There has been a brief trend across Facebook with people sharing two images of themselves - a current image, and an image from 10 years ago.
Some people got wise to this one fairly quickly and highlighted the risk that you might just be helping train facial recognition software.
Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you'd want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people's pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years.
Well, here is the good news. You've already been training artificial intelligence (AI) for up to ten years. One of the earliest instances was the "captcha" process which was designed (in part), to hamper technical attacks by bots, hackers and other bad actors. Over the years, a variety of these captcha processes and variants developed, albeit for increasingly different purposes.
CAPTCHA = Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
Some examples over the past ten years:
Around 2009, Google got involved and started using the captcha process. Users encountering the captcha process were unsuspectingly training computers to recognise unclear text scanned in from newspapers and books. A computers ability to read your handwritten text also has you to thank for the training you've provided.
While used mostly for security reasons, CAPTCHAs also serve as a benchmark task for artificial intelligence technologies. According to an article by Ahn, Blum and Langford, any program that passes the tests generated by a CAPTCHA can be used to solve a hard unsolved AI problem.
More recent captcha deployments have been used to train driver-less car. You may have been shown images of cars, traffic lights, shops and street signs to differentiate and select from. Some of these images might be a single image divided into 9 - 16 panels, or 9 separate images. And while the security rationale still exists somewhat, the main purpose is to get you to spend around 10 seconds to train a computer - one that will likely take your job before the next 10 years.
Your selections are then compiled, compared with other responses that enable computer training. AI software programs can be tested for accuracy, consistency and learning ability against the human response set.
The process is continuously advancing and now you are being unwittingly invited through these meme games to invest even more time training the AI computers. The ten year challenge meme invites users to post a photo of themselves 10 years apart. This helps provide a clear point of reference for the technology to analyse and re-calibrate facial detection. Even if you don't participate, or if you post bogus pictures, does not matter. Providing enough people participate randomly (~around 3,000+), the data set gathered will be sufficient to use for computer analysis and testing purposes.
In fact, your bogus pictures are incredibly useful as well. Computers need to learn irrelevant data sets as much as they need correct results.
Here is a summary of what to expect next in the world of AI training (some of which is already happening):
Every month, AI systems are improving rapidly. They now perform millions of tasks that humans are either ineffective at performing or are too slow. Ultimately, AI systems will run your life for you, and eventually (if they have not already) will make your job redundant.
Thanks for your help to train computers!
More reads and references:
There are probably few figures in the world today as contentious as the current President of the United States – Donald Trump.
Apparently, what is more contentious is how/why Donald Trump became President.
In the months following the initial shock, I personally read as much as I could about how this seeming travesty of natural justice could occur. As the months went by, more stories filtered through.
Did the Democrats themselves sabotage fielding of the best candidate?
Was it Russian interference and/or illegal use of fake Facebook profiles?
Did “fake news” prevail?
Is the US electoral system fundamentally flawed?
Were voters always just closet right wing extremists anyway?!
Is Trump is a product of the failures and arrogance of the Left? Or did bad actors sabotaged/self-sabotaged the Left which emboldened the Right rhetoric and blame?
Is Trump is a product of the failures and arrogance of the Left?
First, if you are in the “Trump is bad” camp, why does it matter if Trump is President? Hopefully the concern for who holds the Office of the President of the United States is because we care “to preserve and promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual, to achieve social justice, foster the economic and social development of the community, strengthen the cohesion of society and enhance national tranquillity, as well as to create a climate that is favourable for international peace”(1). And perhaps not just a good climate for international peace, but perhaps a good climate for ensuring stability of our environment, ecology and breathable air – least we fast track extinction of life forms on this planet.
Second, the election of Donald Trump has had and will continue to have major impacts on the political dynamics of other democracies. So, I believe we should sincerely care a lot about the impacts to voting patterns in other countries. The lean towards the “right” is not simply a phenomenon in the United States – just look at what has been occurring across Europe, Brazil, Australia and many other democracies.
