Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Facebook' is associated with 49 posts.

The Cambridge Analytica Microcosm in Our Panoptic Macrocosm

Let the Great Unfriending Commence! Specifically, the mass unfriending of Facebook, which would be a well deserved unfriending after the scandalous revelations in a recent series of articles centered around the claims of Christopher Wylie, a Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower who helped found the firm and worked there until late 2014 until he and others grew increasingly uncomfortable with the far right goals and questionable actions of the firm. And those questionable actions by Cambridge involve a larger and more scandalous Facebook policy brought forth by a Facbook whistle-blower, Sandy Parakilas: Facebook was handing out exactly the kind of data collected by Cambridge Analytica to all sorts of app developers for years. Beyond that, it appears that Facebook really did have an exceptionally close relationship with Cambridge Analytica’s research partner and was only bothered by its data collection when the media got wind of it. It also looks like Steve Bannon was overseeing this entire process, although he claims to know nothing. Oh, and Palantir appears to have had an informal relationship with Cambridge Analytica this whole time. And this state of affairs is an extension of how the internet has been used from its very conception a half century ago. And that’s all part of why the Great Unfriending of Facebook really is long overdue, along with a lot of other reforms.


Walkin’ the Snake in India: Supplement to the Hindutva Fascism Series

In numerous programs, we have highlighted the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk, which deals, in part, with the rehabilitation of the Third Reich’s reputation and the transformation of Hitler into a hero. In FTR #’s 988 and 989, 990, 991, and 992, we detailed the Hindutva fascism of Narendra Modi, his BJP Party and supportive elements, tracing the evolution of Hindutva fascism through the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and up to the present. It appears that a Serpent’s Walk scenario is indeed unfolding in India. A recent book a picture of both Adolf Hitler and Narendra Modi standing next to Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, A similar, Hitler-glorifying book was marketed to Gujarati school children when Modi governed the region. Hitler is well-regarded in segments of Indian society, in part due to the efforts of Bal Thackeray and his Shriv Sena party. For many years, Shriv Sena was an ally of Modi’s Hindutva fascist BJP. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 37+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.


FTR #997 Summoning the Demon, Part 2: Sorcer’s Apprentice

Developing analysis presented in FTR #968, this broadcast explores frightening developments and potential developments in the world of artificial intelligence–the ultimate manifestation of what Mr. Emory calls “technocratic fascism.”

In order to underscore what we mean by technocratic fascism, we reference a vitally important article by David Golumbia. ” . . . . Such tech­no­cratic beliefs are wide­spread in our world today, espe­cially in the enclaves of dig­i­tal enthu­si­asts, whether or not they are part of the giant corporate-digital leviathan. Hack­ers (‘civic,’ ‘eth­i­cal,’ ‘white’ and ‘black’ hat alike), hack­tivists, Wik­iLeaks fans [and Julian Assange et al–D. E.], Anony­mous ‘mem­bers,’ even Edward Snow­den him­self walk hand-in-hand with Face­book and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to con­tribute to the polit­i­cal world, but that the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the polit­i­cal world is bro­ken, they appear to think (rightly, at least in part), and the solu­tion to that, they think (wrongly, at least for the most part), is for pro­gram­mers to take polit­i­cal mat­ters into their own hands. . . . [Tor co-creator] Din­gle­dine  asserts that a small group of soft­ware devel­op­ers can assign to them­selves that role, and that mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role. . . .”

Perhaps the last and most perilous manifestation of technocratic fascism concerns Anthony  Levandowski, an engineer at the foundation of the development of Google Street Map technology and self-driving cars. He is proposing an AI Godhead that would rule the world and would be worshipped as a God by the planet’s citizens. Insight into his personality was provided by an associate: “ . . . . ‘He had this very weird motivation about robots taking over the world—like actually taking over, in a military sense…It was like [he wanted] to be able to control the world, and robots were the way to do that. He talked about starting a new country on an island. Pretty wild and creepy stuff. And the biggest thing is that he’s always got a secret plan, and you’re not going to know about it’. . . .”

