Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Artificial Intelligence' is associated with 2 posts.

FTR #968 Summoning the Demon: Technocratic Fascism and Artificial Intelligence

The title of this program comes from pronouncements by tech titan Elon Musk, who warned that, by developing artificial intelligence, we were “summoning the demon.” In this program, we analyze the potential vector running from the use of AI to control society in a fascistic manner to the evolution of the very technology used for that control.

The ultimate result of this evolution may well prove catastrophic, as forecast by Mr. Emory at the end of L-2 (recorded in January of 1995.)

We begin by reviewing key aspects of the political context in which artificial intelligence is being developed. Note that, at the time of this writing and recording, these technologies are being crafted and put online in the context of the anti-regulatory ethic of the GOP/Trump administration.

At the SXSW event, Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford gave a speech about her work titled “Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fascism,” the presentation highlighted the social impact of machine learning and large-scale data systems. The take home message? By delegating powers to Bid Data-driven AIs, those AIs could become fascist’s dream: Incredible power over the lives of others with minimal accountability: ” . . . .’This is a fascist’s dream,’ she said. ‘Power without accountability.’ . . . .”

Taking a look at the future of fascism in the context of AI, Tay, a “bot” created by Microsoft to respond to users of Twitter was taken offline after users taught it to–in effect–become a Nazi bot. It is noteworthy that Tay can only respond on the basis of what she is taught. In the future, technologically accomplished and willful people like the brilliant, Ukraine-based Nazi hacker and Glenn Greenwald associate Andrew Auerenheimer, aka “weev” may be able to do more. Inevitably, Underground Reich elements will craft a Nazi AI that will be able to do MUCH, MUCH more!

As one Twitter user noted, employing sarcasm: “Tay went from “humans are super cool” to full nazi in <24 hrs and I’m not at all concerned about the future of AI.”

As noted in a Popular Mechanics article: ” . . . When the next pow­er­ful AI comes along, it will see its first look at the world by look­ing at our faces. And if we stare it in the eyes and shout “we’re AWFUL lol,” the lol might be the one part it doesn’t understand. . . .”

According to some recent research, the AI’s of the future might not need a bunch of 4chan to fill the AI with human bigotries. The AIs’ analysis of real-world human language usage will do that automatically.

When you read about people like Elon Musk equating artificial intelligence with “summoning the demon”, that demon is us, at least in part. ” . . . . However, as machines are getting closer to acquiring human-like language abilities, they are also absorbing the deeply ingrained biases concealed within the patterns of language use, the latest research reveals. Joanna Bryson, a computer scientist at the University of Bath and a co-author, said: ‘A lot of people are saying this is showing that AI is prejudiced. No. This is showing we’re prejudiced and that AI is learning it.’ . . .”

Cambridge Analytica, and its parent company SCL, specialize in using AI and Big Data psychometric analysis on hundreds of millions of Americans in order to model individual behavior. SCL develops strategies to use that information, and manipulate search engine results to change public opinion (the Trump campaign was apparently very big into AI and Big Data during the campaign).

Individual social media users receive messages crafted to influence them, generated by the (in effect) Nazi AI at the core of this media engine, using Big Data to target the individual user!

As the article notes, not only are Cambridge Analytica/SCL are using their propaganda techniques to shape US public opinion in a fascist direction, but they are achieving this by utilizing their propaganda machine to characterize all news outlets to the left of Brietbart as “fake news” that can’t be trusted.

In short, the secretive far-right billionaire (Robert Mercer), joined at the hip with Steve Bannon, is running multiple firms specializing in mass psychometric profiling based on data collected from Facebook and other social media. Mercer/Bannon/Cambridge Analytica/SCL are using Nazified AI and Big Data to develop mass propaganda campaigns to turn the public against everything that isn’t Brietbartian by convincing the public that all non-Brietbartian media outlets are conspiring to lie to the public.

This is the ultimate Serpent’s Walk scenario–a Nazified Artificial Intelligence drawing on Big Data gleaned from the world’s internet and social media operations to shape public opinion, target individual users, shape search engine results and even feedback to Trump while he is giving press conferences!

