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The Government Can Bug Your Phone

Discovery Institute Fellow Debra Saunders raises the alarm of present-day technocratic measures

Debra J. Saunders, a fellow at Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership, wrote an article for The Daily Caller this week on the mounting problem of privacy regarding cell phone usage. Saunders expresses concern about the ease in which government and Big Tech companies can mine data and track people through their cell phones.  Saunders thinks the COVID pandemic sped up the process of privacy violations. She recalls a 2021 incident in which the state of Massachusetts purportedly worked with Google to download a COVID tracker app without users’ notice or consent. Now, the state is facing a lawsuit. Saunders reports, The New Civil Liberties Alliance filed a class-action lawsuit this month against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to end Read More ›

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Intellectual Property Rights, Copyright, Patent or Trademark Infringement

Law: Doe vs. GitHub Is a Non-Crisis

Despite worrisome headlines in the media, Doe v. GitHub, Inc. would protect licensed software code without blocking AI systems from using internet data for “learning”

Headline at The Verge: “The lawsuit that could rewrite the rules of AI copyright.” Wired similarly declares: “This Copyright Lawsuit Could Shape the Future of Generative AI.” The subtitle warns: “Algorithms that create art, text, and code are spreading fast — but legal challenges could throw a wrench in the works.” Indeed, two putative class action lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of California federal district court in November 2022 against GitHub, GitHub’s owner Microsoft, OpenAI and others. The lawsuits allege that two interrelated artificial intelligence (AI) software systems are continuously violating the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as well as breaching contracts, engaging in unlawful competition, and violating California state privacy laws. Attorney and programmer Matthew Butterick Read More ›

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Man in gas mask is showing an Ok gesture by his hand close up on gray background.

China: Massive Protests at Cell Phone Plant Continue

One accusation against Apple is that it has consistently failed to live up to its responsibilities as a global leader at the top of the supply chain.

At the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou where thousands of employees walked out on October 29, protests broke out on November 23. They were led by new hires staying on a campus dormitory after they learned that they would have to work an additional two months at lower pay before they receive their promised bonuses for coming to Foxconn to cover for the October exodus. Additionally, workers complained of inadequate food and fear of Covid exposure. Workers were offered 25,000 yuan (US$3,500) for two months of work, a 50% increase on the posted maximum wage. When they learned of changes in their agreement, employees at the dorm responded by pulling down outdoor tents (for Covid testing) and destroying a surveillance camera. Read More ›

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Chimpanzee with a hand in its mouth

What Motivates Chimpanzee Experts Anyway?

Is it the welfare of primates or is it “politics by other means”?

A review by animal historian Brigid Prial of a recent book in which chimpanzee experts reflect on their work tells us a good deal about the chimpanzee expert world. The reviewer is also the author of “Primatology is Politics by Other Means” from which we learn: “Adam and Eve, Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday, Tarzan and Jane: these are the figures who tell white western people about the origins and foundations of sociality. The stories make claims about “human” nature, “human” society. Western stories take the high ground from which man — impregnable, potent, and endowed with a keen vision of the whole — can survey the field. The sightings generate the aesthetic-political dialectic of contemplation/exploitation, the distorting mirror twins Read More ›

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Unemployed hold cardboard box and laptop bag, dossier and drawing tube in box. Quiting a job, businessman fired or leave a job concpet.

Twitter Gets Blasted While Meta Struggles

While Musk’s every move is being scrutinized, Zuckerberg’s struggles fall to the wayside

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and founder of PayPal, radically reorganized Twitter in October and November, and now, is the subject of much criticism from the media. He has laid off hundreds of employees and fired the advisory board. In addition, he reinstated the formerly suspended accounts of Jordan Peterson, parody news site The Babylon Bee, and most outrageously, former president Donald Trump. A few days ago, somehow it was assumed across the Twitter sphere that the entire platform was about to implode. I started seeing people post things like, “If this is my last tweet, I’m okay with that…” Not sure what was happening, I experienced a sudden flood of similar tweets prophesying the Twitter era’s impending Read More ›

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Time concept. Hi-res digitally generated image.

