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Targeted, by Brittany Kaiser A Book Review

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Targeted, by Brittany Kaiser

Another Dream Deferred ...

Ms. Kaiser, a bright-eyed bushy-tailed slightly left-leaning wobbly-kneed Democrat and PhD student, was out in the world making it on her own, and "doing good" at it.

When her family hit a few financial rough patches, continuing to volunteer for good causes without pay, ceased to be an option.

In pursuit of a salary-paying job, a friend introduced her to a suave polo-playing upper-class Englishman named Alexander Nix. Nix was the CEO of Cambridge Analytica (CA), the American spin-off of its mothership, the SCL Group.

Established in 1993, with Steve Bannon on its board of directors, the SCL Group was founded and funded by the ultra-conservative father-daughter billionaire duo, John and Rebekah Mercer.

SCL had established a track record as a successful consulting firm that gave sound political advice to governments and politicians across the globe.

In her job interview, Nix's pitch to Brittany was mind-bendingly seductive: CA was already successful at the leading edge of the new business sitting at the intersection of Big Data and Social Media. Using various social media platforms like Facebook, to marry them to each other and to politics through micro-targeted psychographics messaging, would be every data analyst's wet dream.

Such was the case for Brittany Kaiser.

Working with Nix would help expand her experience in an area where she was already a budding expert. She envisioned herself moving up fast possibly as high as the CEO of CA itself, while making tons of money.

Nix wowed her even further into this wet-dream by telling her that CA was now ready to enter the big game and go after the big fish, after the holy grail itself: using its tools, not just to read minds, but also to change them.

Brittany was no dummy, she came with a healthy built-in moral compass equipped with a sensitive crap-detecting antenna, and thus could see around the moral corners at what was being left unsaid in the subtext: Any fool could see that SCL and CA were in the business of using these tools as a means to any ends that yielded a profit or better, political power. Full stop.

As a result, she could see (even though she did not want to) that they were busy enriching themselves and gaining power by using their tools and the big data they had purchased, unregulated, and without regard to their moral consequences: If the money was right, the tools, remained morally neutral, and thus could be used for evil just as readily as for good.

And, as Nix so cleverly hinted to Brittany, the biggest test case yet was just around the corner: electing the next American president.

He suggested to her that, that train was already pulling out of the station, and if she wanted money and fame, she had better get aboard.

Brittany signed on not just because she would be working at the leading edge of a new exciting technology, and because her family needed the money, but also because, if things worked out as she had dreamed, she knew how to eventually vector those same tools in a direction that would give them a moral conscience such as using them for "preventive diplomacy."

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Herbert Calhoun Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Retired Foreign Service Officer and past Manager of Political and Military Affairs at the US Department of State. For a brief time an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Denver and the University of Washington at (more...)
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