Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryTechnocracy

cell phone with cubes
Hand holding smart phone with abstract glowing squares

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 ›

close-up-of-a-man-hand-is-using-a-futuristic-latest-innovative-technology-glass-tablet-with-augmented-reality-holograms-as-a-remote-control-of-smart-home-appliances-at-home-or-office-stockpack-adobe-stock
Close up of a man hand is using a futuristic latest innovative technology glass tablet with augmented reality holograms as a remote control of smart home appliances at home or office.

Never Mind Alexa; Is Even Roomba Spying on Us?

No, that’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s easy and profitable today to embed monitoring apps — and people don’t seem to mind

In PC Mag’s “Best Home Smart Devices for 2022,” tech reviewer Angela Moscaritolo tells us “My house is working toward a PhD. Little by little, it’s getting smarter.” No. That house is not getting any smarter. But smart people — whom no one asked in — are getting to know way more about what goes on in it. A couple of data management scientists recently offered some thoughts about that: Back in 2007, it would have been hard to imagine the revolution of useful apps and services that smartphones ushered in. But they came with a cost in terms of intrusiveness and loss of privacy. Smart devices collect a wide range of data about their users. Smart security cameras and Read More ›

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-stockpack-adobe-stock
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 student Adam Goad and Dr. 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 Read More ›

double-exposure-of-business-woman-and-big-data-concept-digital-neural-networkintroduction-of-artificial-intelligence-cyberspace-of-futurescience-and-innovation-of-technologycity-background-stockpack-adobe-stock
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 Read More ›

new-strong-password-and-weak-ones-near-keyboard-stockpack-adobe-stock
New strong password and weak ones near keyboard.

Forget Your Password? Apple Wants To End Them for Good But…

Do you want to give Apple your face- and fingerprints, maybe other “biometrics” down the road…?

We’ve all heard the tales of woe about people whose password was “password” or “123456” or “BertJones”. Currently, Big Tech, tired of the flak and the fallout, is trying to end passwords. Here’s Apple’s approach: When Apple’s latest software updates for iPhones, iPads and Macs arrive this fall, they will include a way for users to log into various online accounts without entering passwords or relying on password managers to save and fill in credentials. The technology generates unique passkeys for each app or browser-based service in the place of characters. Those passkeys, a new type of identity authentication, prompt a scan of your face or fingerprints to log you in… Passkeys, like those from Apple, are made up of Read More ›

chinese-hacker-laptop-with-binary-computer-code-and-china-flag-on-the-screen-internet-and-network-security-stockpack-adobe-stock
Chinese hacker. Laptop with binary computer code and china flag on the screen. Internet and network security.

The Internet Is Freedom? Not for Exiled Democracy Activists

Modern electronic communications ensure that persecution need not stop at the border, as many expat Chinese are discovering

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a U.S. citizen and four Chinese intelligence officers “had been charged with spying on “prominent dissidents, human rights leaders and pro-democracy activists” in the United States on behalf of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Americans and others who live in open societies may not be aware of this transnational oppression problem if they do not have contacts who have escaped totalitarian regimes. Briefly, today, the persecution doesn’t stop at the border. Modern electronic communications are part of the reason why not: “If anyone doubts how serious the Chinese government is about silencing its critics, this case should eliminate any uncertainty,” said Acting Executive Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. Read More ›

social-but-not-social-stockpack-adobe-stock
Social but not social

Will AI Overtake Humans? Only If We Let It

We are getting too cozy with dependence on high tech to ease the burden of thinking for ourselves

This story originally appeared at Newsmax. (May 19, 2022) As I reported last year, there’s been a lot of talk about a Singularity in the last decade. That’s the point when machine intelligence (AI) exceeds human intelligence and begins to rule humanity and eventually the entire universe. It’s a scary proposition to be sure, but we can rest easy on that front, because it’s not going to happen. The futurists assume there’s a bridge between narrow applications of AI and the general intelligence humans possess. But no such bridge exists. As Erik J. Larson explains in his book The Myth of Artificial Intelligence, we’re not even on the right road to such a bridge. You can also take George Gilder’s word for it. One Read More ›

positive-girl-resting-on-the-couch-with-robot-stockpack-adobe-stock
Positive girl resting on the couch with robot

Turing Tests Are Terribly Misleading

Black box algorithms are now being trusted to approve loans, price insurance, screen job applicants, trade stocks, determine prison sentences, and much more. Is that wise?

