Pardoning the turkeys
This is the pathetic nature of this Bennington Ad Cut-out Obama. Truly, a defining moment here, and one there, well, compiled, yes, Obama is rotten to the core, but it’s easy to play the current events and cultural consumerism game with this poser, this little Big Man. What was it, Eisenhower – that beastly thing – pardoned how many in his tenure as CEO of Corporate Amerika? Over 1,100. How many did Ray-Gun Committee on un-American (sic) Activities Ronald pardon? Over 300? We’re talking about incarcerated humans.
Well, this schoolboy faux professor, Chicago whimpering politician, Obama, how many did he show mercy for over his five years as Drone-Warrior-in-Chief? Oh, that’s right, two in one day — Meleagris gallopavo, that is. Friggen turkeys, this pompous flavor of the decade showed mercy toward. Count that, 10 turkeys this pampered man played tough guy with, and, well, 39 people pardoned, shown clemency? In Obama’s entire cleptocracy tutelage. Loving that record number of deportations, too. All the Neapolitan nothingness of this sad sack human, culling any form of decency from his chaff. Or staff.
Check it out:
My Wise Country Cousin On De “Wink-Wink, Nod-Nod Code”
De Lawd work in strange wayz, dey say,
But wurdz ob dat ol’ fas mouf, big wurd boy
Lak smoke in de war fo cunsealin’ attakz!
’08 he say de Candydate communicate
In secret wayz wit Blak folk, only blak
Unnerstan, jes US, nobody elz—not de
Afabet Bull Conurz ob FBI, CIA, DIA,
NSA an All, not de Buffitz, de Gatez,
Pritzkurz, Wepunz makurz, bankurz,
Drug makurz, Inshurenz and otha big
Money peeples dat lak de wisdumb,
‘Cordin’ to what dat ol’ fas mouf, big wurd boy say
He also say de Candydate, an Emoticon
Man dat speak in 21st sintree tungs so dat
Paylen an’ Mckane — de masheen lookin’
Lak Guyco Lizud impersonatin’ Pillz-
Berry doe boy — could not crak de code
He say de Candydate use de “Wink-wink,
Nod-nod Code,” so dat if you see’d him shob
Rev. Wright unda de weelz ob de Greyhoun —
Wink-wink- Nod-nod, it jes look lak dat fo’ to
Fool white folk; if you see’d de Candydate-elec
Park Van “Green Zar” Jones unda dat same bus —
Wink-wink-Nod-nod, it jes look lak dat ta fool
White folk; if you see’d him invite poleeces fo’
Beer to cool Skippy-gate, Wink- Wink-Nod-nod,
It jes look lak dat ta fool white folk; if you see’d
Him sak Shurly Sherock, Wink-wink-Nod-nod,
It jes look lak dat ta fool white folk; if you see’d
Him remodelin’ Guantonamo, Wink-wink, Nod-nod
It jes look lak it, fo’ ta fool white folk; if you see’d
Him put bootz on de groun in Afrika, killin’ folk ebry
Terr Toozdy, marchin’ us off de Fiscul Cliff, cuttin’ de
Gran Bargun, doin’ de See-kwester an’ cuttin’ Sow-shall
Seecureity an’ Medikaid—Wink-wink-Nod-nod, it jes
Look lak dat ta fool white folk, Wink-wink, Nod-nod…
Don know ‘bout you, suh, maybe my po lil’ feebul min
Jes too slow or — Lawd fogib me — I’s truly is hatin,’
But seem lak ta me, suh, dis Emoticon Man, Wink-wink,
Nod-nod shit lak suckin’ our thums, spranklin’ goober dus,
Blak cat danduh & Jon de Conqer Root, hopin’ fo’ Reparayshunz!
** Raymond Nat Turner can be contacted at upsurgejazz.com**
How many in prison for life has Obama-I-am-a-sad-excuse-of-a-man shown mercy to, as in Homo Sapiens? The number of black Americans incarcerated on trumped-up charges, trumped-up Amerika, trumped-up rule of law (sic)? Even Democracy Now gets it sort of wrong, weak-kneed, like a few here at DV, who think Obama is some hero with Iran, some tough-talking guy with the Tea Party. NOT.
As President Obama continued a recent tradition of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys just ahead of Thanksgiving, critics pointed out that he has shown less mercy towards human beings deserving of clemency. Despite the administration’s recent talk of reforming the criminal justice system, Obama has granted the fewest pardons of any modern president. During his presidency, Obama has pardoned 10 turkeys, while he has pardoned or commuted the sentences of only 39 people. According to an analysis last year by ProPublica, which studied applications for pardons processed by the Justice Department, Obama has granted clemency to just 2 percent of applicants. Of the 39 pardons Obama has granted, just 11 have been for people convicted of drug crimes.