The Orville: The Moral Conundrums of Time Travel, Part 1

What if killing a person’s past wipes out a whole family?

The last two episodes I’ve discussed of Orville, Season 3, have delved into popular political issues that allowed the writers’ bias to damage the plot. This episode, Part 6, does something worse. It may not seem like a big deal, at first. But let me explain why this episode is terrible from a standpoint that goes beyond the writing. Yes, the writing is bad but that’s par for the course with this show. However, it’s one thing to prattle on about political issues that are in vogue. But it’s another matter entirely to murder a family, and defend the decision, and in so doing, try to establish a set of priorities that are, to say the least, unwholesome. Writers describe Read More ›

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3D illustration of Interconnected neurons with electrical pulses.

Science Isn’t Even Possible Apart From Non-Material Consciousness

Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder tries hard to argue against that conclusion but things do not go well…

A couple of days ago, we were looking at the way theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder grapples with the way quantum mechanics has undermined materialism. Whether and how we choose to measure something has a big impact, which makers consciousness very difficult to just explain away. Here is her most helpful video on the topic (all the more helpful, one might say, because she is so clearly unhappy with the outcome!): “Does Consciousness Influence Quantum Effects?” (November 19, 2022) Nobelist Eugene Wigner (1902–1995) was one of the physicists who explored the problem. Hossenfelder points to his famous “Wigner’s friend experiment.” (3:01). Here is an illustration from a different source: Essentially, as Wigner pointed out in 1961, a basic building block of Read More ›

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Quantum Physics Axed Materialism. Many Hope the World Won’t Know

Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder struggles to explain how quantum mechanics is consistent with materialism

Quantum mechanics, which developed in the early twentieth century, has been a serious blow to materialism. There is no way to make sense of it if immaterial entities like information, observation, or the mind are not real. Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder struggles against the effects of this fact. In a recent video, she asks, “Does Consciousness Influence Quantum Effects?” (November 19, 2022) She asks, why did some physicists like von Neumann and Wigner think that consciousness is necessary to make sense of quantum mechanics, and can consciousness influence the outcome of a quantum experiment? (0:33) Well, they had good reason. Any effort to exclude consciousness from reality fails. Hossenfelder, a hostile witness, kindly offers an example from the work of Read More ›

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Mouse Cursor Clicking CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA: How Fooling Machines Is Different From Fooling Humans

Automated censorship is intended to protect against a tidal wave of spam but it could certainly have other uses…

Readers of Mind Matters News have likely heard of the iconic Turing test. Computer pioneer Alan Turing famously invented a test to determine whether a program could pass as a human. The gist is, if a program can fool human testers into believing it is a human, then the program is intelligent. Not everyone is convinced. Thing is, it doesn’t take much to fool us humans! Take Eliza , a program of only a few hundred lines, written in the 60s, which fooled many people into believing it was a real human therapist. But what if we flip the Turing test on its head? Instead of a test where a program tries to pass as human, we use a test Read More ›

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Scared young girl in mask, coronavirus panic

China’s Foxconn Walkout: How Fear Messaging Can Backfire

Workers were caught in a conflict between unrealistic COVID Zero messaging from the government and seasonal performance demands from the employer

Around this time of year, the factories that produce Apple’s iPhones hire thousands of additional workers to meet the demand for the holiday season. While Apple is an American company and the electronics are designed in-house, the manufacturing is done overseas where labor costs are cheaper. One of the largest manufacturers for Apple’s iPhone products is Hon Hai Technology Group, better known as Foxconn, a Taiwan-based company with factories in several countries, including mainland China. One of its largest facilities is in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province — dubbed “iPhone City” by the locals. Thus the Zhengzhou Foxconn factory was slated to make 80% of the iPhone 14 models and 85% of the iPhone Pro models before the end Read More ›

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Businessman holding investment finance chart, stock market business concept, and exchange, financial growth graph,Investing in the stock market of cryptocurrencies