As we saw in FTR #968, AI’s have incorporated many flaws of their creators, auguring very poorly for the subjects of Levandowski’s AI Godhead.

It is also interesting to contemplate what may happen when AI’s are designed by other AI’s- machines designing other machines.

After a detailed review of some of the ominous real and developing AI-related technology, the program highlights Anthony Levandowski, the brilliant engineer who was instrumental in developing Google’s Street Maps, Waymo’s self-driving cars, Otto’s self-driving trucks, the Lidar technology central to self-driving vehicles and the Way of the Future, super AI Godhead.

Further insight into Levandowski’s personality can be gleaned from e-mails with Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber: ” . . . . In Kalanick, Levandowski found both a soulmate and a mentor to replace Sebastian Thrun. Text messages between the two, disclosed during the lawsuit’s discovery process, capture Levandowski teaching Kalanick about lidar at late night tech sessions, while Kalanick shared advice on management. ‘Down to hang out this eve and mastermind some shit,’ texted Kalanick, shortly after the acquisition. ‘We’re going to take over the world. One robot at a time,’ wrote Levandowski another time. . . .”

Those who view self-driving cars and other AI-based technologies as flawless would do well to consider the following: ” . . . .Last December, Uber launched a pilot self-driving taxi program in San Francisco. As with Otto in Nevada, Levandowski failed to get a license to operate the high-tech vehicles, claiming that because the cars needed a human overseeing them, they were not truly autonomous. The DMV disagreed and revoked the vehicles’ licenses. Even so, during the week the cars were on the city’s streets, they had been spotted running red lights on numerous occasions. . . . .”

Noting Levandowski’s personality quirks, the article poses a fundamental question: ” . . . . But even the smartest car will crack up if you floor the gas pedal too long. Once feted by billionaires, Levandowski now finds himself starring in a high-stakes public trial as his two former employers square off. By extension, the whole technology industry is there in the dock with Levandowski. Can we ever trust self-driving cars if it turns out we can’t trust the people who are making them? . . . .”

Levandowski’s Otto self-driving trucks might be weighed against the prognostications of dark horse Presidential candidate and former tech executive Andrew Wang: “. . . . ‘All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society,’ Mr. Yang said over lunch at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan last month, in his first interview about his campaign. In just  a few years, he said, ‘we’re going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an  average  level of education of high school or one year of college.’ ‘That one innovation,’ he added, ‘will be enough to create riots in the street. And we’re about to do the  same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms.’ . . . .”

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.

Program Highlights Include:

1.-Levandowski’s apparent shepherding of a company called–perhaps significantly–Odin Wave to utilize Lidar-like technology.
2.-The role of DARPA in initiating the self-driving vehicles contest that was Levandowski’s point of entry into his tech ventures.
3.-Levandowski’s development of the Ghostrider self-driving motorcycles, which experienced 800 crashes in 1,000 miles.


FTR #996 Civilization’s Twilight: Update on Technocratic Fascism

Updating our ongoing analysis of what Mr. Emory calls “technocratic fascism,” we examine how existing technologies are neutralizing and/or rendering obsolete foundational elements of our civilization and democratic governmental systems.

We begin our description by referencing a vitally important article by David Golumbia. ” . . . . Such tech­no­cratic beliefs are wide­spread in our world today, espe­cially in the enclaves of dig­i­tal enthu­si­asts, whether or not they are part of the giant corporate-digital leviathan. Hack­ers (‘civic,’ ‘eth­i­cal,’ ‘white’ and ‘black’ hat alike), hack­tivists, Wik­iLeaks fans [and Julian Assange et al–D. E.], Anony­mous ‘mem­bers,’ even Edward Snow­den him­self walk hand-in-hand with Face­book and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to con­tribute to the polit­i­cal world, but that the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the polit­i­cal world is bro­ken, they appear to think (rightly, at least in part), and the solu­tion to that, they think (wrongly, at least for the most part), is for pro­gram­mers to take polit­i­cal mat­ters into their own hands. . . . [Tor co-creator] Din­gle­dine  asserts that a small group of soft­ware devel­op­ers can assign to them­selves that role, and that mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role. . . .”

