Mr John Harding – written evidence (DAD0016)

Observational Comment:

C.1              Your questionnaire appear to be based to a generation privileged to have been educated in digital technology attending standard or higher education academia and not from an older generation who studied at Secondary Modern Education. A generation who did not have the luxury of digital technology who are, at best, ‘self-taught’ in this area that had basic skills education of reading, writing and mathematics, to get a job and survive using ‘life education to progress’ if you were not fortunate or financially supported to move onto higher education of college or university where real life education started when you left the comfort zone of childhood school education, who were taught to use ‘basic need skills’, below, to fit into society:

Basic skills:

C.2              I can confidently state problem solving today is a common situation in today’s society regarding day to day living requirements using technology for, politics, medical, education or scientific formats where many individuals blame something else, blame someone, scaremonger or are chasing the problem rather than fixing or preventing the problem from happening in the beginning. Many problems are self-created within many areas of all sciences or academia that are never questioned becoming anomalies or more important the higher academia hierarchy will never listen they may be wrong by generations of the same repartition of incorrect information within education. (Medical science is a prime example; more information comes later within question 3, Education). Please consider within your questionnaire:

C.3              Why?

C.4              I will interpret the questions to how I assume the direction of the answer is requested.

C.5              Minor adjustments were made to your questionnaire, part re-worded for correct grammar and spelling.

C.6              Replies are as you presented the questionnaire in original format with answers or comments, in blue, where you asked for a numeric reference for every paragraph, interpreted as follows, ie: Comment: C.1, Question: Q3.4, Summary: S.10, Final Comment: FC.9, Bullet points: C9b & Q3.3d etc, etc.

C.7              However a query: You ask in question 2 regarding: 'Algorithms':

C.8              You assume everyone are conversant to your technical terminology, however, for those that may not understand or use within daily conversation with ‘techno-speak’ may I first ask the question:

C.9              What is an Algorithm? Answer:

C.10              This means:

C.11              Otherwise:

C.12              If no comment space is made available, then the algorithm final equation calculation answer is flawed or inconclusive becoming an ’anomaly’ that will help no-one making any conclusive or rational decisions to the questionnaire.

C.13              What is an anomaly?

C.14              I was told at a very early age of my working career the following:

C.15              One statement from a very wise old man has put me in good stead all my life which you may wish to adopt within some of your questions that may be incomplete or flawed in some way within the wording.

C.16              One observation relating to hand-held digital technology:

 

The Committee is seeking input on the following questions:

General.

1. How has digital technology changed the way that democracy works in the UK and has this been a net positive or negative effect?

Q1.1              No, digital technology has not changed democracy and has no positive effect to a subject of democracy that is personal and unique to the individual. Are you referring to ‘social media’ digital technology influencing or affecting political democracy which may lead to the following comments?

Q1.2              Therefore all the above dictates a negative or inconclusive affect, unless Parliament can instil confidence to the masses for the use within a Parliamentary Platform, see new question 15.

2. How have the designs of algorithms used by social media platforms shaped democratic debate?

Q2.1              Algorithm’s in my life, anyone I know or interviewed has not shaped or formed a political debate opinion platform. Common sense and logic dictates individual opinion without social media intrusion.

Q2.2              (Is question 2 worded correctly, perhaps an example to prove your point, which may prove my point stated in C1, C5, C8, C9, C10, C14, C15 within ‘observational comments’?)

To what extent should there be greater accountability for the design of these algorithms?

Q2.3              If the design is wrong then please refer to ‘observational comments’ and answers to question 1 above in Q2.2 specifically C.9 and C10.

Q2.4              Are you asking should the questions have a yes/no answer or be more explicit?

Q2.5              The algorithms are only as good and accurate as the designer of the programmer’s questionnaire.

Q2.6              Algorithms should be completely transparent and understandable.

Q2.7              Again, is the question worded correctly to achieve the answers you require; perhaps a further example would help to ascertain the answer or opinion you desire.

Education

3. What role should every stage of education play in helping to create a healthy, active, digitally literate democracy?

Q3.1              Education and learning will never stop from our first breath to our last. Digital technology is here to stay and should be embraced, to a point of moderation, although without, I would not have written, 10 years ago, my first book using Microsoft Word or follow-up book, pending publication (a little bit hypocritical on my part by not being a big user or fan of social media). However: There is no healthy or active digital technology democracy to play any part in early education where the ‘pen’ should never be replaced except educating at an early age in using digital technology as a reference tool or research tool to then use to prove information given is correct proving the argument by your own ability to confirm or prove otherwise by checking physically or calculating rather than accepting what you have read as factual digital technology information. Education is an important part of all of our lives and controls how successful we are in any area of science, academia or commerce at any age on a daily basis during your life, as Michelangelo said on his death bed: “I am still learning”. One point if I may: ‘Sceptics are those that do not understand and do no research to prove otherwise except complain you are wrong’. This point may become clearer as you read the following answers and comments to your questionnaire.

