Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, discusses Google’s latest tactics in election manipulation and how to combat them with Alex Marlow.
Dr. Robert Epstein appeared this week alongside Alex Marlow to discuss the current state of Google and how the company could use its technology to influence voters.
Alex Marlow discussed Epstein’s research saying: “I think you put out some pretty hard data on how many votes you think were moved in the 2016 election and I think you estimated it was over two million or so, is that not the case?” Epstein responded: “Well it was at least 2.6 million and it could have been as many as 10.4 million depending on how aggressive google was in using the various tools they have available to them to shift votes. I can’t pin it down exactly but I know it’s in that range.”
Discussing the need for a system designed to track Google search results and suggestions, Epstein stated: “We need big monitoring systems in place, I’m so far the only person that’s created monitoring systems, I did one in 2016 and one in 2018. I’m trying now to raise funds to build a very big monitoring system for 2020 and to monitor a lot more than Google search results, to monitor newsfeeds, answers that people are getting from their personal assistants.”
Epstein explained why monitoring search results and auto-suggest terms is so important when monitoring election interference, stating: “If you don’t monitor, you can’t go back in time and figure out what these companies were showing people because what they’re showing people is ephemeral. That’s the term that Google’s own employees use internally, they’re showing ephemeral experiences, those really short-lived experiences that kind of appear before your eyes and then disappear, like search results for example.”
Epstein continued: “They’re using ephemeral experiences to manipulate people on a massive scale, people don’t know they’re being manipulated, and there’s no record kept of those experiences, they’re just generated for you on the fly and then they disappear.”