Beginning with a chilling opinion piece in “The New York Times,” we note that technological development threatens to super-charge the Big Lies that drive our world. As anyone who saw the file Star Wars film “Rogue One” knows, the technology required to create a nearly life-like computer-generated videos of a real person is already a reality. Once the province of movie studios and other firms with millions to spend, the technology is now available for download for free.

” . . . . In 2016 Gareth Edwards, the director of the Star Wars film ‘Rogue One,’ was able to create a scene featuring a young Princess Leia by manipulating images of Carrie Fisher as she looked in 1977. Mr. Edwards had the best hardware and software a $200 million Hollywood budget could buy. Less than two years later, images of similar quality can be created with software available for free download on Reddit. That was how a faked video supposedly of the actress Emma Watson in a shower with another woman ended up on the website Celeb Jihad. . . .”

The technology has already rendered obsolete selective editing such as that performed by James O’Keefe: ” . . . . as the novelist William Gibson once said, ‘The street finds its own uses for things.’ So do rogue political actors. The implications for democracy are eye-opening. The conservative political activist James O’Keefe has created a cottage industry manipulating political perceptions by editing footage in misleading ways. In 2018, low-tech editing like Mr. O’Keefe’s is already an anachronism: Imagine what even less scrupulous activists could do with the power to create ‘video’ framing real people for things they’ve never actually done. One harrowing potential eventuality: Fake video and audio may become so convincing that it can’t be distinguished from real recordings, rendering audio and video evidence inadmissible in court. . . .”

After highlighting a story about AI-generated “deepfake” pornography with people’s faces superimposed on others’ bodies in pornographic layouts, we note how robots have altered our political and commercial landscapes, through cyber technology: ” . . . . Robots are getting better, every day, at impersonating humans. When directed by opportunists, malefactors and sometimes even nation-states, they pose a particular threat to democratic societies, which are premised on being open to the people. Robots posing as people have become a menace. . . . In coming years, campaign finance limits will be (and maybe already are) evaded by robot armies posing as ‘small’ donors. And actual voting is another obvious target — perhaps the ultimate target. . . .”

Before the actual replacement of manual labor by robots, devices to technocratically “improve”–read “coercively engineer” workers are patented by Amazon and have been used on workers in some of their facilities. ” . . . . What if your employer made you wear a wristband that tracked your every move, and that even nudged you via vibrations when it judged that you were doing something wrong? What if your supervisor could identify every time you paused to scratch or fidget, and for how long you took a bathroom break? What may sound like dystopian fiction could become a reality for Amazon warehouse workers around the world. The company has won two patents for such a wristband. . . .”

For some U.K Amazon warehouse workers, the future is now: ” . . . . Max Crawford, a former Amazon warehouse worker in Britain, said in a phone interview, ‘After a year working on the floor, I felt like I had become a version of the robots I was working with.’ He described having to process hundreds of items in an hour — a pace so extreme that one day, he said, he fell over from dizziness. ‘There was no time to go to the loo,’ he said, using the British slang for toilet. ‘You had to process the items in seconds and then move on. If you didn’t meet targets, you were fired.’

“He worked back and forth at two Amazon warehouses for more than two years and then quit in 2015 because of health concerns, he said: ‘I got burned out.’ Mr. Crawford agreed that the wristbands might save some time and labor, but he said the tracking was ‘stalkerish’ and feared that workers might be unfairly scrutinized if their hands were found to be ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ ‘They want to turn people into machines,’ he said. ‘The robotic technology isn’t up to scratch yet, so until it is, they will use human robots.’ . . . .”

Some tech workers, well placed at R & D pacesetters and giants such as Facebook and Google have done an about-face on the  impact of their earlier efforts and are now struggling against the misuse of the technologies they helped to launch:

” . . . . A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build. . . . ‘The largest supercomputers in the world are inside of two companies — Google and Facebook — and where are we pointing them?’ Mr. [Tristan] Harris said. ‘We’re pointing them at people’s brains, at children.’ . . . . Mr. [RogerMcNamee] said he had joined the Center for Humane Technology because he was horrified by what he had helped enable as an early Facebook investor. ‘Facebook appeals to your lizard brain — primarily fear and anger,’ he said. ‘And with smartphones, they’ve got you for every waking moment.’ . . . .”

