Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Tagcensorship

closed-up-image-of-a-female-using-tiktok-application-on-a-smartphone-in-home-5-september-2022-chiangmai-thailand-stockpack-adobe-stock
Closed up image of a Female using TikTok application on a smartphone in home. 5 September, 2022. ChiangMai, Thailand.

Is TikTok a National Security Risk?

Consuming without thinking is fertile soil for propaganda
To be clear, the bill does not actually ban TikTok. It is a forced sale. This is an important nuance. Read More ›
machine-learning-artificial-intelligence-ai-deep-learning-blockchain-neural-network-concept-brain-made-with-shining-wireframe-above-cpu-on-circuit-stockpack-adobe-stock
Machine learning , artificial intelligence, ai, deep learning blockchain neural network concept. Brain made with shining wireframe above cpu on circuit

Human Subject Moves Computer Mouse with Neuralink Chip

So Big Tech companies might know your inner thoughts, now. What could possibly go wrong?
Recent history tells us that corporations may be eager to get the upper hand and use it as an excuse to violate privacy even more than they already have. Read More ›
big-brother-electronic-eye-concept-technologies-for-the-global-surveillance-security-of-computer-systems-and-networks-stockpack-adobe-stock
Big brother electronic eye concept, technologies for the global surveillance, security of computer systems and networks

This is Digital McCarthyism

Far from being liberated by these technologies, we have been plunged back into the worst abuses of surveillance and privacy violation.

The notion that we’re getting somewhere, making progress, is remarkably durable. It survives wars, financial collapse, riots, scandals, stagnating wages, and climate change (to name a few). Though techno-futurists are also fond of AI apocalypse scenarios, where artificial intelligence somehow “comes alive,” or at any rate uses its superior intelligence to make an autonomous decision to wipe out humanity, much more ink has been spilled this century prognosticating indomitable technical progress, which somehow stands in for human progress generally. But sanguine belief in progress is belied by the actual events of the twenty-first century. Computers have gotten faster and AI more powerful, but digital technology has also been used to spread misinformation, make deep fakes, and conduct relentless cyberwarfare. Financial Read More ›

amateur-observatories-interior-views-vintage-engraving-stockpack-adobe-stock
Amateur observatories, Interior views, vintage engraving.

“Consensus” Doesn’t Always Mean Science

Real scientific discovery happens within a culture of free speech and open dialogue

Robert J. Marks, host of the Mind Matters podcast, recently put out an article at Newsmax discussing “scientific consensus,” and how that term has been used to bully dissenting scientific viewpoints and even establish political and social policy. Marks writes, Consensus was used as a reason to stifle debate during the COVID crisis. Facebook and YouTube saw opposition to the government narrative as disinformation. Posts against consensus were censored and users were banned. Pre-Musk Twitter had a policy concerning tweets about climate change: “Misleading advertisements on #Twitter that contradict the scientific consensus on #climatechange are prohibited, in line with its inappropriate content policy.” The word pairing “scientific consensus” is a destructive science-stifling oxymoron. -Robert J. Marks, Consensus Doesn’t Equal Science | Newsmax.com Read More ›

megaphone-wrapped-in-barbed-wire-the-concept-of-banning-freedom-of-speech-censorship-barbed-wire-megaphone-stockpack-adobe-stock
megaphone wrapped in barbed wire. the concept of banning freedom of speech. censorship barbed wire megaphone

World Famous Psychologist Loses Appeal to Avoid “Social Media Training”

Does this decision legitimately restrict free speech?

Clinical psychologist, world-renowned speaker, and author Jordan B. Peterson, who rose to international fame in 2017 after speaking out against an impending Canadian speech law involving mandatory gender pronoun use, may be compelled to take in “social media training.” (RELATED: Three More Key Takeaways From the Twitter Files and Their Fallout | Mind Matters) Several complaints regarding Peterson’s online rhetoric were sent to the College of Psychologists of Ontario in 2022, and the organization decided to have him undergo a professionalism training in order to address his online tone. Peterson appealed the decision, but lost, according to CBC: Three Ontario Divisional Court judges unanimously dismissed Peterson’s application, ruling that the college’s decision falls within its mandate to regulate the profession in Read More ›

bright-iridescent-thread-floss-for-embroidery-and-needlework-stockpack-adobe-stock
bright iridescent thread floss for embroidery and needlework

Is the “Threads” App a Bust?

The app originally attracted around 100 million users but has tapered off dramatically.

