Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryCensorship

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Automotive Engineer Use Virtual Reality Headset for Virtual Electric Car 3D Model Design Analysis and Improvement. 3D Graphics Visualization Shows Fully Developed Vehicle Prototype Analysed Optimized

Why Don’t Some Tech Moguls Like Web3, the New Internet?

Web3 is a decentralized, less controlled version of the internet, as George Gilder predicted in Life After Google

In this week’s podcast, “Web3: The next generation of the internet” (August 4, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews graduate students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert, both in computer engineering at Baylor University, on the coming decentralization of the internet. With developments like the ones they discuss looming, Big Tech may be seeing a waistline trim. This is the Part I of the first of the three discussions. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-198-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript and Additional Resources follow. Dr. Marks began by discussing all the services he gets from Google, confessing that he has not needed to go to a library in over two decades. But… Robert J. Marks: Now, is Google just being nice in giving me all…

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Mobilna nawigacja GPS na tablecie.

Lawmakers to Google Maps: Leave Crisis Pregnancy Centers Alone!

Seventeen state attorneys’ general have warned Google not to alter map search results in response to abortion activists’ demands

Recently, abortion activists were demanding that Google Maps crack down on crisis pregnancy centers that offer help other than abortion. In response, a group of 17 state attorneys general led by Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton sent a letter dated July 21, asking Google to “advise the co-signing Attorneys General whether it has adjusted its search results and advertisements to discriminate against crisis pregnancy centers, and if so, how.” It reads in part, Unfortunately, several national politicians now seek to wield Google’s immense market power by pressuring the company to discriminate against pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in Google search results, in online advertising, and in its other products, such as Google Maps. As the chief legal officers of our respective States,…

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Hand holding mobile smart phone, with notification icons and city background

Facebook Blinks: No Longer Wants to Censor COVID “Misinformation”

Global Affairs President Nick Clegg has revealed that Facebook is seeking the guidance of its Oversight Board about removing “false claims”

Citing the view that the COVID-19 pandemic has “evolved,” Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is deciding whether to continue removing “misinformation” about the pandemic from the platform: Meta has asked the company’s Oversight Board, which is funded by Meta but operates independently, to decide whether removing “false claims about masks, social distancing and vaccines” on Facebook is still appropriate as “countries around the world seek to return to more normal life,” Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said Tuesday in a blog post. Sherri Walsh, “Facebook parent Meta to reconsider removing COVID-19 misinformation” at UPI (July 26, 2022) The U.S. government had put a lot of pressure on Meta, as UPI notes, and Facebook removed 25 million items of information.…

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Double exposure of business woman and Big Data concept. Digital neural network.Introduction of artificial intelligence. Cyberspace of future.Science and innovation of technology.city background.

Google’s Most Ambitious Project to Date: Reshaping Your Thinking

Controlling so much communication — and fired up by ideology — it’s in a better position for that than many suppose

In a column yesterday at Spiked, urban studies specialist Joel Kotkin, author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class (2020), provided depressing evidence that the power of Big Tech is beginning to genuinely resemble the power medieval lords had over their serfs. It’s not just an office joke any more. Google, he recounts, was part of an anti-authoritarian high tech culture when it went public in 2004. Its search engine technology, and others, were seen as empowering the little guy. In 2018, for unclear reasons, Google dropped the famous “Don’t be evil” slogan. Since then, in Kotkin’s view, it is “increasingly becoming a force not for good, but for, well, evil.” He musters an impressive…

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Cyborg hologram watching a subway interior 3D rendering

Big Brother Is Watching You (And Trying to Read Your Mind)

Chinese researchers now claim to have developed technology that can read our minds

One of the most popular story lines in the widely acclaimed television show The Good Wife (2009–2016) is when National Security Agency (NSA) techies entertain themselves by eavesdropping on the heroine’s personal life. It clearly resonated with viewers and reinforced the fears of many that the NSA might be listening to their conversations. Indeed, they might be. In 2013 James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, was asked by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden about whether NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.” Clapper answered, under oath, “No sir, not wittingly.” Clapper had been informed the day before that he would be asked this question and he was offered an opportunity the day…

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Icon group as speech bubble cloud

Twitter vs. Musk: The Many Different Ways the Story Could End

Twitter, which didn’t really want Musk, is now suing to make him its boss. They all hate each other. Can this work?