Transitioning to our next program–updating AI (artificial intelligence) technology as it applies to technocratic fascism–we note that AI machines are being designed to develop other AI’s–“The Rise of the Machine.” ” . . . . Jeff Dean, one of Google’s leading engineers, spotlighted a Google project called AutoML. ML is short for machine learning, referring to computer algorithms that can learn to perform particular tasks on their own by analyzing data. AutoML, in turn, is a machine learning algorithm that learns to build other machine-learning algorithms. With it, Google may soon find a way to create A.I. technology that can partly take the humans out of building the A.I. systems that many believe are the future of the technology industry. . . .”


FTR #994 What Was Old Is New Again

This broadcast recaps material from previous programs, underscoring key points of information from current developments.

Last week, we opened our program with an article from Consortium News about some alarming developments in Ukraine–a piece of legislation approved by the Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) that might augur World War III.

One of the few media outlets that has covered the return to power of the OUN/B’s successor fascist organizations in Ukraine, Consortium News was founded and headed by Robert Parry.

Parry passed away last weekend.

Mr. Emory posted the following comment on the Consortium News article about Robert’s passing:

A very, very sad occasion. It was my privilege to have interviewed Robert a number of times over the years, including an interview–scheduled days before–that took place on the day he learned of Gary Webb’s death.

It was also my privilege to have used many articles from Consortium News in my weekly broadcasts, including, and especially, his reportage about the return to power of the OUN/B successor organizations in Ukraine.

Very few have manifested the courage and integrity to report honestly on those events.

Now, there will be fewer.

Rest in peace, Robert.

Next, we return to the subject of Peter Thiel, of “Team Trump,” Facebook and Palantir.

We have covered Peter Thiel in numerous programs, beginning with our warning about him in FTR #718.

Some of the points we have made about him include:

1.-His family background in the Frankfurt (Germany) chemical business. Probably I.G. Farben/Bormann, in that context.
2.-His primary role in Palantir, apparently the maker of the PRISM software at the epicenter of L’Affaire Snowden.
3.-His role as the primary financier of Ron Paul’s super PAC. (Paul is an unabashed white supremacist, joined at the hip with David Duke and the neo-Confederate movement. He was the Presidential candidate of choice for Eddie “The Friendly Spook” Snowden and Julian Assange.)
4.-Thiel’s networking with movers and shakers from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s high-tech venture capital firm.
5.-Thiel’s active anti-immigrant stance.
6.-Thiel’s seminal networking with other tech titans and venture capital firms, including some with political and historical tributaries leading back to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

With Thiel among the candidates to head Trump’s President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, we note that his apocalyptic, anti-Enlightenment ideology draws on, among other influences, Carl Schmitt. Arguably the prime mover behind the German Conservative Revolution, Schmitt was also: “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s preeminent legal theorist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspiring throwback to a pre-Enlightenment age, who exalts struggle and insists that the discovery of enemies is the foundation of politics. . .”

There has been a fair amount of buzz about the release of additional, previously classified, documents about the assassination of President Kennedy.

An interesting document came to light in the recent release of files relating to the assassination of JFK. Jack Ruby told an FBI informant to “watch the fireworks” in Dealey Plaza that day.

“Jack Ruby, the man who eventually shot Lee Harvey Oswald, told an FBI informant to ‘watch the fireworks’ on the day President John F. Kennedy was killed, according to new records the National Archives released Friday. . . . ‘The informant stated that on the morning of the assassination, Ruby contacted him and asked if he would ‘like to watch the fireworks,” an FBI record dated April 6, 1977, says. ‘He was with Jack Ruby and standing at the corner of the Postal Annex Building facing the Texas School Book Depository Building at the time of the shooting. . . .”

This might be evaluated against the background of FTR #963, relating–among other things–a reading of Jack Ruby’s Warren Commission testimony. (A reading of Ruby’s testimony is re-broadcast in this program.)

