111th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 18.1.2020

Jan 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in the Gallery again; we saw the following TED talk about artificial intelligence (AI):

https://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufekci_we_re_building_a_dystopia_just_to_make_people_click_on_ads

(You should also have a look at these two but they are scarier:

Peter Haas: The Real Reason to be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRzBk_KuIaM

Jay Tuck: Artificial Intelligence: it will kill us |

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrNs0M77Pd4)

The speaker is warning that AI cannot be controlled because AI Algorithms take decisions they cannot “explain”. AI is still being developed and is wrong often (recognizing a dog as a wolf, just by information about the background). Therefore, AI may make wrong decisions which can cost human life (self-drive cars)

Most AI algorithms cannot be checked anymore. The structure is too complex for humans to be grasped

AI has no ethics, it cannot solve the question whom to run over in an unavoidable car collision with either an old lady or 2 kids. In such a situation an AI driven car would not send the car into a tree because that would mean self-destruction, and that is not is program.

Even if we tried to switch AI systems off, they would stay online; they have ways of keeping connected to the electricity grid.

It is strange that in the US, the social security number is now supposed to be kept private whereas in other countries in Europe, we give them out freely, e.g. the tax number in Portugal. On the other hand, Portuguese tax office clerks are not allowed to enter a bank account in the taxpayers file, they are not supposed to receive such private data.

By now, Russian interference in several elections and in the Brexit referendum has been proven by journalists. The money came from Russia, and several companies in the world do nothing else but to create campaigns that manipulate well targeted recipients for elections. They may even try to keep certain groups of people away by dissuading them to go and vote.

S. said that, like under the dictatorship in Portugal, the state always obtained information about individuals and harassed and imprisoned them; the channel of information is just different now.  in China they did it to the Tibetans, now they are doing it to the Uighurs.

AI may decide that, if a person lives in a bad neighbourhood, this person might also be a “bad” person. It’s “decisions” may cause a person not to get a job or health insurance, just by misinterpreting data; this can ruin a person’s life.

We think we are free but we are being manipulated by AI already now. We may be more vulnerable now because we cannot detect the manipulation.

The “right to die in the internet” is also a farce: even if an account is closed down, the data live on somewhere else. If someone were to “die” and chose to “come back”, that person might well see that all the old data are still online. If we want to be undetected in our movements, we have to take the battery out of the mobile. Still, the state can “find “ us by face recognition in the airports and other public places. The surveillance system is never switched off.

We like the positive side of the internet, the fact that we have access to an enormous library, and that we can communicate better, it empowers us. Also, government abuse is more difficult to hide now.

But: Subliminal messages may not even be registered in our awareness. Clothing stores apparently use smell to entice the customers to come in and to remain in the store.

All citizens and children should learn to make good use of it. For example, look at page 99 in a Google search, not just on the first page.

We spoke about the “Wahl-o-Mat” in Germany, a system set up before an election in which each party has to state their position on specific topic. Then the voter can use the Wahl-o-mat to see which party reflects his preferences, and vote for this party. It is open and transparent. Unfortunately, parties in other countries do not have a party program which they can be nailed to before an election.

Basically, politicians are trying to win, they money to achieve their win. Money rules this.

U. said that individually, we can protect ourselves by

  • Not using Facebook, or at least, not “liking” anything
  • always logging out of secure systems
  • always closing the browser window before opening another one
  • using CCleaner to throw out cookies.

A good defence is to be in a position where we can say “I don’t need anything”

Even though we take such precautions, these Social Media companies can still see our activity, States get data from them, they also get date from other sources, and try to control and manipulate us, e.g. for elections

In the old days, people were targeted by ads in TV, Radio or by posters on the street and ads in the newspapers. The form of targeting has changed but still, each person has the option to not listen, read and follow the nudges in the ads.

Have a look on how to beat SPAM by James Veitch, very funny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4Uc-cztsJo

Our next meeting should be in February.

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