My real intent is to consider how we can work towards an aligned and peaceful world overcoming such divisive politics. Calling a mid-West US Trump voter "dumb" is not going create peace on earth - it is more likely to exasperate the situation and will eventually lead to armed conflict.
Shouldn’t those on the “left” of politics seek to understand and engage with the right leaning voters to understand what their concerns are? To simply denounce right leaning voters as stupid, ignorant, or at worst evil is not going to make the world a better place – unless you want a war (noting the fact that all three major world conflicts between 1914 and 1975 were entered into by Democrat US Presidents). Whatever happened to engagement, negotiation and pragmatism? Many of my "left friends" seem just as extreme as the very people they target/believe are "the problem".
Before blaming the “other” side, perhaps we should consider if and how bad actors infiltrated the Left resulting in an environment planned and designed to provide the fuel for other bad actors to promote a shift to the Right. There were already millions of voters who felt disenfranchised and bad actors have deliberately manipulated these voters.
Here is a summary of reads that illustrate many other writers have also considered this issue and theory.
From my perspective, we need to weed out bad actors on both sides of politics, and in the meantime, demonising manipulated Right-wing voters will not solve the problem. We need fight against bad actors (whichever side of politics they sit), restore truth in politics and unite against threats to sustainable human existance.
How social activists got hoodwinked by Capitalism
The Great Sun Exposure Scam - 13th January 2019
Over the past six months there have been several articles highlighting gross and dangerous misunderstandings about sun exposure, skin cancer risks and Vitamin D supplements. Many of these (obviosuly) are linked to following the money trail and who has been benefiting from Vitamin D supplements, testing, melanoma testing/surgery, sunscreens and that is just the direct impacts! There are even more scandalous fortunes being made from creating other medical conditions through engineering childhood behaviours that will lead with certainty to disease outcomes later in life.
It seems that when it comes to "health", there is alot of money to be made from diease and even perceived disease. At an estimated USD$8 trillion being spent on healthcare globally, who wouldn't want to get a slice of the pie and even get a bigger helping.
Links, references and readings...
The game is up. That thing you just bought for $10 has a "true cost" of $100. But the $90 you didn't pay is an accumulated debt you don't see...yet.
A new (interim) report by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary General recognises that world economy cannot continue in the face of the unprecedented catastrophic ecological disaster we now face on earth.
It works like this...
The majority of the worlds "advanced" economies have effectively been creating an extraordinary environmental "debt". Almost everything you buy is subsidised by the deferral of the environmental cost of everything. Almost everything you buy is at least one tenth of the real/true cost. The thing that costs you $1, really costs $10. The $9 is the cost to fix the environment as a consequence of the $1 item. However, the $9 is deferred. Otherwise you wouldn't buy it. So the cost for fixing the environment is deferred as a future debt.
However, the problem is now evident that the accumulating debt cannot be paid back under the present economic system.
Have you heard about the Yellow vest protests in France? Well, that is the consequence of trying to start to reflect the true cost of petroleum.
Since World War 2, the earth's population has been creating a debt that is now so large that no one can afford the cost to repair the earth's ecology (or at least they won't pay, or can't agree who should pay).
If we had to start paying the real cost of everything, the global economy would crash almost instantly. The ensuing mayhem would leave civil society in tatters.
So, there are going to be only three main options: (1) allow the environment to continue to exponentially decline towards a state that can no longer support human life; (2) the debt has to be paid back, and very quickly; OR (3) restructure and manage the global economy centrally.
The forthcoming global economic recession will enable a major reset of the world economy which might be able to prevent us spiralling into extinction. The UN is therefore preparing its Global Sustainable Development Report for release this year. This will outline the options the world has and provide a blueprint for realignment of the global economy towards "true cost" economics. This pathway will be painful, however, the reality is this: start paying the true cost or humans face extinction quicker than we could have ever imagined.
Summary links/references/further reading:
The Story of Stuff: https://youtu.be/9GorqroigqM
It's our fault! https://twitter.com/bbcone/status/1141075861791096832
Conspiracy theories are spurned by many and at least laughed at by the rest.
