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Old 16th January 2024
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Default UK Department for Work & Pensions use AI to detect "fraud"

Quote:
DWP’s annual report and accounts revealed last year that it was using machine learning to prioritise which universal credit claims to review for potential fraud.

However, the National Audit Office reported in that document that using machine learning in this way creates “an inherent risk that the algorithms are biased towards selecting claims for review from certain vulnerable people or groups with protected characteristics”.
https://dpac.uk.net/2024/01/disabili...-11th-january/

Universal credit is the welfare payment system in the UK so this will affect the most vulnerable people in society.
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Old 16th January 2024
J65nko J65nko is online now
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A few years ago two members of parliament uncovered computer profiling by the Dutch Tax office. Low income families where both parents are working can request compensation for the cost of childcare. These benefits are paid out monthly by the Tax office.

The following article explains what went wrong: https://www.dutchnews.nl/2021/11/hig...andal-victims/ and how the seriousness led to the fall of the Dutch Cabinet.

People lost their home, lost custody of their children and compensation will still take years to be paid out.
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Old 17th January 2024
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Thank you Head_on_a_Stick for this article. We have the same issue in France, where a state agency responsible for a part of the welfare system uses an algorithm (no AI yet) to chose who they will examine to get back some over-payments*.

The issue is, this algorithm has been published thanks to the great work of the Quadrature du Net and it focuses especially on poorer people. These people have a right to many welfare programs which are particularly difficult to understand and thus are of course more subject to receive under or over-payments because of how the welfare system is designed.

The director of this welfare agency (CAF) is very proud of the grief he inflicts on people this algorithm puts under scrutiny because he claims the CAF got back €200 million on a total of €100 billion they give every year so 0.2%.

As you can understand I'm against this algorithmic tax which focuses on financially insecure people who sometimes get too much because the welfare system is too difficult to understand.
[*]: https://www.laquadrature.net/2024/01...-mauvaise-foi/ (in French)
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Old 17th January 2024
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Thanks headstick.

Quote:
...his department’s decision to spend £70 million on so-called machine learning** in the three years to 2024-25
I wonder if he believes they will recoup at least £70 million in fraudulent claims over the next few years?

This is something many of us have been concerned about for years now. In a nutshell, it's essentially a "possible criminal" detection system. It can be applied to anything, not just universal credit claims, it could also be extended to be used for "possible $ANYTHING" detection. It is what amounts to using a computer system to filter out possible suspects based on certain criteria. Certain people with certain characteristics will be victimised - investigated on suspicion of fraud, without having committed fraud, all based on no evidence whatsoever. This is a surveillance state tactic.

Yet another step towards Orwellian dystopia.
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Old 18th January 2024
J65nko J65nko is online now
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The horrible thing of the Dutch case is that it specifically targeted people with a non-native (i.e. Dutch) family name or those with dual nationalities.

In the 1960's many unskilled laborers from Morocco and Turkey came to the Netherlands for work. Although originally this was meant to be temporary, these people stayed, Those who were married brought their family over and the bachelors went back to their country to find a spouse and brought their newly-wed wive over.

Although in theory you can renounce citizenship, in practice Morocco does not allow its citizens to renounce their nationality at all. Dutch authorities even facilitated this by informing the Morocco consulate, when a father came to register his newborn child.

According to Turkish law, you automatically have the Turkish nationality when one of your parents is Turkish citizen. Turkey allows giving up the Turkish nationality, but many people do not do this because of their strong religious and cultural ties.
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Old 18th January 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhole View Post
I wonder if he believes they will recoup at least £70 million in fraudulent claims over the next few years?
It has always been the case that more money is left unclaimed by people entitled to welfare support than is claimed fraudulently.

https://www.citizensadvicesurreyheat...eft-unclaimed/

Right wing politicians (which now includes the Labour party in the UK) love to crack down on the poorest people while at the same time offering what amounts to government welfare to large corporations in the form of privatisation of public services and the sale of gilts (bonds) to give the financial markets safe investments. Disgusting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhole View Post
This is a surveillance state tactic
In related news: the police are now using the DVLA photo database to help identify people from CCTV images.