Q3.2              The human brain is a very important powerful organ of the human body which in itself is a great problem solver that technology will never and should never replace. The human brain has evolved over millennia and has not reached its full potential of invention, design, problem solving, mathematics, language, sciences or the most important un-tapped source, natural phenomenon, that new research proves conclusively the human body lost the use of a ‘sensory organ’ through time to ‘sense harmful natural phenomena’ as we became more intelligent through millennia. I can also confirm medical science does not always have the answers to today’s problems to be found within a microscope laboratory environment using the finest minds available with a bottomless pit of funding which new research confirms conclusively ‘all the money in the world will not find a cure to prevent serious illness, like Cancer’ if medical sciences pursue its current path. Education of all sources of research whether private or academia led should be considered, please refer to FC.8 for clarification.

Q3.3              The particular natural phenomenon mentioned in my submission will never disappear or run out of for billions of years, completely overlooked for everyday life by all sciences (except NASA) for the following that would improve mankind’s existence and is very relevant to the debate to create an alternative situation and a new use for digital technology to harness energy and prevent illness:

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

Q3.4              Natural phenomena using AI, we know very little of or realise how much we use in everyday life that keeps humanity alive daily that we, mankind, evolved with over millennia although an invisible part of the human eye this natural phenomena is harmful and does affect our brain while we sleep causing serious illnesses, like cancer, however new private research proves conclusively using Artificial Intelligence (AI) will detect from the beginning to prevent all serious illnesses. When the hand-held devise and/or APP including simple to understand instructions are more freely available self-diagnosis is possible to do individually, giving healthy longevity to all plus further research also confirms keeping away from harmful natural phenomenon helps to improve the immune system to increase the healing process to create more ‘good cells’ to combat and kill bad cells for those already diagnosed with illness.

Q3.5              Digital technology must never replace the pen, the written word or the process of permanent storage as a book or printed document so that others will benefit in the future if or when digital technology is not available where the system has no signal or crashed or interfered with by foreign countries in warfare situations, this must be considered to safe-guard our future.

Q3.6              Digital technology is only successful and reliant on mankind's stupidity of keeping peace with fellow mankind.

Q3.7              Digital technology is the new warfare weapon to expose, intimidate, crash or hack systems of security, industry, financial or countries that will never be able to prevent due to the fast pace technology is moving.

Q3.8              Digital technology does not take into account natural phenomena (earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes) that are increasing and part the reason of our changing world that will in due course change how mankind live and survive if history repeats itself in causing a super volcano by the year 2100 if my monitoring calculations are correct where digital technology will disappear in the northern hemisphere. The natural world is dictating this very fact of Geological history and natural repartition of Planet Earth which can be proved where natural events do repeat themselves although hundreds of thousands of years apart unfortunately sciences do not talk to each other or share information that are ‘all’ interconnected like hexagon honeycomb, the most natural build format structure of the universe where many compounds, like ie, carbon, when under a microscope are hexagonal shape and design, the strongest known structure to man that we ignore.

Q3.9              Education needs to be prepared for many eventualities including how to survive without digital technology putting one day aside in Pre-schools, Primary schools, Secondary or Grammar schools, Colleges, Universities or Training facilities by locking away digital technology without the use of, calling it a ‘Day Without Digital’ (DWD) which could then be used to enhance the brain by reading a book, referencing in how to use a dictionary or a library, simple arithmetic (+-x%,\’) used in everyday life or use the body for sporting activity creating an individual sport interest or a team environment interest at the same time keeping the body and brain fit.

Q3.10              The younger generation today are obsessed with hand-held technology a new limb of the body, and yet, if the process continues, when they are older, they will be completely dependent upon which will be mankind's downfall.

Q3.11              Education needs to exclude digital technology from certain lessons, see Q3.9 to educate and relax the human brain to problem solve for itself. (See further research regarding interviewee’s thoughts, comments and ideas within Summary at the end).

Online campaigning

4. Would greater transparency in the online spending and campaigning of political groups improve the electoral process in the UK by ensuring accountability, and if so what should this transparency look like? 

Q4.1              Campaigning transparency is a ‘must have requirement’ with any political group for any spending as we have witnessed in the past by finding out much later whether months or years you will be found out.

