TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Robots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robots. Show all posts

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Coronavirus: The Human Rights of People in Quarantine


Woman gets forced intro Quarantine, gets put into a box and begins screaming. (6 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube. Anons put up an online poll: "Do you really think this is a mobile kill box?" The results at time of writing of those polled (roughly 160 respondents) were 50-50.

Once you are admitted to hospital for any major concern, you begin to lose fundamental rights over your physical security. Medical staff can abuse their authority, and cannot easily be held accountable, because the outcomes of their recommended courses of treatment lie in a grey area, based on their professional judgement. When hospital staff in Wuhan, China have worked so valiantly, let us not say that medics intend to cause harm; indeed, they are sworn not to do so.


Hospitals in coronavirus-hit Wuhan use medicine delivery robots (1 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

However, doctors are socially conditioned within a professional culture to follow certain decision-making processes, which prioritize and justify rigorous, dictated courses of action, especially in times of stress. They are allowed to make life and death choices, based on hypothesized consensuses about likelihoods and percentages. Institutional and professional safeguards protect them from being externally scrutinized. Hospital staff face an internal professional checklist of accountability; but after that, the decision-making process is allowed to run its course.

Drug contracts and scientific research allow further blurring of boundaries around what is considered physically harmful and what is not. Medical staff can be trained so that they may not even have the rational or emotional space left within their world view to reevaluate their judgement calls, given what is practically necessary, and bearable costwise, for the good of all.

There are philosophical shortcomings in any professional culture because the intensive training required must cut out large areas of knowledge beyond immediate specialties. In this case, medical school does not have time to turn doctors into monks. Those on a scientific research track with corporate or military contracts will be even more loyal to an abstract morality, underscored by pretty basic motivations. What matters - as we saw with the recently-arrested Harvard professor Dr. Charles Lieber - is that researchers score their funding.


This is the reality for medical professionals and scientists who do their best and really care about their jobs. As for hospital staff who secretly do not mean well, the medical environment offers plenty of room for abuse. It is a model for covert, finely-tuned coercion. Moral attitude and corresponding medical approaches and choices made by doctors can mean the difference between life and death for patients. You can see a Vox investigation on how different hospitals respond to infections here, with results mapped onto a map of the United States here. This is the case at the best of times, when things are running normally.

The Chinese physician, Dr. Li Wenliang tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus with his former medical school classmates on WeChat social media. Shortly after, he was harassed by the police and forced to sign a state gag order. Eight doctors in all were arrested and intimidated. Dr. Li then came down with the virus and died on 6 February 2020. Image Source: CNN.

Now imagine a raging pandemic, with an overarching authoritarian political system, from which the medics take their orders. And if these hospital staff will not cooperate and obey certain dictates because those orders violate their Hippocratic Oaths, they may be crushed by the very apparatus they agreed to serve. They may coincidentally succumb to the virus themselves, and be hospitalized, and tragically die. As the wheel of coercion turns, doctors will become as vulnerable as patients. Independently-minded doctors will lose their authority, and will be replaced by colleagues and military medics who will do as they are told. I am not saying that this is what is generally happening; I am saying this potential exists.


In China, we are seeing smartphone footage of people being scooped up into vans and being driven away for quarantine against their will. While this may be merely an insensitive or inhumane way to enforce containment measures in an out-of-control pandemic, there is a lot of room for abuse of this practice. Beyond fear of infection, there may be other reasons why the woman in the video at the top of this post started screaming.


Where is the secondary level of authority to check the decisions of the HAZMAT-suited men who collected the screaming woman? Was she really infected? How would we know? She has just lost all personal autonomy and could die and be erased without a trace. Just in case you thought this was about public health, take note that top party members in the Chinese system are not subject to the same indignities and threats by quarantine checkers on the streets.