In the most recent episode of the Musk and Twitter show, Twitter was suing driverless car entrepreneur Elon Musk to compel him to buy the company at the original posted price — despite the fact that earlier, many employees didn’t want him to buy it at all. Also despite the fact that he says he no longer wants to. Readers, this is happening only because Big Tech stock values are way down. A useful article by technology reporter Alex Sherman at CNBC (July 11, 2022) identifies eight ways the saga could end, namely 1 and 4: Musk just ends up paying the $1B breakup fee or some other settlement and Twitter continues with its meltdowns and bot problems, as long…

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Twitter handle with care

Elon Musk Has Walked Out on Twitter … Or Has He?

Some think it’s all theater. Others that he is compelling a price reduction “by other means”

Yesterday, Elon Musk announced that he was backing out of the deal to buy Twitter, which he was hoping to turn into more of a free speech platform: Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla (TSLA.O) and the world’s richest person, said on Friday he was terminating his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter (TWTR.N) because the social media company had breached multiple provisions of the merger agreement. Greg Roumeliotis, “Twitter vows legal fight after Musk pulls out of $44 billion deal” at Reuters (July 9, 2022) Twitter plans to fight: The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the…

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World twitter Connection on Blackboard

Twitter Now Suing India’s Government Over Its Censorship Demands

Meanwhile, on July 4, new owner-to-be Elon Musk tweets a jab at Twitter’s own censors: the British government “fact checks” Paul Revere

Twitter, never out of the news for long these days, is suing the government of India over censorship issues: On Tuesday, the U.S. social media platform asked an Indian court to overturn some of the government orders to kill posts, which Delhi had accused of spreading misinformation. They included posts that backed farmer protests and tweets critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter called the crackdown overbroad and arbitrary, with the government demonstrating an “excessive use of powers”. Rina Chandran, “Twitter battles India for control of social media content” at Thomson Reuters Foundation News (July 6, 2022) No date is yet set for the hearing. Observers might be surprised by Twitter’s anti-censorship stance here, given the history…

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Whistleblower Employee

Dox Show Disinformation Board Was For Use Against Americans Too

A whistleblower leaked a cache of documents to two U.S. senators who have put them online

On Tuesday, Senators Chuck Grassley (R – Iowa) and Senator Josh Hawley (R – Missouri) publicized whistleblower documents that make clear that the Disinformation Governance Board, currently on hold, had much greater ambitions than we have been led to believe. Here are some highlights from the documents publicized June 7, 2022: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explicitly told CNN that the new Governance Board was not intended to spy on U.S.citizens: Mayorkas: Ministry of Truth won’t “monitor American citizens … the board does not have any operational capability. What it’ill do is gather together best practices … & disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing & addressing this threat for years” pic.twitter.com/VbHF6Wek2Y — Tom…

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World twitter Connection on Blackboard

Whew! Twitter Now Offers Musk a “Firehose” of Data From Botworld

Looming in the background is Musk’s proposal to make Twitter more of a free speech zone, a prospect that worries many Big Tech power players

That was fast. On Monday billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s lawyers publicized a serious threat to walk away from his bid to buy Twitter if he didn’t start getting hard data on the phantom users (bots). Readers will recall that Twitter told the U.S. government that the bots comprise only 5% of the nearly 397 million active users. But few can literally believe that. Now, Twitter is telling Musk, fine, we’ll tell you what we know. But prepare to be swamped, inundated even, with data. From Ars Technica: “Mr. Musk believes Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data due to concern…

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Chinese flags on barbed wire wall in Kashgar (Kashi), Xinjiang, China.

