Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategorySocial Media

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Twitter, man, business.

Quick Update on the Musk n’ Twitter Show

Although Twitter has not “gone dark,” as many tech media types fondly hoped, the White House may be thinking of getting involved

Tech media types have done their best to chase major advertisers off Twitter since Elon Musk bought it earlier this year. But it has grown nonetheless, at least in the United States, in terms of downloads: “Data from two independent research firms, Apptopia and Sensor Tower, indicate that downloads and activity on Twitter are on the upswing in the weeks since Musk bought it and in comparison to last year, appearing to confirm Musk’s recent boasting that he has reinvigorated the social media app. ” (NBC News, November 30, 2022) The big issue, of course, is Musk’s commitment to free speech for people other than the Twitterati. The US government has hinted a few times that it might get involved, 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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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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Hand touch metaverse infinite loop unlimited technology futuristic digital connection background of virtual reality cyberpunk world or internet game innovation cyber network and hologram experience.

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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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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blue bird on brown tree branch

Musk’s Day at Twitter Dawned: And So What Really Happened?

For one thing, many layoffs — but layoffs are currently widespread in Big Tech

Important people seem to be taking Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover very seriously indeed. Were those of us who have disregarded Twitter in the past wrong? Blind sided? Here’s U.S. President Joe Biden: “Elon Musk goes out and buys an outfit that spews lies all across the world, There’s no editors anymore in America.” Maybe, but no one is forced to join Twitter or even listen… Many traditional tech watchers are sounding an alarm over Musk’s post-takeover layoffs. But before we get into that, let’s note that other Big Techs are also currently laying off personnel in considerable numbers: November 4 has been called the worst day for layoffs in 2022 (Black Thursday) at Fortune: News of job cuts came down Read More ›

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Annoyed black woman having video chat on smartphone at home

Sorry! I Take It Back (But Only With iOS 16)

The new iOS lets you edit messages, but only within 15 minutes of sending them, and guess what—the recipient can see all your edits…

This article by Texas State University engineering prof Karl D. Stephan is republished with permission from MercatorNet November 1, 2022) Everybody has said something they later regret saying. If the person you’re talking to is right there in front of you, there’s nothing you can do to unsay it. As country singer Jon Langston says in one of his song titles, “I Can’t Take Back Words.” But according to tech guru Kim Komando, the new iOS 16 operating system for iPhones (version 8 and later) lets you do that with text messages—sort of. Ever since commercial text messaging became available on mobile phones in the mid-1990s, it has shared with verbal interchanges the fact that once you send a text, it’s Read More ›

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A businessman appoints a leader to the head of the team. Creation of an effective teams of specialists for the implementation of a new project. HR recruiting. Management appointment. nepotism

Musk’s Twitter Takeover Sparks Crazy Talk From Mainstream Media

Has entrepreneur Musk sensed a transition in the offing? Ramped-up social media may soon replace the former mainstream media altogether

Now that Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, he isn’t short of verbal assailants, concern trolls, and volunteer freelance advisors. Brendan O’Neill offers an interesting collection at Spiked Online, including: From EuroNews Next, “Will Elon Musk’s Twitter become a beacon of free speech or a soap box for hate speech?” A Washington Post columnist: “I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter” and, inimitably, from back in April: Today on Twitter feels like the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany. — Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) April 14, 2022 Wow. O’Neill comments: The most striking thing about Musk and Twitter is the demented reaction to it. Musk himself is Read More ›

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Metaverse and 3D simulation. Portrait of young woman in VR glasses creates mesh sphere. Dark background with neon abstracts. The concept of virtual reality and futurism

Is Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Doomed to Fail?

