Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Peter Thiel' is associated with 70 posts.

FTR #1075 Surveillance Valley, Part 1: Eugenics, Racism and High Tech

Begin­ning a crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant series on a vital­ly impor­tant book titled Sur­veil­lance Val­ley: The Secret Mil­i­tary His­to­ry of the Inter­net, this pro­gram explores the gen­e­sis of high tech and data pro­cess­ing, an ori­gin that is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with eugen­ics, anti-immi­grant doc­trine and–as is char­ac­ter­is­tic of fas­cism, the fear of the ubiq­ui­tous, malev­o­lent “oth­er.”

High­lights of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis include:

1.–The gen­e­sis of high tech was Her­man Hol­lerith’s tab­u­lat­ing machine. ” . . . . A few years ear­li­er, work­ing for the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, Hol­lerith had devel­oped the world’s first func­tion­al mass-pro­duced com­put­er: the Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tor. An electro­mechan­i­cal device about the size of large desk and dress­er, it used punch cards and a clever arrange­ment of gears, sorters, elec­tri­cal con­tacts, and dials to process data with blaz­ing speed and accu­ra­cy. What had tak­en years by hand could be done in a mat­ter of months. As one U.S. news­pa­per described it, ‘with [the device’s] aid some 15 young ladies can count accu­rate­ly half a mil­lion of names in a day.’ . . .’
2.–Hollerith’s machine found its (arguably) great­est appli­ca­tion with the com­pi­la­tion of the cen­sus and the appli­ca­tion of the pseu­do-sci­ence of eugen­ics to it: ” . . . . Grasp­ing about for solu­tions, many set­tled on var­i­ous strains of race sci­ence quack­ery. So-called social Dar­win­ists relied on a twist­ed ver­sion of the the­o­ry of evo­lu­tion to explain why the poor and mar­gin­al­ized should remain that way while the wealthy and suc­cess­ful deserved to rule unchal­lenged. Tak­ing this notion a step fur­ther, adher­ents of eugen­ics fer­vent­ly believed that nat­u­ral­ly supe­ri­or Anglo-Amer­i­cans were on the verge of being wiped out due to the high birth rates of ‘degen­er­ate’ and immi­grant stock. To head off this threat, they advo­cat­ed strict con­trols on repro­duc­tion — breed­ing humans for qual­i­ty in the same way that farm­ers did cows and hors­es. . . .”
3.–Hollerith’s machine was seen as the per­fect vehi­cle for real­iz­ing eugenic prac­tice through refin­ing the cen­sus: ” . . . . The cen­sus had been a racial instru­ment from its incep­tion, begin­ning with the orig­i­nal con­sti­tu­tion­al clause that instruct­ed cen­sus offi­cials to count black slaves sep­a­rate­ly from whites and to assign them a val­ue of only three-fifths of a per­son. With each decade, new ‘racial’ cat­e­gories were invent­ed and added to the mix: ‘free col­ored males and females’ and ‘mulat­to’ were count­ed, includ­ing sub­di­vi­sions like includ­ing ‘quadroon’ and ‘octoroon.’ Cat­e­gories for Chi­nese, ‘Hin­doo,’ and Japan­ese were added, as were ‘for­eign’ and ‘native born’ des­ig­na­tions for whites. The cen­sus slow­ly expand­ed to col­lect oth­er demo­graph­ic data, includ­ing lit­er­a­cy lev­els, unem­ploy­ment sta­tis­tics, and med­ical ail­ments, such as those who were ‘deaf, dumb, and blind’ and the ‘insane and idi­ot­ic.’ All of it was bro­ken down by race. . . .The cen­sus need­ed to improve dras­ti­cal­ly. What it need­ed was a tal­ent­ed inven­tor, some­one young and ambi­tious who would be able to come up with a method to auto­mate tab­u­la­tion and data analy­sis. Some­one like Her­man Hol­lerith. . . .”
4.–Hollerith’s technology–when applied to the cen­sus, antic­i­pat­ed the mass sur­veil­lance tech­nol­o­gy of the inter­net: ” . . . . Overnight, Hollerith’s tab­u­la­tor tech­nol­o­gy had trans­formed cen­sus tak­ing from a sim­ple head count into some­thing that looked very much like a crude form of mass sur­veil­lance. To the race-obsessed polit­i­cal class, it was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary devel­op­ment. They could final­ly put the nation’s eth­nic make­up under the micro­scope. The data seemed to con­firm the nativists’ worst fears: Poor, illit­er­ate immi­grants were swarm­ing America’s cities, breed­ing like rab­bits, and out­strip­ping native Anglo-Amer­i­can birth rates. Imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the cen­sus, the states and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment passed a flur­ry of laws that heav­i­ly restrict­ed immi­gra­tion. . . .”
5.–As dis­cussed in FTR #279, IBM’s Hol­lerith machines (acquired when Thomas J. Wat­son bought out Hol­lerith) were fun­da­men­tal to the oper­a­tions of the Third Reich: ” . . . . ‘Indeed, the Third Reich would open star­tling sta­tis­ti­cal venues for Hol­lerith machines nev­er before insti­tut­ed — per­haps nev­er before even imag­ined,’ wrote Edwin Black in IBM and the Holo­caust, his pio­neer­ing 2001 exposé of the for­got­ten busi­ness ties between IBM and Nazi Ger­many. ‘In Hitler’s Ger­many, the sta­tis­ti­cal and cen­sus com­mu­ni­ty, over­run with doc­tri­naire Nazis, pub­licly boast­ed about the new demo­graph­ic break­throughs their equip­ment would achieve.’ . . . Demand for Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tors was so robust that IBM was forced to open a new fac­to­ry in Berlin to crank out all the new machines. At the facility’s chris­ten­ing cer­e­mo­ny, which was attend­ed by a top U.S. IBM exec­u­tive and the elite of the Nazi Par­ty, the head of IBM’s Ger­man sub­sidiary gave a rous­ing speech about the impor­tant role that Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tors played in Hitler’s dri­ve to puri­fy Ger­many and cleanse it of infe­ri­or racial stock. . . .”
6.–The Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s fram­ing of ques­tions for the 2020 cen­sus appear aimed at cre­at­ing a “nation­al registry”–a con­cept rem­i­nis­cent of the Third Reich’s use of IBM’s Hol­lerith-col­lect­ed data: ” . . . . Based on a close read­ing of inter­nal Depart­ment of Com­merce doc­u­ments tied to the cen­sus cit­i­zen ques­tion pro­pos­al, it appears the Trump admin­is­tra­tion wants to use the cen­sus to con­struct a first-of-its-kind cit­i­zen­ship reg­istry for the entire U.S. pop­u­la­tion — a deci­sion that arguably exceeds the legal author­i­ty of the cen­sus. ‘It was deep in the doc­u­men­ta­tion that was released,’ Robert Groves, a for­mer Cen­sus Bureau direc­tor who head­ed the Nation­al Acad­e­mies com­mit­tee con­vened to inves­ti­gate the 2020 cen­sus, told me by tele­phone. ‘No one picked up on it much. But the term ‘reg­istry’ in our world means not a col­lec­tion of data for sta­tis­ti­cal pur­pos­es but rather to know the iden­ti­ty of par­tic­u­lar peo­ple in order to use that knowl­edge to affect their lives.’ Giv­en the administration’s pos­ture toward immi­gra­tion, the fact that it wants to build a com­pre­hen­sive cit­i­zen­ship data­base is high­ly con­cern­ing. To Groves, it clear­ly sig­nals ‘a bright line being crossed.’ . . .”


