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Hawking, Wozniak and Elon Musk publish open letter warning autonomous weapons will become as common as Kalashnikovs

Artificial intelligence, especially weaponized, is a huge mistake, tech gurus and scientific geniuses warn in a newly-released open letter. Professor Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Tesla CEO Elon Musk are among 1,000 signatories.

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Via RT:

The luminaries believe that for the last 20 years we have been dangerously preoccupied with making strides in the direction of autonomous AI that has decision-making powers.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous] systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” they write in a letter presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries.

The danger has to do with a combination of abilities and improvements the machines have been gaining over the years, including various integration, learning, processing power and a number of component tasks, as evidenced in their previous letter published by the Future of Life Institute.

The researchers acknowledge that sending robots into war could produce the positive result of reducing casualties. The flipside, they write, is that it “[lowers] the threshold for going to battle.”

The authors have no doubt that AI weaponry development by any nation will result in a “virtually inevitable global arms race” with autonomous weapons becoming “the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.”

“Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce,” they write.

Nothing will then stop all this from reaching the black market, researchers argue. “Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group,”they continue.

The message is not that AI is bad in and of itself, but that there’s a danger of using it in a way that is diametrically opposed to how it should be used – which is for good, for healing and for alleviating human suffering.

The group speaks against a select few who would “tarnish” a field that, like biology or chemistry, isn’t at all preoccupied with using that knowledge to make weapons. Any negative use of this knowledge could only lead the public to forever stand against the field, therefore denying it the chance to really be of benefit in the future, the visionaries write.

None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who follows their careers or keeps up to date with AI news. Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, is known to be very vocal on the issue. But In June, he posited that a smart AI would wish to control nature itself – and therefore, humans. As “pets.” He even joked about feeding his dog fillet steak, because “do unto others…”

“They’ll be so smart by then that they’ll know they have to keep nature, and humans are part of nature. So I got over my fear that we’d be replaced by computers. They’re going to help us. We’re at least the gods originally,” he told an Austin audience at the Freescale Technology Forum 2015.

Musk is another skeptic. A recently-authorized biography outlines how he worries that his friend and Google CEO Larry Page could “produce something evil by accident” (the company has been making huge strides in robotics and AI, including recently purchasing Boston Dynamics – the company that scared everybody with its four-legged animal-like robots).

“The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. Ten years at most,” Musk wrote in a leaked private comment to an internet publication about the dangers of AI, a few months ago. “Please note that I am normally super pro-technology and have never raised this issue until recent months. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand,” Musk wrote.

Like Wozniak, Musk has been donating millions to the cause of steering AI in a direction beneficial to humanity.

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, who relies on a form of artificial intelligence to communicate, told the BBC that if technology could match human capabilities, “it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.”

He also said that due to biological limitations, there would be no way that humans could match the speed of the development of technology.

“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded,” he said. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” the physics genius said.

Here is the full letter:

Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers

Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

Many arguments have been made for and against autonomous weapons, for example that replacing human soldiers by machines is good by reducing casualties for the owner but bad by thereby lowering the threshold for going to battle. The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity. There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people.

Just as most chemists and biologists have no interest in building chemical or biological weapons, most AI researchers have no interest in building AI weapons — and do not want others to tarnish their field by doing so, potentially creating a major public backlash against AI that curtails its future societal benefits. Indeed, chemists and biologists have broadly supported international agreements that have successfully prohibited chemical and biological weapons, just as most physicists supported the treaties banning space-based nuclear weapons and blinding laser weapons.

In summary, we believe that AI has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so. Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.

Via Zerohedge:

And while we certainly agree that no one wants to live in a world where autonomous marauding robots roam the earth indiscriminately eliminating targets of their own choosing, we fear the revolution may have already begun… in Connecticut:

References:

http://www.rt.com/news/310882-wozniak-musk-hawking-ai/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-27/elon-musk-preparing-killer-robot-wars-tomorrow

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Horrifying New York abortion law marks big Democrat push in US

New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington also wish to expand abortion access to truly barbaric proportions.

Seraphim Hanisch

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To some nations in the world, the United States may appear to be overly “conservative” or “backwards” regarding its general position on abortion. Russia, China, Canada, and Australia all allow this practice in generally unrestricted terms. Europeans are generally allowing of first trimester abortions. Social attitudes about the practice vary, with Sweden being the most permissive in terms of attitude, but Russia being the place where a woman is most likely to have had an abortion.

While the legal position in the United States on abortion is generally legal under all conditions as determined by the outcome of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the US Supreme Court, the social context of the practice is highly debated and generally disapproved of, even by those Americans who believe that the procedure should still be kept legal. One of the most emotionally satisfying statements in the US that actually summarized the attitudes of many “pro-choice” Americans was that of Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton’s statement that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare.”