Digital Data Leaks Reveal Extent of Uyghur Oppression in China

Only in the last decade or so has true technological oppression of an entire people group was even possible. But at least it is a two-edged sword

Hawagul Tewekkul’s tear-filled eyes are the first thing you see at the BBC’s interactive article, “The Faces from China’s Uyghur Detention Camps.” Her photo is one of 5,000 photos of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities found in one of the largest data leaks on the Chinese Communist Party’s widespread oppression, internment, and cultural annihilation of the minorities living in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Hawagul Tewekkul was fifty years old in October 2017 when she was “detained for re-education.” Her offense was not stated. Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities have been sent to prison, often on unreasonable charges, or t “vocational re-education centers” as a part of Xi Jinping’s anti-terrorism campaign. Sometimes the training centers have been converted to…

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Twitter, man, business.

Will Musk’s Twitter Bid — Win or Lose — Damage Twitter’s Power?

Stirring the pot, Musk recently slammed current media’s marked disinterest in who teen sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s prominent clients were …

Just in: “Musk threatens to walk away from Twitter deal:” DETROIT (AP) — Elon Musk is threatening to walk away from his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter, accusing the company of refusing to give him information about its spam bot and fake accounts. Lawyers for the Tesla and SpaceX CEO made the threat in a letter to Twitter dated Monday, and Twitter disclosed it in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The letter says Musk has repeatedly asked for the information since May 9, about a month after his offer to buy the company, so he could evaluate how many of the company’s 229 million accounts are fake. Tom Krisher and Matt O’Brien , “Musk threatens…

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Social media censorship, political war between US president banning social networks. Tiny person on the laptop keyboard looking at the forbidden sign on the screen. Internet communication risk concept

New U.S. Disinformation Board on Hold Amid Flak From Both Sides

Most current controversies are not clear divisions between True and Untrue or Right and Wrong. Government would merely reinforce the Establishment

If you’d blinked, you’d have missed it: The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday paused a new and controversial board’s work on disinformation and accepted the resignation of its leader, capping weeks of concerns about impinging on free speech rights and at times frenzied conspiracy theories about the board itself… The Disinformation Governance Board’s director, Nina Jankowicz, wrote Wednesday that the board’s future was “uncertain,” according to a resignation letter obtained by The Associated Press. Nomaan Merchant and Amanda Seitz, “New ‘disinformation’ board paused amid free speech questions” at Associated Press (May 18, 2022) A recommendation as to whether the Board should continue will be offered, we are told, within 75 days. The Washington Post knows who to blame: “How…

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Business crisis manager stopping falling dominos from collapsing

Who Opposes Musk’s Proposed Twitter Takeover Deal?

Four groups to watch are Twitter employees, left-wing action coalitions, legacy media, and the European Union

First, the state of play: Elon Musk’s foray into buying Twitter remains on hold amid disputes about how much of Twitter is dominated by bot accounts. Musk believes that 20% of the accounts are spam. Spam bots on Twitter are automated accounts that can take actions like real humans, such as sending out tweets, following other users, as well as liking and retweeting other users’ posts. Such accounts can be programmed to try and drive traffic to a product or service as part of a commercial endeavor or spread content as part of a social or political influence operation. Tom Ozimek, “Musk Says Twitter Deal on Hold Over Spam Bots” at Epoch Times (May 13, 2022) That’s something Musk says…

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Close up of small caged colorful birds in pet store in morning sun

Can Elon Musk Really Stop Big Tech From Controlling Us?

We usually don’t realize how far it has already gone in efforts to control our thinking

Think it doesn’t control you? Andrew McDiarmid can offer you some examples of pervasive efforts to control our thinking: It appeared in Apple’s iPhone software update this year, when a “pregnant man” emoji was quietly added to keyboards. It’s seen in Google’s new (and currently stalled) “inclusive language” feature, which autocorrects gendered terms like “landlord,” “policeman” or “housewife.” Andrew McDiarmid, “Big Tech is subtly controlling our lives—and we need to fight back” at New York Post (May 7, 2022) Surely, almost nobody on the planet, apart from small pressure groups, had asked for a “pregnant man” emoji. The concept has nothing whatever to do with the serious problems many pregnant women face worldwide. Landlord? Again, many people worldwide face problems…

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Musk Offers Twitter $41 Billion, Exciting Free Speech Advocates

Will Musk succeed in his effort to "unlock" Twitter's free speech potential?