Facebook’s Public Policy Manager for Ukraine Kateryna Kruk’s Nazi and Fascist Manifestations

In FTR #1074, we high­light­ed Face­book’s appoint­ment of Katery­na Kruk to be its Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Man­ag­er in Ukraine. Kruk is very close to the Atlantic Coun­cil, which was effec­tive­ly posi­tioned by Face­book to han­dle its man­age­ment of “Fake News.” The Atlantic Coun­cil is a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of the push for a new Cold War and has pro­found links to both U.S. intel­li­gence and the fascist/Nazi milieu that grew out of the Rein­hard Gehlen spy orga­ni­za­tion. In addi­tion to hav­ing worked with Svo­bo­da dur­ing the Euro­maid­an protests, Kruk has man­i­fest­ed oth­er Nazi and fas­cist affil­i­a­tions: 1.) In 2014, she tweet­ed that a man had asked her to con­vince his grand­son not to join the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a neo-Nazi mili­tia. “I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I thanked that boy and blessed him.” And he then trav­eled to Luhan­sk to fight pro-Russ­ian rebels. 2.) In March 2018, a 19-year neo-Nazi named Andriy “Dil­ly” Krivich was shot and killed by a sniper. Krivich–pictured above, at right–had been fight­ing with the fas­cist Ukrain­ian group Right Sec­tor, and had post­ed pho­tos on social media wear­ing Nazi Ger­man sym­bols. After he was killed, Kruk tweet­ed an homage to the teenage Nazi. (The Nazi was also lion­ized on Euro­maid­an Press’ Face­book page.) 3.) Kruk has staunch­ly defend­ed the use of the slo­gan “Sla­va Ukraini,”which was first coined and pop­u­lar­ized by Nazi-col­lab­o­rat­ing fas­cists, and is now the offi­cial salute of Ukraine’s army. 4.) She has also said that the Ukrain­ian fas­cist politi­cian Andriy Paru­biy, who co-found­ed a neo-Nazi par­ty before lat­er becom­ing the chair­man of Ukraine’s par­lia­ment the Rada, is “act­ing smart,” writ­ing, “Paru­biy touche.” . . . .


FTR #1074 FakeBook: Walkin’ the Snake on the Earth Island with Facebook (FascisBook, Part 2; In Your Facebook, Part 4)

This pro­gram sup­ple­ments past cov­er­age of Face­book in FTR #‘s 718, 946, 1021, 1039 not­ing how Face­book has net­worked with the very Hin­dut­va fas­cist Indi­an ele­ments and OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions in Ukraine. This net­work­ing has been–ostensibly to com­bat fake news. The real­i­ty may well high­light that the Face­book/B­JP-RSS/OUN/B links gen­er­ates fake news, rather than inter­dict­ing it. The fake news so gen­er­at­ed, how­ev­er, will be to the lik­ing of the fas­cists in pow­er in both coun­tries, man­i­fest­ing as a “Ser­pen­t’s Walk” revi­sion­ist sce­nario.

Key ele­ments of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis include:

1.–Indian pol­i­tics has been large­ly dom­i­nat­ed by fake news, spread by social media: ” . . . . In the con­tin­u­ing Indi­an elec­tions, as 900 mil­lion peo­ple are vot­ing to elect rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the low­er house of the Par­lia­ment, dis­in­for­ma­tion and hate speech are drown­ing out truth on social media net­works in the coun­try and cre­at­ing a pub­lic health cri­sis like the pan­demics of the past cen­tu­ry. This con­ta­gion of a stag­ger­ing amount of mor­phed images, doc­tored videos and text mes­sages is spread­ing large­ly through mes­sag­ing ser­vices and influ­enc­ing what India’s vot­ers watch and read on their smart­phones. A recent study by Microsoft found that over 64 per­cent Indi­ans encoun­tered fake news online, the high­est report­ed among the 22 coun­tries sur­veyed. . . . These plat­forms are filled with fake news and dis­in­for­ma­tion aimed at influ­enc­ing polit­i­cal choic­es dur­ing the Indi­an elec­tions. . . . ”
2.–Narendra Mod­i’s Hin­dut­va fas­cist BJP has been the pri­ma­ry ben­e­fi­cia­ry of fake news, and his regime has part­nered with Face­book: ” . . . . The hear­ing was an exer­cise in absur­dist the­ater because the gov­ern­ing B.J.P. has been the chief ben­e­fi­cia­ry of divi­sive con­tent that reach­es mil­lions because of the way social media algo­rithms, espe­cial­ly Face­book, ampli­fy ‘engag­ing’ arti­cles. . . .”
3.–Rajesh Jain is among those BJP func­tionar­ies who serve Face­book, as well as the Hin­dut­va fas­cists: ” . . . . By the time Rajesh Jain was scal­ing up his oper­a­tions in 2013, the BJP’s infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy (IT) strate­gists had begun inter­act­ing with social media plat­forms like Face­book and its part­ner What­sApp. If sup­port­ers of the BJP are to be believed, the par­ty was bet­ter than oth­ers in util­is­ing the micro-tar­get­ing poten­tial of the plat­forms. How­ev­er, it is also true that Facebook’s employ­ees in India con­duct­ed train­ing work­shops to help the mem­bers of the BJP’s IT cell. . . .”
4.–Dr. Hiren Joshi is anoth­er of the BJP oper­a­tives who is heav­i­ly involved with Face­book. ” . . . . Also assist­ing the social media and online teams to build a larg­er-than-life image for Modi before the 2014 elec­tions was a team led by his right-hand man Dr Hiren Joshi, who (as already stat­ed) is a very impor­tant advis­er to Modi whose writ extends way beyond infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy and social media. . . . Joshi has had, and con­tin­ues to have, a close and long-stand­ing asso­ci­a­tion with Facebook’s senior employ­ees in India. . . .”
5.–Shivnath Thukral, who was hired by Face­book in 2017 to be its Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Direc­tor for India & South Asia, worked with Joshi’s team in 2014. ” . . . . The third team, that was intense­ly focused on build­ing Modi’s per­son­al image, was head­ed by Hiren Joshi him­self who worked out of the then Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office in Gand­hi­na­gar. The mem­bers of this team worked close­ly with staffers of Face­book in India, more than one of our sources told us. As will be detailed lat­er, Shiv­nath Thukral, who is cur­rent­ly an impor­tant exec­u­tive in Face­book, worked with this team. . . .”
6.–An osten­si­bly remorse­ful BJP politician–Prodyut Bora–highlighted the dra­mat­ic effect of Face­book and its What­sApp sub­sidiary have had on Indi­a’s pol­i­tics: ” . . . . In 2009, social media plat­forms like Face­book and What­sApp had a mar­gin­al impact in India’s 20 big cities. By 2014, how­ev­er, it had vir­tu­al­ly replaced the tra­di­tion­al mass media. In 2019, it will be the most per­va­sive media in the coun­try. . . .”
7.–A con­cise state­ment about the rela­tion­ship between the BJP and Face­book was issued by BJP tech office Vinit Goen­ka: ” . . . . At one stage in our inter­view with [Vinit] Goen­ka that last­ed over two hours, we asked him a point­ed ques­tion: ‘Who helped whom more, Face­book or the BJP?’ He smiled and said: ‘That’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion. I won­der whether the BJP helped Face­book more than Face­book helped the BJP. You could say, we helped each oth­er.’ . . .”