In other words, the legality of the procedure is one thing, and the promotion of the procedure is quite another. It was summarized in this thought: We think that to be in the position of determining whether or not to abort a child is a horrifying and extremely serious matter. However, we believe it to be safer if this procedure is kept legal, lest it actually become dangerous because of inferior resources if it were banned, and done clandestinely.

This point of view was generally accepted as a secular compromise to a horrifying situation. Far from the ultraliberal attitudes of progressive Europe, the United States remained a relatively conservative country, socially guided by Christian attitudes concerning the sanctity of life, even that life which is yet unborn.

All this has changed.

Starting with the signing of New York State’s “Reproductive Health Act”, many states are now moving towards ensuring that abortion is legal under all conditions, to the full term of pregnancy, even to the point where perfectly viable, birthed babies may be killed after delivery if the mother so desires.

This report from New York was immediately followed up by this news item from Virginia’s own Legislature, in its attempt to pass a similar law, made even more clearly brutal by Governor Northam’s defense and explanation of the procedure post delivery in which a living baby would be subject to being deliberately killed at the wish of the mother. 

This law, like the New York constitutional amendment allows the unborn, or just-born (and alive even though “aborted”), no human rights.

There is really no way this action cannot be seen for what it is: infanticide, a very particularly cruel form of murder of the innocent, on no further grounds than that the baby exists and that the mother does not want it.

We covered in another news piece how this ability appears to be the prize “right” of feminist women, who were represented in Congress by the infamous Women in White, who sat stone-faced as President Donald Trump appealed for Congress to make and pass a law banning late-term abortions.

However, the President’s request was well-met by conservatives in the House chamber, and indeed, even some pro-choices were set off their guard by the New York and Virginia legislative moves. Virginia’s attempt failed.

Abortion is legal in the US, and it is legal at any point in the pregnancy in many states. This is not often reported, probably because abortion is not palatable to public discourse when a fully-formed, living baby is to be the subject of this procedure. The national discourse has for years been “safely” diverted to what appears to be more metaphysical debate about the unseen processes in pregnancy, such as “when does life really begin”, and even “when does the embryo receive a soul?”

This is probably by design to avoid the much harsher realities that were exposed in New York, Virginia and Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont. All these states have either passed or are trying to pass laws that protect abortion rights, sometimes to similar extremes as New York’s law contains. However, many other states, such as Colorado, already allow full and late-term abortion procedures.

However, not every state in the US is trying to magnify abortion rights. Some are trying to limit this procedure, or even outlaw it entirely, should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court, a possibility that seems enhanced now with five “conservative” Justices on the US Supreme Court. States like Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, and even the aforementioned Rhode Island are seeking passage of laws to sharply limit or completely outlaw the procedure in this event.

CDC graph showing abortion rates per 1,000 US women from 1969 to 2014. Courtesy: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Guttmacher Institute.

Interestingly, both the abortion rate and the actual number of abortions performed in the US has fallen drastically in the time period between 1980 and 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention record that there were almost 1.3 million babies aborted in 1980, peaking at 1.43 million in 1990, before dropping again to 2015’s rate of 638,000. Numbers and counts vary by statistical poll, however, with 2017’s numbers showing 882,240 in this study. The common feature of declining numbers and rates is still evident.

Statistical sources on this issue were not able to explain the reason for the drop in both rate and number of abortions, but a speculation might be that some exposure to the reality of what abortion actually is has served to deter both unwanted pregnancy from even happening, and also to try to find a way to take care of human beings guilty of nothing more than their existence. Perhaps this is too generous an assessment, but it is one possibility.

President Trump was loud and clear on several occasions about his stance on the issue of abortion. His State of the Union speech featured his saying, “all children, born and unborn are made in the Holy image of God.” This was followed up by further comments at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which he continued to show a strong pro-life position.

Naturally, some pols dismiss this as nothing more than the President’s attempts to energize his base for the 2020 elections. To credit such opinions, it may indeed do this. But President Trump has really put his money where his mouth is in terms of governing as a conservative, or at least, common-sense oriented President.

The combination of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s legislation, the Virginian attempt and the March for Life, featuring its highly slurred story about Roman Catholic teenaged boys who were at the event, plus the President’s speech have made for a truly polarizing moment. To be sure, political winds in the US are so unruly now that longstanding position issues are now pushed aside in mere days, or even hours. However the mainstream media is hard-pressed to refute what happened here. The American Left tipped its hand, perhaps a little too much for even some who are ideologically liberal, and some of the harshest, most sinister aspects of their worldview were brought into focus.