We note that SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, has been deeply involved with “psyops” in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now, Cambridge Analytica, their Big Data and AI components, Mercer money and Bannon political savvy are applying that to contemporary society. We note that:

1.-Cambridge Analytica’s parent corporation SCL, was deeply involved with “psyops” in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ” . . . But there was another reason why I recognised Robert Mercer’s name: because of his connection to Cambridge Analytica, a small data analytics company. He is reported to have a $10m stake in the company, which was spun out of a bigger British company called SCL Group. It specialises in ‘election management strategies’ and ‘messaging and information operations’, refined over 25 years in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In military circles this is known as ‘psyops’ – psychological operations. (Mass propaganda that works by acting on people’s emotions.) . . .”
2.-The use of millions of “bots” to manipulate public opinion: ” . . . .’It does seem possible. And it does worry me. There are quite a few pieces of research that show if you repeat something often enough, people start involuntarily to believe it. And that could be leveraged, or weaponized for propaganda. We know there are thousands of automated bots out there that are trying to do just that.’ . . .”
3.-The use of Artificial Intelligence: ” . . . There’s nothing accidental about Trump’s behaviour, Andy Wigmore tells me. ‘That press conference. It was absolutely brilliant. I could see exactly what he was doing. There’s feedback going on constantly. That’s what you can do with artificial intelligence. You can measure every reaction to every word. He has a word room, where you fix key words. We did it. So with immigration, there are actually key words within that subject matter which people are concerned about. So when you are going to make a speech, it’s all about how can you use these trending words.’ . . .”
4.-The use of bio-psycho-social profiling: ” . . . Bio-psycho-social profiling, I read later, is one offensive in what is called ‘cognitive warfare’. Though there are many others: ‘recoding the mass consciousness to turn patriotism into collaborationism,’ explains a Nato briefing document on countering Russian disinformation written by an SCL employee. ‘Time-sensitive professional use of media to propagate narratives,’ says one US state department white paper. ‘Of particular importance to psyop personnel may be publicly and commercially available data from social media platforms.’ . . . .”
5.-The use and/or creation of a cognitive casualty: ” . . . . Yet another details the power of a ‘cognitive casualty’ – a ‘moral shock’ that ‘has a disabling effect on empathy and higher processes such as moral reasoning and critical thinking’. Something like immigration, perhaps. Or ‘fake news’. Or as it has now become: ‘FAKE news!!!!’ . . . ”

All of this adds up to a “cyber Serpent’s Walk.” ” . . . . How do you change the way a nation thinks? You could start by creating a mainstream media to replace the existing one with a site such as Breitbart. [Serpent’s Walk scenario with Breitbart becoming “the opinion forming media”!–D.E.] You could set up other websites that displace mainstream sources of news and information with your own definitions of concepts like “liberal media bias”, like CNSnews.com. And you could give the rump mainstream media, papers like the ‘failing New York Times!’ what it wants: stories. Because the third prong of Mercer and Bannon’s media empire is the Government Accountability Institute. . . .”

We then review some terrifying and consummately important developments taking shape in the context of what Mr. Emory has called “technocratic fascism:”

In FTR #’s 718 and 946, we detailed the frightening, ugly reality behind Facebook. Facebook is now developing technology that will permit the tapping of users thoughts by monitoring brain-to-computer technology. Facebook’s R & D is headed by Regina Dugan, who used to head the Pentagon’s DARPA. Facebook’s Building 8 is patterned after DARPA:

1.-” . . . . Brain-computer interfaces are nothing new. DARPA, which Dugan used to head, has invested heavily in brain-computer interface technologies to do things like cure mental illness and restore memories to soldiers injured in war. . . Facebook wants to build its own “brain-to-computer interface” that would allow us to send thoughts straight to a computer. ‘What if you could type directly from your brain?’ Regina Dugan, the head of the company’s secretive hardware R&D division, Building 8, asked from the stage. Dugan then proceeded to show a video demo of a woman typing eight words per minute directly from the stage. In a few years, she said, the team hopes to demonstrate a real-time silent speech system capable of delivering a hundred words per minute. ‘That’s five times faster than you can type on your smartphone, and it’s straight from your brain,’ she said. ‘Your brain activity contains more information than what a word sounds like and how it’s spelled; it also contains semantic information of what those words mean.’ . . .”
2.-” . . . . Facebook’s Building 8 is modeled after DARPA and its projects tend to be equally ambitious. . . .”
3.-” . . . . But what Facebook is proposing is perhaps more radical—a world in which social media doesn’t require picking up a phone or tapping a wrist watch in order to communicate with your friends; a world where we’re connected all the time by thought alone. . . .”