Within the first week of its existence, “Threads,” the new Twitter-like app from the tech company Meta, saw a colossal decline in usage. The app originally attracted around 100 million users but has tapered off dramatically. Jody Cerrano reports, Zuckerberg’s statements about returning users coincide with estimates from third-party traffic analysts that reported the big dip in Threads users last week. At that time, Sensor Tower, a market intelligence firm, said that Threads’ daily active users on iOS and Android were down by 20%. The company added that traffic was not the only thing affected. Time spent on the app per user also fell, according to Sensor Tower, by 50% — from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. On Monday, the analyst Similarweb reported an Read More ›

post-human-dystopia-a-cybernetic-future-in-neon-stockpack-adobe-stock
Post-Human Dystopia - A Cybernetic Future in Neon

Jacques Ellul and the Technocratic Society

Unhappy is the society dominated by "technique"

Jacques Ellul was a twentieth-century writer and philosopher who left us an abundance of riches on the impact of technology on our modern world, or what he called the “technological society.” I’ve been working through his book The Technological Society for a while now. It’s dense, slow reading, but is jam packed with insights. Aside from merely the proliferation and growth of technology in the West over the last century, Ellul notes that we’ve become a culture obsessed with “technique,” performing tasks for efficiency instead of intrinsic purpose, and training ourselves to relate to other people in like manner. What matters under technique’s domination is not morals or human dignity but about outcome and “results,” being bigger, better, and faster. Read More ›

tv-studio-with-camera-and-lights-stockpack-adobe-stock
TV studio with camera and lights

Tucker Carlson and the Decline of Cable TV

What does Carlson's move to Twitter mean for legacy media?

Tucker Carlson, longtime host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, “parted ways” with the media empire, and just weeks later, announced that he would be starting a new, independent show. It was a quick turnaround. Interesting thing is, Carlson said the show would air not on cable television, but on Twitter. He said that Twitter is basically the forum where today’s ideas are formulated, exchanged, and debated, and that there’s currently no better place to practice video journalism. Here’s the clip of Carlson so you can hear him for yourself. Fox News lost considerable ratings since Carlson’s departure. He was their most popular host by a longshot. On the same day he was let go, CNN fired their own Read More ›

John Lennox

John Lennox: AI and Ethics

How can we program ethics into AI? John Lennox asks

In last week’s podcast, Oxford mathematician John Lennox talked about AI surveillance and the danger of misusing the technology for purposes of suppression. He said, But there’s a downside because facial recognition technology is being used at the moment in certain parts of the world to invade the privacy, not only of individuals, but of whole people groups and actually control them and suppress them. Now, I mentioned that example to say that very rapidly AI, narrow AI raises huge ethical questions. Now remember, this is the stuff that’s actually working, self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles, AI system built in there, but you have to build into it some kind of ethical decision making. If the car sensors pick up an Read More ›

radio mic
Mikrofon im Tonstudio, farbenfroh

An Entertaining Day at the Blue Bird

NPR bids "adieu" to Twitter and BBC bungles interview with Musk

A few days ago, the tag “Government-funded Media” appeared underneath NPR’s masthead on Twitter. Today, the company announced its departure from the social media platform and laid out its intentions to proliferate content through email, an app, and “other social media platforms.” The official post reads, “NPR produces consequential, independent journalism every day in service to the public.” NPR claims editorial independence despite the tag denoting them as federally funded, and their decision to part ways with Twitter reflects their ire against Musk’s trepidatious move. A small percentage, according to NPR, is federally funded, but it is no secret that they lean heavy to the left in their commentary, especially in recent years. Musk resurrected a line from NPR (now Read More ›

twitter check marks
Blue check mark logos on a heap on a table. Copy space. Verification concept

Is This the End of Twitter?

The social media giant has been struggling on multiple fronts since Musk's takeover

Twitter isn’t in such great shape at the moment. In fact, rumors of bankruptcy loom over the company as financial woes continue to mount, and solutions seem few and far between. Dave Karpf is a professor of “internet politics” at George Washington University and wrote an article describing Twitter’s current predicament. He writes, A few weeks ago, Elon Musk said that ad revenues had fallen 50%. The site has experienced major outages at a higher rate than usual. During one such outage, Elon was laser-focused on the important stuff: reply-guying Jordan Peterson. The Twitter Blue rollout was such a disaster that he fired almost the entire team. Yesterday, he appeared to backtrack on his big plan to revoke legacy checkmarks. Twitter hasn’t been paying rent on its office space. It recently tried Read More ›

flat-design-cartoon-world-book-day-illustration-open-book-with-stories-coming-out-of-the-pages-ai-generated-stockpack-adobe-stock
Flat design cartoon World Book Day illustration. Open book with stories coming out of the pages. AI generated

Roald Dahl is Safe (For Now)

How long until making revisions turns into full-blown censorship, and what impact will that have on the creative arts?