In 1950 Alan Turing proposed that the question, “Can machines think?,” be replaced by a test of how well a computer plays the “imitation game.” A man and woman go into separate rooms and respond with typewritten answers to questions that are intended to identify the players, each of whom is trying to persuade the interrogators that they are the other person. Turing proposed that a computer take the part of one of the players and the experiment be deemed a success if the interrogators are no more likely to make a correct identification. There are other versions of the game, some of which were suggested by Turing. The standard Turing test today involves a human and a computer and Read More ›

disappointed-faces

Facial Recognition Technology Can Now Detect “Facecrime”

Some claim it will help teachers interact with students better

At one time, this was science fiction: In George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, citizens are monitored 24/7 through the use of “telescreens” that are stationed in every home and throughout every workplace, monitoring for facecrime. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. 1984. Read More ›

creative-digital-city-background-smart-city-technology-and-innovation-concept-double-exposure-stockpack-adobe-stock
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 Read More ›

chinese-flag-and-big-brother-data-surveillance-stockpack-adobe-stock
Chinese flag and big brother data surveillance

On What Terms Is Co-Operation Between the US and China Possible?

China analyst Miles Maochun Yu thinks that China’s new goal is to become the new global power first, then implement its ideology

A panel at COSM 2021 aired a disagreement between philosopher of technology George Gilder and political analyst Newt Gingrich. Gingrich argued that China is the greatest threat to global freedom while Gilder felt that claims about forced labor, for example, are overstated and that we must co-operate with China for technological advances. In the background is China’s 24/7 surveillance of the entire population, the door-to-door identification of and crackdown on religious believers, as well as on civil rights activists. The situation in China has changed a great deal over the past half decade which marked the Uyghur internment camps and the premature takeover of Hong Kong. As Michael Schuman puts it: China today is in the grip of the most Read More ›

flag-of-china-and-clock-stockpack-adobe-stock
Flag of China and clock

Gingrich at COSM: China Is the Greatest Threat to Global Freedom

Newt Gingrich fears America will lose to China. George Gilder argues that thinking that way is self-defeating and stupid

At COSM 2021, philosopher of technology George Gilder and political analyst Newt Gingrich sparred over U.S.–China relations. Gilder and Gingrich, a former U.S. Congressman, exemplify the two predominant views on China today. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author Gingrich says the U.S. should decouple from China, while economist and author Gilder sees collaboration with China as our best — and only — option. Gingrich: Optimism about a more open China is waning In his opening remarks, Gingrich recalled that he was once an optimist that Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping’s opening up strategy would usher in a more democratic China because Communism was incompatible with a free market economy. But, Gingrich, who has been a history Read More ›

mars-base-stockpack-adobe-stock
Mars Base

Theoretical Physicist: Colonizing Mars Is a Ridiculous Idea

Making Mars habitable (terraforming) has been kicking around engineering circles for decades. What are the chances, given Moore’s Law-level increases in technology?

And so what does a theoretical physicist know about it, you ask? Well, when it’s Sabine Hossenfelder, she is alwaysworth listening to: The biggest problem is not that Mars is “minus 60 degrees Celsius or minus 80 Fahrenheit,” she explains, but that it has no magnetic field so the atmosphere was blown away by the solar winds. So to form Mars into a second Earth, we would first need to give it a magnetic field. How easy is that?: In a paper that was just published in April in the International Journal of Astrobiology, two physicists explain that all you have to do put a superconducting wire around Mars, simple enough, isn’t it? The circle would have to have a Read More ›

army-of-artificial-workers-stockpack-adobe-stock
army of artificial workers

Peter Thiel: Big Tech, As It Operates Today, Is Communist

Visions of the computer age have swung from big centralization in 1969 through big decentralization in 1999. Neither got it quite right, Thiel says

Philosopher of technology George Gilder revisits world class tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s live streamed talk at COSM 2019 in “ The failures and self-hatred of Big Tech.” Thiel, the author of Zero to One (2014) will attend COSM 2021 (November 10–12) in person this time, along with Gilder. Note: You can get the best rate if you register before October 31. The focus of the 2021 meet will be the paradoxes of the new world of technology. As we will see, Thiel is an expert at defining that world. This is the first of a four-part series on his view of the future, starting with his First Contrarian Idea, that the way Big Tech operates today is communist and Read More ›

childrens sorter shapes
children's sorter with geometric shapes on a white background selective focus

If Google Thinks For You, Use THEIR Search Engine. Otherwise…

Google’s monopoly affects the free exchange of ideas in the public square and our electoral process

For years, the internet has been dominated by the all-seeing Google. Google has been so successful in its execution and protection of its brand that we culturally understand that to “Google” something is to conduct an internet search, despite the existence of alternative search engines. Google holds a massive advantage over all other search engines. More than 88% of all web searches are conducted through Google while the second-largest web browser, Bing, claims not quite 6% of all web searches. While alternative search services have existed for years (such as DuckDuckGo, Ask, and Startpage), only two English language indexes exist – Google’s and Bing’s. Most of the familiar search “alternatives” pull from those two datasets. Alternative search engines, then, aren’t all that Read More ›

hype-word-card-stockpack-adobe-stock
Hype word card

Isn’t It Time for an Artificial Intelligence Reality Check?

Why do we think we’re so close to artificial general intelligence (AGI) when there are so many obstacles to overcome?

The Singularity is coming! The Singularity is coming! If you’re getting tired of hearing that “strong AI” is just around the corner, you’re not alone. The Stephen Hawkings, Ray Kurzweils, and Elon Musks of the world have been putting humanity on notice with predictions of machines overtaking humans for decades. It’s either the dawn of utopia or the start of a nightmare, depending on who’s talking. And every time they’re issued, the media jumps on them, because being on the cusp of a new era of intelligent beings is news. What’s missing from these confident claims, however, is a realistic assessment of the problems that rank-and-file computer scientists wrestle with every day — namely, the problem of intelligence. In their Read More ›

Big brother electronic eye concept, technologies for the global surveillance, security of computer systems and networks

A Book Review: The Tyranny of Big Tech

A beautiful defense of the common man and woman against a technological elite

“Our republic has never been more hierarchical, more riven by class, more managed by an elite than it is today,” writes Josh Hawley in The Tyranny of Big Tech. Who might that elite be? According to Hawley, it’s not our politicians, our lawyers, our Ivy League graduates, or our Hollywood celebrities. It’s Big Tech – those big names like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Google that have embedded themselves in our lives to an almost irreversible degree. Hawley has spent his career as a U.S. Senator, and formerly as Missouri’s Attorney General, holding Big Tech accountable where others don’t dare tread. In investigations, in legislation, and now in this book, Hawley has confronted the antitrust and privacy violations committed by Read More ›

books-and-crumpled-paper-in-the-bin-books-that-do-not-read-low-grade-literature-copy-space-stockpack-adobe-stock
Books and crumpled paper in the bin. Books that do not read, low-grade literature, copy space

The Tyranny of Big Tech: The Book That Almost Wasn’t

How cancel culture came for a book taking on Big Tech monopolies

On May 4, Regnery Publishing released The Tyranny of Big Tech, a book written by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) uncovering the deceptive and antitrust practices of companies like Facebook and Google, and laying out a policy plan to break up the monopolies and protect the interests of America’s common men and women. The book has done well. In its first week, it became the number one bestseller in three separate categories on Amazon lists, and it made the Publisher’s Weekly list of hardcover nonfiction at No. 6. “Big Tech represents today’s robber barons,” Hawley writes in the first chapter, “who are draining prosperity and power away from the great middle of our society and creating, as they do, a new Read More ›

technology-and-socialism-stockpack-adobe-stock
technology and socialism

“AI is fastest path to Communism,” says Elon Musk’s partner

In a viral TikTok video, the singer/songwriter said AI will lead us to a world of leisure and no work

Social media was aflood yesterday with confusion and intrigue when Grimes – a Canadian singer/songwriter and 3-year partner to technological entrepreneur Elon Musk – said that “AI is actually the fastest path to communism” and encouraged communists to embrace the technology if they want to see their political dreams come true. Grimes (born Claire Elise Boucher) posted a short video to TikTok on Thursday, proposing that artificial intelligence could lead us to a utopia in which no one has to work and everyone lives in leisure: “I have a proposition for the communists. So, typically most of the communists I know are not big fans of AI. But if you think about it, AI is actually the fastest path to Read More ›

youtube-on-a-phone-stockpack-unsplash.jpg
YouTube on a phone

Big Tech Scrubs Religious Radio Show From YouTube

This isn't the first time YouTube has infringed on free speech

YouTube removed an entire radio show from its platform this week, hosted by popular Christian author and social commentator Eric Metaxas, citing violations of their community standards. Metaxas – author of biographies on the lives of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, and William Wilberforce, among many other books – announced the news to his social media pages on Tuesday. “It’s happened,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Despite our going FAR out of our way to comply with their arbitrary ‘community standards’, YouTube decided to remove every single video we’ve ever done on the Eric Metaxas Show off their platform.” The Eric Metaxas Radio Show, humorously called “The Show About Everything”, has featured a host of big name guests, including former Read More ›