Q4.2              You say ‘greater transparency’. Are you serious about question 4? Are you implying or condoning ‘a little transparency within political campaigning? I repeat: All spending and campaigning in the electoral process must be transparent.

Q4.3              ‘Transparency is being honest’, I realise this human action might be difficult for politicians (sorry couldn’t resist, I’m being flippant) but then how do you expect to achieve accountability? The public opinion normally will only get told on a ‘need to know basis’ of what you want us to believe and Government will not allow the public to think for themselves. People thought for themselves once and look what is happening, ie: Referendum 2016. Politics will never allow the same situation to happen in the future but then after the next general election Parliament will never be the same.

Q4.4              This very action of ‘Fake News’ accountability transparency is happening today creating a cult mentality in many areas of social media users by repartition, the user believing everything they are told is true and doing no research to prove otherwise.

5. What effect does an online targeted advertising have on the political process, and what effects could it have in the future? 

Q5.1              There is no effect whatsoever when most targeted advertising is considered ‘spam’ that moves by at the flick of a finger. Do you not see any effects or reasons for abuse to the individual politician if localised targeted advertising was used?

Q5.2              Do you mean ‘online politically targeted advertising’ to recruit voters from areas of other parties or those voters ‘on the fence’ or ‘undecided’?

Q5.3              Or are you trying to involve outside ‘Advertisers’ to make money for the advertiser to fund your targeted repartition on your online social media.

Q5.4              Repartition brainwashes individuals, a proven fact of repeated slogans before digital technology started.

Q5.5              Or like a Presidential race in America donations are sought to finance their campaign?

Should there be additional regulation of political advertising?

Q5.7              Yes, 100%, as politics should be impartial and left to the individual to decide especially as some parties are more affluent than others therefore would have the opportunity to influence more voters. Perhaps an idea; ‘a cap of equal spending might have to be imposed for each party’. A possible unfair process but fair if the political advertising was more stringent or frugal with its transparent spending.

Privacy and anonymity

6. To what extent does increasing use of encrypted messaging and private groups present a challenge to the democratic process?

Q6.1              All information from and to Government should be transparent with no encrypted messaging, anonymity, pseudo-names or private groups should be barred. If they are not happy with that then ignore, block or delete their comments. What is the point of debate if anonymous individuals can pick and choose what they want people to see or read? The only part that needs encryption is the sender’s personal details.

Q6.2              How can you have a private group when the group leader may influence the group creating a cult following as mentioned in Q1.1b and Q6.3 how gullible people are influenced by a stronger more important individual or organisation who may be miss-informed or miss-led by opinion of others as each individual has an opinion and an individual vote when the time comes?

Q6.3              Are you referring to private groups such as; 'Charity Organisations' (ie; Greenpeace, 38 Degrees, Climate Reality Project, NRDC etc, etc) who scaremonger to get funding by donations from the gullible public to become a cult leadership mentality to influence a sheep like movement, like many, many more individuals who again do no research to prove or substantiate their actions being correct or credible which many causes can be proved inconclusive, a lie or as President Donald Trump puts it as 'Fake News'.

Q6.4              If you shout long enough and hard enough on a regular basis a onetime ill-informed incorrect opinion through repartition of media or social media become over time social media 'fact' although it was only an ill-informed opinion in the first place, like ‘the honeybee demise where scientist overdosed a bee with pesticides in a laboratory environment to prove a point and stated “it is of my opinion that....” which means the scientist does not know. The very same would have happened if a human was given an overdose of paracetamol tablets ending in death’ which no-one questioned especially the media or was ever allowed to approach the original person's opinion or read the original experiment report, very dangerous. The very same ‘Fake News’ is now affecting climate change with no credible evidence which is why President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, yet no-one has asked why and yet our changing climate cannot be stopped, reversed or changed by all the money in the world as natural phenomena is taking its course of a natural cycle. Our Sun started its own climate change at the same time as Planet Earth yet lobbyist’s protestors are in denial about a natural cause for our Sun where logic and common sense would indicate what happens on our Sun dictates the same for Planet Earth that can be proved without doubt.

Q6.5              Social media by its own making does not allow anyone to question the person/organisation direct for any post or comment whether correct or otherwise, as the original person who made the post or comment does not have to reply, respond or answer on social media which in a very short space of time gets buried by further comments from other sources which means it has a very short shelf life unless ‘Re-sent’ or ‘Re-Tweeted’ by constant repartition and news media coverage therefore the gullible public are constantly brainwashed into thinking ‘an opinion’ is true and factual when it is not.

