Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagBig Tech

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Multiple smartphone screens

Getting Intentional About Your Screens

Our obsession today with screens is, often unintentionally, taking us to places we regret. We use these windows into the world for hours every day, often unaware how intentional content creators and app designers are in shaping our decisions and forming harmful habits. Read More ›
getting laid off
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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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 ›

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birds eye view photography of cloudy sky

Web3: The Next Generation of the Internet

Futurist George Gilder forecasts that decentralization of the web is going to be the future of the internet. Data will become more personalized and stored on your local computer instead of in the cloud and companies like Google will have to figure out some way to adjust. Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert discuss blockchain, Web3, decentralization, and the metaverse Read More ›

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Smart industry control concept.Hands holding tablet on blurred automation machine as background

Who Controls the Tech?

Technology companies spend a lot of money trying to determine the best way to hook customers on their products. They have tremendous influence, but you have the final say. Andrew McDiarmid discusses technology, influence, and how to reset your technology use with Robert J. Marks. Additional Resources Andrew McDiarmid’s website Andrew McDiarmid at Discovery.org How to Glorify God with Your Read More ›

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Puppet hands from leadership controlling our lives. Concept

How to Sever Big Tech’s Strings

Doug Smith, author of [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires and How You Can Break Free, explains to Andrew McDiarmid how we can escape the subtle influence of Big Tech. He also emphasizes the importance of removing ourselves from our screens so we can enjoy the outside world and recapture our creativity. Show Notes 00:38 | Introducing Doug Smith Read More ›

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The Secret Scheme of Screens

Our obsession today with screens is, often unintentionally, taking us to places we regret. We use these windows into the world for hours every day, often unaware how intentional content creators and app designers are in shaping our decisions and forming harmful habits. Andrew McDiarmid interviews Doug Smith, author of the book [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires and Read More ›

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In State of the Union, Biden Vows to Curb Social Media Harms

Biden addressed the mental health harms of social media use on children and teens

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden referred to the harms of social media in his State of the Union address, announcing policy proposals to curb those harms. In response, however, some have been critical of the president’s remarks, accusing him of ignoring social media’s deeper dangers. Over an hour into his speech, President Biden turned to mental health and the emotional toll the pandemic has had, especially on children. Then he turned to the emotional health toll exacted by social media, long before the first COVID-19 lockdowns. “Children were also struggling before the pandemic – bullying, violence, trauma, and the harms of social media,” he said. “It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop Read More ›

Truth Social - Social network launched by former President of th

Trump Releases Truth Social, Users Run Into Errors

The jury is out on whether this will stand as a true rival to Twitter

Last week, former President Trump unveiled his new social media app: Truth Social, a free-speech alternative to Twitter. It immediately became the number one free app on Apple’s App Store and boasted half a million users within its first forty-eight hours. But hiccups soon followed, including error messages and long wait times for access to the platform. The app went live on February 21, which was (perhaps not coincidentally) President’s Day. But those who signed up to join were automatically placed on a waitlist, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When a Post reporter tried to sign up for a Truth social account on Tuesday morning, he was told that he was number 387,392 on a waitlist. “We love you, and you’re Read More ›

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Hand adding a new team member to a group. Business management concept

Can Texas Win Its Fight With Big Social Media Censorship?

Engineering prof Karl D. Stephan notes that, currently, if a user is de-platformed from a large site such as Facebook, there are, famously, not a lot of alternatives

(This article by Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog September 27, 2021, and is reprinted with permission.) On September 9, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 20, a law designed to keep social media companies with more than 50 million subscribers from blocking users whose viewpoints the company disapproves of. Scheduled to take effect in December, the law has already attracted controversy and threats of lawsuits to keep it from going into effect. Currently, if a user is de-platformed from a large site such as Facebook, there are not a lot of alternatives. The overarching law in the US pertaining to such situations is Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which prevails if there is a conflict between Read More ›

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Texas Governor Signs Law Curbing Big Tech Censorship

A similar law in Florida was halted by a federal judge. Will Texas's law face the same legal battle?

Last Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 20 into law, legislation that would prohibit social media companies from banning users for their political beliefs and provide users with a legal remedy for unfair discriminatory behavior. The law is very similar to legislation passed earlier this year in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7072 into law at the end of May. Within days, technology trade groups had filed a lawsuit, and on June 30, a federal judge stopped the bill in its tracks with a preliminary injunction. For the bill’s proponents, the law’s intention is to protect the free speech rights of state citizens when using social media. “Freedom of speech is under attack in Texas,” said Read More ›

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グローバルネットワーク デジタルコンテンツ

Peter Thiel Speaking in Person at COSM, Seattle, November 10

As a world class venture capitalist, he is known for bluntness about what works and what doesn’t

COSM 2021 is the place to be, November 10–12, to get the inside track on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it. This year, iconic Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel will be speaking in person, addressing the question “Is Technology Soaring or Slumping?” At the first COSM in October 2019, Peter Thiel spoke by interactive video. Not one to mince words, he told the attendees bluntly that Silicon Valley is losing its touch and compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst. He has a remarkable history in both areas. He has been a prime mover in PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. And he had intended to found a university. But, Read More ›

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China from space on realistic model of planet Earth with network. Concept of digital technology, connectivity and travel.