You can use all sorts of validating truths why Obama is a war criminal, for sure, and an internal enemy of the state, of us, the 70 percent. But to have to read at DV articles on why Obama is some hero in Iran is ludicrous, and then the articles on why consumerism is liberating. I got a few emails on those two recent DV stories. But I will move past the turkey crap of American dead-zone reporting. Imagine, Obama, and his record. One thing is a definer, as that one thing in all presidents’ gigs. Think of W Bush, and how his job was just locked into the same Orwellian crap of Obama’s defining moments, and our eventual downfall as a society. George Waco Bush had the chance to do one thing that would have shown an ounce of humanity – making sure all poisons and chemicals (the top ones on poison control’s list) had markers in them, so, well, when a child or adult might be rushed to the emergency room, the attending staff could quickly see what was ingested through a simple blood test. TO SAVE THEM with the right antidote. Nope, for Bush, that was asking too much of the plutocrats, the CEOs in domination. Gotta maximize profits . . . at the expense of . . . collateral damage . . . death . . . . corporate and counseled murder!
These are the defining small things that characterize the underpinning of the big things these I Don’t Need No Stinking Badge politicians think their presidential libraries will contain. Obama has his illegal bombings, drone terror, locking up heroes who we call whistle-blowers but who should be called truth givers. This Chicago man is going back to his African roots, it seems, though, as John Pilger writing for the Guardian points out:
With minimal media interest, the US African Command (Africom) has deployed troops to 35 African countries, establishing a familiar network of authoritarian supplicants eager for bribes and armaments. In war games a “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. The British did this in India. It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite – whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the subjugation of their own people in the cause of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged“. The reference also fits the son of Africa in the White House.
For Obama, there is a more pressing cause – China. Africa is China’s success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossil fuels. Nato’s bombing of Libya drove out 30,000 Chinese oil industry workers. More than jihadism or Iran, China is Washington’s obsession in Africa and beyond. This is a “policy” known as the “pivot to Asia“, whose threat of world war may be as great as any in the modern era.
IT Wars for Our Total Brain Capacity — Incapacitating ODD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder!
No matter how screwed up the IT, Computing, Data Mining, Brain Scanning, Life-Assaulting Digital Dungeon is or will become, it’s always nice to hear from readers from afar, or at least far from my physicality as in Pacific Northwest, Portland-Vancouver. I’ll let the email string riff for itself below — email from a reader to me, out of the blue, and then mine back, and so forth. And this brave soul has also agreed to let me ask some questions of him interview style, since he’s in the last throes of a PhD in Computer Science (sic) and has some major-major reservations . . . and large doses of ethics and humanity conflicting his future choices, and a large brain thinking that he might just end up in the machine, as the Cog for the top computer scientists. Try that search – “top computer scientists” in a metacrawler.com search. Wow – you get Top Ten Jewish Computer Scientists here:
One of the most noticeable characteristics of Jewish people is that they are surpassingly innovative and intelligent. Wherever they’ve gone, whatever they’ve done, they’ve been, no doubt, widely appreciated. And talking about the realm of computer science, we have witnessed some brainiac of Jewish fraternity who are, till the date, dominating the wide landscape of computer and Internet. Here are ten most notable Jewish computer scientists, best known for shaping the field of computer and making our lives better by their radical innovations and ideas.
Yuk. Crass, Jewish Power Freaks. Amazing, really, the power this web site – like hundreds – think these special chosen ones have. I just can’t imagine the racist flow in this story.
Here are the so-called Top Twenty-Five Computer Whizzes on another rotten www list:
1 Alex and Michael Bronstein
2 A. Richard Newton 1951
3 Abdul Waheed Khan 1947
4 Marie K. D. Johnson
5 Abraham Lempel 1936
6 Abraham Silberschatz
7 Ada Lovelace 1815
8 Adam Leventhal1979
9 Adam Pease
10 Adam Schuck
11 Adele Goldberg 1945
12 Adi Shamir 1952
13 Ajay Kapur 1981
14 Alain Colmerauer1941
15 Alain Fournier 1943
16 Alan Ashton 1942
17 Alan Burns 1953
18 Alan Dix
19 Alan Jay Smith 1951
20 Alan Kay 1940
21 Alan M. Davis
22 Alan Perlis 1922
23 Alan Schiffman
24 Alan Turing 1912
25 Alan Yuille
Or, try this one out, best of the best computer guys.
E-mails Coming from All Corners of the Globe — A Thanks!
Okay, already off into the black hole, the rabbit warren, so apologies. . . . There is a thread, though, to all of this leading to my friend out there sending me a kind email. First, a groaning frontage to this communique around someone contacting me at DV in human-humane form, around one of the pieces I wrote. I have to resist all things rotten in data mining, data culling, data inventing, data dingy land, and maybe this person, this fellow from afar can assist. Keep reading.