When interviewed by the Warren Commission, Jack Ruby indicated that he had been part of a conspiracy to kill Kennedy and that he feared for his life. The Warren Commission turned a deaf ear to his desire to go to Washington and “spill the beans.”

Gerald Ford (who succeeded Nixon as President and pardoned him of all crimes committed), Leon Jaworski (a Warren Commission counsel who was a director of a CIA domestic funding conduit and who was selected by Nixon to be Watergate Special Prosecutor) and Arlen Specter (another Warren Commission counsel who was Nixon’s first choice as his personal defense attorney in the Watergate affair) were present at Ruby’s de facto confession.

Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin is also present at this interview. Nixon first selected J. Lee Rankin to serve as Watergate Special Prosecutor. Rankin was subsequently tabbed to review the Watergate tapes and determine which would be released. Rankin was the Warren Commission’s liaison between the commission and both the CIA and the FBI. Rankin was a key proponent of the so-called “Magic Bullet Theory.”

We conclude with discussion of another aspect of the JFK assassination.

Jane Mayer’s Dark Money has received considerable discussion and media play over the last couple of years. In past discussion of the Koch family, we noted that patriarch Fred Koch worked with Hitler building one of Nazi Germany’s most important refineries–one capable of refining the high-octane fuel needed by fighter planes.

In addition, we noted that Fred Koch was one of the first members of the John Birch Society.

Mayer notes that Fred Koch helped finance ads in the wake of the JFK assassination that pinned responsibility for the crime on the Soviet Union–one of the primary levels of disinformation.

” . . . . In a hasty turnabout, soon after the assassination, Fred Koch took out full-page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post, mourning JFK. The ads advanced the conspiracy theory that JFK’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had acted as part of a Communist plot. The Communists wouldn’t “rest on this success,” the ads warned. In the corner was a tear-out order form, directing the public to sign up for John Birch Society mailings. . . .”

We have covered the “painting of Oswald Red” in numerous programs, including FTR #’s 925 and 926.


Peter Thiel’s Political/Philosophical Influences: ” . . . Carl Schmitt . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s Preeminent Legal Theorist. . . “

Trump may be appointing Peter Thiel as head of his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Thiel is heavily influenced by Carl Schmitt, (on the right in the photograph) “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s preeminent legal theorist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspiring throwback to a pre-Enlightenment age, who exalts struggle and insists that the discovery of enemies is the foundation of politics. . .” We have been warning about Thiel since July of 2010. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 37+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.


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.


FTR #950 Shock to the System: Further Reflections on the Breitbart Axis

This broadcast updates coverage of key aspects of the Nazi/fascist, oops, we mean “alt-right,” milieu that moved into government courtesy of the Trumpenkampfverbande and Breitbart.

Further developing the terrifying reality of what Artificial Intellligence (AI) can accomplish for the dedicated fascist, oops, we mean “alt-right” adherent, we note an important address given at SXSW. Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford gave a speech 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.’ . . . .”

Turning next to the political philosophy of Steve Bannon and the seminal influences on its development, we refresh our acquaintance with Curtis Yarvin, aka “Mencius Moldbug,” a herald of the Dark Enlightment.

Curtis Yarvin has actually opened a backchannel advisory connection to the White House.

Note that the Bannon influences all seem to agree that what is needed is “a shock to the system.” We may very well experience just that. ” . . . . . . . . Bannon’s readings tend to have one thing in common: the view that technocrats have put Western civilization on a downward trajectory and that only a shock to the system can reverse its decline. . . . ”

Fascist philosopher Julius Evola is another of the key influences on Bannon. Evola was an early occult fascist, with strong connections with Mussolini’s Italy. Eventually Evola established strong, lasting connections with the Nazi SS, both operationally and ideologically.

He is another advocate of the “shock to the system”/”blow it up” approach to the status quo. ” . . . Changing the system, Evola argued, was ‘not a question of contesting and polemicizing, but of blowing everything up.’ . . . .”