Understanding the Fall of FTX — the False Reality of Market Caps

Let’s have a look at the critical question that was never asked in the first place…

In finance, the “market capitalization” or “market cap” of a security or currency is a simple way to evaluate the overall “value” of the total entity (this is also called “network value” in terms of a cryptocurrency). It is easiest to think about market caps in terms of stocks instead of currencies. In the stock market, if ABC Company is broken up into 100,000 shares, and the going market price is $3 per share, then the market cap of ABC is $300,000. Likewise for coins, if there are 100,000 coins available, and the current market price of the coin is $7, then the market cap of the coin will be $700,000. The idea behind the market cap is that, if Read More ›

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Big Layoffs Ahead for Zuckerberg’s Meta

Employee downsizing at the social media giant casts doubt on its relevancy and future

With recent headlines highlighting Elon Musk’s Twitter, Meta’s ongoing troubles have escaped some of the limelight, but are significant, nonetheless. This past week, Mark Zuckerberg announced over 11,000 layoffs across his company, focusing on recruiting and business, according to a memo. The layoffs will affect some 13 percent of the tech giant’s 87,000 employees. Meta, due in large part to its optimistic investment in the metaverse, plummeted in value this past year, and workers are feeling the consequences.   While the tech industry is seeing high personnel cuts this year, Zuckerberg did not have to hire as many people as he did, and clearly depended too much on the metaverse project for profit, which looks like it won’t be nearly Read More ›

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Why Do Twitter Jobs Matter More Than Data Privacy?

The Musk ‘n Twitter show won’t leave town any time soon and it obscures a much bigger, deeper issue

Elon Musk sure knows how to create a drama. First, a brief update because you probably had better things to do this weekend: Doom I! “1,200 Twitter Employees Resign, Company Closes All Offices” (Rolling Stone, November 18, 2022) Get this: “Twitter offices have been closed down and employees are resigning in droves, leading to growing fears that the service could shut down at any time.” (ScreenRant, November 18, 2022) “While it’s unlikely that Twitter will shut down entirely, departing employees are warning of service outages, glitches and safety risks. (NPR November 18, 2022) Worth noting: Musk has reinstated satire site Babylon Bee and Project Veritas, and, after conducting a poll, has also reinstated former U.S. president Donald Trump (who currently Read More ›

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Beautiful little girl on nature with flowers

Orville Episode 5: Bad Allegory — But Competent Writing

Competent writing is some compensation for an otherwise tedious exposition of transgender ideology

Last time, we began discussing The Orville, Season Three, Episode 5, A Tale of Two Topas. I mentioned that the episode was an allegory for children undergoing gender reassignment surgery. I suspected that they were affirming this practice because of the political nomenclature they used. However, it’s possible they weren’t. The fact that Topa was transitioned from a female to a male as an infant and now wishes to return to her original state suggests the very opposite of what the transgender movement claims. In this article, I shall discuss the subsequent plot and let the reader decide. I want to start out by saying the writing of this episode is far superior to the preceding ones. I hesitate to Read More ›

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Evil robot, glowing lights, shiny metalic parts

So, Can a Computer Really Be Irrational?

Computer prof Robert J. Marks tells Wesley J. Smith: No, and here’s why … from his experience

In a recent episode at Mind Matters News podcasting, “Can a computer be a person?” (November 10, 2022), Robert J. Marks and Wesley J. Smith discussed that in connection with Marks’s new book, Non-Computable You: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/11/Mind-Matters-212-Robert-Marks.mp3 Some excerpts: Wesley J. Smith: Let me ask the question in a different way. Can an AI ever be irrational? Robert J. Marks: Yes. Irrational in the sense of being irrational from the point of an observer. A classic example, and this happened a number of years ago, was that the Soviets during the Cold War developed a high technology to decide whether the US was being attacked by… I’m sorry, whether the Soviet Union was being attacked by the United States. And so Read More ›

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Tree with no leaves shapes like human brain as illustration

Evolution of Human Consciousness SOLVED! — Yet Again, It Seems…

What does the term “evolution” contribute to the discussion of the origin of human consciousness?

At Psychology Today, we read a bold and simple claim about the evolution of consciousness: “A type of information processing called unlimited associative learning (UAL) may be necessary and sufficient for very basic sentience.” The article by University of Toronto psychiatrist Ralph Lewis begins on a very self-assured note: Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. The gradualism of evolution has explained and dissolved life’s mysteries—life’s seemingly irreducible complexity and the illusion that living things possess some sort of mysterious vitalizing essence. So, too, evolution is likely to be key to demystifying the seemingly inexplicable, ethereal nature of consciousness. Ralph Lewis, “Learning May Be the Key to the Evolution of Consciousness” at Psychology Today (November 3, Read More ›

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Friends group having addicted fun using mobile smart phone - Close up of people hands sharing content on social media network with smartphone - Technology concept with millenials online with cellphone

Musk and Twitter: Why, Amid Pink Slips, the Sudden Virtue Parade?

Musk may or may not be the answer but he is sure not the problem

If Elon Musk has not invested his fortune in electric cars, he would be wise to consider soap operas… On the other hand, maybe he can continue to do the soap operas for free? Consider: After he bought Twitter, who can beat these headlines from the — suddenly — dreadfully earnest tech media? “After Twitter Staff Cuts, Survivors Face ‘Radio Silence’ ” Or “Elon’s paranoid purge.” Or a sudden love for China-owned Tik Tok. And get this: One tech writer primly informs: “[TikTok CEO Shou Zi] Chew’s comments, perhaps unintentionally, cut to one of the biggest question marks still looming over Musk’s embryonic tenure as Twitter’s owner: just how committed is he to keeping Twitter safe?” Twitter? Safe? Is TikTok Read More ›

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Bitcoin cryptocurrency, virtual money concept

Has the Bitcoin Supply of Greater Fools Finally Been Exhausted?

It’s a bubble fueled by babble

The Declaration of Bitcoin’s Independence, endorsed by numerous celebrities, states that, We hold these truths to be self-evident. We have been cyclically betrayed, lied to, stolen from, extorted from, taxed, monopolized, spied on, inspected, assessed, authorized, registered, deceived, and reformed. We have been economically disarmed, disabled, held hostage, impoverished, enervated, exhausted, and enslaved. And then there was bitcoin. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are, in reality, not useful alternatives to cash, checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, and the other components of the financial system that powers the economies of developed countries. Blockchain technology is slow, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly. In 2021, Cambridge University researchers estimated that bitcoin blockchains consume as much electricity as the entire country of Argentina, with only Read More ›

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Could Crypto Be a Safe National Currency?

At COSM a panel of experts debated the future of crypto

A panel moderated by blockchain expert Sam Yilmaz COO of Bloccelerate last week at COSM debated whether cryptocurrency could be a national currency. It’s a risk but then many current currencies are. From Wyatt Robinson — Principal Corporate Counsel, Microsoft: The whole premise behind blockchain as I understand it from my view as a former financial services attorney, is really to promote efficiency free up capital allow more money to be out there for end users to have in their pockets. And so when we think about what should we put on chain, what activities should be going on chain at the end of the day, think about the stakeholders, the users who are involved in that transaction or are Read More ›

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What Happens When Science Mags Go Woke?

When fashion mags go woke, no one cares. Some girls want to wear rags on their heads, well… But science mags?

Let’s look at some of the things that are happening: Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne puts the matter concisely when he says, The old saying goes that “all science is political”, a saying that is true only if you stretch the meaning of either “science” or “political”. I’m baffled, for instance, to understand how my work on the genetics of hybrid sterility in Drosophila is political. But don’t worry: the ideologues will find a way to make it so. “You’re doing your work in the milieu of a culture,” they’ll babble, “and decisions about what to fund and publish are explicitly political.” Blah blah blah. Jerry Coyne, “Scientific American goes defensive; tries to pretend that every social justice screed is Read More ›