It will not be long before citizen journalists and politically inconvenient people could be spirited away and 'disappear,' with no way of checking what has happened to them. The Chinese government is burning bodies, and not keeping records of all who die. The government is also not necessarily categorizing all those who die as having coronavirus. In new Chinese quarantine facilities, some new hospital wards look like maximum security prisons. Other areas look like there is no quarantine at all, as patients are herded together into mass dormitories.

New hospitals are not hospitals: they have no medical equipment, no medicine, no medical staff available in the quarantine building in Wuhan: WUHAN Huge quarantine area. (6 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.


NTD claims that the new Chinese 'super-fast' hospitals are a "black hole" of information; these facilities could easily use unvetted experimental treatments on patients, who have no way of escaping:
"U.S.–based China affairs commentator Jingyuan Tang said with the new military-controlled hospital, even such anecdotal evidence would be hard to come by.

'All of the medical staff will be from the military,' Tang said, 'In that case, all the data and information in the hospital could become a military secret. The outside won’t know it. The internal staff won’t disclose it. Because whoever did so could be charged with disclosing military information and could be sent to military courts.'

'It’s like a black hole. People on the outside won’t know how many patients went in there—won’t know how many people have disappeared,' he said.

The human rights records of China’s military-run hospitals are not reassuring. Multiple former physicians have disclosed the presence of illegal organ transplantation and trade inside China’s military hospitals. One physician said the phenomena were 'common.'"
The new Wuhan hospital is staffed and patrolled by the Chinese army. Isolation cells have bars outside the windows and locks on the outside of patients' doors. People who resist going into quarantine off the street are now being arrested and taken there by force. There are unconfirmed rumours of rioting in Wuhan.




Man not wanting to go into quarantine tries to escape (5 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

If you are outside China and think, 'it couldn't happen here,' notice that in east and west alike, quarantine facilities are being set up at military bases. No one questions this. They think it's a good idea! This is a very dangerous course of events, and Amnesty International should be monitoring and taking action on this trend. You can see Amnesty's info page on the coronavirus here; under the circumstances, it needs expansion and deeper consideration.






It doesn't take much imagination to understand why those being carted off to quarantines are suddenly frightened. A female Austrian patient escaped a hospital in Salzburg and fled home at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, 5 February 2020, causing local panic.

CORONAVIRUS AUS CHINA: Nach Tests - Zwei Rückkehrer sind infiziert (2 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Coronavirus: DW spricht mit Rückkehrer in Quarantäne | DW Deutsch (4 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Meanwhile, on the officially derided, racist, and discredited site 4chan, /pol/ anons argued over whether quarantines in Germany and on cruise ships off the coasts of Japan and Hong Kong are being used as experiments. They suspect that non-Chinese scientific researchers are trying to determine the true nature and spread rate of the virus, given that the Chinese government is concealing true numbers; the anons were unsure as to how long the virus could survive on physical surfaces:
"HOLY SHIT. MY mind just blew into bits.

German citizen were brought back to Germany. There are a few tv reports about it and I really didn't get it why they split all the people into 4 separate groups and let each group have a communal area.

Germany is doing fucking research on living fucking human beings. I know it will save lives and I too want to know the R0 and mortality rate but HOW THE FUCK is this even legal?

They tested everyone and knew the result within hours and placed sick people among healthy ones in 4 separate groups and they are watching the distance between them, how fast they show symptoms, how sick they get etc All people have to go to the doctor daily for checks.

WHAT IN THE FUCK. I NEVER THOUGHT they would do that. HOLY SHIT."
The response from a German anon:
"Yeah. Who would have thought that Germans could be capable of something like that, huh?"

Rumours about German quarantine facilities describe one clothes washing machine per quarantined person. Image Source: 4chan.

A Swiss anon responded in several posts:
"Another hint. Each person in the quarantine is getting his own wash machine.

This fucker of a virus seems to survive in clothes! Remember the Chinese are disinfecting the roads and buildings and we all were wondering why.

A normal virus doesn't survive on objects and non living surfaces. It looks like if you sweat you contaminate the fucking textiles!! And they are telling us that packages from China are fucking safe!