What’s Behind China’s Crackdown on Big Tech?

Both China and the U.S. are treating big tech with a heavy hand, but under different motivations

In a previous article I looked at Chinese regulators’ crackdown on Didi Global, China’s ride-hailing service. Didi is one of several Chinese tech giants that have been tamed in the past nine months. Prior to Didi, Ant Group, Tencent, Meituan, and Pinduoduo were all quelled by regulators. After Didi, regulators targeted Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun. They recently shut down online for-profit tutoring and have banned mining cryptocurrencies in China.  Thus far, the Chinese government’s actions have resulted in almost $1 trillion net losses for the Chinese tech sector.  The two big questions are, Why now? and, relatedly, Who’s next? SupChina has a well-organized explainer on China’s Big Tech Crackdown here. Another helpful resource is this video from DW, “How China is tightening control of its tech companies”: According to SupChina, China’s Read More ›

law book pen
Justice and law concept. Gavel on sounding block in hand's Male judge at a courtroom, working with document law books, report the case on table in modern office.

Section 230: What Is It and Why the Controversy?

Does Section 230 provide Big Tech too much power, or is it necessary for the moderation of misinformation and inappropriate content?

At the center of the controversy between free speech and the rights of private companies lies Section 230, the controversial U.S. code dating back to 1996. Toward the end of his term in 2020, former President Donald Trump famously tweeted that Section 230 should be “completely terminated.” Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voiced their support, but by and large, the sentiment was met with fierce resistance. Advocates for the reform (or complete repeal) of Section 230 argue that it shields Big Tech companies from accountability when they engage in politically-motivated censorship and content moderation. Supporters of Section 230 argue that it is essential to keep the internet free of misinformation and vile or obscene material. Section 230 Read More ›

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Big Tech Law

The judge ruled that the law violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies

A federal judge struck down the recent Florida legislation aimed at reigning in the censorship powers of Big Tech, hours before it was set to go into effect. Within days of Governor DeSantis signing the bill into law in May, NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed a lawsuit, representing the biggest names in social media (such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon). They argued that the new law is a violation of their First Amendment rights as private companies. On June 30, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled in favor of NetChoice and CCIA, issuing a preliminary injunction on the law after determining that it violates the First Amendment Read More ›

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Parthenon temple, Athens

Paul Werbos: Can the NSF Return to Its Former Glory?

Dr. Robert J. Marks and Dr. Paul Werbos pick up where they left off: the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its research in machine intelligence. Dr. Werbos praises the NSF as “the greatest temple of truth in human history” – that is, until recently. What happened? Who is responsible for its recent failings? And is there hope for return to Read More ›

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Judge Holding Documents

Big Tech Sues Florida Over New Censorship Law

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are fighting back against a Florida law that seeks to reign them in

Technology trade companies representing Facebook, Twitter, and Google are suing Florida over its new law regulating the editorial and censorship powers of large social media platforms. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7072 into law on May 24, the first of its kind in the nation to curb the powers of online companies to remove and censor content and users. NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) – technology trade groups that have been vocal about their opposition to the law – filed the lawsuit against Florida the following Thursday in Tallahassee federal court. DeSantis and other supporters of the new law argue that its purpose is to safeguard the First Amendment rights of ordinary Florida citizens Read More ›

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mobile connect with security camera

How Much of Your Income — and Life — Does Big Tech Control?

Erik J. Larson reviews the groundbreaking book Surveillance Capitalism, on how big corporations make money out of tracking your every move

In a review of Shoshana Zuboff’s groundbreaking Surveillance Capitalism (2019), computer science historian Erik J. Larson recounts a 1950s conflict of ideas between two pioneers, Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) and John McCarthy (1927–2011). Wiener warned, in his largely forgotten book The Human Use of Human Beings (1950), about “new forms of control made possible by the development of advancing technologies.” McCarthy, by contrast, coined the term “artificial intelligence” (1956), implying his belief in “the official effort to program computers to exhibit human-like intelligence.” His “AI Rules” view came to be expressed not in a mere book but in — probably — hundreds of thousands of media articles warning about or celebrating the triumph of AI over humanity. If you are skeptical Read More ›

Heritage-Building
Heritage Building

Influential Think Tank Declines Big Tech Donations

The Heritage Foundation declined six-figure donations from Big Tech companies Facebook and Google in 2020, citing repeated censorship of conservative views

News website Axios obtained letters signed by Heritage Foundation‘s departing President Kay Coles James (pictured), addressed to the CEOs of both Facebook and Google in October 2020, explaining why Heritage felt compelled to decline the six-figure contributions from the companies. “We cannot in good conscience take money from a company that repeatedly, and blatantly, suppresses conservative speech on your platforms,” reads the letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.  A similar statement is made in the letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  Heritage declined $225,000 from Google, and returned $150,000 that came from Facebook. The Heritage Foundation made several accusations against the companies in its letters, including: that Facebook suppressed their reach by blocking referral traffic; that Facebook targeted Heritage with third-party fact-checkers; and that Google Read More ›