Artificial Idiocracy

Autumn – Wk 3: AI at the Vatican | Deepfakes For Less | Idiotic Chatbots | Surveillance State Superstars | Happiness is a Warm Electrode

AI at the Vatican

In 2019, the Vatican hosted an event that highlighted the message of The transHuman Code, written by Carlos Moreira. At a glance, the book appears to be a defense of human dignity in the face of all-pervasive technocracy. But looks can be deceiving.

Given the intentions of Big Tech—in both Silicon Valley and China—to create artificial general intelligence, replace human workers with robots, and enshroud our minds in a virtual world, I suspect that Moreira is either being naive or disingenuous.

The author’s counsel to “adapt” to transhumanist culture strikes me as peaceful surrender.

During the Vatican event, Moreira, a cybersecurity expert, gave a shout out to the Davos crowd who’d recently joined him at the World Economic Forum. He then explained that during a recent visit to China, where he was working with the CCP, he was convinced that artificial intelligence is a dangerous genie let out of the bottle.

Why would the Vatican host such an event?

Last year, as the Great Reset was well underway, Pope Francis called for Catholics to pray for artificial intelligence:

“Robotics can make a better world possible if it is joined to the common good. ... Let us pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind. ... We could say, may it ‘be human.’”

That last bit is ambiguous.

Did he mean that AI should serve humans?

Or that robots should become human?

Maybe both.

Perpetual doubt is just part of the New Normal.

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Deepfakes For Less

Yesterday, CBS reported “Deepfake technology could soon allow anyone to create Hollywood-quality visual effects.” The CBS headline reminded me of a piece I published last March.

It aged well! Maybe too well...

Golden oldie: "This App Will Soon Unleash Deepfake Videos That Can Frame Anyone” — in The Federalist

MetaHuman Creator lets any dummy create deepfakes for fun. Before long, only a fool will believe anything he sees online.

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Just as Pro Tools gave burnouts the power to make techno, or PhotoShop let perverts alter celebrity images, soon anyone with a decent laptop will be able to generate a deepfake. It’s gonna be hilarious—at first.

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Ultimately, this software will democratize deepfakes. It starts with innocent pranks, and ends in international scandals. As the fakes pile up, normal people will increasingly approach media with schizoid skepticism—a trend well underway. Any video evidence a person wants to ignore can be dismissed as a “deepfake.”

The inevitable explosion of phony content will also strengthen our self-designated “legitimate news sources” as the sole arbiters of what is real. If it gets bad enough, we might need a federal Reality Czar to sort it all out.

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MetaHumans Creator is part of a natural progression. Digital humans will thrive in an era of fake news, fake revolutions, fake insurrections, fake photos with invented quotes, fake memes with bogus statistics, fake hate crimes, fake bosoms, fake smiles, fake miracles, and an endless parade of phony celebrities. It was a short jump from Patty Duke to Philip K. Dick, and even shorter to presidential deepfakes.

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Perpetual doubt is just part of the New Normal.

...

Read the whole thing THERE


Idiotic Chatbots

Also yesterday — ZeroHedge reported “Singapore Drops AI Chatbot After Giving Inappropriate Advice About COVID”:

Dubbed "Jamie," the AI chatbot uses Natural Language Processing engine to figure out questions asked by the public.

Things recently took a turn for the worse when the chatbot left some residents in disbelief by its answers about family planning advice when asked about the virus.

An example...shows one user asking the AI chatbot, "My son tested covid positive what should I do?"

The chatbot responded:

"You should practice safe sex through the correct and consistent use of condoms, or abstinence, for at least the whole duration of your female partner's pregnancy."

Read the whole thing THERE

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Surveillance State Superstars

My latest: “How Mass Tech Surveillance Could Turn Us All Into Britney Spears” — in The Federalist

News reports about Britney Spears being a one-woman surveillance state are troubling on many levels. A recent New York Times investigation uncovered the details. According to a whistleblower, the pop star’s father monitored her every move, then used that information to manipulate or directly control her. This was done under the guise of a court-ordered conservatorship and implemented by Black Box, a private security firm.

The public was shocked by the degree of invasion Spears endured. But considering how thoroughly each of us is digitally tagged, tracked, and fed into the algorithmic mill, her story should be all too familiar. The only difference is, for the moment we still have a choice.

If fans in the “Free Britney” crowd are correct, then her spying father exploited and abused his own daughter for profit. It’s a warped phenomenon, difficult for normal people to imagine, but all too common in the entertainment industry. Then again, even if Britney’s father hacked her smartphone, tracked her boyfriends, and bugged her bedroom for the singer’s own good, the entire scenario is still sickening.

The desire for privacy is intrinsic to human nature. Most of us enjoy the sense we’re organic creatures exploring the world, our secrets known only to a forgiving God and the infernal Accuser. Few want to live in a prying digital landscape that’s secretly exploring us. …

Read the rest THERE


Happiness is a Warm Electrode

Latest article: “Sad? UCSF Scientists Implant Brain Chip to Make You Happy” — in Salvo

Melancholy is part of the human condition. Neural implants can fix that.

A 36 year-old woman who suffered from life-long depression, known only as “Sarah,” appears to have been cured by a digital brain implant. Unable to alleviate her chronic sadness with counseling or pills, she became the first person to overcome the trance of sorrow through transhumanist innovation.

Deep sadness is as old as attachment and loss. Jacob was inconsolable when he thought his son Joseph had been devoured by a wild animal. Gilgamesh called on every creature to mourn when his best friend Enkidu succumbed to an illness sent by the gods. This emotional vulnerability, oftentimes fatal in itself, extends out into the entire mammalian world. The Buddha called it dukka, or “suffering.”

Even sea turtles cry when they crawl out on land. Biologists say the tears merely protect their eyes, but who knows? Maybe it’s heartbroken turtles all the way down.

Soon, we may finally be free. In a purely material world—bereft of miracles, spiritual enlightenment, or divine grace—modern medicine offers better living through brain chips. …

Read the whole thing THERE


NOTE: A gracious reader pointed out a promising open loop implant trial for depression from 2014. The trial didn't pass muster—statistically—but at least one woman, Liss Murphy, kept the wires in long-term.

Coincidentally, in her column about her experience, Murphy notes that the surgery occurred on 6/6/06.

What are the odds?

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