In Ukraine, as well, Face­book and the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions func­tion sym­bi­ot­i­cal­ly:

(Note that the Atlantic Coun­cil is dom­i­nant in the array of indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions con­sti­tut­ing the Ukrain­ian fascist/Facebook coop­er­a­tive effort. We have spo­ken about the Atlantic Coun­cil in numer­ous pro­grams, includ­ing FTR #943. The orga­ni­za­tion has deep oper­a­tional links to ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence, as well as the OUN/B milieu that dom­i­nates the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra.)

Over­lap­ping cyber­se­cu­ri­ty out­fit Crowd­Strike, the Atlantic Coun­cil has been at the fore­front of the “Rus­sia” was behind the high-pro­file hacks meme:

CrowdStrike–at the epi­cen­ter of the sup­posed Russ­ian hack­ing con­tro­ver­sy is note­wor­thy. Its co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer, Dmit­ry Alper­ovitch is a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil, financed by ele­ments that are at the foun­da­tion of fan­ning the flames of the New Cold War: “In this respect, it is worth not­ing that one of the com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies the gov­ern­ment has relied on is Crowd­strike, which was one of the com­pa­nies ini­tial­ly brought in by the DNC to inves­ti­gate the alleged hacks. . . . Dmitri Alper­ovitch is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil. . . . The con­nec­tion between [Crowd­strike co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer Dmitri] Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Council—which is is fund­ed in part by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da. . . . ”

In May of 2018, Face­book decid­ed to effec­tive­ly out­source the work of iden­ti­fy­ing pro­pa­gan­da and mis­in­for­ma­tion dur­ing elec­tions to the Atlantic Coun­cil, so choos­ing some­one like Kruk who already has the Atlantic Council’s stamp of approval is in keep­ing with that trend:

” . . . . Face­book is part­ner­ing with the Atlantic Coun­cil in anoth­er effort to com­bat elec­tion-relat­ed pro­pa­gan­da and mis­in­for­ma­tion from pro­lif­er­at­ing on its ser­vice. The social net­work­ing giant said Thurs­day that a part­ner­ship with the Wash­ing­ton D.C.-based think tank would help it bet­ter spot dis­in­for­ma­tion dur­ing upcom­ing world elec­tions. The part­ner­ship is one of a num­ber of steps Face­book is tak­ing to pre­vent the spread of pro­pa­gan­da and fake news after fail­ing to stop it from spread­ing on its ser­vice in the run up to the 2016 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. . . .”

Since autumn 2018, Face­book has looked to hire a pub­lic pol­i­cy man­ag­er for Ukraine. The job came after years of Ukraini­ans crit­i­ciz­ing the plat­form for take­downs of its activists’ pages and the spread of [alleged] Russ­ian dis­in­fo tar­get­ing Kyiv. Now, it appears to have one: @Kateryna_Kruk.— Christo­pher Miller (@ChristopherJM) June 3, 2019

Katery­na Kruk:

1.–Is Facebook’s Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Man­ag­er for Ukraine as of May of this year, accord­ing to her LinkedIn page.
2.–Worked as an ana­lyst and TV host for the Ukrain­ian ‘anti-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da’ out­fit Stop­Fake. Stop­Fake is the cre­ation of Ire­na Chalu­pa, who works for the Atlantic Coun­cil and the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and appears to be the sis­ter of Andrea and Alexan­dra Chalu­pa.
3.–Joined the “Krem­lin Watch” team at the Euro­pean Val­ues think-tank, in Octo­ber of 2017.
4.–Received the Atlantic Coun­cil’s Free­dom award for her com­mu­ni­ca­tions work dur­ing the Euro­maid­an protests in June of 2014.
5.–Worked for OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tion Svo­bo­da dur­ing the Euro­maid­an protests. “ . . . ‘There are peo­ple who don’t sup­port Svo­bo­da because of some of their slo­gans, but they know it’s the most active polit­i­cal par­ty and go to them for help, said Svo­bo­da vol­un­teer Katery­na Kruk. . . . ”
6.–Also has a num­ber of arti­cles on the Atlantic Council’s Blog. Here’s a blog post from August of 2018 where she advo­cates for the cre­ation of an inde­pen­dent Ukrain­ian Ortho­dox Church to dimin­ish the influ­ence of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church.
7.–According to her LinkedIn page has also done exten­sive work for the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. From March 2016 to Jan­u­ary 2017 she was the Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ag­er for the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment where she was respon­si­ble for social media and inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions. From Jan­u­ary-April 2017 she was the Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the Min­istry of Health.
8.–Was not only was a vol­un­teer for Svo­bo­da dur­ing the 2014 Euro­maid­an protests, but open­ly cel­e­brat­ed on twit­ter the May 2014 mas­sacre in Odessa when the far right burned dozens of pro­tes­tors alive. Kruk’s twit­ter feed is set to pri­vate now so there isn’t pub­lic access to her old tweet, but peo­ple have screen cap­tures of it. Here’s a tweet from Yasha Levine with a screen­shot of Kruk’s May 2, 2014 tweet where she writes: “#Odessa cleaned itself from ter­ror­ists, proud for city fight­ing for its identity.glory to fall­en heroes..” She even threw in a “glo­ry to fall­en heroes” at the end of her tweet cel­e­brat­ing this mas­sacre. Keep in mind that it was month after this tweet that the Atlantic Coun­cil gave her that Free­dom Award for her com­mu­ni­ca­tions work dur­ing the protests.
9.–In 2014, . . . tweet­ed that a man had asked her to con­vince his grand­son not to join the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a neo-Nazi mili­tia. “I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I thanked that boy and blessed him.” And he then trav­eled to Luhan­sk to fight pro-Russ­ian rebels.
10.–Lionized a Nazi sniper killed in Ukraine’s civ­il war. In March 2018, a 19-year neo-Nazi named Andriy “Dil­ly” Krivich was shot and killed by a sniper. Krivich had been fight­ing with the fas­cist Ukrain­ian group Right Sec­tor, and had post­ed pho­tos on social media wear­ing Nazi Ger­man sym­bols. After he was killed, Kruk tweet­ed an homage to the teenage Nazi. (The Nazi was also lion­ized on Euro­maid­an Press’ Face­book page.)
11.–Has staunch­ly defend­ed the use of the slo­gan “Sla­va Ukraini,”which was first coined and pop­u­lar­ized by Nazi-col­lab­o­rat­ing fas­cists, and is now the offi­cial salute of Ukraine’s army.
12.–Has also said that the Ukrain­ian fas­cist politi­cian Andriy Paru­biy, who co-found­ed a neo-Nazi par­ty before lat­er becom­ing the chair­man of Ukraine’s par­lia­ment the Rada, is “act­ing smart,” writ­ing, “Paru­biy touche.” . . . .

