of the civil-sercants to be Pro-China.


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