Every step of the way around technology is really nothing more than glib commercialism, sheer love of the one percent and their fawning little geeks and tech turds, and the yawing piece of surveillance-enforcing, freedom-stripping, human-and-community-destroying ship of DARPA-inspired foot and mouth diseased captains of Tweeting, Facebooking, Amazoning, Googlization of the Walmartization kind of huckster, many of them denuded of ethics, filled with puffed up nothingness, stuffed to the gills with ill-gotten riches, these men and women of human warping magic, they are the enemy. Economies of scale, mapping the entire human thought pattern, the mania of money, commerce, ways to disconnect us from the daily living of foot in front of foot, mouthing love, anger, lust and atonement. Just think of them as Oswald a la CIA-Cuban gusanos, and, us, Jack Ruby, a la FBI, Texass injustice. Just think of these tinkering misanthropes as the charlatans of algorithm alchemy who look for new ways to hyperlink our most prurient and pedestrian selves into their billing cycles of death.
I have not seen one bit of evidence that one iota of IT technology, that is brought to us by US, USA taxpayer, has done one bit of good for humankind. Good as in – delivering meals on wheels, delivering life-saving typhoon disaster goods, as in really working on how to manipulate the pigs of prostate sickness, the rich, and their minions, who are collecting data, collecting each and every holographic blip and pixel, all for the sole purpose of marketing, making money, putting leans on humanity, us, US.
Is there an Anonymous version of digital good for the oceans, for new urbanism, for public places, spaces, safety nets? Where are these great believers in good and ethics and free information, free and foremost clear news, information, books, broadcasts? Transparency that is cyber free, not some trumped up shit of terror, stealing, espionage. We are not steeling their secrets. They have stolen our futures, our children’s great grandchildren, and we are to sit here and laud the Top 20 CompuGeeksofGalilei?
These pencil-necked ultra marathoners with the pixelated smiles, with their $15,000 bicycles, with their endless mental craps, endless anime orgasms, where are they in the scheme of things? You think Intel, CompuServe, Dell, Gates, Microsoft, the entire mess of micro-chipping madness, give a shit about humanity, really, the whole of humanity, these white-cyrpto-Jewish-Evangelicals? Their nanoparticlization, plutonium ionization, chem-diet warfare projects, all of these human sycophants and vile people who think that putting humanity on the digital treadmill, with technology implanted in every aspect of our lives, in the trunk of the SUV, with their self-replicating 3-d printers, the crap of smart cities, AI automobiles, anything to take the last breath, last muscle heave from humanity, they believe that they are the way, the holy grail holders, the reason for our existence.
Not one thing technology or digital destruction has done anything positive, lasting, real for humankind. Free, as a commons, for us, the public, the people, the ones culled by climate change, culled by the school-to-prison pipeline, the crib- to-consumer-to-debtor-to-denatured homo sapiens, a la Cosumopithecus Erectus, Retailoerectus Anthropocene, not one thing coming from their silicon souls has helped man or woman or child kind.
Hi-Tech Promises More of the Same, BUT A LOT MORE!
The junk of high tech is used for AMAZON-ization of the mind, for Fracking the world, for the slop of cultural degenerates creating the massive mush of tv-film-pop-corn pop- middling media-reality-docu-drama-of-the-American-scape-of-escapism-and-flaccid-comedy-central. We are the distracted species, broken by self-flagellating Popes of the Data Pipeline.
There is no magic in their minds, no friendly technology, no free health, no formulas for peace, no computing for restorative justice and digital justice for restoration conservation; nothing coming from these saps, these fraternity and sorority freaks who think they are burning men-burning women of the center of the universe, not a thing is good for anything but purchasing and surveillance sinning.
Name it, kind readers, the digital realities of these technologists, these folk with the hard drives embedded in their souls, the RFID reality of their dead lives, name it, something really that digital death has given humankind that really has helped. Really, please, in their selfie lust, each and every Instagram of their sick lives, those techies who have been sucked into the lies, the elitism, the fawning of their warped and crooked mathematical and engineer de-geniusing, tell me, what in fuck has the digital world done for human kind?
Stories of the ACLU fighting police departments for randomly collecting every single vehicle license plate that cross the scan-tron evil eye of the squad car. A hell, really, and data crunched and data collected and data invented and all the visual childish stuff that defines the digital world, well, name the groups pushing back, those hacking into the entire system, showing us how to, to scrub all records of our lives, to push through the military-consumer-financial computer might of the oligarchy? It isn’t happening, because these are not rebels, creative forces, caring individuals, or anything else close to community of interest folk caring about the 70 percent, what Romney called the 40 percent living off the high hog of America.
Obama the Warrior of Mind Control — Sneeze and Think Too Far Outside the Box? You’ll be Listed!