In the con­text of Face­book’s insti­tu­tion­al lev­el net­work­ing with fas­cists, it is worth not­ing that social media them­selves have been cit­ed as a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to right-wing domes­tic ter­ror­ism. ” . . . The first is sto­chas­tic ter­ror­ism: ‘The use of mass, pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, usu­al­ly against a par­tic­u­lar indi­vid­ual or group, which incites or inspires acts of ter­ror­ism which are sta­tis­ti­cal­ly prob­a­ble but hap­pen seem­ing­ly at ran­dom.’ I encoun­tered the idea in a Fri­day thread from data sci­en­tist Emi­ly Gorcens­ki, who used it to tie togeth­er four recent attacks. . . . .”

The pro­gram con­cludes with review (from FTR #1039) of the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare strat­e­gy adapt­ed by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca to the polit­i­cal are­na. Christo­pher Wylie–the for­mer head of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca who became one of the key insid­er whis­tle-blow­ers about how Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca oper­at­ed and the extent of Facebook’s knowl­edge about it–gave an inter­view to Cam­paign Mag­a­zine. (We dealt with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca in FTR #‘s 946, 1021.) Wylie recounts how, as direc­tor of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, his orig­i­nal role was to deter­mine how the com­pa­ny could use the infor­ma­tion war­fare tech­niques used by SCL Group – Cam­bridge Analytica’s par­ent com­pa­ny and a defense con­trac­tor pro­vid­ing psy op ser­vices for the British mil­i­tary. Wylie’s job was to adapt the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare strate­gies that SCL had been using on the bat­tle­field to the online space. As Wylie put it:

“ . . . . When you are work­ing in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions projects, where your tar­get is a com­bat­ant, the auton­o­my or agency of your tar­gets is not your pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion. It is fair game to deny and manip­u­late infor­ma­tion, coerce and exploit any men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties a per­son has, and to bring out the very worst char­ac­ter­is­tics in that per­son because they are an enemy…But if you port that over to a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, if you run cam­paigns designed to under­mine people’s abil­i­ty to make free choic­es and to under­stand what is real and not real, you are under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and treat­ing vot­ers in the same way as you are treat­ing ter­ror­ists. . . . .”

Wylie also draws par­al­lels between the psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions used on demo­c­ra­t­ic audi­ences and the bat­tle­field tech­niques used to be build an insur­gency.


Birds of a Feather: The So-Called Internet “Privacy Activists,” the Intelligence Services and Big Tech

Yasha Levine’s recent book “Sur­veil­lance Val­ley” is a MUST READ! Rel­a­tive­ly short and very much to the point, this volume–subtitled “The Secret Mil­i­tary His­to­ry of the Internet”–chronicles the fact that the Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped as part of the same group of over­lap­ping DARPA/Pentagon projects as Agent Orange. In posts and pro­grams to come, we will more ful­ly devel­op the basic themes set forth in the excerpt recapped in this post: 1 )The Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped for counter-insur­gency pur­pos­es. 2) Big Tech firms net­work with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry. 3) Big Tech firms that data mine their cus­tomers on a near­ly unimag­in­able scale do so as a direct, oper­a­tional exten­sion of the very sur­veil­lance func­tion upon which the Inter­net is pred­i­cat­ed. 4) The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Apple­baum were devel­oped by the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect. 5) The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Inter­net func­tion and the Sig­nal mobile phone app– are read­i­ly acces­si­ble to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect. 6) The orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote the alleged virtues of Snow­den, Apple­baum, Tor, Sig­nal et al are linked to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they would have us believe they oppose. 7) Big Tech firms embrace “Inter­net Free­dom” as a dis­trac­tion from their own will­ful and all-embrac­ing data min­ing and their ongo­ing con­scious col­lab­o­ra­tion with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.


FTR #1029 “The Will to Create Man Anew”: Eugenics, Past, Present and Future

Adolf Hitler: “Nation­al Social­ism . . . . is more even than a reli­gion: it is the will to cre­ate man anew.”

In numer­ous pro­grams, we have touched on eugen­ics and some of the out­comes of eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy, includ­ing the growth of the Nazi exter­mi­na­tion pro­grams from the Knauer case. Some of these pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 32, 117, 124, 140, 141, 534, 664, and 908. A look at future pos­si­bil­i­ties of eugenics–something that we dis­cuss in this program–are high­light­ed in FTR #909 and AFA #39.

Impor­tant book on the sub­ject include The War Against the Weak, by Edwin Black and The Nazi Con­nec­tion by Stephan Kuhl. In FTR #1013, we recapped Peter Lev­en­da’s pre­scient analy­sis of the over­lap between eugen­ics and fas­cist iter­a­tions of anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment. In this broad­cast, eugen­ics, anti-immi­gra­tion sen­ti­ment, genet­ic engi­neer­ing and the “immor­tal­i­ty-striv­ing” Tran­shu­man­ist move­ment are high­light­ed, not­ing the pro­gres­sion from the fas­cism of the 1930’s to immi­nent steps that would aug­ment the ascen­sion of a tru­ly “super­hu­man” elite, to the ulti­mate­ly lethal detri­ment of the rest of soci­ety.

We begin with prog­nos­ti­ca­tions about the future.

Pro­fes­sor Stephen Hawk­ing has pre­dict­ed that gene-edit­ing tech­niques will lead to the cre­ation of super­hu­mans, who will super­sede those who do not ben­e­fit from such tech­nolo­gies. ” . . . . The sci­en­tist pre­sent­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that genet­ic engi­neer­ing could cre­ate a new species of super­hu­man that could destroy the rest of human­i­ty. . . . In ‘Brief Answers to the Big Ques­tions,’ Hawking’s final thoughts on the uni­verse, the physi­cist sug­gest­ed wealthy peo­ple would soon be able to choose to edit genet­ic make­up to cre­ate super­hu­mans with enhanced mem­o­ry, dis­ease resis­tance, intel­li­gence and longevi­ty. . . . ‘Once such super­hu­mans appear, there will be sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal prob­lems with unim­proved humans, who won’t be able to com­pete,’ he wrote. ‘Pre­sum­ably, they will die out, or become unim­por­tant. Instead, there will be a race of self-design­ing beings who are improv­ing at an ever-increas­ing rate.’ . . .”

The obser­va­tions of Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing con­cern­ing the role of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in the ascen­sion of super­hu­mans is the Sil­i­con Val­ley-based Tran­shu­man­ist move­ment. ” . . . . Thiel and oth­er eccen­tric, wealthy tech-celebri­ties, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zucker­berg, have tak­en the next step to coun­ter­act that inequal­i­ty – by embark­ing on a quest to live for­ev­er. . . .Thiel and many like him have been invest­ing in research on life exten­sion, part of tran­shu­man­ism. Draw­ing on fields as diverse as neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing and phi­los­o­phy, tran­shu­man­ists believe that the lim­i­ta­tions of the human body and mor­tal­i­ty can be tran­scend­ed by machines and tech­nol­o­gy. The ulti­mate aim is immor­tal­i­ty. Some believe this is achiev­able by 2045. . . .”