... We are talking sweat and Airborne contaminating textiles. So if you walk out with your precious mask and goggles and you walk back home you contaminate your entire home. 
So even if you have a bug out home in the mountains, you would need to strip naked 100meters before your home considering the wind direction, walk into your home, have a few showers, get dressed and go back out and burn your old stuff you took off. 
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THAT THING."

A Finnish anon commented:
"I have a feeling they're doing this kind of testing with the cruise ships too. It makes zero sense keeping people locked up together by the thousands on a ship like that. They're all guaranteed to get infected. I guess they're trying to see how a disease would spread in high population density areas.

Ship is a pretty good comparison to an apartment complex in one of those high population countries, like India, Japan or China"

And an American anon:
"My exact thoughts. They can learn the true rate of spread with this ship. Also, monitor human behavior meaning when you tell them to self quarantine, stay away from others....and they just can't do it. They get out of rooms, chit chat with neighbors, etc. The cruise ship is a great experiment since we will never know exactly what is going on in China or if numbers are real."

ADDENDUM (6 February 2020): A leaked video shows life inside the quarantine zone in Wuhan. Fairly quiet markets, but there are fights at the grocery stores. Frightened people resist removal into quarantine facilities.

INSIDE WUHAN VIDEO LEAK :17 HOURS AGO (6 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

ADDENDUM (6 February 2020): Chen Qiushi, the well-known citizen journalist in Wuhan, has gone missing.

Chen Qiushi, Wuhan's best known citizen journalist. Image Source: Quartz.

Chinese reporter Qiushi Chen has gone missing from r/Coronavirus



See all my posts on Epidemics here and here.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Coronavirus: The Bird Flu, HIV, Nanotech, and 5G Connections


Image Source: Twitter.

Most of the latest reports on the coronavirus deal with the genome researchsymptoms, spread, and recovery and death rates of the virus. A scary, non-peer-reviewed article (here), based on clinical data coming out of China, places the Ro at 4.08!

There is a growing emotional toll in the quarantined zones. Some complaints by Chinese locals are reaching social media, as with this man, who leaked footage from Wuhan hospitals and was arrested - or this woman, who lost one or more family members. The translation and commentary on her video are here. Popular dissatisfaction with the Chinese Communist Party is brewing, even as the Wuhan coronavirus hospitals are nearing completion.

Unconfirmed: Wuhan Hubei China Coronavirus Latest | What's Going On? | Video Footage Dump/Archive Part 5 武汉冠状病毒 (1 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube. More leaked videos here and here.

Translation: "RFA said (in a translated tweet): '[Latest Situation of Wuhan Fifth Hospital] Some Wuhan citizens entered Wuhan Fifth Hospital on February 1st and found many patients who died of pneumonia. The corpses were packed directly to the crematorium. Paramedics are busy rescuing the dying patient.'"










Bird Flu in Hunan Province

At the same time, in Hunan province, south of Wuhan's Hubei province, there has been an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu; over 17,000 chickens were slaughtered at one farm to stop the spread of the virus.


Bat Flu: HIV and Henipah (Hendra-Nipah) Virus Connections


An Indian team has linked this version of the bat-sourced and snake-sourced coronavirus to HIV; the non-peer-reviewed paper is here. The results have not yet been reproduced elsewhere. Researchers have generally focused on bats in this field because they can carry several deadly viruses without dying: Ebola, SARS, Nipah, and the coronavirus.

Incidentally, there is a small Nipah virus outbreak in India and Bangladesh now, due to local consumption of raw fruit juices contaminated with infected bat urine.

Other quarters have linked this novel coronavirus to SARS and Ebola. This may explain why HIV and Ebola therapies are being used on infected patients who have the coronavirus. A failed Ebola drug (Remdesivir) may be implemented to treat the coronavirus.