Technology is distortion, disruption, denigration, denuding the very nature of being human and humane, rebellious, and, you know, screw the oppressors, the status quo, the elites. You are not going to get ANYTHING out of Coding and IT and Big Tech, other than money-making or sad crap that is far from holistic. Genome project and now the brain project? These are lies of the science of health-psychology. Oh, how do we really stave off Parkinson’s, a disease these brain researchers are saying their research is geared toward? Can you get this belief system? How many in my circle have Parkinson’s who worked around pesticides or were body men and painters? Read below.
This endless mulch of media, the Netflix generation, the instant perpetuation of screen dreams, the next new toy, sexting and virtual birthing, the endless obsolescence of hardware, spyware, encryption gone deep into the mind, like a burrowing earwig, nano-beetles eating on the very grist of our souls. Cop-muterizatoin, geeking, for man-woman KIND?Feeding the world? Purifying water? Helping with the starvation and obesity thing? Homeless in Seattle? Down in out in Los Gatos? Pediatric salvation in Palo Alto? What pray tell is the MIT of the mind, with the geriatric, with the tangle of cars, trucks and air fleets and ocean liners, where or where is the benefit of IT, High-TECH, to the world, the cheetah, the children? Where is it, kind DARPA-Stanford-MOOCs ville lovers?
Here, read –
According to Jonathan Moreno’s fascinating and frightening new book, Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense (Dana Press 2006), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been funding research in the following areas:
Mind-machine interfaces (“neural prosthetics”) that will enable pilots and soldiers to control high-tech weapons by thought alone.
“Living robots” whose movements could be controlled via brain implants. This technology has already been tested successfully on “roborats” and could lead to animals remotely directed for mine clearance, or even to remotely controlled soldiers.
“Cognitive feedback helmets” that allow remote monitoring of soldiers’ mental state.
MRI technologies (“brain fingerprinting”) for use in interrogation or airport screening for terrorists. Quite apart from questions about their error rate, such technologies would raise the issue of whether involuntary brain scans violate the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Pulse weapons or other neurodisruptors that play havoc with enemy soldiers’ thought processes.
“Neuroweapons” that use biological agents to excite the release of neurotoxins. (The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention bans the stockpiling of such weapons for offensive purposes, but not “defensive” research into their mechanisms of action.)
New drugs that would enable soldiers to go without sleep for days, to excise traumatic memories, to suppress fear, or to repress psychological inhibitions against killing.
Moreno’s book is important since there has been little discussion about the ethical implications of such research, and the science is at an early enough stage that it might yet be redirected in response to public discussion.
If left on autopilot, however, it’s not hard to see where all of this will lead. During the Cold War, misplaced fears of a missile gap and a mind control gap excited an overbuilding of nuclear weapons and unethical LSD experiments on involuntary human subjects. Similarly, we can anticipate future fears of a “neuroweapons” gap, and these fears will justify a headlong rush into research (quite likely to involve unethical human experiments) that will only stimulate our enemies to follow suit.
The military and scientific leaders chartering neuroweapons research will argue that the United States is a uniquely noble country that can be trusted with such technologies, while other countries (except for a few allies) cannot. They will also argue that these technologies will save lives and that U.S. ingenuity will enable the United States to dominate other countries in a neuroweapons race. When it is too late to turn back the clock, they will profess amazement that other countries caught up so quickly and that an initiative intended to ensure American dominance instead led to a world where everyone is threatened by chemicalized soldiers and roboterrorists straight out of Blade Runner.
Meanwhile, individual scientists will tell themselves that, if they don’t do the research, someone else will. Research funding will be sufficiently dominated by military grant makers that it will cause some scientists to choose between accepting military funding or giving up their chosen field of research. And the very real dual-use potential of these new technologies (the same brain implant can create a robosoldier or rehabilitate a Parkinson’s disease sufferer) will allow scientists to tell themselves that they are “really” working on health technologies to improve the human lot, and the funding just happens to come from the Pentagon.
Check out what a sad college student does for one of his lower division classes. He or she can’t even say, outright, that Technology WILL Destroy the Planet. It’s emblematic of being colonized by junk, stuff, techie crap.
Other references out there that can’t criticize Obama’s 3 billion dollar plan to brain map the world. Really, everyone, it seems, is co-opted.1
Here are some things around the BAM for our Billions to Help Gates, Psycho-warriors, Bezos Amazon, Social Engineers:
1. Christopher Chabris (2013) “How Much BAM for the Buck, and Other Thoughts on the Brain Activity Map Project?”
2. John Markoff (2013) “Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain.” New York Times.
3. Jeanne Garbarino (2013) “A 3 Billion Dollar Mistake: Why the American government should think twice about a Brain Activity Map.” (BAM).
4. A. Paul Alivisatos, Miyoung Chun, George M. Church, Karl Deisseroth, John P. Donoghue, Ralph J. Greenspan, Paul L. McEuen, Michael L. Roukes, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Paul S. Weiss, Rafael Yuste (2013) “The Brain Activity Map.” Science 339:1284-1285.