Michael Anissimov–a pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at the Thiel-fund­ed Machine Intel­li­gence Research Institute–published a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view. ” . . . . Thiel him­self is a Don­ald Trump sup­port­er. A one-time asso­ciate Michael Anis­si­mov, pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at Machine Intel­li­gence Research Insti­tute, a Thiel-fund­ed AI think tank, has pub­lished a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view, Anis­si­mov said that there were already sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence between the races, and that a tran­shu­man­ist soci­ety would inevitably lead to ‘peo­ple lord­ing it over oth­ers in a way that has nev­er been seen before in his­to­ry’. It doesn’t take much to guess who would be doing the ‘lord­ing’. . . .”

The iden­ti­ty of the peo­ple doing the “lord­ing” may be gleaned from the fol­low­ing: ” . . . . Zoltan Ist­van, the tran­shu­man­ist can­di­date for gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, told Tech Insid­er that ‘a lot of the most impor­tant work in longevi­ty is com­ing from a hand­ful of the billionaires…around six or sev­en of them’. . . .”

Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni defined fas­cism as “cor­po­ratism,” and labeled his sys­tem “The Cor­po­rate State.” In that con­text, it is instruc­tive to weigh tran­shu­man­ism: ” . . . . You basi­cal­ly can’t sep­a­rate tran­shu­man­ism from cap­i­tal­ism. An idea that’s so enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly pur­sued by Musk and Peter Thiel, and by the founders of Google, is one that needs to be seen as a muta­tion of cap­i­tal­ism, not a cure for it.’ . . . . If those who form soci­ety in the age of tran­shu­man­ism are men like Musk and Thiel, it’s prob­a­ble that this soci­ety will have few social safe­ty nets. There will be an uneven rate of tech­no­log­i­cal progress glob­al­ly; even a post-human soci­ety can repli­cate the unequal glob­al wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion which we see today. In some cities and coun­tries, inhab­i­tants may live for­ev­er, while in oth­ers the res­i­dents die of mal­nu­tri­tion. If peo­ple don’t die off, the envi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences – from wide­spread nat­ur­al resource dev­as­ta­tion to unsus­tain­able ener­gy demands – would be wide­spread. . . . ”

These are auguries of a future-to-come. A look at the present sug­gests that these prog­nos­ti­ca­tions are not unre­al­is­tic.

Nazis/white suprema­cists are already dis­tort­ing genet­ic research to suit their own ends. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, aca­d­e­mics in the field have not been enthu­si­as­tic about engag­ing them. In the past, genet­ic research has been sup­port­ive of eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy.

” . . . . Nowhere on the agen­da of the annu­al meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Human Genet­ics, being held in San Diego this week, is a top­ic plagu­ing many of its mem­bers: the recur­ring appro­pri­a­tion of the field’s research in the name of white suprema­cy. ‘Stick­ing your neck out on polit­i­cal issues is dif­fi­cult,’ said Jen­nifer Wag­n­er, a bioethi­cist and pres­i­dent of the group’s social issues com­mit­tee, who had sought to con­vene a pan­el on the racist mis­use of genet­ics and found lit­tle trac­tion. But the specter of the field’s igno­min­ious past, which includes sup­port for the Amer­i­can eugen­ics move­ment, looms large for many geneti­cists in light of today’s white iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics. They also wor­ry about how new tools that are allow­ing them to home in on the genet­ic basis of hot-but­ton traits like intel­li­gence will be mis­con­strued to fit racist ide­olo­gies. . . .”

A 14-word post­ing on the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty web­site has raised eye­brows. We believe it is an exam­ple of dog-whistling by fascist/Nazi ele­ments inside of the DHS. The “Four­teen Words” were mint­ed by Order mem­ber and Alan Berg mur­der get­away dri­ver David Lane. “88” is a well-known clan­des­tine Nazi salute. In the imme­di­ate after­math of World War II, using the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” was banned. To cir­cum­vent that, Nazis said “88,” because H is the eighth let­ter in the alpha­bet.

The num­bers 14 and 88 are often com­bined by Nazis.

The title of the DHS post­ing is: “We Must Secure The Bor­der And Build The Wall To Make Amer­i­ca Safe Again.” The 14 words of David Lane are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”
A 14-word post­ing on the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty web­site has raised eye­brows. We believe it is an exam­ple of dog-whistling by fascist/Nazi ele­ments inside of the DHS. The “Four­teen Words” were mint­ed by Order mem­ber and Alan Berg mur­der get­away dri­ver David Lane. “88” is a well-known clan­des­tine Nazi salute. In the imme­di­ate after­math of World War II, using the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” was banned. To cir­cum­vent that, Nazis said “88,” because H is the eighth let­ter in the alpha­bet.

The num­bers 14 and 88 are often com­bined by Nazis.

The title of the DHS post­ing is: “We Must Secure The Bor­der And Build The Wall To Make Amer­i­ca Safe Again.” The 14 words of David Lane are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”

It comes as no sur­prise that Ian M. Smith–a for­mer DHS Trump appointee–had doc­u­ment­ed links with white suprema­cists.

Ian Smith was not alone. John Feere and Julie Kirchener–both hard line anti-immi­gra­tion activists–have been hired by Team Trump. ” . . . . Jon Feere, a for­mer legal pol­i­cy ana­lyst for the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, or CIS, has been hired as an advis­er to Thomas D. Homan, the act­ing direc­tor of Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment, accord­ing to Home­land Secu­ri­ty spokesman David Lapan. At Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Julie Kirch­n­er, the for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an advis­er to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion act­ing Com­mis­sion­er Kevin McAleenan, said Lapan. The hir­ing of Feere and Kirch­n­er at the fed­er­al agen­cies has alarmed immi­grants’ rights activists. CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Wash­ing­ton that advo­cate restrict­ing legal and ille­gal immi­gra­tion. The two orga­ni­za­tions were found­ed by John Tan­ton, a retired Michi­gan oph­thal­mol­o­gist who has open­ly embraced eugen­ics, the sci­ence of improv­ing the genet­ic qual­i­ty of the human pop­u­la­tion by encour­ag­ing selec­tive breed­ing and at times, advo­cat­ing for the ster­il­iza­tion of genet­i­cal­ly unde­sir­able groups. . . .”

The Fed­er­a­tion for Immi­gra­tion Reform has been part­ly fund­ed by the Pio­neer Fund, one of many orga­ni­za­tions that oper­at­ed in favor of the eugen­ics pol­i­cy of Nazi Ger­many. “. . . . Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received around $1.2 mil­lion in grants from the Pio­neer Fund. The Pio­neer Fund is a eugeni­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was start­ed in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who want­ed to pur­sue “race bet­ter­ment” by pro­mot­ing the genet­ic lines of Amer­i­can whites. Now led by race sci­en­tist J. Philippe Rush­ton, the fund con­tin­ues to back stud­ies intend­ed to reveal the infe­ri­or­i­ty of minori­ties to whites. . . .”