This reaction extends even to both real-life and Internet commentary on such news pieces. Tucker Carlson took on uber-feminist Monica Klein on his program on January 30th, and their exchange, most notably Monica’s sheer fury, was a sign that the Left is energized on this subject, so much so that any sense of nicety has been discarded:

For Ms. Klein, this issue is a source of pure anger, as is clearly evident on her face. This was not a woman who was playing the ideological talking head for the news media hit; far from it. She really believes what she says, and has taken that fury to the point of irrationality.

Some comments on this issue appear in many publications that also reveal extremely fiery emotion on both sides. The rhetoric swings from “baby-killers” to “woman-haters” quite freely on this topic, and this is honestly a shame. Such emotional incendiary bombs are avoidances on both sides. While people call each other names, no one pays attention to the topic itself. This is, of course, by design.

When the real issue is looked at, as was shown so clearly in New York and Virginia, the topic of the value of human life shows its profound reality to everyone. If that happened often enough or long enough, it might change the substance of the conversation.

The result might then be a real change.

 

 

 

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Facebook: The Government’s Propaganda Arm?

The social media giant has a disturbing number of former Obama officials in key positions of authority over content.

The Duran

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Authored by Jeff Charles via Liberty Nation:


Imagine for a moment what it would look like if the federal government launched its own social media network. Every day, Americans could freely use the platform to express their views on everything from economic theory to the best tips for baking peanut butter cookies. They could even discuss their political views and debate the important issues of the day.

But what if the government were empowered to determine which political views are appropriate and which are too obscene for the American public? Well, it looks like this is already happening. Of course, the state has not created a social media network; they didn’t have to. It appears the government is using Facebook – the world’s largest social media company – to sway public opinion.

The Government’s Fingers In Facebook

The Free Thought Project recently published a report revealing that Facebook has some troubling ties to the federal government and that this connection could be enabling former state officials to influence the content displayed. The social media provider has partnered with various think tanks which receive state funding, while hiring an alarming number of individuals who have held prominent positions in the federal government.

Facebook recently announced their partnership with the Atlantic Council – which is partly funded by tax dollars – to ensure that users are presented with quality news stories. And by “quality,” it seems that they mean “progressive.” The council is well known for promoting far-left news sources, including the Xinhua News Agency, which was founded by the Communist Party of China. Well, that’s reassuring. What red-blooded American capitalist doesn’t want to get the news from a communist regime?

But there one aspect of this story is even more troubling: the government-to-Facebook pipeline. The company has employed a significant number of former officials in positions that grant them influence over what content is allowed on the platform.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, prosecuted cybercrimes at the Department of Justice under President Obama. Now, he is responsible for determining who gets banned or suspended from the network. But that’s not the worst of it. He also spearheaded the company’s initiative to scrub anti-war content and “protest” movements. In a blog post, Gleicher wrote: “Some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption.” He continued, “We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people.”

The company has also hired others who served in key positions in the Obama administration. Some of these include:

  • Aneesh Raman: Former speechwriter
  • Joel Benenson: Top adviser
  • Meredith Carden: Office of the First Lady

To make things more interesting, Facebook has also hired neocons to help them determine the type of content that is being published. So if you happen to be a conservative that isn’t too crazy about interventionism, your views are not as welcome on the network as others. After all, how many times have you heard of people being banned for posting pro-war or socialist propaganda?

Are Private Companies Truly Private?

The notion that government officials could be using positions of power in the private industry to advance a statist agenda is disturbing, but the fact that most Americans are unaware of this is far worse. It would be inaccurate to argue that the government is controlling Facebook’s content, but the level of the state’s involvement in the world’s biggest social media company is a disturbing development.

This is not the only case of state officials becoming involved with certain industries. This trend is rampant in the certain industries in which individuals move back and forth between private organizations and the FDA. For example, Monsanto, an agricultural and agrochemical company, has been under scrutiny for its ties to the federal government.

It is not clear if there is anything that can be done to counteract inappropriate relations between the government and certain companies – especially organizations with the level of influence enjoyed by the likes of Facebook. But it essential that the public is made aware of these relations, otherwise the state will continue to exert influence over society – with Americans none the wiser.

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Is nouveau racism righteous retribution or just insanity? [Video]

The weaponization of racism only creates division and violence, but liberals drive for power cares little about collateral damage.

Seraphim Hanisch

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We know that nouveau racism has been on the rise in America, even though no one calls it by this name.

What is it? Nouveau racism is racism. However, it is that racism which is embraced by “minority” groups, like African-Americans, Latin-Americans, feminists, and any group that is not the target group of their invective: the European-originated, white, Christian male.

Tucker Carlson gives a solid introduction to this topic in his own words in his reflection about one of America’s leaders in the crusade of identity politics, Stacey Y. Abrams.

