AI, big businesses, and the future

Some food for thought:

We’ve all probably watched videos like these countless times in the past, yet many are prone to laugh off such information, or to opt to ignore it since it makes them feel uncomfortable. One hope is that such a transition will occur far enough in the future that we might not have to live to see much of it. In other words, let the future generations contend with that. Not our problem currently. Isn’t that what most tend to say? To say much else is to likely wind up dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist,” isn’t that also true? And nobody wants that since it’s then assumed that you’ve flown the coup and aren’t one to be taken seriously.

And yet, information keeps rolling in and questions continue popping up that we seem afraid to entertain. Or, instead insist on focusing on more “optimistic” positions, as if only one side of the coin could exist without its potential consequences.

That last clip was a TED Talk by Marc Goodman, former law enforcement officer and author of the book Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It, which I highly recommend. Listened to my own copy in audio format through Audible and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking books I came across in 2017.

Facebook weirds me out. Glad to no longer use that site. Though surely plenty of others might be just as bad — namely Google.

That’s enough for one post.

Second film of the evening: “Terms and Conditions May Apply”

Currently watching this on Netflix, pausing to create this post. Yes, I am in quite a movie-watching mood again lately.

Film’s trailer:

There are probably free versions of this documentary out circulating around for those who care to search.

I am familiar with the debate over internet privacy and corporate submission to government when it comes to storing and sharing our information. This has definitely been a concern in the U.S. since 9/11/01 and then the passage of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act by G.W. The topic used to scare the hell out of me several years back, but now I guess you could say I’m more used to the unease that comes with living in an emerging surveillance society. Certainly not okay with it, and it continues to distress me, hence why I don’t utilize most social networking sites. Haven’t been on Facebook since 2011. Never signed up for or used Instagram or Flickr and will not. Use twitter simply for sharing links and blog post titles. No longer on Pinterest and mostly used it for sharing and storing recipes when I was. Only use one professional social networking site and barely interact on there. BUT, not like that matters much when I do use Google products: for example, Search and Youtube. You can run but have fun figuring out how to hide online these days.

My thinking on this is mixed. On one hand, it doesn’t seem right that we should live in fear and censor ourselves out of distrust of our government. If they want information, I say overload them with crap to where we all wind up looking like a bunch of terrorists. Have fun sorting it all out, boys.  uh_oh  Fuck ’em.

But, on the other hand, I don’t have enough faith in my fellow citizens that they will rebel in such a fashion, which might leave a relative minority of us out here looking like the odd people out. Which then might draw unwanted attention from sources we wish to avoid. Being law-abiding doesn’t necessarily matter when it’s come down to preemptive action taken on the part of our government in a claimed attempt to prevent crimes from occurring. Meaning no crime needs to have been committed yet. You just have to look sufficiently suspicious to those who happen to be looking in on you. As one eccentric out here in the crowd, I don’t like the sound of that. Almost makes a person want to curl up in a hole and cut off interaction with most of the outside world aside from direct person-to-person communication with close friends if it must be this way. But alas, good luck trying to do that either since you must work and most of our jobs do involve engaging in online activity. And some of us are notoriously bad about keeping our pie-holes shut, whether online or offline.

Pushing for the government to remedy this problem is like asking the coyote to protect the hen house. Not likely to turn out as you hope. And this is the problem with Big Corporate and Government fusion occurring across all sectors and the lobbying efforts that continuously undermine the values of our political system and its process. It’s bullshit, I know. Hence why we better start thinking outside of the box since the old ways of protesting and petitioning for new legislation simply won’t cut it going forward. Though I won’t claim to have a clear idea of what alternative(s) might work. Just know that we have to get innovative in terms of creating them. Because we’re living in a new world with new rules. Seems we’re overdue on coming up with new responses and forms of resistance.

Or perhaps resistance is futile and it is coming down to being about every person for him/herself. Maybe. I won’t claim to know. Sounds pretty frickin’ Orwellian, if you ask me, but that’s my classic response to this sort of crap. Plenty of folks like to assume that they’re not breaking any laws and therefore have nothing to hide, so they don’t feel they should be worried about these encroachments on our civil rights. Naturally, I consider that a very naive stance.

I am reminded of a quote I’ve long appreciated:

The purpose of the law is not to prevent a future offense, but to punish the one actually committed.

Nevermind that Ayn Rand was the one who spoke those words. They’re still true regardless of one’s feelings about her.

Anyway, this past summer I finally gave into owning a smartphone and have felt queasy ever since. Found out that in years past by signing myself and my loved ones up on the National Do Not Call registry that I was actually offering up our private information on a silver platter. Looked up their privacy policy again tonight but don’t ask me to locate the bit that caused alarm a few years back since the site has since changed and it would take weeks to try to sort through and make sense of all those pages of documents. As is the case with most privacy policies and terms of conditions on most websites…hence why the documentary above was created.

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m willing to admit to not being smart enough to safely traverse through the obstacle course increasingly emerging in most-modern times. So much blows my mind and makes it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that I deserve the label of “luddite.” And I guess I have to be fine with that to an extent since I’m not sure much will change during my lifetime for the better. Guess we’re going boldly where no humans have gone before, whether we like it or not or are prepared. Apparently that’s just the way things go. I’m all for getting hold of the reins of this government, BUT there are so many of us and few can seem to agree on damn-near anything. Plus, we lack the money that major corporations are willing to spend to sway the odds in their favor. AND we the American people have for several decades proven incapable of voting into office much beyond charismatic charlatans and idiots. SO…not sure what we’re expected to do at this point. Begging most government officials to care about our opinions way down here on the ground hasn’t worked in so long and nothing today indicates it ever likely will work going forward. Tired of feeling like a beggar devoid of power, made to prostrate myself before the “powers that be” in hope of ever having my voice counted. Pssh. Sick of that.