Meta is losing loads of money, putting the whole metaverse project into question

Over the last two years, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has poured millions of dollars into his immersive metaverse project, which he believes represents the future of digital technology. We’ve seen ad campaigns for the Meta virtual reality headsets, a total rebranding of Zuckerberg’s company, and an unquestioned optimism about the efficacy and popularity of online life. But the company Meta is losing money. Lots of it. Zuckerberg pledged to spend $10 billion a year towards the metaverse over the next decade, showing how committed he is to achieving his vision. The company, however, plummeted this past year, losing approximately $600 billion of its market value. People simply aren’t investing in it as Zuckerberg anticipated, and even certain Meta executives doubt Read More ›

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Fact Checking as the New Censorship — Surer Than the Old Type

Apparently, Facebook has created a special portal for government to report “disinformation”

Did you know that the Disinformation Governance Board, supposedly shut down, never really died? It continues in more covert forms. From an article published today at The Intercept: Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms… “Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February. Ken Klippenstein, Lee Fang, “Truth Cops” at The Intercept (October 31, 2022) We also learn that “Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report Read More ›

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réseaux sociaux

With Elon Musk as “Chief Twit,” a flurry of changes is expected

Musk hopes for a “common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence”

Well, Musk, carrying a kitchen sink, has assumed control of Twitter (it became official Thursday night): Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in! pic.twitter.com/D68z4K2wq7 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2022 According to some, the world is tumbling over a cliff… Paul du Quenoy, president of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute was in a position to be at Twitter HQ at the time: Sullen employees entering the building during our visit had nothing to share. None made eye contact as they plodded by. Those who presented as female performed determined “take back the night” walks, delicately balancing cold avoidance with an unconvincing pretense of fearlessness. Musk seems to be following a methodical course as he reshapes social media, but Read More ›

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Control of Social Media: Changes in the Lineup

Not just Elon Musk but Ye West, Peter Thiel, and J.D. Vance have their hats in the ring

The social media field is seeing a wave of insurgents — not because it is profitable (it largely isn’t, just now) but perhaps because control is important for other purposes. Of course, whether we want to or not, we must begin with Musk and Twitter. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk must now acquire Twitter by October 28 or the whole thing goes back to trial in a Delaware court, where the judiciary will likely be peeved with him over antics that waste court time. The only people who are really unhappy now are Twitter employees. Musk announced an intention to lay off 75% of them and they have responded with an open letter: The letter demands that Musk commits to preserving Read More ›

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CBD Building Complex in Beijing, China under Sunlight

Words Disappear From the Chinese Language — Online at Least

Beijing seeks to scrub all mention of any words that could be associated with a lone protester hanging a banner on a bridge

On October 13, days before the Chinese Communist Party Congress’s scheduled fifth-year meeting, Peng Lifa, (online, Peng Zaizhou) stood on an overpass in Beijing — dressed as a construction worker — and unfurled two banners demanding an end to zero-COVID policies and the removal of Xi Jinping as CCP leader. With security cameras everywhere, he was certain to be noticed. There was also an apparent tire fire on the bridge, which created a great deal of attention-riveting smoke. A banner against Xi Jinping is raised at Sitong Bridge, Haidian District, Beijing.Admire the courage of this man, but when the giant ship sank, the screams of the passengers were only the meaning of tragedy.#TheGreatTranslationMovement pic.twitter.com/tMt4spulZR — The Great Translation Movement (@TGTM_Official) Read More ›

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Scared woman on laptop in the dark feeling fear suffering online harassment and cyberbullying

Google and the Woke Morality Police Cancel Anti-Porn Apps

Covenant Eyes and Accountability2You have been removed from the Google Play Store

This article, by Michael Cook, editor of MercatorNet, originally appeared at MercatorNet October 14, 2022, and is reprinted here by permission. In the latest skirmish in the cancel culture wars, Google is booting apps for fighting porn addiction off its app store. In a little-noticed move last month, the internet behemoth removed Covenant Eyes and Accountability2You from the Google Play Store. Google dropped them after journalists from Wired, a technology magazine, alleged that they violated Google’s malware policy. Both Covenant Eyes and Accountable2You dispute this. According to an article in Wired, “The Ungodly Surveillance of Anti-Porn ‘Shameware’ Apps”, these two apps are “part of a multimillion-dollar ecosystem of so-called accountability apps that are marketed to both churches and parents as tools to police online activity.” And Read More ›

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Twitter, man, business.