News has moved fast since it was revealed last week that Elon Musk purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter. Since then, Musk was offered a seat on Twitter’s board, an offer he at first accepted, and then declined. Now, Musk has upped the ante by offering to buy Twitter for $41 billion. In his letter to the board, Musk referenced his desire to make Twitter “the platform for free speech around the globe,” and stated that he has the ability to “unlock” Twitter’s “extraordinary potential.” Here’s his full letter: Bret TaylorChairman of the Board, I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is…

Pinterest Logo Icon Around Earth. Popular App Concept.

Pinterest Bans Climate Change “Misinformation”

Pinterest might be the first company to implement such a strict ban, but what if it's not the last?

Last week, Pinterest banned climate change misinformation from its platform, becoming the first major social media company to do so outright. The policy raises free speech concerns. Since not all scientists agree on the nature of climate change, what causes it, and what the solutions are, how is the issue to be discussed if alternate points of view are banned from public platforms? Pinterest is an image-sharing social media site, where users share ideas that they can “pin” to their own boards on everything from recipes to interior design to fashion. On April 6, Pinterest announced their new climate misinformation policy, aimed at “remov[ing] content that may harm the public’s well-being, safety or trust.” As of the policy announcement, any…

Apple iPhone 8 with Twitter Logotype on a Screen

Dorsey Talks Decentralization and Musk Buys Twitter Share

Will this be the upset many free speech advocates hope it could be?

Last week, I wrote about the buzz around internet decentralization, especially as there appears to be talk at Twitter of moving in such a direction. The buzz continues, this time with vocal support from former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, coinciding with a bold financial move from Elon Musk. On April 2, Dorsey reminisced on Twitter about the early, decentralized days of the Internet, and said that centralization “really damaged the internet. I realize I’m partially to blame, and regret it.” The problems of social media platforms have been made clear in the past few years, specifically when it comes to data privacy and how to handle (or even define) harmful content while also respecting free speech. But there isn’t as much…

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Creative digital city background. Smart city, technology and innovation concept. Double exposure.

PayPal Pioneer: The Ways Big Tech Is Strangling Our Freedoms

The conveniences offered come at a price: We can be much more easily surveilled and controlled. And yes, they ARE doing it

In a continuing discussion with Bari Weiss, Paypal pioneer David Sacks warns hearers: BW: You have been making the case better than anyone else that, despite the fact that we live in a liberal democracy with a Bill of Rights and a Constitution and a First Amendment, whether most Americans are aware of it or not we also are living inside a soft version of a social credit system. So for the people who hear that and think: ‘That’s ridiculous. This isn’t China.’ I want you to make the case. DS: Let’s start by defining what a social credit system is. A social credit system is a system that pretends to give you civil liberties and freedom. It doesn’t overtly…

Web3 - Web3.0 - Semantic Web - New Iteration of the World Wide Web Through Decentralization Based on Blockchains

Could Decentralization Fix Twitter’s Censorship Problems?

Decentralization is not an automatic guarantee of internet freedom, but it may be a good first step

Twitter is considering decentralization according to a recent report from The New York Times. But what does decentralization mean, and how would it impact our experience with social media? Is this a solution to all the problems around censorship standards that Big Tech companies have faced in recent years? According to The New York Times, Twitter is following the early vision of a former employee named Blaine Cook by “funding an independent effort to build a so-called open protocol for social media. It is also weaving cryptocurrency into its app, and opening up to developers who want to build custom features for Twitter.” Kate Conger reports: Some skeptics believe Twitter is jumping on the web3 bandwagon, joining a trendy movement in tech to shift many…