The Henipah virus was shipped with Ebola from the Canadian Winnipeg National Microbiology Laboratory to Beijing on 31 March 2019. Protocols were ignored (CBC later claimed protocols were followed) in the virus transfer and promoted an RCMP investigation. Note that the Chinese researcher, Xiangguo Qiu, at the centre of this controversy was dismissed in Winnipeg, but not charged. She helped develop ZMapp, the Ebola vaccine.

This rumour arises amid crackdowns on social media "misinformation." On 27 January 2020, the CBC published a weird story denying any wrong-doing on the part of this scientist, despite an earlier article stating she was under investigation. The CBC's larger concern seems to be that the Winnipeg story will lead to public distrust of authority and Sinophobic racism. They interviewed Fuyuki Kurasawa, director of the Global Digital Citizenship Lab at York University:
"The broader damage is that there grows a mistrust toward both government authorities, public health officials, the media, authoritative sources of media, and there there becomes a social media environment where speculation, rumour and conspiracy theories take over and wash out the factual information that is being promoted online."
This hand-wringing over misinformation and racism on social media simply muddies the waters. It pushes authoritative discourse management and identity politics without really getting to the bottom of what happened last year between the Winnipeg lab and Chinese labs.

Nor does the MSM crackdown on the alt-media rule out a bioengineered virus, which passed through the wet market of Wuhan, but did not originate there. There is something very strange going on and it is obvious that the public are not being told the whole truth.

Unconfirmed: Wuhan Coronavirus Pneumonia - Chaos at a hospital in Wuhan (1 February 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

If the virus is a bioweapon, medical staff and researchers must be informed. If it is a bioweapon and they are not informed, then we can only conclude that the deaths which ensue are deliberately caused.

Only one conspiracy theory site I have seen connects the coronavirus to the Nipah virus. The same site stated that the Chinese Hongmen (洪門), also known as the 'Heaven and Earth' secret society, have vowed to hunt down and kill any engineers of the coronavirus, if it was indeed engineered. You can see videos depicting the Hongmen, here, and immediately below.

Chinese Secret Society [Heaven and Earth Society] | Real Stories | THE SHIFT (21 March 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Espionage and Nanotech

What is less discussed, or outright denied, is the potential of bio-espionage. Buzzfeed is one of the American online outlets currently condemning Zero Hedge for doxxing of one of the scientists at the Wuhan lab over this possibility. The Guardian also absolutely denied that the virus is a bioweapon, based on a Washington Post survey of "expert" opinions.


Nevertheless, bioweapons and bio-espionage do exist and it is fair to ask if they are a factor in this epidemic. It is easy to deny the possibility based on lack of evidence. Obviously, intelligence agencies operate secretly by definition. They are not going to provide evidence to the press and public.

In 2017, CNN reported that a bioweapons danger came from China's ally, North Korea. In response, the Trump administration formulated a National Biodefense Strategy in 2018, to be administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services. You can read the 2018 strategy statement, here.

Press Briefing with Members of the President's Coronavirus Task Force (31 January 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

The coronavirus epidemic unfolds against a backdrop of Chinese spies running amok globally. Harvard Professor Charles Lieber was just arrested in relation to his activities in Wuhan (and will be freed on USD $1 million bail). The Chinese paid Lieber USD $50,000 per month plus USD $1.5 million to set up a lab in Wuhan. Lieber is also an expert on nanotechnology.

The Lieber arrest prompted the social media conspiracist Joseph P. Farrell to ask grimly if there was a connection between nanotech development and bioweapons.

Even China's Thousand Talents Plan, which funds and recruits foreign scientists, does not prove that the coronavirus has anything to do with bioweapons or bio-espionage. Neither does a recent arrest over attempted Chinese smuggling of biological materials at Boston University. However, the links below confirm a general situation in which many individuals, countries and corporations are fending off, or falling under the sway of, Chinese intelligence.


5G, Drones, Surveillance


Drones are flying over Chinese communities, checking that people are wearing their masks. There is an online rumour that 5G was rolled out in Wuhan first as a test city, and that 5G causes virus-like symptoms and depresses immune systems. The MSM have denied this possibility as misinformation.

