zeynep tufekci

zeynep tufekci


Complex systems, wicked problems. Society, technology, science and more. @Columbia professor. @NYTimes columnist. My newsletter is @insight: https://t.co/6Ky01N9JwA

488160 followers  •  795 follow  •    •   https://www.theinsight.org/

We’ve read a zillion profiles. Almost all troubled young men. Indistinguishable. There are many, many people who are troubled or go through a tough time. There is no science, surveillance, early warning, AI magic that will reliably identify who’ll pick up the gun to kill. None.

I remember the initial buzz around the fraudalent Surgisphere HCQ papers that made it into The Lancet and NEJM (eventually retracted). Many with data/number/scientific sense *immediately* raised eyebrows, despite also thinking HCQ hype was false and misguided. Others rushed.

There's now a fairly robust post-peer review process, but takes a bit longer when the paper/study is coming from public health authorities and/or is in prestige journals. Running with papers quickly without diving into that process isn't a good idea. Not that anyone will listen.

Wait a bit and let the post-peer review happen and ask around widely is a good idea for anyone not in a position to themselves look at the methods, specifications, statistics, etc., deeply and haven't also read many other papers on the topic. (Not that anyone will listen).

I've seen a lot of reluctance to speak up by senior people who absolutely notice the issues—careers, grants, etc. but also peers and a real fear of being tarred as a minimizer. I think lack of that kind of coherent, senior voices has torpedoed credibility, and our response.

@BenMazer  I get that. Problem is this makes a mockery of public health messaging. Option one, we believe this but ignoring implications. Option two, we don't believe it (because we certainly aren't acting like we do). Option three, we never think about what our findings imply, as policy.

That’s good they’re ring vaccinating.

Always read @kashhill . Many institutions use automated surveillance to decide if a student is cheating on tests as part of remote learning. Often, this means a clunky, unaccountable algorithm barely overseen by low-paid workers abroad has great power.

Flags half-mast. And the reason was not any kind of *well-regulated* militia.

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Also, the epicurve is the ultimate reality review. Whatever numbers are being claimed eventually have to show up somewhere— and the bigger the claim, the less likely that bias or lack of surveillance is hiding *all of it.* More numbersense less numberwang would help greatly.

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Wow. A nursing home in Baltimore, oldest African-American one, did not lose *a single person* to COVID because as soon as they heard Trump say cases would soon go to zero, they realized it was going to be a catastrophe, stopped visits and masked up.

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I post this regularly, and many express surprise. This is the current childhood immunization schedule. Many childhood vaccines are three+ doses, sometimes a booster. This is one reason why, unlike earlier centuries, we don't have cemeteries full of children. We've forgotten.

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Hong Kong protests are in their fifth month despite an escalating crackdown. How? One surprising answer: the fate of China's Uyghurs. Many talked to me about it. They watched and learned. They've decided that they "may as well go down fighting." My latest.

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Don't share gory pics. People have loved ones watching. Don't put panicked people on endless loop on TV. That's literally goal of terrorism.

YouTube may well be operating as a giant radicalizing engine through its recommendation algorithm—leading people down a rabbit hole of misinformation, hoaxes and incendiary content. My latest for the New York Times on one of the most overlooked issues.

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!!! Fixed it for you @AP . Let me know if you need an introduction to the 21st century.

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Phishing (or malware) Google Doc links that appear to come from people you may know are going around. DELETE THE EMAIL. DON'T CLICK.

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We urgently need to focus on ventilation. Six months into a respiratory pandemic, we're still not given sensible and practical guidance against short-range aerosol—airborne—transmission of COVID. I wrote about the science & what it means we should do now.

I don’t understand the “this will not matter” talk among the chattering classes. Nobody has a crystal ball. Who knows? But one way of ensuring nothing matters is giving up having values to defend. Cynicism isn’t a sign of depth or savvy, it’s resignation masquerading as politics.

I do not want to read a single profile of the shooter. Enough. Nothing will allow us to predict which of the many, many troubled young man will turn to a mass shooter. Zero public interest in the individual details. It’s the access to the deadly gun that’s the key. That’s it.

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