7. What are the positive or negative effects of anonymity on online democratic discourse?

Q7.1              Sorry if you want to be anonymous, you have no back-bone; your view should be ignored or deleted.

Q7.2              Too many comments from anonymous persons create animosity towards social media which is difficult to ignore as a form of abuse or bullying when directed to the individual personal site and it hurts.

Q7.3              If anonymous persons are brave enough to want to make a comment then they should be brave enough to put a name to it verified by the social media site or other guaranteed source.

Q7.4              Social media checking facilities must be adhered to verify every person’s name so that any abuse can be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Democratic debate

8. To what extent does a social medium negatively shape public debate, either through encouraging polarisation or through abuse deterring individuals from engaging in public life?

Q8.1              It is for this very reason why social media cannot be used for serious debate due to the brain-dead, sheep-like, repartition mentality of persons who cannot think for themselves hence using abuse to undermine and discredit serious opinion hiding behind a pseudo-name or other confirming they are weak people who should be banned from any discussion or debate.

9. To what extent do you think that there are those who are using social media to attempt to undermine trust in the democratic process and in democratic institutions; and what might be the best ways to combat this and strengthen faith in democracy?

Q9.1              There are those who have a big ego and a big bank balance who shout the most on social media using a social media junior employee to post messages therefore undermining and leading persons who are unsure of or to rely on powerful persons who may not be a politician who think they can trust where no research is ever done or considered to verify the post on social media. It is also too easy to clone a celebrity therefore misleading the user.

Q9.2              I repeat: Brainwashing is easy to do by repartition constantly.

Q9.3              Democracy is only strengthened by actions of MP's asked for by the electorate which if ignored will be voted out of office. Watch this space in the next general election; do not believe your own egos or think you are safe or have a right to be a Member of Parliament but then MP’s are dispensable where-as the ‘Civil Service’ is not.

Misinformation

10. What might be the best ways of reducing the effects of misinformation on social media platforms?

Q10.1              If misinformation is posted it is by definition too late. An impossible request where every comment would have to be read, adjudicated or managed by a moderator, similar to or like, LinkedIn, who do not post anything until the adjudicator/moderator, who may or may not be experienced or qualified to question or act on the original comment to delete or disregard the comment although relevant to the debate unless the misinformation on social media platforms was under your own control of your own moderator but then that too would be under scrutiny.

Moderation

11. How could the moderation processes of large technology companies be improved to better tackle abuse and misinformation, as well as helping public debate flourish?

Q11.1              Are you referring to Facebook and Twitter who cannot at present be trusted which is why many do not post sensitive information? Comment: A thief or burglar has a perfect hunting ground and people wonder why they were burgled or targeted, why are people so stupid and crazy to trust social media?

Q11.2              Abuse and Misinformation is an almost impossible situation unless every comment is sent to you as the moderator then you can re-post, resend or delete.

Q11.3              Or are you referring to other large companies:

QII.4              Large companies tend to railroad individuals by repartition where individuals have a difficult situation in being heard anyway.

Q11.5              Large companies are not the voice of the masses and should be banned from the process of debate.

Q11.6              Large companies have the funds to buy social media space and the personnel who may or may not be genuine to the cause of the debate.

Q11.7              Perhaps large companies should be banned from debate after-all and I repeat; a general election is controlled and decided by individuals with a single vote.

Q11.8              We have witnessed in The House of Commons how Party Leadership can and does influence voting of the whole party regardless of the individual MP point of view or more important the view of the Party and not the constituency who voted them into parliament where many MP's will not be voted in on the next general election.

Technology and democratic engagement

12. How could the Government better support the positive work of civil society organisations using technology to facilitate engagement with democratic processes?

Q12.1              Your question needs rewording or better explanation. Please refer to new question number, 15.

Q12.2              Are you referring to the Civil Service?

Q12.3              Are you asking if technology can be used on voting day?

Q12.4              If you are referring to voting then yes, however a foolproof algorithm would have to convince the public voting is transparent yet keeping the voting right completely secret.

13. How can elected representatives use technology to engage with the public in local and national decision making? 

Q13.1              All constituents should be able to contact any MP regardless of where they live which will need your Parliamentary protocol to change, so that if an issue is being debated by a Committee Chair or a Committee Member a direct contact should be available which it is not at present, I have tried on many occasions, rather than go through your local MP who may not attend the debate especially if you do not have full confidence or trust in your local MP ability to forward a different viewpoint or any message or information relating to any Committee Debate.