5. Bradley Michael Zamft, Adam H. Marblestone, KonradKording, Daniel Schmidt, Daniel Martin-Alarcon, Keith Tyo, Edward S. Boyden, George Church (2012) “Measuring Cation Dependent DNA Polymerase Fidelity Landscapes by Deep Sequencing . ” PLoS ONE 7:e43876.
6. Konrad P. Kording (2011) “Of Toasters and Molecular Ticker Tapes”. PLoS Computational Biology 7:e1002291.
7. A. Paul Alivisatos, Miyoung Chun, George M. Church, Ralph J. Greenspan, Michael L. Roukes, Rafael Yuste (2012) The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics. 74:970–974.
8. Anthony M. Zador, Joshua Dubnau, Hassana K. Oyibo, Huiqing Zhan, Gang Cao, Ian D. Peikon (2013) “Sequencing the Connectome.” PLoS Biology 10:e1001411.
9. Hochberg LR, Bacher D, Jarosiewicz B, Masse NY, Simeral JD, Vogel J, Haddadin S, Liu J, Cash SS, van der Smagt P, Donoghue JP (2012) Reach and grasp by people with tetraplegia using a neurally controlled robotic arm. Nature 485:372-5.
10. Pais-Vieira M, Lebedev MA, Wiest MC, Nicolelis MA (2013) “Simultaneous top-down modulation of the primary somatosensory cortex and thalamic nuclei during active tactile discrimination.” Journal of Neuroscience 33:4076-93.
11. Kim TI, McCall JG, Jung YH, Huang X, Siuda ER, Li Y, Song J, Song YM, Pao HA, Kim RH, Lu C, Lee SD, Song IS, Shin G, Al-Hasani R, Kim S, Tan MP, Huang Y, Omenetto FG, Rogers JA, Bruchas MR. (2013) “Injectable, cellular-scale optoelectronics with applications for wireless optogenetics.” Science 340:211-6.
12. Scicurious (2013) “The BRAIN Initiative: BAM or BUST?” Scientific American Blogs.
Here, one clear voice in the wilderness, and I searched for 20 minutes on the Internet for cogent, clear, revolutionary and skeptical analyses of BAM and BRAIN Initiative.
(NaturalNews) First they map your brain. And by you, I mean everybody.
President Obama has just greenlighted a 10-year Manhattan Project for the human brain. I warned it was coming years ago.
The new billion-dollar enterprise is called BAM, the Brain Activity Map project. The fact that DARPA is one of the agencies involved tells you a great deal. DARPA is the cutting-edge military outfit in charge of new technologies for the Armed Forces. They want to create The Enhanced Soldier and all that that implies. Think “android.”
Behind the front of claims that BAM will create new therapies for mental disorders (for which no defining diagnostic tests even exist), the plan is to forward artificial intelligence (AI), which means creating a computer that works at least as well as the one inside your skull.
This is the technocrats’ wet dream: “We can now power up an artificial brain of such power and intelligence that it can make all crucial decisions for the human race from Central Planning.”
In the wake of Sandy Hook, other implications are also clear. BAM will be used to devise a Minority Report society, in which purported markers of future violence will be utilized to forcibly treat (with toxic drugs), contain, and prevent “predicted criminals” from carrying out fantasies percolating in their subconscious. Would those fantasies, if left alone, ever rise to the level of action? Irrelevant. Cast a wide net, in the name of Prevention.
Welcome to “expanded mental-health services.” You’re on a list? Oops. You must be treated. Here is your mandatory appointment slip. Yes, the drugs are highly toxic. Yes, they can and do cause you to commit horrendous acts of violence. But we don’t talk about that.
Of course, what I’m sketching out here is not happening by next week. But BAM is a giant step on the road toward this future. It’s far from trivial. The stated goal is the mapping of all neuronal activity in humans. This is science fiction coming alive now.
Portlandia and Breaking Bad, that’s It for Culture?
In any case, this is one burped up world, now, dead children of the X-Box III kind, the dead poets of the limpid Master of Fine Arts Training Wheels Academy, the faux philanthropists, the impostor thinkers, the absolute infantile nature of Western or any consumer culture. Just a dive into TV makes one diabetic, frothing at the mouth for some savanna with a troop of baboons on the loose chasing you into the mouths of hyenas. At least you will feel something.
I can’t believe how bad the bad is, the rotten comedians I saw on a tv set in a motel in the woods near Mount Hood – flipping through the channels is for me like eating canned beans – vegan pork and beans, what-have-you. Amazing how the Jews-and-Gentiles in the business are making pure rot. Saw two comics (sic) Charlie Murphy and Janeane Garofalo. Wow, these fops are amazingly untalented, crassly self-important, and the only way to laugh is to be as drunk as a cruise ship aficionado to barely understand these comics’ emotional and psychic breakdowns. I never thought we’d degrade this quickly, this completely.
Sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself an animal, among these slithering types, in the movies (oh, almost EVERYTHING made by a white, male/white, female/proto hipster/junk of the moment junk (like the thing called Portlandia) if they emanate or originate here, USA, well, the stuff is puff, pure punk violence, misogynistic, racist, emptiness.
It’s sick watching the no-laugh/no-originality of something like Portlandia and believe there is some hope in humanity to be creative? These people are as empty and soulless as the CODERS. The Bezos bumpkins.
I will, I will follow up, ALL of this BAM and BRAIN and DARPA conviction, but first, the email exchange, with a reader, out there, in Coder-Land:
Codes of Ethics — Computing PhD Student Writes, and it’s a call in the WILDERNESS!
Dear Paul –
I just finished reading your piece on DV, the one titled “Revolt (sic) a la YouTube, Toast Masters, and Really-Really Smart, Educated Ivy League Grads (Not)” and I wanted to just thank you. The first article I ever read by you this one: “The Coders are the New Normal — Putting Digital Handcuffs on Us All.”
As someone pursuing a PhD in Computer Science, I agree with the essence of your criticisms. I feel that there’s very little critical discussion in my Computer Science community, on what really matters. There is too much focus on technological “progress” for the sake of just doing things “faster,” and more “efficiently.”
There’s also a very naive optimism that technology can solve everything. Just witness how everyone started having a warm feeling in their hearts when they watched Google’s “Project Loon” video , and heard a child endearingly describe how Google is going to bring the Internet to remote places so that “everyone can have a secondary school come to them.” Yes, more online education, less teachers! Oh and Google is doing this for the sake of humanity! Yes! It has nothing to do with having a foothold in owning Internet infrastructure and exploiting people and their privacy in places where people aren’t exploited as such yet! Clearly the parts of the world with the Internet have become utopia so why shouldn’t these other places also have the Internet??
Thanks, just thanks for all your passionate pieces. I really need it after a day of iPhones this and efficiency that.
So, in a nutshell, the education distributors and profiteers and IT pukes think the system is broken, so let’s move on. Well, the system needs ramifying — that system should be faculty driven, driven by community participation, driven by working with students to learn the tools of an economy that kills then, kills us, kills ecosystems, and future sustainability. We have only one place to do it right, and that’s education. Instead, the idea is to drumbeat everyone into fear, and then the idea that old ways are bad ways. Old ways, in my mind as an educator, include learning communities, culminating projects, more time in class, more projects, more interdisciplinary work, more community service and public and business participation in the school. Using technology for film, embedded videos, writing, GIS and photo-shopping, well, of course use them, but don’t be USED BY them.
We are in many-many experimental projects that will fail — GMO foods, bad food, big energy, rotten disaster capitalism and shock to the system capitalism, accumulation of wealth to the very few, ecosystems death, urban decay, media mania, and devolved thinking, caring, believing, culture.
I just met a guy, my age, 50s, who is liberal, works in robotics and is completely ashamed of and more so, fearful, of our surveillance society and the brave new world of robotics actually controlling our lives second-by-second, cradle to grave. This is not some Minority Report fiction. Every bit of information compiled, filmed, screened, photographed, read, and now thoughts, like my own thoughts on DV, which if you haven’t already suspected, AR, has kettled me out of good jobs because IT folk and computer whizzes have these screening tools, looking for all sorts of bits of information on the Internet from prospective employees. If you put me into Zoo.com, metacrawler, or Google, well, I do not fit any mainstream and even left stream version of a compliant, rah-rah employee-to-be.
SOOO, thanks for the email, and if I can, will you let me use it without your name and email? AR? Something else — PhD IT? Keep your dialogue up with me, and I can make that an article. Again, anonymous. I can send you a few questions and if you have time in the next few weeks, respond and we might have a decent look into your vision of the world doing what you are doing now.
You ever read my crazy-crazy stuff against Amazon dot Com?
once, in the form of a “joke”, that I don’t buy stuff from Amazon simply because Richard Stallman encourages people not to do business with Amazon. Somehow, my own judgments don’t mean anything; since some of my views are aligned with Stallman’s, I do everything Stallman does without questioning apparently.
I’ve been trying to find meaning in what I do. I started my PhD a year ago and I came in with selfish intentions of being a great professor and wanting to do excellent research. But in the first semester, I was very frustrated, was flirting with the idea of switching PhD’s to something else, and went on a reading spree. One of the books I read was”Disciplined Minds” by Jeff Schmidt. Since doing so, I’ve become more aware of my field, Computer Science, and the unquestioning attitude that surrounds it, which makes it complicit in the wide-scale destruction of society; whether it’s developing the technology that allows the NSA to look through all emails (including this one,) or developing the technology to kill vast numbers of innocents (whose nationality does NOT matter and who are NOT merely “collateral damage”) or even just the culture of buying iThings.
I recently attended a Computer Science conference with a colleague,someone who is very inclined towards Apple products and has had two internships there and is very much interested in working there after graduation. I was remarking how everyone seemed to have an Apple laptop and he was saying it was because Apple laptops are just better. I was telling him it was also because of marketing and he disagreed. I tried explaining that all of us don’t have as much freedom as we think we do,that the decisions we make are affected by peer-pressure, by status symbols, and so on. He responded by showing me an article that claims Apple spends far less money on advertising than other tech companies like Samsung and all I could think of was how I must either really suck at explaining myself, or how he just doesn’t get it.
I’ve been trying to work on projects that I think will serve people more than it serves tech companies. I think I have found one such project, on providing usable security to people so that it becomes difficult for any sinister government organizations to read people’s emails and files. I just need to work on it properly for the next few months.
But my luck of avoiding these large tech companies might run out soon. I’ve been asked to do an internship during summer and I was asked by my adviser to start looking at places. He said he might be able to get me to work at Microsoft Research. I really don’t want to work with them. My girlfriend advised me that I should at least “join the system” to find out how it works internally. But how much more learning am I supposed to do when we all know a lot of IT is rotten to the core? I just want to do a meaningful internship somewhere but between unpaid slavery internship, and tech companies that offer a lot of money but will make me a little Eichmann, I have very little choices.
I’m not going to give up and become a cog in the machine. But given the sickness of the society we live in, this path is very difficult one.
1. Why’d you get into technology, IT, and the PhD route?
2. Disruptive technologies is the big buzz phrase in education and elsewhere. That if it’s not broken, break and then believe you are fixing it. Seriously, thought, the big push is flipping the classroom and pushing learning out of the classroom, off the campus. Seems actually the best way to create a more disconnected society, one that fears community of place, and believes in community of purpose with not place as the center of what should be protected, enhanced, preserved. Discuss something here.
3. You all will be tapped for the big neuroweaponry, Obama’s big mind project: BAM.
Discuss this. Here’s an excerpt.
In September 2013 the US National Institutes of Health ( NIH) issued an report titled, “Interim Report: Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) working group.” The report has extensively examined President Barack Obama’s brain project, which mentions the need to develop electromagnetic modulation as a new technology for brain circuit manipulation. In the meantime, the weekend edition of the Guardian newspaper in London published an article which explains that brain drugs will likely be replaced by brain circuit manipulation; this is a huge change from drug research to brain circuit research which is now heavily funded and taking off.
“New technologies such as optogenetics suggest that even finer control of brain circuits may be possible,” Vaughan Bell, who is a clinical psychologist and visiting researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, pointed in her article in the Guardian.
“While deep brain stimulation involves stimulating the brain with electrical currents, optogenetics involves injecting neurons with a benign virus that contains the genetic information for light-sensitive proteins. The brain cells then become light sensitive themselves and their activity can be controlled with millisecond flashes of light sent through embedded fiber optic cables. Until now, this has only been demonstrated in animals but there are high hopes that it could lead to precisely controlled treatments in humans that intervene only in carefully selected brain circuits,” she examined.
The Interim Report of NIH on the other hand carefully highlighted that “directly activating and inhibiting populations of neurons, neuroscience is progressing from observation to causation, and much more is possible. To enable the immense potential of circuit manipulation, a new generation of tools for optogenetics, pharmacogenetics, and biochemical and electromagnetic modulation should be developed for use in animals and eventually in human patients. Emphasis should be placed on achieving modulation of circuits in patterns that mimic natural activity.”
The threat is real. The NIH Interim Report is another of many indications that brain technology for neuroweapons is scientifically possible. Additionally, some say such technologies have been used systematically against select people in various jurisdictions. Many definitions on certain procedures and practices have to be revisited due to the many legal loop holes that allow for real criminals to commit illegal activities.
4. I think many of us see IT and computer science and AI and robotics as a sick man’s game, that is melded to the profit margins and brinkmanship of the rich and powerful. Capital, and consumerism, and, well, an endless conveyor of planned and perceived obsolescence to keep citizens consumers and not actors in the game called participatory humanity. Technology isn’t democratizing. Discuss.
5. Economies of scale and predatory capitalism are part and parcel the domains of those tech companies you reference — Amazon, Apple, Microsoft. We have to fear the government not just snooping on us. What else to you fear in this realm?
6. The culture around IT and Computer Sciences is really elitist and sort of disassociated from real community issues like economic, education, food, health, public goods insecurity. Like we need in law and business departments — socially responsive and ethical training — we should have with IT-CS. Why aren’t these folk open to ethics and technology?
7. What do you like best about what you are pursuing education-wise and future-wise?
8. What’s your biggest reservation(s)?
9. What questions would you ask the head of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, et al, and why?
Thanks in advance, AR
Sure thing, Paul! I’ll get back to your questions; it might take me a while(it is finals week) but I will get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s a copy of an email that was sent to the Computer Science department:
Amazon in Bangalore is looking to hire full-time scientists and interns(for summer of 2014) in the areas of machine learning, text and multimedia data mining, information retrieval and extraction, product search, online ad matching, and crowd sourcing. If you know people who are interested in working on challenging machine learning problems, then please share this email with them. Applying is easy – they can send their resumes to me at the following email address: moc.nozamanull@igotsar.
Why we are excited about Machine Learning@Amazon
Machine learning, Big Data and related quantitative sciences have been strategic to Amazon from the early years. We were pioneers in areas such as recommendation engines, eCommerce fraud detection, large scale optimization of fulfillment center operations etc. As Amazon has rapidly grown and diversified, the opportunity for applying machine learning has exploded:
1. Amazon is by far THE most fertile source of DATA for machine learning innovation. We have perhaps the richest, most diverse data for any internet company. For example, we have click stream, product search,browse, shopping and customer contact data in 10+ countries in the world,the world’s largest catalog of products, one of the largest seller marketplaces and offers data, product reviews, seller feedback etc. to name a few. We have pricing, inventory, fulfillment, shipping, and product demand data. We have data on every digital book on Kindle and digital music and video for rent. We have membership data like Prime, and grocery data like Amazon Fresh. We have a Groupon like business with Amazon Local.
We have a fast growing although small advertising business. We have the cloud computing data on AWS. The list is endless, and it is the richest,most fertile data in the world for exploring machine learning.
2. Amazon is by far THE most fertile place for ALGORITHMIC automation and innovation. There is a huge opportunity for innovation using Machine Learning and related sciences at Amazon. From ranking product search results and recommending products to predicting ad click probabilities to scheduling tasks across diverse workers in Mechanical Turk, we have a very broad collection of practical problems where ML systems can dramatically improve the customer experience, boost revenue, reduce expenses, and drives peed and automation.
3. Amazon already has a strong track record for deploying innovative machine learning applications. We were one of the first to build eCommerce customer recommendations using machine learning, we are leaders today at fraud detection and marketplace trust and safety using machine learning,and our catalog and product search embed a large number of unique innovations in machine learning already. Yet as Amazon expands and grows and innovates into new business areas, we have big opportunities to apply machine learning to a number of problems that include extracting product in formation (e.g. price) from web pages, extracting structured attributes(e.g. brand, model number) from product titles, matching records for the same product entity from multiple sources and classifying millions of products into huge taxonomies. With the explosion of user-generated content on the web, ranking, summarizing, detecting abuse, and analyzing the sentiment of product ratings and reviews, comments, etc. also pose anon-trivial technical challenge.
So, what exactly is Amazon looking to accomplish with Machine Learning teams? It is a variety of things that together enable a big step change in the application of Machine Learning to eCommerce. We are seeking to build platforms that make the application of machine learning far easier than before at large scale. We also need to build processes, workflows, data pipelines, and many other engineering components around it. We need great machine learning scientists and problem solvers and innovation. We need visionaries who can conceive the next generation ML products that raise the bar for customer experience. We also need applications focused groups who are strongly focused on solving business problems, execution and deployment. If it makes business sense, we also want to put out platforms on AWS for the use of enterprise customers and start ups at large like the other products we offer on AWS.
Clearly, we have ambitious plans for building machine learning platforms and applications at Amazon, and are looking for leaders in machine learning who can think big, with an expansive mindset, know how and creativity to help pull off this big strategy over the course of multiple years. If you know people who are interested in a full-time scientist or summer intern position at Amazon in Bangalore, then it would be great if you could encourage them to send their resume to the following email address: moc.nozamanull@igotsar.
Best regards, Rajeev Rastogi
The enormous benefits given to the very wealthy, the privileges for the very wealthy here, are way beyond those of other comparable societies and are part of the ongoing class war. Take a look at CEO salaries. CEOs are no more productive or brilliant here than they are in Europe, but the pay, bonuses, and enormous power they get here are out of sight. They’re probably a drain on the economy, and they become even more powerful when they are able to gain control of policy decisions.
A good topic to research, if possible, would be “why people don’t vote.” Nonvoting is very high, roughly 50 percent, even in presidential elections—much higher in others. The attitudes of people who don’t vote are studied. First of all, they mostly identify themselves as Democrats. And if you look at their attitudes, they are mostly Social Democratic. They want jobs, they want benefits, they want the government to be involved in social services and so on, but they don’t vote, partly, I suppose, because of the impediments to voting. It’s not a big secret. Republicans try really hard to prevent people from voting, because the more that people vote, the more trouble they are in. There are other reasons why people don’t vote. I suspect, but don’t know how to prove, that part of the reason people don’t vote is they just know their votes don’t make any difference, so why make the effort? So you end up with a kind of plutocracy in which the public opinion doesn’t matter much. It is not unlike other countries in this respect, but more extreme. All along, it’s more extreme. So yes, there is a constant class war going on.