Venture Beat and RCR Wireless News were much more optimistic, claiming that 5G-powered gear lets doctors remotely diagnose the virus. In fact, the coronavirus epidemic is a terrific opportunity to test 5G capabilities in the implementation of remote medical treatment:
"Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, 5G’s potential for remote medical services was largely theoretical, as carriers and practitioners spoke of the future prospect of performing remote surgeries or offering diagnoses to patients in far-flung areas. The use of 5G communications to enhance practitioner safety in circumstances such as this, where a virus’ transmission characteristics and other vectors remain unclear, is fairly new but represents a highly practical test of the high-bandwidth wireless technology.

China’s adoption of 5G has outpaced many other countries thanks to a combination of government subsidies and top-down coordination, as well as significant availability of locally produced 5G networking hardware. While domestic companies such as ZTE and Huawei have been restricted or prevented from supplying 5G gear in some countries — a ban that nearly led to ZTE’s collapse in 2018 — their hardware has since enabled Chinese carriers to launch 5G services in somewhere between 30 and 50 cities — no easy feat given the country’s size and population. The country expects to have 5G in every prefecture-level city by the end of this year."
In other words, this disaster is aiding the rapid entrenchment of the new 5G networks, while the notion that that 5G entrenchment might exacerbate health problems associated with the disaster is dismissed as highly speculative.


See all my posts on Epidemics here and here.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Drones, And Rumours of Drones


Residents concerned as FAA investigates mystery Colorado drones (31 December 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

It's like a scene from a 1970s' Spielberg film: Internet chatter among Youtubers indicates that since the third week of December 2019, fleets of drones have been flying at night in "research grid formation" in the United States, "[o]ut west. Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming." Some of these drones have wingspans of six feet and have hovered for hours over small towns. This has provoked a storm of discussion on the legality of drone invasion of airspace over, and even inside, private homes, about which I previously blogged, here.

FAA, other agencies investigating mysterious Colorado drone sightings; remote ID rule proposed (31 December 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

See Spot Run


Mass. State Police Tested Out Boston Dynamics’ Spot The Robot Dog. (26 November 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Boston Dynamics have perfected their robot dog, Spot, which can open doors and enter homes. In April of this year, BD's CEO, Marc Raibert, announced that Spot and another robot, Handle, were coming to the commercial market in 2019.

The Best Robots on Four Legs with Marc Raibert (Boston Dynamics) (19 April 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

In September, Boston Dynamics announced they would begin leasing Spot to select organizations and individuals. The robot dogs are working with were just tested by the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad. The police used the robots in two real life incidents.

In the video below, RT commentator Michael William Lebron, aka Lionel, fears that the robots could begin operating autonomously if their AI control systems were to get out of control.

Police robots designed to be 'cute' and 'familiar' – Lionel (27 November 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Materialist Rhetoric: The Cosmic Indifference of Alien AI Gods


From Alan Moore's Lovecraftian comic, Providence. Image Source: Xataka.

This week, I am selecting vocabulary used by materialists to reveal their long game. Materialism here refers loosely to those who subscribe to secular and scientific values, that is, those who explore the world in the strictly physical sense.

I deconstruct some materialist values here, not to write an anti-scientific or technophobic screed, but to consider alternative approaches toward science and technology. I mean to show here that what we think of as 'rationalism,' 'secularism,' 'materialism,' 'science,' and 'technology' are social constructions, grounded in obsolete, 19th and 20th century modernist concepts of order and madness. I will discuss this historical background in future posts.

Can we build AI without losing control over it? | Sam Harris (19 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

In recent years, several tech leaders have come forward to predict the rise of artificial intelligence. The prediction rests on a definition of intelligence as 'information processing' and 'interactivity,' about which I have blogged here. Developers consider AI 'goal-setting' to be the same thing as human dreaming. The AI vocabulary projects machine processes onto human cognition, and removes the extra-sensory, the anti-materialistic, or any magical thinking that is otherwise undefined in physical terms.

