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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryTechnocracy

Asian temple dragon

The Dragon’s Deception: Conspiracy Theories and False Numbers

China’s global attempt to rewrite the history of coronavirus (COVID-19) is running up against incriminating evidence

The Chinese Communist Party has touted the superiority of an authoritarian government over a democratic one in handling the virus outbreak. But American intelligence sources say that it was the punishment that local officials might receive from the authoritarian system that led to the initial coverup of the outbreak.

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Coronavirus pandemic - Cleaning and Disinfection. Professional teams for disinfection efforts. Infection prevention and control of epidemic. Protective suit and mask

China: Rewriting the History of COVID-19

Making the government the improbable hero of the tale

Chinese scientists worked together swiftly and seamlessly to sequence the virus, (completed February 25), even as the government was downplaying the extent of the problem and silencing doctors who attempted to warn colleagues and the public. The Wuhan public erupted in anger when the government demanded a show of gratitude for its efforts rather than theirs.

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Market street in Kashgar during Chinese National Holiday (Xinjiang, China)

China: Sophisticated Surveillance Decides Who Gets Sent to Uyghur Camps

The leak of documents from police in Karakax County in Xinjiang reveal the details of everyday life that can send a Uyghur to the camps

The tracking app used by the police aggregates all of the data of people living in Xinjiang. Based on the parameters, or “micro-clues” that police put in the app, prompts the user to collect additional details or determines whether that person should be detained. This could include “not socializing with neighbors, often avoiding using the front door,” or using more electricity than others.

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Magnet

Centralization Is Not Inevitable

Even technology is not inevitable; it comes and goes

The coronavirus has demonstrated that centralization has its limits. It's not inevitable, as a recent Analysis post suggests. I predict that when the dust settles on this coronavirus outbreak, the order-of-magnitude greater death rate in China, compared to the 2003 SARS outbreak, will be blamed on central planning.

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virtual-reality-AdobeStock_201971753

Is Transhumanism Uncomfortably Tempting?

An ethicist asks us to stop and reflect

Jacob Schatzer identifies three issues in the essay, “The Allure of Transhumanism,” that might prompt some queasy recognitions in all of us, at times.

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face recognition technology concept illustration of big data and security in city with crowd

The Danger AI Poses for Civilization

Why must Google be my helicopter mom?

If I have a coffee cup with “AI inside,” it’s probably connected to the Internet, which is just another way of saying that my coffee cup is transmitting data to some company’s servers about my coffee drinking habits. Whatever benefit the app provides will come at a cost to my autonomy, privacy, and competence as a person.

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Photo by Chris Yang

Technology Centralizes by Its Very Nature

Here are some other truths about technology, some uncomfortable ones

To see what I mean about centralization, consider a non-digital tool, say, a shovel. The shovel doesn’t keep track of your shoveling, read your biometrics, and store a file on you-as-shoveler somewhere. It’s a thing, an artifact. So you see, the new digital technology is itself the heart of the surveillance problem. No Matrix could be built with artifacts.

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Middle-aged man calling his attorney for legal assistance

AI in the Courtroom: Will a Robot Sentence You?

Some experts think AI might be fairer than human judgment. Others are not so sure

One Superior Court judge has warned that many cases don’t come down to information alone, which is all AI can do. Law professor David DeWolf also expresses concern about increasing dependence upon law—a form of coercion—to regulate human behavior, a choice that is irrelevant to the growth of AI in the courtroom.

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Simulation of a screen of cctv cameras with facial recognition

EU Mulls Five-Year Ban on Facial Recognition

Too soon, too fast, and not enough discussion of the objectives, say critics

Opposition is growing in the Western world to routine government use of facial recognition (FR) technologies. But it takes different forms in different places.

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The mankind races - ethnic and multi ethnic - scientific model - concept

China: DNA Phenotyping Profiles Racial Minorities

In the United States, targeting minorities means political pushback; in China, no such discussion is allowed

While there is some merit to the idea that the population of a particular geographic region will have similar DNA patterns, this science comes with a host of assumptions that, when taken too far, crosses the line into pseudoscience.

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asian business woman in a heated discussion

How Tech Savvy Helps Hong Kong Hold Off China

Several other factors help, including spirituality and a sense of unique identity as Hongkongers

The stakes are high. Hongkongers have been energized by the dramatic recent win for democracy at the polls. But so have the police.

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protest in hong kong 2019 june 12

Hong Kong: The Dread That Lies Ahead

They fear the fate of the Uyghurs, under "complete video surveillance"

They dread 2047 when Hong Kong comes completely under the jurisdiction of the Communist Party and is subject to the CCP’s rule of law rather than Hong Kong’s own laws under the current “one country, two systems” regime.

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3D Rendering of abstract binary data in glowing blue and red color. For deep machine learning, crypto currency, hi tech product uses. Big data visualization, artificial intelligence. With copy space

The Greatest Threat We Face From AI—and What We Can Do

Here’s a list of things that have really happened with artificial intelligence (AI), in order of increasing severity.

When we get to the end of the list, we will see that it is like beads connected by a string—revealing the most dangerous threat.

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

Can a Big Data Program Be Society’s Crystal Ball?

Can a program with enough data on all of us predict our future?

Even fans admit that, if the program works, bad actors can use it just as easily as New Scientist’s virtuecrats.

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May Name is, Free Hong Kong.

Tiananmen Square 30 Years On: Words Still Have Power

Back then, students fought oppression via the fax. They depended on free media in Hong Kong to tell the world

The Chinese government has described the Hong Kong protests as violent riots by extremists. And, as with mainland China’s reports on Tiananmen Square, the abuses by police in Hong Kong have been scrubbed from the Chinese internet, while violence by protesters has been highlighted.

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Detail of cyborg eye and robot.3d illustration

But Could Techno-Immortality Ever Be the Real Thing?

Oxford mathematician John Lennox looks at Ray Kurzweil’s techno-immortality from a Christian perspective

In these excerpts from the podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talks with John Lennox about an AI immortality where we are told, for example, that we won’t need tongues because we can tap right into our taste buds.

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Digital Neurology

What If Technology Causes Some People to Live Forever?

What would it mean for them and for the rest of us?

The authors also warn, “We can be pretty certain, for instance, that rejuvenation would widen the gap between the rich and poor, and would eventually force us to make decisive calls about resource use, whether to limit the rate of growth of the population, and so forth.”

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Accountant secretary retro woman vintage office

Alan Turing’s original “computer” was actually a human being…

But will human beings now be thought of as computers?

We should reflect on how unthinking use of technology can shape us, despite our commitments.

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2 million protesters stand out to oppose a controversial extradition bill on June 16 2019 hong kong

Hi-Tech Freedom Game in Hong Kong

Technology can oppress a people group or it can give them a voice

In the end, technology, like any tool, depends on who wields it and whether they use it to help people or to control them.

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Inverted pyramid against grey sky

Mindtrap

Is immortality worth risking the unthinkable? — Trumind serial, part 5

Once he’d lit up the entire sequence and it was displayed back to him above the number pad, Johann felt a tremendous euphoric rush of success, the likes of which he'd never felt in his life, even at the close of his greatest deals.

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