A revealing influence on Bannon is a French novel The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail. “. . . . The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9 — is nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within. The novel’s last line links past humiliations tightly to its own grim parable about modern migration. ‘The Fall of Constantinople,’ Raspail’s unnamed narrator says, ‘is a personal misfortune that happened to all of us only last week.’ . . . . ”

In FTR #947, we highlighted Sebastian Gorka, a Breitbart alumnus and Hungarian fascist. Gorka is now the Trump administration’s point man working against Islamic terrorism. His view (and Bannon’s) that we are engaged in an historic clash of civilizations. That is precisely the point of view expressed by ISIS (and The Camp of the Saints) and will play into their hands.

That, in turn, will help propel the U.S. into more endless wars on the periphery of our empire, ultimately sapping the nation’s vitality and leading to the fall of the U.S. in a manner delineated in FTR #944.

After reviewing Gorka’s anti-Semitism, his profound connections to three generations of Hungarian fascism dating to the pre-World War II period and confirmation of his allegiance to the Order of Vitezi Rend, we highlight the fact that Gorka is part of the Strategic Initiatives Group, something of a parallel NSC formed by Steve Bannon. It reminds us of Hitler’s creation of a parallel general staff, born of a mistrust of his own senior officers and a desire to have a trusted cadre to obey his orders.

” . . . . In the United States, Gorka, who was appointed deputy assistant to the president on January 20, is known as a television commentator, a professor and an “alt-right” writer who describes himself as a counterterrorism expert. A close associate of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, Gorka is now part of Bannon’s key in-house White House think tank, the Strategic Initiatives Group. The newly formed group consists of figures close to Trump and is seen by some as a rival to the National Security Council in formulating policies for the president. . . .”

The conclusion of the program foreshadows discussion in our next broadcast, which will critically examine Bernie Sanders campaign and disturbing indications that his candidacy may have been generated by the Underground Reich as a vehicle for infiltrating and destabilizing the Democratic Party.

In FTR #941, we highlighted the push by Bernie Sanders and his prominent backer Tulsi Gabbard to have Keith Ellison, an African-American Muslim to be head of the DNC. He was not elected head of the DNC, but is now deputy chair of the DNC, the position formerly held by Gabbard.

Ellison is networked with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Nation of Islam as well. ” . . . . Indeed, the June 21, 1998 article states that at that time – that is, three years after Farrakhan’s march – Ellison was a member of the Nation of Islam: ‘Ellison has been active in the community, but not within the established DFL party [the Democratic Party in Minnesota]. A member of the Nation of Islam, Ellison was the coordinator of the Minnesota participants in the Million Man March and the subsequent community group that formed.’ . . . .”

In a point of discussion that will be conducted at greater length in our next program, we conclude by noting that another of Keith Ellison’s supporters to head the DNC was Faisal Gill, a Grover Norquist protege whom we covered in FTR #467.

Program Highlights Include: review of Gorka’s formation of a fascist party in Hungary in the last decade; review of Gorka’s doctrinaire anti-Semitism; review of Gorka’s networking with members of the Jobbik Party in Hungary; review of Gorka’s supportive attitude toward the Arrow Cross Party, which allied with Hitler; review of Jobbik’s affinity with Julius Evola; review of Karl Rove’s and Grover Norquist’s seminal support for the creation of a Muslim Brotherhood branch of the GOP.


FTR #949 Walkin’ the Snake with Breitbart, Part 2

The title of the program refers to the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk. The back cover of that book sums up the essence of the tome: ” . . . It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of the tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.’ . . .”

The “opinion-forming media” in 2017 has crystallized into a frighteningly dominant entity, the Breitbartian engine of Steven Bannon, Robert Mercer, Cambridge Analytica and the latter’s parent company SCL. An article from The Guardian sets forth this terrifying development.

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 to craft his 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.

At the end of the program we note that Bannon had turned Breitbart toward supporting Narendra Modi’s BJP Party in India.

Program Highlights Include:

a) Cambridge Analytica’s parent corporation SCL, 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.) . . .”

b) 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 weaponised for propaganda. We know there are thousands of automated bots out there that are trying to do just that.’ . . .”

c) 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.’ . . .”

d) 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.’ . . .”

e) 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!!!!’ . . . ”

f) 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. . . .”