Here are some "true" is tossed easily aside by some people
Wall Street and London Banks funded at least the first two decades of the Russian communist revolution
The US government helped to train and equip Chinese (communist) guerrillas
Top 5 Recent Conspiracies (which turned out to be real)
1. "Privacy" when in fact the NSA started spying on Facebook user accounts from 2009:
2. Voting manipulation through Facebook and Google user profiling:
3. You are being used to train Artificial Intelligence:
4. The USA created the terrorists:
5. That Nuclear power is unsafe (when in fact dirty old US reactors are the problem) and the general
Top 5 Current/In Progress Scams
1. DNA Testing:
12/12019 Update: True
2. Climate Change
4. Artificial Intelligence (taking over all jobs) and eventually rendering humans redundant and unnecessary:
5. Cheap Stuff
Others for consideration:
- US Military supporting pscychedelic research for treatment of PTSD
The following strands below of seemingly disparate readings, video and podcasts have a connection. The connection may not be obvious. They revolve around notions of "time" and this particular concept:
Everything has already happened.
It seems incredulous doesn't it? I agree. And perhaps even more incredulous is that we have access to knowing everything that happened in the "future".
For anyone that believes that "time" is a concrete, known and agreed notion, then I am happy to share that time is actually a cultural construct. Time from a pure scientific perspective is relative at best.
In order to challenge preexisting concepts of time, I highly recommend the very entertaining Dr Rupert Shledrake (Cambridge University; Harvard University):
Once we resist the strictures of cultural narratives (note: You do not need to reject your current belief systems, in fact, it is recommended that you do not reject any of your current belief systems), we can add other interesting perspectives, e.g. "time".
Albert Einstein realised the significance of this when he famously stated:
The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
While most people think of time as a constant, physicist Albert Einstein showed that time is an illusion; it is relative — it can vary for different observers depending on your speed through space. To Einstein, time is the "fourth dimension."
The light reflected from the surface of the Moon takes only a second to reach Earth. The Sun is more than 8 light-minutes away. And so, if the light from the nearest star (Alpha Centauri) takes more than 4 years to reach us, we're seeing that star 4 years in the past.
In physics, action at a distance is the concept that an object can be moved, changed, or otherwise affected without being physically touched (as in mechanical contact) by another object. That is, it is the nonlocal interaction of objects that are separated in space. Quantum mechanics has posed new challenges for the view that physical processes should obey locality. Whether quantum entanglement counts as action-at-a-distance hinges on the nature of the wave function and decoherence, issues over which there is still considerable debate among scientists and philosophers.
So here we have a seeming paradox. Photon entangled with another photon at either side of the Universe can impact each other "instantly" and yet the light from our nearest star takes 4 years to get to us.
It sounds strange and spooky but it isn't. What is really strange and spooky is that we have accepted a very one-dimensional concept of time.
And there are benefits to realising that "time" is an artificial construct.
The psychopharmacological experiment at La Chorrera
In 1971, Terence McKenna, along with his brother Dennis and three other companions (Dave, Vanessa, Ev) ventured by plane, boat, and foot to the paradisical Colombian mission town of La Chorrera, where they hoped to encounter the elusive psychedelic oo-koo-hé. Fate would have it otherwise. Their attention soon turned to the large numbers of Stropharia Cubensis that they lucked upon, and before long, Terence and especially Dennis were formulating the psychopharmacological "experiment at La Chorrera".
Retrocausation and Precognition
Time Is Not What You Think It Is. Neither Are You.Welcome to a world where participants in psychology experiments respond to pictures they haven’t seen yet … where physicists influence the past behavior of a light beam by measuring its photons now … and where dreamers and writers literally remember their future. This landmark study explores the principles that allow the future to affect the present, and the present to affect the past, without causing paradox. It also deconstructs the powerful taboos that, for centuries, have kept mainstream science from taking phenomena like retrocausation and precognition seriously. We are four-dimensional creatures, and sometimes we are even caught in time loops—self-fulfilling prophecies where effects become their own causes.
A fascinating approach that is more leading edge science than the "magic" element might suggest. This is apparently one of the great texts about Chaos Magik. For a short read, pgs 13-15 where the six principles are outlined.
The End of Reality
The collision of profiling, machine learning, neuromarketing and agumented reality are creating a world that is truly 'post-real'. This brief tour through the landscape surveyed in Pesce's December 2017 Meanjin essay is concise, clear - and chilling.
China, geopolitics and the future
Ian is Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where he holds cross-appointments in the School of Art, Design, and Media, and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. He is also a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and serves on its Global Future Council on Agile Governance.
The Hi-Jacking of Now-ness
Xenolinguistics, defined in science fiction as the study of alien languages, is re-defined in the context of psychedelics and communication with the Other. Psychedelics can enable a broad and paradoxical spectrum of linguistic phenomena from the unspeakability of mystical experience to the eloquence of the songs of the shaman or curandera. Interior dialogues with the Other, whether framed as the voice of the Logos, an alien download, or communion with ancestors and spirits, are relatively common. Sentient visual languages are encountered, their forms unrelated to the representation of speech in natural language writing systems.
Other reading, videos, cross references
New directions in philosophy: Amerindian-Perspectivism
"what falls under the domain of ‘social’ and ‘human’ relations for such Amazonian peoples is so broad – animals, plants, spirits are all conceived as persons – that modern distinctions between nature and culture, animals and humans, and even descent and marriage ties are effectively inverted."
Brazilian anthropologist and now philosopher Eduardo Viveiros de Castro marks the first case of an ‘actual’ anthropologist, explicitly undertaking philosophy:
Some context is perhaps necessary. The previous blog here was on 16th May 2017 titled "Let’s be honest, you are all hackers!". That story is still relevant and it will be returned to again soon.
In the interim, much time and effort has been undertaken to understand the world we are in.
At the time of the previous blog post, it was quite clear that the world was moving towards another global financial crisis. (***public readers to note that our approach is to reserve detailed background and information to the email subscriber list, regular updates to the private subscriber facebook group and then about 6-8 weeks later we will share the information on this page).
Many years ago, I had heard about Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency that many people would have heard about. If not, that's ok, more in the future or do a mind boggling Google search which will return too much information and most of it rubbish. I can't recall the price of Bitcoin at the time. It started at around 1 cent (approximate) and by the time I heard about it, it was still only very low in price. Earlier this year, I had my attention taken back to Bitcoin again by a close friend. Once again I can't recall the price, but by now it was in the thousands. Once again, if I had acted on my original instincts many years ago, I would be very wealthy by now. I'd be well ahead if I had even acted on my instincts even last year, or even a few months ago.
As usual, I don't always act on my instincts. Whenever I have, my life has been better. Working out which instincts to follow and which ones to dismiss is the puzzle of human life.
But I never really wanted to be rich. I want to live a grounded life with the people I love, my wife, amazing kids and friends. I want to be able to support them faithfully, honestly and in a sustainable way.
Economically life has been getting harder and harder for many of us. I started to wonder why it is getting so hard. We could discuss many different economic, philosophical and cultural theories. That comes later. For now, we face some chilling realities.
Property prices in Sydney and most big cities have increased significantly and the hope of living in a permanent home in many places is now a dream that few in society will ever be able to realise. And that is not a bad thing. I don't have a problem with a house price of $1M, or $5M or event $10M. Property prices don't matter. What matters is - can you repay the debt?
How is debt repaid? Money is paid by the borrower to the lender. The arrangement assumes that the borrower can repay the debt. How does a borrower repay debt? Typically it will be through their job, business or other forms of income.
World debt since the last global financial crisis has risen by over $80 trillion dollars. Total world debt is roughly around $230+ trillion dollars. Every person in the world is now in debt of over $300,000 each.
The numbers and math ceases to make sense. And let's not even have the discussion yet around who has $230 trillion dollars to lend out in the first place. The fact that anyone has that kind of cash to lend is ridiculous in itself.