FTR #1021 FascisBook: (In Your Facebook, Part 3–A Virtual Panopticon, Part 3)

This pro­gram fol­lows up FTR #‘s 718 and 946, we exam­ined Face­book, not­ing how it’s cute, warm, friend­ly pub­lic facade obscured a cyn­i­cal, reac­tionary, exploita­tive and, ulti­mate­ly “cor­po­ratist” eth­ic and oper­a­tion.

The UK’s Chan­nel 4 sent an inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist under­cov­er to work for one of the third-par­ty com­pa­nies Face­book pays to mod­er­ate con­tent. This inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist was trained to take a hands-off approach to far right vio­lent con­tent and fake news because that kind of con­tent engages users for longer and increas­es ad rev­enues. ” . . . . An inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist who went under­cov­er as a Face­book mod­er­a­tor in Ire­land says the com­pa­ny lets pages from far-right fringe groups ‘exceed dele­tion thresh­old,’ and that those pages are ‘sub­ject to dif­fer­ent treat­ment in the same cat­e­go­ry as pages belong­ing to gov­ern­ments and news orga­ni­za­tions.’ The accu­sa­tion is a damn­ing one, under­min­ing Facebook’s claims that it is active­ly try­ing to cut down on fake news, pro­pa­gan­da, hate speech, and oth­er harm­ful con­tent that may have sig­nif­i­cant real-world impact.The under­cov­er jour­nal­ist detailed his find­ings in a new doc­u­men­tary titled Inside Face­book: Secrets of the Social Net­work, that just aired on the UK’s Chan­nel 4. . . . .”

Next, we present a fright­en­ing sto­ry about Aggre­gateIQ (AIQ), the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca off­shoot to which Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca out­sourced the devel­op­ment of its “Ripon” psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­file soft­ware devel­op­ment, and which lat­er played a key role in the pro-Brex­it cam­paign. The arti­cle also notes that, despite Facebook’s pledge to kick Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca off of its plat­form, secu­ri­ty researchers just found 13 apps avail­able for Face­book that appear to be devel­oped by AIQ. If Face­book real­ly was try­ing to kick Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca off of its plat­form, it’s not try­ing very hard. One app is even named “AIQ John­ny Scraper” and it’s reg­is­tered to AIQ.

The arti­cle is also a reminder that you don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly need to down­load a Cam­bridge Analytica/AIQ app for them to be track­ing your infor­ma­tion and reselling it to clients. Secu­ri­ty researcher stum­bled upon a new repos­i­to­ry of curat­ed Face­book data AIQ was cre­at­ing for a client and it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble a lot of the data was scraped from pub­lic Face­book posts.

” . . . . Aggre­gateIQ, a Cana­di­an con­sul­tan­cy alleged to have links to Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, col­lect­ed and stored the data of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Face­book users, accord­ing to redact­ed com­put­er files seen by the Finan­cial Times.The social net­work banned Aggre­gateIQ, a data com­pa­ny, from its plat­form as part of a clean-up oper­a­tion fol­low­ing the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal, on sus­pi­cion that the com­pa­ny could have been improp­er­ly access­ing user infor­ma­tion. How­ev­er, Chris Vick­ery, a secu­ri­ty researcher, this week found an app on the plat­form called ‘AIQ John­ny Scraper’ reg­is­tered to the com­pa­ny, rais­ing fresh ques­tions about the effec­tive­ness of Facebook’s polic­ing efforts. . . .”

In addi­tion, the sto­ry high­lights a forms of micro-tar­get­ing com­pa­nies like AIQ make avail­able that’s fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from the algo­rith­mic micro-tar­get­ing asso­ci­at­ed with social media abus­es: micro-tar­get­ing by a human who wants to specif­i­cal­ly look and see what you per­son­al­ly have said about var­i­ous top­ics on social media. This is a ser­vice where some­one can type you into a search engine and AIQ’s prod­uct will serve up a list of all the var­i­ous polit­i­cal posts you’ve made or the polit­i­cal­ly-rel­e­vant “Likes” you’ve made.

Next, we note that Face­book is get­ting sued by an app devel­op­er for act­ing like the mafia and turn­ing access to all that user data as the key enforce­ment tool:

“Mark Zucker­berg faces alle­ga­tions that he devel­oped a ‘mali­cious and fraud­u­lent scheme’ to exploit vast amounts of pri­vate data to earn Face­book bil­lions and force rivals out of busi­ness. A com­pa­ny suing Face­book in a Cal­i­for­nia court claims the social network’s chief exec­u­tive ‘weaponised’ the abil­i­ty to access data from any user’s net­work of friends – the fea­ture at the heart of the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal.  . . . . ‘The evi­dence uncov­ered by plain­tiff demon­strates that the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal was not the result of mere neg­li­gence on Facebook’s part but was rather the direct con­se­quence of the mali­cious and fraud­u­lent scheme Zucker­berg designed in 2012 to cov­er up his fail­ure to antic­i­pate the world’s tran­si­tion to smart­phones,’ legal doc­u­ments said. . . . . Six4Three alleges up to 40,000 com­pa­nies were effec­tive­ly defraud­ed in this way by Face­book. It also alleges that senior exec­u­tives includ­ing Zucker­berg per­son­al­ly devised and man­aged the scheme, indi­vid­u­al­ly decid­ing which com­pa­nies would be cut off from data or allowed pref­er­en­tial access. . . . ‘They felt that it was bet­ter not to know. I found that utter­ly hor­ri­fy­ing,’ he [for­mer Face­book exec­u­tive Sandy Parak­i­las] said. ‘If true, these alle­ga­tions show a huge betray­al of users, part­ners and reg­u­la­tors. They would also show Face­book using its monop­oly pow­er to kill com­pe­ti­tion and putting prof­its over pro­tect­ing its users.’ . . . .”

The above-men­tioned Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca is offi­cial­ly going bank­rupt, along with the elec­tions divi­sion of its par­ent com­pa­ny, SCL Group. Appar­ent­ly their bad press has dri­ven away clients.

Is this tru­ly the end of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca?

No.