If one adheres to this set of ideas, one removes emotional, moral and ethical concerns from intelligence. One ignores non-linear, lateral, interstitial, and other undefinable elements that are part of the purely human, non-mechanical experience. (Thanks to -D.)

Materialist Proposition 1: Progress is Worship, Expressed through Physical Augmentation of Natural Ability

Quantum Computers - An Altar To An 'Alien god'! Doorway To Other Dimensions And Image Of The Beast! (2 February 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Tech leaders like Geordie Rose, father of marketed quantum computers, adhere to a 19th century vision of 'progress.' They believe that history is an upward story of human and scientific expansion. We must develop bodies, societies and systems which transcend the limits of biology.

ideacity 2019 - Geordie Rose - Synthetic Minds, Cooperation and the Future of Humanity (21 June 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

In this view, the brain is a machine, which we will decode, mechanize and develop with the help of artificial intelligence. Because of its independent functions and the symbiotic assistance it will provide during our brain upgrades, the AI will appear to us like an alien god. Technologists admit this god will destroy our humanity, but that is acceptable, because the god will help one nation get ahead of another in the geopolitical balance of power. That, or the god will cure cancer.

Despite their supposed adherence to logical explanations, these technologists justify themselves through glib asides. They never ask if there is an alternative to 19th century scientific progress. They do not reflect on whether their political biases pose problems for their planning. They never consider whether the nation-state is a dated idea. They never refer to the evolutionary purpose which cancer may serve, about which I have blogged, here and here. They certainly never ask (at least publicly) if there are extra-physical aspects of human cognition, which cannot be simulated. It does not matter if the consequences of technologists' blind spots will result in species-wide slavery. In fact, that is the expected result.

The real question, then, concerns the developers' ambitions. A very small number of humans aim to control the machines that will control the bulk of humankind. XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis remarked:
"Today, a group of 20 individuals empowered by the exponential growing technologies of AI and robotics and computers and networks and eventually nanotechnology can do what only nation states could have done before."
These humans will act, based on their limited intelligence and values. If the story of the AI as alien god is really a story about the ambitions of a tiny group of tech moguls and billionaires, we should identify the real beliefs of this group.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lessons from Building the Outer Brain


The NYT reported that smart assistants can be (re-)programmed by ultrasonic signals, which are inaudible to their owners. Image Source: NYT / Lynn Scurfield.

There have been several headlines about AI and robots in recent weeks. All of them involve a gap between what we want to see in technology (and in ourselves) and what we don't want to see.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Nemesis


Image Source: thebodhitrees.

The creation of AI is a story of humanity. It will end where it begins, with a nemesis that will test humankind. This is because human beings grapple with inner knowing on ever more profound levels, driven by self-engineered crises.

Artificial Intelligence: The Nemesis in the Mirror

Anonymous - This Shocking Footage Should Worry You! (2018-2019) (13 January 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

AI is a big mirror. As Google's Cloud Lead Dr. Fei-Fei Li stated, AI began with the question, "Can machines think?" Engineers began building machines to mimic human thinking, to reason, see, hear, think, move around, manipulate. That was AI's foundational dream. In the 1980s, machine learning was born, followed by deep learning, which is rooted in neuroscience. This young discipline is set to explode, due to the exploitation of big data, harvested from around the globe. Thus, no matter how the machines end up evolving, it is worth asking now what we are doing with AI and why we doing it. There are unconscious human impulses that are informing AI design.

Find your museum Doppelgänger: some people have found themselves in paintings at art museums. Image Source: Kottke / My Modern Met / Davidurbon.

This mirror will test a psychological mode which human beings have used to build, change, create: the obsession with the nemesis, the other, the twin, the Doppelgänger.

The nemesis psychological complex works by externalizing something we cannot manage inside our own natures. Once the thing is externalized, we interact with it to create new ways of understanding and operating in the world. One of my posts, I Will Teach You Infinities, described how the nemesis complex informed the structure of language, because language progressively builds away from the starting point of selfhood, or 'I.'