Quadrillion comes after trillion and it all starts to sound like a kids game. The world doesn't need quadrillions of debt.
There is another long story behind all the above. Deeper background, more detail, facts, graphs and stories.
The fact is, it cannot continue. And it has stopped.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has finally announced what we already had seen. The world is heading towards another financial crisis. You can read more here.
Please subscribe to our email list here and let's enjoy the ride!
(c) Jarred Taylor and peppersnort 2017
Let’s be honest, you are all hackers!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people would be familiar with the term “hacker”. The term conjures images of a high tech criminal teenage mastermind surrounded by multiple display screens, fingers typing computer code furiously in a darkened room readying to launch an attack on an innocent home computer on another continent which is used by a grandmother to type up the monthly historic society meeting minutes.
For those not familiar with the term, a hacker is basically a technically literate person who uses their skills to disrupt small and large computer networks, most commonly for the purpose of financial gain (or just because they can). At best such an image is misleading, and at worst is a gross misrepresentation of the profiles, locations, gender, age, motivation and objective of a hacker.
What is true, is that we are all hackers
‘I’m not a hacker’ you may say. Let me repeat with some clarity: You are all hackers. Well at least probably, maybe, mostly. And it is very important that you understand you are probably a hacker. If you definitely are not a hacker, then you might be either a ‘creator’ or a ‘securer’. At the very least, even if you are not a hacker, you are the product of hacking.
Knowing about this and knowing which one you are will be transformative. While I am using computer “hacking” as a form of analogy, it is also directly related to the fundamental structure of the physical world, the basis of why we are here and therefore where we are heading.
But first, some general definitions:
Creator: Takes existing independent things and integrates them to become a new thing;
Hacker: Takes existing things, identifies vulnerability, and exploits the vulnerability. The results of the exploitation are numerous and discussed below.
Securer: Uses existing independent things and creates complexity through the securing of one thing (with vulnerability).
You are only here because of hacking
Literally, you are here because of hacking. Your birth parent/s consorted either knowingly or unwittingly to bring you into existence through hacking numerous biological, physical and cultural systems. You are the product of some serious hacking!
As a baby you hacked the systems around you and somehow managed to be fed, clothed and looked after sufficiently until you then became more of an independent hacker (commonly referred to as a teenager). You grew up learning how to hack. You may have also learned when not to hack. Other people have either successfully or unsuccessfully tried to hack you! A school bully is really just a low fidelity hacker. They sought to tease you (exposed you to a computer virus), blackmail you (ransom ware), stole your things (data theft), sullied your reputation (identify theft), deliberately made you a social outcast at school (denial of service attack) or any other innumerable sad antics that are analogous with computer hacking. Yes, they were exploiting your vulnerabilities just like a computer hacker does. The irony is that few if any of those bullies were probably ever smart enough to become a computer hacker and you are probably hacking your childhood school friends right now on your computer. Lol lol lol...
Hackers – they isn’t all bad Mr Jobs
But let’s not confuse hacking with motivations. If I give you a toy helicopter and you manage to repurpose it as a drone, then you’ve successfully hacked one thing into another thing. A car is simply a horse and carriage that has been hacked. A flying car is a car that will have been hacked together with a plane, and a mobile phone is just a cassette player/computer/camera hacked together. The iPhone developed by Mr Jobs was a masterful hack.
We live in a world of hacks. We typically confuse innovators as “creators” when in most cases they are just really smart hackers. “Innovation” is just hacked hacking – take a thing, hack it and present it as a new thing.
When traditional businesses announce they want to be more “innovative” it is largely because they have come to the realisation that they had been hacked. “Disruption” is a form of hacking. Take an existing business model, hack it and package it as something new. Kodak, Nokia, Blackberry and numerous other formerly gigantic businesses failed because they were unable to keep up with the hacking happening around them. And some businesses fail because they hack too much. If any of the current corporate giants fail (Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple - which all came about through hacking), then it will only be due to one of two reasons: (1) they get hacked by someone else, or (2) they end up hacking too much. A great example of a company that is now suffering from too much hacking is Uber. Yes, you can end up hacking yourself into a PR nightmare.