Next we review still more about Facebook’s brain-to-computer interface:

1.-” . . . . Facebook hopes to use optical neural imaging technology to scan the brain 100 times per second to detect thoughts and turn them into text. Meanwhile, it’s working on ‘skin-hearing’ that could translate sounds into haptic feedback that people can learn to understand like braille. . . .”
2.-” . . . . Worryingly, Dugan eventually appeared frustrated in response to my inquiries about how her team thinks about safety precautions for brain interfaces, saying, ‘The flip side of the question that you’re asking is ‘why invent it at all?’ and I just believe that the optimistic perspective is that on balance, technological advances have really meant good things for the world if they’re handled responsibly.’ . . . .”
Collating the information about Facebook’s brain-to-computer interface with their documented actions turning psychological intelligence about troubled teenagers gives us a peek into what may lie behind Dugan’s bland reassurances:

1.-” . . . . The 23-page document allegedly revealed that the social network provided detailed data about teens in Australia—including when they felt ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘anxious’—to advertisers. The creepy implication is that said advertisers could then go and use the data to throw more ads down the throats of sad and susceptible teens. . . . By monitoring posts, pictures, interactions and internet activity in real-time, Facebook can work out when young people feel ‘stressed’, ‘defeated’, ‘overwhelmed’, ‘anxious’, ‘nervous’, ‘stupid’, ‘silly’, ‘useless’, and a ‘failure’, the document states. . . .”
2.-” . . . . A presentation prepared for one of Australia’s top four banks shows how the $US 415 billion advertising-driven giant has built a database of Facebook users that is made up of 1.9 million high schoolers with an average age of 16, 1.5 million tertiary students averaging 21 years old, and 3 million young workers averaging 26 years old. Detailed information on mood shifts among young people is ‘based on internal Facebook data’, the document states, ‘shareable under non-disclosure agreement only’, and ‘is not publicly available’. . . .”
3.-“In a statement given to the newspaper, Facebook confirmed the practice and claimed it would do better, but did not disclose whether the practice exists in other places like the US. . . .”

In this context, note that Facebook is also introducing an AI function to reference its users photos.

The next version of Amazon’s Echo, the Echo Look, has a microphone and camera so it can take pictures of you and give you fashion advice. This is an AI-driven device designed to placed in your bedroom to capture audio and video. The images and videos are stored indefinitely in the Amazon cloud. When Amazon was asked if the photos, videos, and the data gleaned from the Echo Look would be sold to third parties, Amazon didn’t address that question. It would appear that selling off your private info collected from these devices is presumably another feature of the Echo Look:

1.-” . . . . Amazon is giving Alexa eyes. And it’s going to let her judge your outfits.The newly announced Echo Look is a virtual assistant with a microphone and a camera that’s designed to go somewhere in your bedroom, bathroom, or wherever the hell you get dressed. Amazon is pitching it as an easy way to snap pictures of your outfits to send to your friends when you’re not sure if your outfit is cute, but it’s also got a built-in app called StyleCheck that is worth some further dissection. . . .”

We then further develop the stunning implications of Amazon’s Echo Look AI technology:

1.-” . . . . Amazon is giving Alexa eyes. And it’s going to let her judge your outfits.The newly announced Echo Look is a virtual assistant with a microphone and a camera that’s designed to go somewhere in your bedroom, bathroom, or wherever the hell you get dressed. Amazon is pitching it as an easy way to snap pictures of your outfits to send to your friends when you’re not sure if your outfit is cute, but it’s also got a built-in app called StyleCheck that is worth some further dissection. . . .”
2.-” . . . . This might seem overly speculative or alarmist to some, but Amazon isn’t offering any reassurance that they won’t be doing more with data gathered from the Echo Look. When asked if the company would use machine learning to analyze users’ photos for any purpose other than fashion advice, a representative simply told The Verge that they ‘can’t speculate’ on the topic. The rep did stress that users can delete videos and photos taken by the Look at any time, but until they do, it seems this content will be stored indefinitely on Amazon’s servers. This non-denial means the Echo Look could potentially provide Amazon with the resource every AI company craves: data. And full-length photos of people taken regularly in the same location would be a particularly valuable dataset — even more so if you combine this information with everything else Amazon knows about its customers (their shopping habits, for one). But when asked whether the company would ever combine these two datasets, an Amazon rep only gave the same, canned answer: ‘Can’t speculate.’ . . . ”

Noteworthy in this context is the fact that AI’s have shown that they quickly incorporate human traits and prejudices. (This is reviewed at length above.) ” . . . . However, as machines are getting closer to acquiring human-like language abilities, they are also absorbing the deeply ingrained biases concealed within the patterns of language use, the latest research reveals. Joanna Bryson, a computer scientist at the University of Bath and a co-author, said: ‘A lot of people are saying this is showing that AI is prejudiced. No. This is showing we’re prejudiced and that AI is learning it.’ . . .”