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Alexa's False Positives



The Verge reported yesterday that Amazon's gadget Echo has a virtual assistant named Alexa which has been laughing at users; it also refuses to obey commands and gives other weird responses. According to reports, the laughing does not sound not Alexa's normal laughter sound files.

Alexa sometimes does this when its owners are lying in their rooms at night in the dark. This "known issue" is due to "false positives" when the machine thinks it has been told to laugh ... maybe.

Amazon stated that they are working on a fix for this.  Some users were skeptical and think that the Amazon is testing the psychological response on social media. Meanwhile, the hashtag #alexalaugh is going viral.

Horrified Amazon Echo Users Say Alexa Has Gone Creepily Insane while Laughing (8 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Wonders of the Millennial World 9: A New Year's Walk on the Beach


Image Source: Boston Magazine.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018. Today, see the creations of Dutch artist Theo Jansen who "demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move -- and even survive -- on their own." (Hat tip: The Outer Light.)

Car commercial: BMW (South Africa). Defining innovation (15 August 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

Jansen creates skeletons which walk by means of wind- and solar power. His latest creation in 2017 was called Strandbeest, or 'Beach Beast.' TEDx explains that Jansen tries to invest his creations with primitive intelligence so that they can act autonomously in their own rudimentary self-interest:
"[The artist] builds large works which resemble skeletons of animals that are able to walk using the wind on the beaches of the Netherlands. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering; in a car company television commercial Jansen says: 'The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.' He strives at equipping his creations with their own intelligence to manage avoiding obstacles, by changing their course when one is detected, such as the sea itself."

Image Source: Web Urbanist.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Of Hauntings and Homelessness



A few years ago, when I was living in England, I walked through a back parking lot behind a grocery store on my way home. There were two vagrants there, sharing a bottle of wine, and I heard them talking:
"I never expected this."
"Expected what?"
"To be brought low."

Image Source: RT.

They are in growing company: in November, 2017, The Guardian reported that one person is homeless out of every 200 people in the UK. In London, one person in every 59 people is homeless! The epidemic is masked by unreported situations, people who are sofa-surfing, people living in their cars. The rot is spreading to London's leafy suburbs. Numbers are similar for the UK's other big cities. In Scotland, one household goes homeless every 19 minutes; over 6,000 children will be homeless on Christmas Day this year; and 184,000 families are one paycheque away from losing their home. This is mainly due to high rents, soaring property taxes, and housing benefit cuts.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Prepare for the Saudi Singularity



I have published a new post (here) at Vocal Media, which argues that the upheavals in Saudi Arabia are symptomatic of a massive shift from economies based on oil, to economies based on the next stage of technology.

I argue that events in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton suggest that the Singularity is coming, but not the way we expected. The Singularity will be commandeered by the Saudis, meaning that the dominant cultural tone of the Singularity will not be California Silicon Valley culture, or Asian culture, or German Tech-Kultur, or even Silicon Britain - or other global cultures you might expect.

Rather, the Singularity will be dominated by Wahhabist Islam.

The situation is far more complex than I have outlined in that Vocal piece; for more details, see James Corbett's summaries below. I don't always agree with Corbett's interpretations and opinions, but he has put together a decent overview of the situation, albeit from an alt-media perspective. He includes reasons why the Crown Prince may not succeed in commandeering the Singularity, much less Saudi Arabia.

Regardless, Corbett recognizes the basic new truth of our lives: Data is the New Oil. Erected before us like an unavoidable totem, this truth is not just economic or technological. Despite the scientific bent of technology, I maintain that the primary impact of this truth will be cultural and especially religious. We are at the exact moment that will determine which culture dominates and shapes the post-carbon era of the Singularity, related technocratic governments, and their official religions.

The Saudi Purge is a Global Crisis (17 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Why Big Oil Conquered The World (6 October 2017). Video Source: Youtube

How Big Oil Conquered the World (27 December 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Data is the New Oil (24 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube