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Overlords: New Dominants

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Prof-Stephen-Hawking comments on Science AMA Series: Stephen Hawking AMA Answers! Philip K. Dick's 1969 novel Ubik on the Internet of Things. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Thinkstock. Be careful about what you say in your living room if your new TV is on. News broke earlier this week that Samsung’s Web-connected SmartTV can listen to, record, and send what the television hears to a third-party company. The television doesn’t watch you watch it back, but it is listening. Samsung, the world’s largest manufacturer of televisions, tells customers in its privacy policy that “personal or other sensitive” conversations “will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party” through the TV’s voice-recognition software. Welcome to the Internet of Things. Sci-fi great Philip K. In this passage from Ubik, a man is actually locked out by a door that requires a mandatory payment to open.

Ian Steadman of the New Statesman pointed out the excerpt in a tweet: Here’s one of the problems: Although we agree to terms of service agreements when we use digital products, way more often than not, we don’t read them. How Much Longer Before Companies Start To Run Themselves? Someone I know has held this theory for a while, that big companies are already AIs, just that the computation is done by Mechanical Turk. It sounds a bit stupid, like "if humans are doing it then it's not artificial", but the concept is that the company structures separate the human components, and they each make their little decisions separately - the company itself is then considered a composite mind, like a beehive, where the large-scale actions are implemented by a series of much more mundane decisions by the workers. So whether this is "artificial" intelligence or not, the idea is that we should treat corporations not really as people, but as intelligences that operate with a completely different set of goals and morality.

The myriad ways that corporations screw us over could be considered as just their equivalent of the "paperclip scenario". Flagged. Plutocracy. Political Philosophy. Democracy and Political Ignorance. Democracy is supposed to be rule of the people, by the people, and for the people. But in order to rule effectively, the people need political knowledge. If they know little or nothing about government, it becomes difficult to hold political leaders accountable for their performance. Unfortunately, public knowledge about politics is disturbingly low. In addition, the public also often does a poor job of evaluating the political information they do know.

The Extent of Ignorance Political ignorance in America is deep and widespread. Widespread ignorance is not a new phenomenon. Rational Ignorance Some people react to data like the above by thinking that the voters must be stupid. In the book, I also consider why many rationally ignorant people often still bother to vote.4 The key factor is that voting is a lot cheaper and less time-consuming than studying political issues. The Rational Irrationality of Political Fans All of this makes little sense if the goal is truth-seeking.

Conclusion. Even Mathematically Literate People Become Innumerate when they Focus on Political Issues | The Volokh ConspiracyThe Volokh Conspiracy. At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum and Chris Mooney have interesting posts discussing a new paper by Yale law professor Dan Kahan and his coauthors, which finds that even people who are generally good at interpreting statistics act as if they are innumerate when faced with data that goes against their political views. Mooney summarizes the results as follows: The study…. has an ingenious design. At the outset, 1,111 study participants were asked about their political views and also asked a series of questions designed to gauge their “numeracy,” that is, their mathematical reasoning ability. Participants were then asked to solve a fairly difficult problem that involved interpreting the results of a (fake) scientific study.

But here was the trick: While the fake study data that they were supposed to assess remained the same, sometimes the study was described as measuring the effectiveness of a “new cream for treating skin rashes.” Why the difference? Invaders from Mars. "Voting doesn't change anything — the politicians always win. " 'Twas not always so, but I'm hearing variations on that theme a lot these days, and not just in the UK. Why do we feel so politically powerless? Why is the world so obviously going to hell in a handbasket? Why can't anyone fix it? Here's my (admittedly whimsical) working hypothesis ... The rot set in back in the 19th century, when the US legal system began recognizing corporations as de facto people.

Corporations do not share our priorities. Corporations have a mean life expectancy of around 30 years, but are potentially immortal; they live only in the present, having little regard for past or (thanks to short term accounting regulations) the deep future: and they generally exhibit a sociopathic lack of empathy. Collectively, corporate groups lobby international trade treaty negotiations for operating conditions more conducive to pursuing their three goals.

In short, we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion. Youtube. Le Future According To Val Part 2: Consequences. If you recall in my last section, I discussed how I see the human race as being driven by instincts that cause us to form societies and then compete within those societies for “sex rights” by the creation of pecking orders. I also discussed how many of the technologies I have covered over the last few years are tied up in the “status game” and are being developed precisely because they appeal to the instincts we have as humans to seek ways to improve our personal status. I also ended by pointing out that those desires make these technologies so irresistible that we as a species are pursuing them heedless of the consequences. Wait, did I just say consequences? Aren’t I supposed to be this hedonistic amoral optimist wearing rose colored glasses about the future?

So let me ask you this. Would you be willing to give up Tyranny? Because that is the price we, as a species, will have to pay for following our instincts. The problem is that their “cash cow” is dying. Cyberpunk: The Dystopian Prism with Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross and more great speakers! 12 Futuristic Forms of Government That Could One Day Rule the World. Is the Internet good or bad? Yes.  — Matter. I WAS IN PHILADELPHIA WHEN the protests in Istanbul exploded, at a gathering called Data-Crunched Democracy, hosted by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

It was supposed to be exciting, and a little contentious. But I’m also a scholar of social movements and new technologies. I’d visited Tahrir, the heart of the Egyptian uprising, and Zuccotti Square, the birthplace of the Occupy movement. And now new technology was helping to power protests in Istanbul, my hometown. The epicenter, Gezi Park, is just a few blocks from the hospital where I was born. So there I was, at a conference I had been looking forward to for months, sitting in the back row, tweeting about tear gas in Istanbul. A number of high-level staff from the data teams of the Obama and Romney campaigns were there, which meant that a lot of people who probably did not like me very much were in the room. Of course, these tactics are as old as politics. Personalized marketing is not new. The dystopia of 1984 is no longer relevant. The Robots Are Here - POLITICO Magazine. Isaac Asimov, the astonishingly prolific science fiction writer, died in 1992, but he foresaw much about American politics today.

One of his most profound works is the neglected short story “Franchise,” written in 1955, in the days when computers were bulky, room-sized machines powered by vacuum tubes and operated by a high priesthood of punch card-wielding technicians. For a work of fiction, it is stunningly prescient. In Asimov’s tale, set in November 2008, democratic elections have become nearly obsolete. A mysterious supercomputer said to be “half a mile long and three stories high,” named Multivac, absorbs most of the current information about economic and political conditions and estimates which candidate is going to win.

You see, Linda, till about forty years ago, everybody always voted.”… “How did all the people know who to vote for? Even the robots so familiar from vintage science fiction are now really making their mark. The slogan “We are the 85 percent!” _Z_E_R_O comments on Bill Gates: People Don't Realize How Many Jobs Will Soon Be Replaced By Software Bots.