Sure, consider me pessimistic. On this subject I admittedly am. Not sure what else to tell us here.  *shrugs*

Dr. Sadler’s take on “A Stand for Democracy in a Digital Age” declaration

Dr. Sadler offered up this video in mid-December, titled “Philosogeek Reflections on the Technosphere #4: ‘A Stand for Democracy in a Digital Age'”:

A good video I watched a week or so ago and want to save here to share with others. It’s a tricky subject.

Been thinking about the PRISM ordeal lately. Modern life is headed somewhere I’m seriously uncomfortable with…but how could this train be stopped?

Welcome to the technological age.  straight_face

Trolling My Trolls, Big Business Shenanigans, and other mid-week thoughts

Yeah, I do like to troll my own video comment threads’ trolls.  Haha  Hey, why not? I’m easily entertained at times.

And maybe this new Google+ comment section overhaul is kind of a good thing in a way. Because I apparently can rarely express myself in under 500 characters, and the comment section flame competitions, amusing as they can be to partake in some days, are just wasting my time and cutting into my productivity. Yup.

I’m not too cool with having things changed up to better suit advertisers though, since we know that’s undoubtedly what it’s all about (for a company trading at over $1,000/share on the NASDAQ, we can rest assured it is about money). But it is kinda weird pondering how much control these sites really give these major companies. And we just play right into it, easy peasy.

That’s what I get for trolling trolls. lol  We’ll blame karma. Maybe in the future I’ll post videos and then just tell folks to either comment here on the blog or PM me on YT if they really want me to read something. Fuck it. It’s getting to be too much work. And I don’t need every single thing I type online getting back to Google. And I really ought to get away from Gmail too.

There’s an internet oligopoly setup these days, and that’s a damn shame. Wasn’t supposed to be like this. I remember back when the original Google founders promised their company would never become precisely what it has become today. That’s sad. We believed them for a minute.

Ya see, everything winds me back to thinking about this concrete jungle grid and now the virtual world tied to it. More trappings with each passing year. More and more I see companies with sites putting up “arbitration clause” garbage in their small print, basically you agree by continuing to use their services, if ever a reason to sue would arise you’re agreeing to accept arbitration instead and forfeit your right to a trial. I noticed several months back Netflix added this:

If you are a Netflix member in the United States (including its possessions and territories), you and Netflix agree that any dispute, claim or controversy arising out of or relating in any way to the Netflix service, these Terms of Use and this Arbitration Agreement, shall be determined by binding arbitration or in small claims court. Arbitration is more informal than a lawsuit in court. Arbitration uses a neutral arbitrator instead of a judge or jury, allows for more limited discovery than in court, and is subject to very limited review by courts. Arbitrators can award the same damages and relief that a court can award. You agree that, by agreeing to these Terms of Use, the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act governs the interpretation and enforcement of this provision, and that you and Netflix are each waiving the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action. This arbitration provision shall survive termination of this Agreement and the termination of your Netflix membership.

That’s on their Terms of Use page, under Arbitration Agreement (#15), that being section A of A-F.

Makes me wonder why Netflix would need to fear class-action lawsuits.

But I shouldn’t be too entirely surprised since even my landlord had that in the lease agreement. I insisted he strike all of that out, and he relented, because that’s nuts. I’m not waiving my right to real trial if need be. Why?

Then Wells Fargo rolled out the same sort shit in 2012 (or ramped it up anyway). I remember getting the notice in my inbox and went to rabbling about it. But they don’t care. I’ve threatened to move my account from there several times and have another account at another bank. Just haven’t pulled that trigger yet.

And this is what really drives me nuts about life today. It’s chaotic. Everything I’m involved with changes over time. I remember back before Google bought YT. LOL That’s funny because it doesn’t matter a bit. It’s so funny how the ’90s and early 2000s wind up looking like the good ol’ days. Ha!  Now I have an idea how every generation before mine feels and why they bitched so much. Everything’s changing, and life’s just moving faster and faster with each passing year. Technology’s gone totally commercial. Advertisements being crammed anywhere and everywhere. The internet already looks like Tokyo — how much crazier can we make it?

I just have to laugh. That’s where I’m at today, humoring myself over so much ridiculousness going on all around. Makes me feel ridiculous too, especially when I continue to fork over money to Netflix and Wells Fargo month after month like I don’t have any sense. And considering how much time I spent on youtube over the last year and a half — holy shit. Turned out to be super addictive and perfectly compliments my decision to drink at home and avoid bars.  Ha

But it nearly feels like resistance is futile. Since most are going to go along with this way of life, this is how it will remain indefinitely in the U.S. We try to impress on one another and take at least some steps to avoid aiding and abetting bullshit, but it’s everywhere and becomes a frickin’ nightmare to completely avoid. If I read all small print on every terms of agreement I’ve ever signed, I’d still be reading it and all of the updates mailed out since. Legalese is the bane of my existence. confused3

Society’s crazy. Businesses are all crazy. Apparently I’m crazy and am surrounded by a sea of other crazies.  LOL  And that’s where we stand nearing the end of 2013.

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Update 11/8/2013: Figured out that the YT comment sections now allow more than 500 character responses. Oooh.

Still can’t figure out the spam feature yet though.