Q13.2              As a guide may I suggest you check the 'inbox' of any MP?

Q13.3              Why?

Q13.4              MP's send out a computer generated electronic reply when contacted by a member of the public as an acknowledgement with a zero follow-up in many cases if you are not a local constituent.

Q13.5              How do you expect MP's to react to social media replies when they cannot respond to emails that social media posts may be personal to the individual who may not want their comment or views seen by the masses on social media as the MP will not ‘Direct Message (DM) the individual that may or may not require a personal response, but then, an automatic response may replace personal communication.

What can Parliament and Government do to better use technology to support democratic engagement and ensure the efficacy of the democratic process?

Q14.1              Only use a fail-safe algorithm technology for voting day.

Q14.2              You must ask: Is that technology available?

Q14.3              This action will ensure a greater percentage of mature voters returning or new voters to voting from all ages to the ballot box albeit virtual.

Q14.4              However please refer to new question 15 that may answer this question

14. What positive examples are there of technology being used to enhance democracy? 

Q14.1              Technology must be used with a fail-safe error free application, specifically at voting time, will give:

 

 

 

 

Q14.2              A more accurate assessment is obtained of how the country feels so that MP’s will know how to act or vote in Parliament on behalf of their constituents rather than self-preservation within their own party.

Q14.3              A positive wake-up call will be assured who for some MP’s consider their position by right rather than their constituents vote who put them there in the first place, a very ignorant, arrogant and short-sighted attitude.

One extra question:

15. What can Parliament do to instil confidence to use digital technology?

Q15.1              Confidence starts at home.

Q15.2              The House of Commons could install monitors in every MP's seating position similar to ‘conference call meetings’ to prove the effectiveness and prove that digital technology can be scrutinised within a democratic democracy of political debate, discussion and Parliamentary voting campaigns. Why?

 

 

 

 

 

15.3              If a vote is to be used to carry a motion then attendance in person must be adhered to until at such time a fail-safe security algorithm can be put in place to ensure to the masses social media digital technology is safe to use.

 

Summary 

S.1              The short time of having this questionnaire in my possession general interviews from all ages have been carried out to find the following: Why?

S.2              I repeat: Digital technology is here to stay and should be embraced in moderation but used to enhance human existence by new ways suggested to prevent illness, see, Q3.3; however conscious underlying psychological issues are becoming very apparent from a personal observational view and from a cross section of comments from all ages and gender shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S.3              I think you will agree the above can and does take control of your life and I do not mean year by year, month by month, week by week, hour by hour BUT minute by minute to a point that their hand-held device is now an extra limb of the human body that the user can no longer do without causing physiological effects for later in life or sooner.

S.4              A very dangerous situation has been created by digital technology although used in moderation can be a benefit and be complimentary to human knowledge but the damage incurred is astronomic and will not be assessed for many years to come or until it is too late where like many self-created problems we end up chasing the problem rather than preventing the problem today, a choice now can be made to prevent.

S.5              Some interviewees felt more at ease when tiredness took control and sleep was inevitable where their phone being the last thing used and the first thing picked up in the morning, where the process started all over again.

S.6              Interviewed users who did have the will power to leave ‘social media sites’ found when they did leave they had to ‘re-learn’ how to live, to interact, talk, communicate, look someone in the eye, touch, feel emotion, find out how to be liked again, just because social media had taken over their life more than they had thought or wanted. For these individuals the following was suggested to part-control:

 

S.7              Yes I know what you are saying, an on/off switch would suffice but not everyone will or has the will power or the respect to comply, please ask yourself the last meeting or wedding you went to, although you knew you would be asked, you did not switch off however you were told on entering to switch off your phone at the venue?

S.8              The suggestion of blocking is contentious in ways that it could become or seen as a weapon of war or taking away the rights of individuals or for those individuals who are on call 24/7.

S.9              There are many attributes to social media digital technology in moderation but we are creating a generation of social media zombies who will later regret this new drug, like any other drug is difficult to stop.

S.10              Consideration must be given to the day when digital technology is not there, difficult to comprehend, I know, but then we are witnessing the new weapons of war, social media control using digital technology and it will happen, one day, in your life-time. How will you prepare?

S.11              Digital technology has become a cheap to buy, replacement market which means all the ‘Lithium’ based products used in manufacture to create different parts such as; the ‘battery’ which over a 5 mile radius of users is a colossal amount that needs to be mined and replaced in manufacture. Why? There are few places to take or get repaired but then cost too much or to intricate in getting repaired so replacement is assured. A recycling system must be created by Government to reduce mining natural products like, lithium.

 

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