Musk and Twitter? The Babylon Bee Nailed It a While Back

After months-long strife, Musk offers full price for Twitter — for now. The drama continues to be free to view

We would not have credited even Elon Musk with his sudden decision to buy Twitter for the full price after months of legal proceedings during which he said he didn’t want it at all but Twitter, which hates him, was forcing him to buy it anyway. Not a rumor: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk confirmed his intention to purchase Twitter, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Monday. “[W]e write to notify you that the Musk Parties intend to proceed to closing of the transaction contemplated by the April 25, 2022 Merger Agreement,” Musk’s lawyers stated in a letter filed with the SEC. Andrew Moran, “Elon Musk Confirms Intention to Buy Twitter, SEC Filing Shows” at Read More ›

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Expressive black man with microphone. Stand-up comedian on night background. Comedy show on local television. Old funny story.

Is Dilbert part of a much bigger Cancel?

Humor consists largely in identifying the difference between our aspirations and our achievements

People who love workplace comedy might be surprised to learn that Dilbert has been Canceled by many U.S. newspapers, whose editor are morally outraged Comedy is one of the great casualties of wokeness. Comedians now have to navigate an ever expanding list of taboo subjects and forbidden targets. Superstar comedians like Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais stand accused of ‘punching down’ for mocking woke absurdities. Beloved characters in The Simpsons and even the knowingly offensive Family Guy have been altered following the charge of ‘cultural appropriation’. Meanwhile, many TV sketch shows and satirical programmes seem to have given up on telling jokes entirely, swapping humour for sermonising and ‘clapter’ comedy. So, is comedy doomed? Or is there hope outside of Read More ›

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Ottawa freedom sign

Big Tech Censors Worldwide — Yet It Isn’t a Government

Censorship has gone private and is thus much harder to detect and address

Do we even know what Big Tech censors or why? Sometimes its choices matters as in the COVID-19 controversies: One warm weekend in October of 2020, three impeccably credentialed epidemiologists—Jayanta Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Martin Kulldorff, of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Universities respectively—gathered with a few journalists, writers, and economists at an estate in the Berkshires where the American Institute for Economic Research had brought together critics of lockdowns and other COVID-related government restrictions. On Sunday morning shortly before the guests departed, the scientists encapsulated their views—that lockdowns do more harm than good, and that resources should be devoted to protecting the vulnerable rather than shutting society down—in a joint communique dubbed the “Great Barrington Declaration,” after the town in Read More ›

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A man with the sky surreal painting illustration

Facebook and Government: Working Together for Thought Management

A critical distinction between Facebook and traditional media is that Facebook is global and total, not regional and partial

In recent years, motivated perhaps by a sense of public duty, Facebook (rebranded as Meta) has turned its attention to fine-grained political reeducation and censorship of the nearly 3 billion monthly active users of its platform. All the instances listed below (plus, doubtless, many others we don’t know of at press time) add up to quite the program of thought management: ● Working closely with the FBI to monitor Americans who questioned the results of the 2020 election: “It was done outside the legal process and without probable cause,” alleged one of the sources, who spoke on condition of -anonymity. “Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena.” These private messages Read More ›

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Software Pioneer David Gelernter to Speak at COSM 2022, November

Gelernter, a Yale computer prof, is known for thinking through problems from a non-Silicon Valley-elite perspective

David Gelernter has been derided as a “fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist” by influencers whose computer systems may well depend in part on his software (though they probably don’t know that and couldn’t tell us how). From his page at Yale University: The “tuple spaces” introduced in Carriero and Gelernter’s Linda system (1983) are the basis of many computer-communication and distributed programming systems worldwide. “Mirror Worlds” (1991) “foresaw” the World Wide Web (Reuters, 3/20/01) and was “one of the inspirations for Java”; the “lifestreams” system (first implemented by Eric Freeman at Yale) is the basis for Mirror Worlds Technologies’ software. “Breaking out of the box” (NY Times magazine, ‘97) forecast and described the advent of less-ugly computers (Apple’s iMac arrived in Read More ›