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...al-recognition

The Criminal Justice Bill (2023) has effectively turned the UK into a police state.
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Old 19th January 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Head_on_a_Stick View Post
It has always been the case that more money is left unclaimed by people entitled to welfare support than is claimed fraudulently.

https://www.citizensadvicesurreyheat...eft-unclaimed/
Yes, a lot of people are not claiming UC because they work, but don't realise that due to their low income they are actually entitled to it. By design if you ask me. UC is after all just a stealth tax: The higher earners subsidise the lower earners and the bosses get to keep pay as low as possible. Then the focus of the regime and it's news media allies is on the "scroungers", rather than the architects of said system and why that system is needed in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Head_on_a_Stick View Post
Right wing politicians (which now includes the Labour party in the UK) love to crack down on the poorest people while at the same time offering what amounts to government welfare to large corporations in the form of privatisation of public services and the sale of gilts (bonds) to give the financial markets safe investments. Disgusting.
Only a "pro business", pro elites, pro ruling classes, regime is allowed in the UK. Once they had slandered and destroyed Corbyn, Starmer and co (the right wing Blairite / TBI backed faction) declared the party "business safe" and that's why he will get elected. The establishment don't care which party gets in, so long as it serves their interests. The establishment know that "democracy" see saws and that when one party loses enough public support, you need a Tony Blair or a David Cameron to lead an alternative, which is really just the same thing, then the cycle begins again. so long as the masses believe they have "elected" someone or something through democratic means, it doesn't matter - this is basically how the US system works and many others.

This is why Corbyn had to be character assassinated and cancelled and couldn't be allowed into power. If by some slim chance, Corbyn had been elected, they would most likely have concocted some Russian or "terrorist" connections and he would have been ousted. If they have to resort to it, the ruling monarch can dissolve parliament and they can set up a caretaker government. This is almost what happened to Wilson's Labour government in the 1970's. It's why you will never see anything in the UK, except that which supports the interests of the ruling classes / monarchy / corporate interests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Head_on_a_Stick View Post
In related news: the police are now using the DVLA photo database to help identify people from CCTV images.

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...al-recognition

The Criminal Justice Bill (2023) has effectively turned the UK into a police state.
It's a given. If data can be collected, then assume it will. If the data can be used for profiling people, then assume it will be. As time goes on, this can only get worse. The covid 19 farce allowed them to extend their reach and intrude into peoples' privacy more and more.
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Old 19th January 2024
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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The head of Centrica admits his salary is ridiculously high, but he still takes it, & all the 'bonuses'!

How much does he pay his workers, I wonder!
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Old 20th January 2024
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^ As little as possible, of course.

Back on topic: update from the BBC news site yesterday:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-68030762
Quote:
The government has stopped routinely suspending benefit claims flagged by its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered fraud detector, it has emerged.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) uses the technology to identify potentially suspicious claims for Universal Credit (UC).

It was previously the case that applications were put on hold while officials investigated further.

But a top official has now confirmed the department is no longer doing this.

Neil Couling, a senior DWP civil servant, revealed the change in policy in evidence to a committee of MPs.

He told the committee the department had decided to change tack following "feedback from claimants and elected representatives".
That means lots of vulnerable people had their money withdrawn automatically by the machine learning algorithm and the only reason they've stopped doing that is because of the Horizon IT scandal at the Post Office.

Further down we see:
Quote:
"If you look at the experience of some other countries when they have tried to use this technique, they have got themselves into quite a pickle. I am determined that we do not do that in the UK," he added.
So they adopted the system despite plenty of evidence that it was deeply flawed.
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Old 20th January 2024
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I think that management without any know-how was afraid to stay behind and decided to jump on the AI bandwagon. And only because it was the new buzzword.
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Old 21st January 2024
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Yes, "AI" is very fashionable at the moment.

But the broader imperative is to "save money", which is driven by an adherence to the broken and nonsensical orthodox (New Keynesian) economic theories.

To go off-topic for a moment:

Neoliberal politicians encourage the voters to consider government finances to be analogous to a household or corporate budget in which any spending must be funded to avoid running into debt. The problem with this is that for countries with a fiat currency and a floating exchange rate (which includes the UK & US) the government is the currency issuer and so can no more "run out of money" than a football team can run out of goals — they have literally unlimited spending power with no need to borrow and no need to fund spending with taxation[1][2]. Demanding that government spending be matched with tax revenues and/or borrowing (ie, bond sales) results in austerity drives and a bias towards private "investment" (privatisation), which heavily favours corporate interests. Economics as a discipline has been de-politicised and is now used by the richest to steer government policies in their interest.

[1] https://billmitchell.org/blog/?p=9281
[2] https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/publi...ed_kingdom.pdf
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Old 21st January 2024
J65nko J65nko is online now
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Quote:
Economics as a discipline has been de-politicised
You mean politicised isn't. Or did I miss something?

