Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

TagTechnocracy

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Transhumanism—Is It a Dangerous Idea?

Some Silicon Valley greats hope to merge with machines to live forever. But what then?

The late philosopher Jerry Fodor (1935—2017) said that the reason “we’re all materialists” is that the alternatives seem even worse. Transhumanism, had he lived to see it develop, would give him pause for further reflection. 

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Ray Kurzweil presenting via teleconference at COSM 2019

Tech pioneer Ray Kurzweil: We Will Merge with Computers by 2045

For computers, “Even the very best human is just another notch to pass,” he told the COSM Technology Summit

Advocates point to the success of Kurzweil’s past predictions as evidence that his Singularity is indeed Near, as his 2005 book predicts or Nearer, as his forthcoming one (June 2020) does. But questions bubbled to the surface.

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Wall Street Journal columnist to Big Tech: You are doomed

Companies like Google and Facebook aren’t monsters, says Andy Kessler, but each nourishes the seeds of its own destruction

Kessler told his audience at the COSM National Technology Summit that Big Tech companies are so vulnerable that, for legal reasons, the United States is the only safe place for their headquarters.

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Tech Entrepreneur Peter Thiel says Silicon Valley is losing its touch

Peter Thiel also compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst

About the Big Tech companies, he says, “The story is not that they have done a lot of bad things but that they have not done enough good things. That remains the core challenge of Silicon Valley.”

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Whistleblower: Google Told Cops To Do a “Wellness Check” on Him

He can be seen doing a sort of perp walk on the video; some portions transcribed here

In the documents Vorhies unearthed,  Google seemed to be "intending to scope the information landscape so that they could create their own version of what was objectively true."

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Can Computer Algorithms Be Free of Bias?

Bias is inevitable but it should be recognized and admitted

Gregory Coppola’s revelations about Google’s politically biased search engine shone a spotlight on how algorithms are written.

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Silicon Valley’s Strange, Apocalyptic Cult

Key Valley figures hope to beat death the transhumanist way. Oh, by the way, YOU are doomed

Everything has a history, including Silicon Valley. According to a new media theorist, an influential Valley philosophy might underlie the current attitudes, values, and beliefs: There is a Silicon Valley religion, and it’s one that doesn’t particularly care for people — at least not in our present form. Technologists may pretend to be led by a utilitarian, computational logic devoid of superstition, but make no mistake: There is a prophetic belief system embedded in the technologies and business plans coming out of Google, Uber, Facebook, and Amazon, among others. Douglas Rushkoff, “The Anti-Human Religion of Silicon Valley” at Medium In an excerpt from his new book, Team Human (2019), Rushkoff traces the history to a post-Cold War collaboration centered on Read More ›

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Exporting and Securing Technologies of Today and Tomorrow

U.S. Export Control and Research Espionage

Technology is vital in commerce and war. Corporations spend billions in development and don’t want to get ripped off. Technology and AI, more than ever, determine military superiority. What are the laws that protect technology and how are they enforced? Show Notes 01:20 | Introduction; Daniel M. Ogden, J.D. 03:06 | Reasons for protected technology 04:00 | Determining what needs Read More ›

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AI: Think About Ethics Before Trouble Arises

A machine learning specialist reflects on Micah 6:8 as a guide to developing ethics for the rapidly growing profession
To love mercy sometimes means to give up efficiency. It could mean losing a few points of model accuracy by refusing to take into account features that invade privacy or are proxies for race, leading to discriminatory model behavior. But that’s OK. The merciful are willing to give up some of their rights and advantages so they can help others.   Read More ›
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AI and the Future of Murder

If I kill you but upload your mind into an android, did I murder you or just modify you?
The sci-fi TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013– ) tackled this question in an episode titled “Self Control”.  Scientist Holden Radcliffe has an android assistant appropriately named Aida (Artificial Intelligence Digital Assistant). Together, they build a virtual world that people could be plugged into and uploaded into, called The Framework. Read More ›
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Google.com or Google.gov?

A political analyst argues that Google is beginning to mesh with governments whose values are compatible with its own.
Readers who follow the growing controversies over the free flow of information will find much to reflect on in Adams’s long-form discussion of how Google shapes the search for information in the pursuit of its social goals. Read More ›
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Is social media the best communications tool that ever happened?

The worst communications tool that ever happened? Or something less comfortable than either?
We hear all three views aired frequently these days, along with many prescriptions for reform. Some sound the alarm over the success of political movements they disagree with and long for more control Read More ›
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The End of Human Drama

Part 3: Yuval Harari on the end of democracy, volition, religion, and art?

In this third part of their reflection on Yuval Harari’s Atlantic piece anticipating technology’s march toward tyranny, Jay Richards and Robert J. Marks discuss the many assumptions therein. At the root of these speculations is an overestimation of the power of information processing systems and an underestimation of the human ability to be the true governors of their creations, not their docile “pets”. Harari rightly points to a better understanding of the mind as the way forward, but fails to appreciate its true nature, resulting in a dismal prognosis for art, religion, and democracy. Read More ›

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Peaceful code of conduct sparks rage in Silicon Valley

Hi tech firm’s code, based on ancient monks’ practice, deemed “just disgusting”
Whether or not the Rule of St. Benedict is suited to a high tech workplace, the strategy of frightening or policing people out of bad behavior implies low expectations. One thing it means is, there will be many more news stories about harassment to come. Read More ›
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George Gilder explains what’s wrong with “Google Marxism”

In discussion with Mark Levin, host of Life, Liberty & Levin
Gilder: Marx’s great error, his real mistake, was to imagine that the industrial revolution of the 19th century, all those railways and “dark, satanic mills” and factories and turbine and the beginning of electricity represented the final human achievement in productivity so in the future what would matter is not the creation of wealth but the redistribution of wealth. Read More ›
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Google Powering China’s Snoop Culture

They’ve suppressed the memo but can’t suppress the uproar around it
It may at first seem deeply ironic that a Silicon Valley ostensibly committed to liberal values would help to unleash this storm. But a political analyst carefully traces the growth in its enthusiasm for “smart government,” using the tools of information technology for social engineering. Read More ›
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Twitter doesn’t just seem out of control

It actually is.
Social media may be changing the world more than we think. And we may need some social leadership in fighting back against Twitter mobs. It probably won’t emerge from within because bullies are usually cowards. Read More ›
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Silicon Valley grew old before it grew up

By April of this year, 100 employees were complaining about the Google groupthink
Quip making the rounds: Would you trust a self-driving car from Google? Answer: Sure, if I needed a car that decided for me where I should go and then just drove me there. Read More ›
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Imagining Life after Google

Reviewers of George Gilder's new book weigh in

If we have simply taken the big software, hardware, and social media companies who dominate our lives for granted, the reactions from the business world to Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy should give us a lot to think about.

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Silicon Valley as a Colonial Power

Irish writer asks us to look more carefully at claims about “liberation”
The social media companies will force us to define ourselves over against the specifications of our would-be programmers. And say what you want about the conflict, it will never be dull. Read More ›