They’re rebrand­ing under a new com­pa­ny, Emer­da­ta. Intrigu­ing­ly, Cam­bridge Analytica’s trans­for­ma­tion into Emer­da­ta is note­wor­thy because  the fir­m’s direc­tors include John­son Ko Chun Shun, a Hong Kong financier and busi­ness part­ner of Erik Prince: ” . . . . But the company’s announce­ment left sev­er­al ques­tions unan­swered, includ­ing who would retain the company’s intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty — the so-called psy­cho­graph­ic vot­er pro­files built in part with data from Face­book — and whether Cam­bridge Analytica’s data-min­ing busi­ness would return under new aus­pices. . . . In recent months, exec­u­tives at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and SCL Group, along with the Mer­cer fam­i­ly, have moved to cre­at­ed a new firm, Emer­da­ta, based in Britain, accord­ing to British records. The new company’s direc­tors include John­son Ko Chun Shun, a Hong Kong financier and busi­ness part­ner of Erik Prince. . . . An exec­u­tive and a part own­er of SCL Group, Nigel Oakes, has pub­licly described Emer­da­ta as a way of rolling up the two com­pa­nies under one new ban­ner. . . . ”

In the Big Data inter­net age, there’s one area of per­son­al infor­ma­tion that has yet to be incor­po­rat­ed into the pro­files on everyone–personal bank­ing infor­ma­tion.  ” . . . . If tech com­pa­nies are in con­trol of pay­ment sys­tems, they’ll know “every sin­gle thing you do,” Kapi­to said. It’s a dif­fer­ent busi­ness mod­el from tra­di­tion­al bank­ing: Data is more valu­able for tech firms that sell a range of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts than it is for banks that only sell finan­cial ser­vices, he said. . . .”

Face­book is approach­ing a num­ber of big banks – JP Mor­gan, Wells Far­go, Cit­i­group, and US Ban­corp – request­ing finan­cial data includ­ing card trans­ac­tions and check­ing-account bal­ances. Face­book is joined byIn this by Google and Ama­zon who are also try­ing to get this kind of data.

Face­book assures us that this infor­ma­tion, which will be opt-in, is to be sole­ly for offer­ing new ser­vices on Face­book mes­sen­ger. Face­book also assures us that this infor­ma­tion, which would obvi­ous­ly be invalu­able for deliv­er­ing ads, won’t be used for ads at all. It will ONLY be used for Facebook’s Mes­sen­ger ser­vice.  This is a dubi­ous assur­ance, in light of Face­book’s past behav­ior.

” . . . . Face­book increas­ing­ly wants to be a plat­form where peo­ple buy and sell goods and ser­vices, besides con­nect­ing with friends. The com­pa­ny over the past year asked JPMor­gan Chase & Co., Wells Far­go & Co., Cit­i­group Inc. and U.S. Ban­corp to dis­cuss poten­tial offer­ings it could host for bank cus­tomers on Face­book Mes­sen­ger, said peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter. Face­book has talked about a fea­ture that would show its users their check­ing-account bal­ances, the peo­ple said. It has also pitched fraud alerts, some of the peo­ple said. . . .”

Peter Thiel’s sur­veil­lance firm Palan­tir was appar­ent­ly deeply involved with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s gam­ing of per­son­al data har­vest­ed from Face­book in order to engi­neer an elec­toral vic­to­ry for Trump. Thiel was an ear­ly investor in Face­book, at one point was its largest share­hold­er and is still one of its largest share­hold­ers. ” . . . . It was a Palan­tir employ­ee in Lon­don, work­ing close­ly with the data sci­en­tists build­ing Cambridge’s psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing tech­nol­o­gy, who sug­gest­ed the sci­en­tists cre­ate their own app — a mobile-phone-based per­son­al­i­ty quiz — to gain access to Face­book users’ friend net­works, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times. The rev­e­la­tions pulled Palan­tir — co-found­ed by the wealthy lib­er­tar­i­an Peter Thiel — into the furor sur­round­ing Cam­bridge, which improp­er­ly obtained Face­book data to build ana­lyt­i­cal tools it deployed on behalf of Don­ald J. Trump and oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Trump, serves on the board at Face­book. ‘There were senior Palan­tir employ­ees that were also work­ing on the Face­book data,’ said Christo­pher Wylie, a data expert and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca co-founder, in tes­ti­mo­ny before British law­mak­ers on Tues­day. . . . The con­nec­tions between Palan­tir and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca were thrust into the spot­light by Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on Tues­day. Both com­pa­nies are linked to tech-dri­ven bil­lion­aires who backed Mr. Trump’s cam­paign: Cam­bridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mer­cer, the com­put­er sci­en­tist and hedge fund mag­nate, while Palan­tir was co-found­ed in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an ini­tial investor in Face­book. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.–Facebook’s project to incor­po­rate brain-to-com­put­er inter­face into its oper­at­ing sys­tem: ” . . . 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.–” . . . . 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. 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. . . .”
3.–” . . . . Facebook’s Build­ing 8 is mod­eled after DARPA and its projects tend to be equal­ly ambi­tious. . . .”
4.–” . . . . 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. . . .”
5.–” . . . . 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. . . .”
6.–” . . . . 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.’ . . . .”
7.–Some telling obser­va­tions by Nigel Oakes, the founder of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca par­ent firm SCL: ” . . . . . . . . The pan­el has pub­lished audio records in which an exec­u­tive tied to Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca dis­cuss­es how the Trump cam­paign used tech­niques used by the Nazis to tar­get vot­ers. . . .”
8.–Further expo­si­tion of Oakes’ state­ment: ” . . . . Adolf Hitler ‘didn’t have a prob­lem with the Jews at all, but peo­ple didn’t like the Jews,’ he told the aca­d­e­m­ic, Emma L. Bri­ant, a senior lec­tur­er in jour­nal­ism at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Essex. He went on to say that Don­ald J. Trump had done the same thing by tap­ping into griev­ances toward immi­grants and Mus­lims. . . . ‘What hap­pened with Trump, you can for­get all the micro­tar­get­ing and micro­da­ta and what­ev­er, and come back to some very, very sim­ple things,’ he told Dr. Bri­ant. ‘Trump had the balls, and I mean, real­ly the balls, to say what peo­ple want­ed to hear.’ . . .”
9.–Observations about the pos­si­bil­i­ties of Face­book’s goal of hav­ing AI gov­ern­ing the edi­to­r­i­al func­tions of its con­tent: 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. . . .”
10.–Microsoft’s Tay Chat­bot offers a glimpse into this future: 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.”


FTR #1017 Supreme Court Trump Card: Family Trump, Family [Anthony] Kennedy and Peter Thiel

 Much has been said about Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court jus­tice, replac­ing Antho­ny Kennnedy.

In this pro­gram, we high­light exten­sive net­work­ing between the Trump and Kennedy fam­i­lies and, in turn, some appar­ent “deep net­work­ing” between some of the indi­vid­u­als in the Trump/Kennedy nexus and insti­tu­tions linked to key ele­ments of the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal net­work.

Deutsche Bank and the shad­ow of the I.G. Far­ben chem­i­cal com­plex fig­ure into the lat­ter part of this equa­tion.

The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank. In FTR #919, we ana­lyzed a New York Times arti­cle high­light­ing Don­ald Trump’s alto­geth­er opaque real estate devel­op­ments and evi­dence that those projects had sig­nif­i­cant links to ele­ments of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.

In that pro­gram we set forth the pri­ma­ry role of Deutsche Bank in financ­ing Trump’s real estate projects.

” . . . While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a stead­fast finan­cial backer of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s busi­ness inter­ests. Since 1998, the bank has led or par­tic­i­pat­ed in loans of at least $2.5 bil­lion to com­pa­nies affil­i­at­ed with Mr. Trump, accord­ing to a Wall Street Jour­nal analy­sis of pub­lic records and peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter. That doesn’t include at least anoth­er $1 bil­lion in loan com­mit­ments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affil­i­at­ed enti­ties. The long-stand­ing con­nec­tion makes Frank­furt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. oper­a­tion and has been grap­pling with rep­u­ta­tion­al prob­lems and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the finan­cial insti­tu­tion with prob­a­bly the strongest ties to the con­tro­ver­sial New York busi­ness­man. . . .”