When someone gets a loan from a bank, the bank also creates this money out of nothing.
Code:
Debtor John Doe                 100,000
To Private_Account John Doe             100,000
It is just an accounting trick.The money is destroyed when the loan is paid off.

During the 2008 crisis a group of Dutch activists, petitioned parliament for stricter supervision by the Central Bank, and to limit this money creation powers of the banks.

In Switzerland in 2018 there was a proposition to take away these money creation power of the private banks, and only allow the Swiss Central Bank to create money. The proposition did not make it. 76% of the Swiss voted no, 24% voted yes, Voter turnout was only 34%..
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Old 22nd January 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J65nko View Post
You mean politicised isn't. Or did I miss something?
I was referring to the fact that orthodox economic theory is presented as if it were completely true and totally proven, almost like a science with evidence to support it.

Even left-wing political parties fall for this trap and consider government spending to be constrained in the same way, hence the calls for more taxes on the rich to "fund" more spending when the correct solution is for the government to sustain a deficit for as long as the fiscal stimulus is needed. Interestingly Japan has been doing just that for over 30 years and none of the doom-mongering predictions by the orthodox economists have come to pass. Of course the economists in question simply ignore this because of the rampant levels of groupthink in the profession.
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Old 23rd January 2024
J65nko J65nko is online now
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Re: politicized vs de-politicized economic science

I think we have the same view. Class interests that are given a thin layer of a scientific sauce, which is served as science.
IMHO similar to Karl Mannheim's definition of an ideology: a narrative painting a distorted view of reality, only in order to conserve the current status-quo. This in contrast to an utopia, that also provides a distorted view of reality, but then in order to change the status-quo.

I liked the criticism of Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism and his Economics: The User's Guide

Re: Taxation
My view resonates in a quote that I found in a book of a Dutch professor in fiscal law. IIRC it was an English aristocrat who said:
Quote:
I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilisation
I regard taxes as membership fees of a club. These fees, in order to be just, depend on the economic carrying capacity of the person or entity.

When you join a soccer or tennis club you pay membership fees. From these fees the fields or grounds and club buildings are maintained. You pay for facilities.

Companies also use facilities, for example:
  • Transport networks
  • An energy grid
  • Educated and healthy employees
  • Affordable housing
  • A judicial system.
  • Social security that allows unemployed or sick people still, although at a lower level, to consume and buy products from those companies.

That is why it more than reasonable that companies, as users of these advantages, pay a fair membership fee, according to their carrying capacity. And that they don't underreport this capacity, by using fiscal tricks.
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Old 1 Day Ago
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UK banks are tasked with reporting all 'suspicious' transactions activities, under penalty of fines or even loss of licence for failure to do so. Obvious outcome ... banks flag all transactions to the state. Cameras monitoring pedestrian/vehicle movements, facial recognition and electronic devices location and activities ... net a collective big-picture. Some entire cities nowadays are even having multiple images snapped from space multiple times/second - where a 'incident' can be investigated to see who/what flowed to and from that. Unsurprising that AI is being used to query/report such data.

Wont be long before every penny will be accountable. After all when others know where all you wealth is, its no longer yours, its just a loan, where the state permits those who are compliant to retain that loan, but others may see part or all of that confiscated at any time the state so decides. A open prison, where those deemed to be operating outside of expected practices can be moved into a closed prison system, such as those that aren't appropriately woke.

That's a dangerous gameplay however. Where for instance a initial trickle that no longer trade in Pounds other than for state based payments/benefits, could turn into a torrent. No doubt such alternatives will be made illegal - however weight of use might negate that, similar to drugs. A shopkeeper who doesn't accept trades in google-coins/whatever would lose out to a local competitor who did accept under-counter google-coins. A torrent of alternative currency usage - could crash the official currency, the central bank loses its capacity to direct the economy - the official currency hyper-inflates, which tends to be followed by wars.

Much of the transition just occurs discreetly over time. "Paper currency will always be maintained" will transform into "no one uses paper currency anymore", already ATM's are becoming increasingly more distant. Cameras everywhere - were just accepted. Recording all of your online calls/data activities was similarly accepted - free internet/searching is only financially free, the actual cost is 'oneself' - establish profiles to levels where the state has a greater awareness/understanding of you, than you do yourself.
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Old 1 Day Ago
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Other than that everything else O.K.?
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