Publishers decided last week to revise certain aspects of beloved author Roald Dahl’s books, like James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They said the decision was intended to make Dahl’s books more inclusive. The decision sparked controversy and outrage in the literary community, and now, Penguin Random House has changed their minds and will preserve the original texts. ABC reported: The updates to Dahl’s works under Penguin had meant to be more inclusive, progressive and more acceptable to today’s readers. Phrases like ‘mothers and fathers’ in Dahl’s ‘Matilda,’ first published in 1988, could have been replaced with ‘parents’ while some descriptions of ‘fat’ characters could have been edited or removed entirely. Description of women’s jobs Read More ›

white glove stage
Hand in a white glove pulling curtain away

Google: Rank Censorship Behind the Scenes

We live under a state of highly sophisticated and ubiquitous suppression of disfavored voices

One year ago today (January 1st, 2022) we saw behind the curtain at Google. With vast information scattered across a billion websites, whoever controls the search algorithm largely controls information. And if Google.com were a stage, the spotlight is centered squarely on the first result, with some ambient light spilling onto a few supporting roles. The second page results are essentially extras, unlikely to catch the attention of the audience at all. About 25% of web searchers click that first result. Another 50% follow one of the next half-dozen. A scant 6% will ever make it to the second page.* If your breaking news, breakthrough product, or bold opinion piece isn’t in a starring role on that first page, it will languish Read More ›

Smart TV in living room
Video on demand service on smart TV

HBO Max Cuts Cigarette from Iconic Movie Poster

Modern tech gives entertainment companies the power to “retro-edit” material. How far could it go?

Last week, HBO Max, the Warner Bros.-owned TV streaming platform, cut more than just their costs — they’re cutting back on cigarettes too. Disneyland used to Photoshop out cigarettes in portraits of Walt Disney: https://t.co/7n3oBWzMI7 pic.twitter.com/zP58u8xBG5 — PetaPixel (@petapixel) October 12, 2016 Keen observers noticed that HBO Max removed the cigarillo from the iconic movie poster from “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.” Now, McCabe is awkwardly holding up two fingers with no smoking device in hand. They also scrubbed cigarettes from several other film posters, including “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “There Was a Crooked Man,” “Fallen Angels,” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” HBO hasn’t yet disclosed its reasoning for the cuts. Maybe they thought people 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 ›

birds-eye-view-photography-of-cloudy-sky-stockpack-unsplash
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 ›

Elon_Musk_at_a_Press_Conference

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 Read More ›

youtube videos
Futuristic portable device and many pictures.

YouTube Suspends News Show for Reporting on Misinformation

The show's host has accused YouTube of failing to "distinguish between misinformation and reporting"

Last week, YouTube suspended a popular daily news show from The Hill for including in its reporting footage of former President Donald Trump repeating the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, a claim that violates YouTube’s policies on misinformation. The co-hosts of the show have criticized the suspension, arguing that the policy, as enforced, is a threat to journalism on YouTube. One of the co-hosts posted about it on Twitter: Robby Soave and Ryan Grim co-host Rising, a daily morning news show for The Hill, one of the country’s leading political newspapers. Last week, they discovered that their channel had been temporarily suspended based on two videos that the show posted that had violated YouTube’s policies. The Read More ›

People group having addicted fun together using smartphones - De

It’s Time for a Public Conversation About Social Media Companies

A company whose platform is built on the backs of content creators owes some responsibilities to those creators

Amid the ongoing cancel culture that is rampant among social media companies, there is a large undercurrent of people who say things like, “These are private companies, and they can do what they want.” The idea behind this is that social media companies do not owe you their product, and that is not of harm to you, the consumer. Especially since you are not paying for their product, why should they have to listen to you? To see why this thinking is flawed, we need to think back to the history of these platforms and what is needed to make them work. Why is anyone on Facebook or Twitter at all? Because that is where everyone else is. To be Read More ›

comment like share
Social media concept.

New York Senate Tries To Shut Down Misinformation on Social Media

The introduction of the bill raises concerns about government's intrusion into the freedom of speech online

In December, a bill was presented in the New York State Senate that would attempt to hold social media companies responsible for their role in circulating incitements to violence, incitements to self-harm, and misinformation.  Introduced by Democratic/Working Families Party Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, the legislation would empower the state’s Attorney General to bring an action against any social media company that allows for the circulation of content that incites violence or that “includes a false statement of fact or fraudulent medical theory…”. No person, by conduct either unlawful in itself or unreasonable under all the circumstances, shall knowingly or recklessly create, maintain or contribute to a condition in New York state that endangers the safety or health of the public through Read More ›