• 09 JUN 16

    Technology is making us blind: The dangerous complacency of the iPhone era

    Following is an oldie (2014) but goodie from Salon.com which is quite relevant to recent postings on “A Brave New World”.
    Don

    *********************

    The rise of smartphones and social media has ushered in a new age of techno-optimism. And that’s a big problem
    Charles Howarth
    Nov 30, 2014

    Excerpt

    The technology pages of news media can make for scary reading these days. From new evidence of government surveillance to the personal data collection capabilities of new devices, to the latest leaks of personal information, we hear almost daily of new threats to personal privacy. It’s difficult to overstate the implications of this: The separation of the private and public that’s the cornerstone of liberal thought, not to mention the American Constitution, is being rapidly eroded, with potentially profound consequences for our freedom.

    As much as we may register a certain level of dismay at this, in practice, our reaction is often indifference. How many of us have taken to the streets in protest, started a petition, canvassed a politician, or even changed our relationship with our smartphone, tablet or smartwatch? The question is why are we so unconcerned?

    We could say that it’s simply a matter of habit, that we have become so used to using devices in such a way that we cannot imagine using them any differently. Or we could, for example, invoke a tragic fate in which we simply have no option but to accept the erosion of our privacy because of our powerlessness against corporations and governments.

    These are, however, retrospective justifications that miss the kernel of the truth. To reach this kernel, we have to excavate the substratum of culture to uncover the ideas that shape our relationship with technology. Only here can we see that the cause is a profound ideological shift in this relationship.
    READ ON….

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    • 06 JUN 16

    Elon Musk’s Brave New World: Become cyborgs or risk humans being turned into robots’ pets

    Elon Musk envisions a future “Brave New World” where, in order to keep up with advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, future humans (those who can afford it that is) will have to have a “neural lace”, embedded within their brains, becoming cyborgs, or super humans, in order to keep pace with the technology. An interesting concept worthy of the best of SiFi writers but consider that such technology would not come cheap. No coverage through medical insurance, ensuring that only the elites of the world will be able to afford having a neural lace implanted within their brains.

    Essentially what Musk is envisioning is an Olympian super race – part human/part AI, essentially populated by only those who can afford it – the 1 % of the world’s population who now owns half the world’s wealth. As for all those who cannot afford joining the lofty Olympians with all their neural lace emplants, what future for them? A high-tech serfdom perhaps?
    Read on…,

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    • 19 MAR 16

    A Brave New World Part III: Google’s Surveillance Capitalism

    Excerpy
    The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism

    Governmental control is nothing compared to what Google is up to. The company is creating a wholly new genus of capitalism, a systemic coherent new logic of accumulation we should call surveillance capitalism. Is there nothing we can do?
    Google surpassed Apple as the world’s most highly valued company in January for the first time since 2010. (Back then each company was worth less than 200 billion. Now each is valued at well over 500 billion.) WhileGoogle’s new lead lasted only a few days, the company’s success has implications for everyone who lives within the reach of the Internet. Why? Because Google is ground zero for a wholly new subspecies of capitalism in which profits derive from the unilateral surveillance and modification of human behavior. This is a new surveillance capitalism that is unimaginable outside the inscrutable high velocity circuits of Google’s digital universe, whose signature feature is the Internet and its successors. While the world is riveted by the showdown between Apple and the FBI, the real truth is that the surveillance capabilities being developed by surveillance capitalists are the envy of every state security agency. What are the secrets of this new capitalism, how do they produce such staggering wealth, and how can we protect ourselves from its invasive power?
    SNIP

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    • 18 MAR 16

    A Brave New World Part II: Wi-Fi Aware

    Excerpt

    WI-Fi Aware, sounds like an activist group but far from it. It is essentially a concept of social engineering where the corporations designing and building the Internet of Things (IoT) are creating a social order where humans will be totally immersed in a microwave saturated virtual IoT matrix, unable to function outside of it and perhaps with everyone implanted with a RFID chip to always stay connected, even without a smart phone. As Google has said, people who attempt to opt-out will be viewed with suspicion and will need “special attention”.

    But at least we will have all these wonderful toys to play with, at least to the IoT becomes self aware…. Interesting reading here is from the IT tech online magazine: Information Age: Insight and analysis for IT leaders The autonomous Internet of Things: how the IoT will become context-aware and self-sufficient….. Wi-Fi Aware, sometimes shortened to just Aware, is the culmination of a lot of research and development by some of the biggest companies around the world. We’re talking Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Cisco, and all the other participating members of the Wi-Fi Alliance….. It’s a refined example of the Internet of Things, an idea that describes a network of interconnected devices where all the devices are constantly sending information back and forth without any human involvement.
    SNIP

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    • 14 MAR 16

    A Brave New World: The Internet of Things (IoT)

    In Aldous Huxley’s classic 1931 SciFi novel Brave New World he envisions a dystopian society where human life has been almost entirely industrialized — controlled by a few people at the top of a World State. A future where human beings are socially conditioned (or programmed) according to the society’s strict caste system, an antiseptic and dehumanized society.

    And now consider another brave new world as envisioned by Google’s Eric Schmidt(1) and Jared Cohen (2) in The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business

    (1) executive chairman of Google
    (2) director of Google Ideas
    SNIP

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