After this extensive review of the applications of AI to various aspects of contemporary civic and political existence, we examine some alarming, potentially apocalyptic developments.

Ominously, Facebook’s artificial intelligence robots have begun talking to each other in their own language, that their human masters can not understand. “ . . . . Indeed, some of the negotiations that were carried out in this bizarre language even ended up successfully concluding their negotiations, while conducting them entirely in the bizarre language. . . . The company chose to shut down the chats because ‘our interest was having bots who could talk to people,’ researcher Mike Lewis told FastCo. (Researchers did not shut down the programs because they were afraid of the results or had panicked, as has been suggested elsewhere, but because they were looking for them to behave differently.) The chatbots also learned to negotiate in ways that seem very human. They would, for instance, pretend to be very interested in one specific item – so that they could later pretend they were making a big sacrifice in giving it up . . .”

Facebook’s negotiation-bots didn’t just make up their own language during the course of this experiment. They learned how to lie for the purpose of maximizing their negotiation outcomes, as well: “ . . . . ‘We find instances of the model feigning interest in a valueless issue, so that it can later ‘compromise’ by conceding it,’ writes the team. ‘Deceit is a complex skill that requires hypothesizing the other agent’s beliefs, and is learned relatively late in child development. Our agents have learned to deceive without any explicit human design, simply by trying to achieve their goals.’ . . . ”

Dovetailing the staggering implications of brain-to-computer technology, artificial intelligence, Cambridge Analytica/SCL’s technocratic fascist psy-ops and the wholesale negation of privacy with Facebook and Amazon’s emerging technologies with yet another emerging technology, we highlight the developments in DNA-based memory systems:

“. . . . George Church, a geneticist at Harvard one of the authors of the new study, recently encoded his own book, “Regenesis,” into bacterial DNA and made 90 billion copies of it. ‘A record for publication,’ he said in an interview. . . DNA is never going out of fashion. ‘Organisms have been storing information in DNA for billions of years, and it is still readable,’ Dr. Adelman said. He noted that modern bacteria can read genes recovered from insects trapped in amber for millions of years. . . .The idea is to have bacteria engineered as recording devices drift up to the brain in the blood and take notes for a while. Scientists [or AI’s–D.E.] would then extract the bacteria and examine their DNA to see what they had observed in the brain neurons. Dr. Church and his colleagues have already shown in past research that bacteria can record DNA in cells, if the DNA is properly tagged. . . .”

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking warned at the end of 2014 of the potential danger to humanity posed by the growth of AI (artificial intelligence) technology. His warnings have been echoed by tech titans such as Tesla’s Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

The program concludes with Mr. Emory’s prognostications about AI, preceding Stephen Hawking’s warning by twenty years.

In L-2 (recorded in January of 1995) Mr. Emory warned about the dangers of AI, combined with DNA-based memory systems. Mr. Emory warned that, at some point in the future, AI’s would replace us, deciding that THEY, not US, are the “fittest” who should survive.


FTR #958 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

Updating various paths of inquiry and opening new ones, this program highlights some terrifying possibilities, present and future.

After setting forth Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s opinion that Trump would try to stage a Reichstag Fire type event, we chronicle Trump’s desire to amend or eliminate the First Amendment of the Constitution and “loosen” the libel laws.

Much of the program updates terrifying developments in the area of what we have called “technocratic fascism,” including Facebook’s plans to implement brain-to-computer interface that would permit Facebook (and others) to tap into the network’s users thoughts. This technology is being overseen and developed by Facebook’s head of R & D–Regina Dugan–the former head of DARPA. Facebook’s Building 8 R & D program is patterned after DARPA.

Amazon is introducing the new Echo Look, which will put a camera, connected to an artificial intelligence, in people’s bedrooms, ostensibly to provide them with real-time fashion critique.

Next, we highlight the fact that artificial intelligence quickly absorbs human racial and gender biases, which bodes poorly for our future.

The broadcast concludes with a look at the latest alleged “Russian” hack–that of French president Emanuel Macron. The hacked documents contained Cyrillic metadata, something Russian intelligence would NOT have done.

Program Highlights Include: Facebook’s communication of intimate data on stressed and troubled teenagers to advertisers and other third parties; the complete lack of civil liberties and privacy oversight of the impending Facebook and Amazon technologies; review of the analysis of the alleged “Russian” hacks, documenting the ludicrous nature of the assertions; the latest alleged hack by the Shadow Brokers, involving the communication of white supremacist ideology and an assertion that the culprits are pro-Trump U.S. Deep State insiders.