The fact that Deutsche Bank is the pri­ma­ry finan­cial backer of “Trump Incor­po­rat­ed” is of pri­ma­ry impor­tance. The bank is cen­tral to the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.

The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank.

Fur­ther­more, jurists who clerked for Antho­ny Kennedy fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Trump’s judi­cial appoint­ments:

1.–” . . . . He [Trump] picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .”
2.–” . . . . Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati. The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy. . . .”
3.–” . . . . In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .”
4.–” . . . . Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin . . . . spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role. Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .”

After Kennedy left Deutsche Bank in 2009 he went on to become co-CEO LNR Prop­er­ty LLC. LNR Prop­er­ty saved Jared Kushner’s mid­town Man­hat­tan prop­er­ty in 2011:

1.–” . . . . from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC with Tobin Cobb. . . .”
2.–” . . . . Accord­ing the New York Times, in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased ‘an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.’ At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was ‘con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.’ . . .”
3.– ” . . . Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal, Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR ‘reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.’ . . .”

The links between Trump­World and Antho­ny Kennedy’s sons is deep­er still. Kennedy’s oth­er son Gre­go­ry, has long-stand­ing ties to Trump Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, whom we first ana­lyzed in FTR #718.

” . . . . . . . . Kennedy’s seat, mean­time, seemed des­tined to go to Kavanaugh, thanks in part to the glow­ing review of Kennedy, whose son, Justin, knows Don­ald Trump Jr. through New York real estate cir­cles, and whose oth­er adult child has con­nec­tions to Trump World via the president’s 2016 Sil­i­con Val­ley advis­er Peter Thiel, most recent­ly when the Kennedy firm Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers worked with Thiel’s Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies. . . .”

Gre­go­ry Kennedy’s DTA has an unusu­al­ly close rela­tion­ship with Palan­tir, a com­pa­ny that has helped the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

Kennedy’s DTA has oth­er per­son­al con­nec­tions to Palan­tir. Alex Fish­man and Alex Davis, two oth­er DTA founders, “enjoyed a very close rela­tion­ship” with Palan­tir co-founder Alex Karp, accord­ing to the law­suit.

It should be not­ed that the alleged secre­cy with which Palan­tir treats its oper­at­ing and invest­ing infor­ma­tion is char­ac­ter­is­tic of Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tions. A clos­et­ed, insid­ers-only oper­at­ing eth­ic serves the need for this con­sum­mate­ly pow­er­ful orga­ni­za­tion to main­tain a rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file, even as it gains pow­er, influ­ence and wealth.

” . . . . Yet Palan­tir — whose stock changes hands only through pri­vate trades — goes to great lengths to keep any detailed infor­ma­tion about its busi­ness pri­vate. . . .”

A law­suit by Palan­tir investor KT4 Part­ners alleges that Palan­tir is ille­gal­ly block­ing investors from sell­ing shares in the com­pa­ny and that Kennedy’s Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advi­sors (DTA) is a key part­ner and ben­e­fi­cia­ry of this strat­e­gy.

KT4 claims that when it tried to sell its shares of Palan­tir to a third-par­ty, Palan­tir would have DTA con­tact the third-par­ty and con­vince them to have Palan­tir sells them the shares direct­ly instead. DTA would then col­lect a com­mis­sion.

The cen­tral dynam­ic in the alle­ga­tions of plain­tiff (and Palan­tir investor) KT4 is set forth as fol­lows: ” . . . . But remark­ably, KT4 claims that when Palan­tir receives infor­ma­tion from an investor about a planned sale, it uses that infor­ma­tion to con­tact the buy­er and per­suade them instead to buy shares direct­ly from the com­pa­ny or from cer­tain Palan­tir insid­ers. One par­tic­u­lar bro­ker, Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers, or DTA, repeat­ed­ly gets com­mis­sions from these sales, even when it ‘per­formed no legit­i­mate work,’ KT4 claims. KT4 says it expe­ri­enced inter­fer­ence by Palan­tir when it tried to sell shares to High­bridge Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, a hedge fund that was owned by JPMor­gan Chase, in May 2015. After KT4 noti­fied Palan­tir of the planned sale, Palan­tir turned around and instruct­ed DTA to ‘take the oppor­tu­ni­ty, on Palantir’s behalf,‘and arrange a sale from Palan­tir to High­bridge instead, accord­ing to the law­suit. . . .”

In FTR #946, we exam­ined Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, its Trump and Steve Ban­non-linked tech firm that har­vest­ed Face­book data on behalf of the Trump cam­paign.

Peter Thiel’s Palan­tir was appar­ent­ly deeply involved with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s gam­ing of per­son­al data har­vest­ed from Face­book in order to engi­neer an elec­toral vic­to­ry for Trump, set­ting the GOP cam­paign to con­trol the Supreme Court in a deep­er, broad­er con­text.

Thiel was an ear­ly investor in Face­book, at one point was its largest share­hold­er and is still one of its largest share­hold­ers. ” . . . . It was a Palan­tir employ­ee in Lon­don, work­ing close­ly with the data sci­en­tists build­ing Cambridge’s psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing tech­nol­o­gy, who sug­gest­ed the sci­en­tists cre­ate their own app — a mobile-phone-based per­son­al­i­ty quiz — to gain access to Face­book users’ friend net­works, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times. The rev­e­la­tions pulled Palan­tir — co-found­ed by the wealthy lib­er­tar­i­an Peter Thiel — into the furor sur­round­ing Cam­bridge, which improp­er­ly obtained Face­book data to build ana­lyt­i­cal tools it deployed on behalf of Don­ald J. Trump and oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Trump, serves on the board at Face­book. ‘There were senior Palan­tir employ­ees that were also work­ing on the Face­book data,’ said Christo­pher Wylie, a data expert and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca co-founder, in tes­ti­mo­ny before British law­mak­ers on Tues­day. . . . The con­nec­tions between Palan­tir and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca were thrust into the spot­light by Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on Tues­day. Both com­pa­nies are linked to tech-dri­ven bil­lion­aires who backed Mr. Trump’s cam­paign: Cam­bridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mer­cer, the com­put­er sci­en­tist and hedge fund mag­nate, while Palan­tir was co-found­ed in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an ini­tial investor in Face­book. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.–Review of Peter Thiel’s high regard for Carl Schmitt: “. . . . 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. . .” 
2.–Review of Peter Thiel’s ear­ly legal expe­ri­ence with Sul­li­van & Cromwell, the Dulles law firm.
3.–A recount­ing of the role of John Fos­ter Dulles and Sul­li­van & Cromwell’s roles in the for­ma­tion of I.G. Far­ben.
4.–Review of Thiel’s Ger­man her­itage and his father’s prob­a­ble role with one of the I.G. suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies.


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.


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. . . .”