Nouveau racism is often considered as “righteous retribution” by liberals who practice it. The logic is simple: After all that the European white MEN perpetrated upon native American nations, and upon the African peoples who were forcibly seized and brought to the New World as slave labor, women, blacks and native Americans now ought to give the white men a good taste of their own medicine. Let them see how it feels to be treated like we were, the narrative says.

The only thing is that the descendants of those European white men have largely long since renounced racism. The passage of the Civil Rights Law in 1964 marked the turning point that really had already been reached. The Act merely formalized what for many was already a present reality. After that, racism was loudly and strongly denounced in public service advertisements in the 1970’s like this one:

In an even-handed way, many young people in the 1970’s learned that prejudice was wrong, and that the attitudes of the past, judging people by their religion or color was simply… wrong. The lesson was learned deeply, to the point where white Americans were uniformly horrified by slavery or racism. This was amplified by many movies and TV programs in the 1970’s and 1980’s that viscerally showed their viewers what it was like to live a life of prejudice, but it also increased the desire to never be that way.

Consequently, to most white people in America, one never refers to a black person as “black” or discusses it. The white person usually defers to anyone of color and will not discuss their skin color to prevent any chance of repeating the past  by making a prejudiced judgement.

It would seem fair to presume that with the exceptions of very tiny fringe groups, racism among European-bred white-skinned Americans is gone. Even the trope against Mexicans and “brown-skinned” people is one that most white Americans will not express. While there is often frustration expressed over Latin American immigrants not learning English, there is little to no connection between their skin color and a prejudged notion.

Racism among white people is a thing of the past. So, what do we see now?

According to the news media in the US, the assertion above is completely wrong, and in fact, white people are motivated by hate and the desire to continue to oppress and humiliate non-whites, especially the black man, Latin Americans and Native Americans. Further, there is a bevy of research that points at continuing attitudes being “hateful” and worse, that such people are worthy of nothing good – that they should be humiliated, brought low and stripped of their “white privilege.”

In fact, for the mainstream media, racism has never been so rampant in America.

The only problem is that this is simply not true. 

If anything, white people are very afraid of being perceived as racist, and this has opened the door for what is going on now.

This effort in the liberal press is their assent and promotion of nouveau racism, but like many such fearsome or incendiary topics, this one is not addressing a real problem at all. It is, instead, creating and fomenting a real problem in the country by agitating groups that are already touched by this sort of attitude, to become more extreme.

Nouveau racism seems to serve the purpose of maligning President Trump and Republicans overall, and though President Trump easily swats such nonsense attacks away by his actions, his party’s politicians in Congress often stumble when so accused.

One of the powers of this great weapon is to get a person so accused of racism to do two things: To assent to the horrors of racism and how those “maligned” by it have long suffered, and to go on the defense as though they had to apologize for being racist themselves. 

Of course, in most cases, there was no racism in the first place. But once someone apologizes for it, this has the effect of making them look like the allegation is true, and from that point a person’s reputation may be destroyed because of the accused person’s lack of honesty.

This form of attack is not limited to racism, of course. Feminists perfected the technique and successfully used it against many people until they tried it on Donald Trump, and again on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The forceful swatting away of the allegations by (now) Justice Kavanaugh and the simple admission of “I said it, I am wrong, and I am sorry” by Candidate Trump after the Access Hollywood recording attack gave the feminists nowhere to go.

The same tactic needs to be employed about racism in any form. As Tucker Carlson rightly noted, identity politics divides people into groups who are afraid of one another. Being kind and polite is a great thing. But being cowed into letting a possible accuser have their way all the time lest you be called racist is tyranny. It is not righteous retribution in any form whatsoever.

Fox Host David Webb said it very simply: ““our skin is an organ. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t formulate ideas.”

He is right. Also, nouveau racism is part of the victim culture. Applied to people who embrace it, they only ensure their own enslavement. As we noted in the article about David Webb, Areva Martin, a racist CNN reporter who accused Mr. Webb of white male privilege, made the assertion that white men talk about following the law because they are white and they can follow the law. But look where this assertion leads.

  • White men talk about following the law because they are white and they can do this.
  • They therefore do not understand black men and women, because black men and women are special cases (for Areva Martin, the CNN reporter, this was her argument)
  • Their special nature means that the arguments of following the law do not – and must not – apply to them
  • Apparently this means that black people are incapable of following laws
  • It means that they are incapable of taking personal responsibility for themselves
  • If this is so, then it also follows that someone must run their lives, which leads us to upholding…

Slavery! Hell, seen in this light, slavery is the only humane, reasonable and kind way to treat such people!

Nouveau racism is a lose-lose option. It can only lead to bitter division, senseless hatred, insanity and the disintegration of any society in which it exists.

Dr Martin Luther King said his dream was that a man be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

It appears that this good man’s observation is all-too-often, sadly ignored.

 

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