Have we ever created anything?
True ‘creators’ take one thing, and another thing, and bring them together to create a new thing that has not been created before. For that reason, we don’t often see much creation. In his book “Homo Deus”, Yuval Noah Harari outlines the process of how humans domesticated animals. In fact, the majority of all animals on the planet are domesticated (e.g. cows, sheep, pigs etc.). Humans hacked the evolutionary process of these animals and exploited them for food. Your lamb kebab is a result of hacking. Even ‘cultural appropriation’ is just a rude, lazy and unimaginative form of hacking.
Thus we would generally have to go a long way back to find any genuine creativity. Computer? Hacked from a typewriter. Writing? Hacked from cave drawings. Cave drawings? Possibly hacked, not sure. But you get the point. Self-help books? How to hack yourself. Neuro linguistic programming (NLP)? How to hack others. Minecraft? Hacking for kids. Cryptocurrency? Hacking of the corrupt mainstream financial system.
Everything is being hacked. If you were born as a result of in vitro fertilisation, you were definitely a product of hacking and stem cell therapies are another elaborate form of hacking. Looking for a cure to anything, then you are in search of a successful hack. Your DNA is a code that has been and will continue to be hacked through either biological or technical means.
How a cat can make you safer except from a blockchain robot
As a result of all this rampant hacking, it was inevitable to see the rise of methods of securing assets from hacking. Think of an “asset” as a thing that could be hacked, and the securing of the asset is for the purpose of preventing hacking. As a consequence, we get complexity. The more things are hacked, the more complex the security becomes.
The ‘Securer’ uses existing independent things and creates complexity through the securing of one thing (with vulnerability). It’s not a judgement; it is just a fact that more complex hacking generates complexity. Blockchain is an important development and may well be the future of robot DNA.
Your immune system is one example of a very complex system to prevent hacking. Vaccination is analogous with installing virus software on your computer. Once the software is installed, your computer can then match potential threats with a list of viruses and take appropriate action. If your computer is infected with a virus, then it is likely a new virus that your virus software doesn’t recognise. Hence the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in virus protection software. It works in a similar way to how you recognise a cat. How is a cat different from a dog? The cat has properties of “cat-ness” and even though we might see a cat we’ve never seen before, we know it’s a cat because of its cat-ness. The AI virus software knows the ‘-ness’ of a virus. It doesn’t need to have the specific virus definition loaded to be able to assess if it has the properties of a potential virus. It’s smart. But huge industries have now been established around exploiting vulnerabilities (computer hackers) and the development of computer security. The computer security industry is expected to worth over USD $200 billion by 2021, possibly sooner.
So increased security breeds complexity (and profit). Future human-like robots operating with AI, potentially to the extent that they may become indistinguishable from an organic human, that is complexity. Computer networks are complex. An Airbus A380 is complex, disease is complex, and everything is becoming more complex. Why? To prevent hacking (and preventing hacking is extremely profitable)! And by the way, AI robots are a hack and will become hackers. Google (Alphabet) have developed AI and it is busy teaching itself how to hack. Sadly, at some stage, we will all pass away as a consequence of some form of hacked activity. Death is far from creative and there is no security from it, yet.
50 shades of hacking
To be honest, I am unconvinced myself whether the “creator” and the “securer” are simply just other shades of hacking. Rearranging existing things to either “create” something new or to protect something appears to be just another form of hacking.
You are all hackers. Well at least probably, maybe, mostly. And knowing this is transformative. Why? We live within a puzzle, whether we like it or not, we are all puzzle solvers (aka hackers) and to solve this puzzle requires that we hack hacking. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are important developments in how we understand the puzzle.
More on this will be outlined in a future article called “A Theory of Everything and why you can’t hack truth”…
(c) Jarred Taylor and peppersnort 2017