“When we eliminate uncertainty, we forfeit the human replenishment that attaches to the challenge of asserting predictability in the face of an always-unknown future in favor of the blankness of perpetual compliance with someone else’s plan.”
“This is a prelude of things to come, not only with encryption technologies, but everything from artificial intelligence to drones, robotics, and synthetic biology. Technology is moving faster than our ability to understand it and there is no consensus on what is ethical. It isn’t just the lawmakers who are not well-informed, the originators of the technologies themselves don’t understand the full ramifications of what they are creating. They may take strong positions today based on their emotions and financial interests but as they learn more, they too will change their views.”
'Painting the pro-privacy side as out-of-step loonies, tinfoil-hatted throwbacks in the post-privacy era was a cheap and effective tactic. It made the pro-surveillance argument into a *pro-progress* one: “Society has moved on. Our data can do more good in big, aggregated piles than it can in atomized fragments on your device and mine. The private data we exhaust when we move through the digital world is a precious resource, not pollution.”
It’s a powerful argument. When companies that promise to monetize your surveillance beat companies that promise to protect your privacy, when people can’t even be bothered to tick the box to block tracking cookies, let alone install full-disk encryption and GPG to protect their email, the pro-surveillance camp can always argue that they’re doing something that no one minds very much.”
Like climate change, the privacy catastrophes of the next two decades are already inevitable. The problem we face is preventing the much worse catastrophes of the following the decades.
And as computers are integrated into the buildings and vehicles and cities we inhabit, as they penetrate our bodies, the potential harms from breaches will become worse"
“In the past we put up with being annoyed and yelled at by advertising. And now we’re putting up with being spied on and guessed at, personally, as well. But we don’t have to put up with any of it any more. That’s another thing digital life makes possible, even if we haven’t taken the measures yet. The limits of invention are a lot farther out on the Giant Zero than they ever were in the old analog world where today’s media — including digital ones following analog models — were born.”
“The clear ethical programing AIs need to follow will force us to bear down and be much clearer about why we believe what we think we believe. Under what conditions do we want to be relativistic? What specific contexts do we want the law to be contextual? Human morality is a mess of conundrums that could benefit from scrutiny, less superstition, and more evidence-based thinking. We’ll quickly find that trying to train AIs to be more humanistic will challenge us to be more humanistic. In the way that children can better their parents, the challenge of rearing AIs is an opportunity – not a horror. We should welcome it. I wish those with a loud following would also welcome it.”
The Technium: Why I Don’t Worry About a Super AI http://kk.org via Instapaper
“The blind masses experiencing bread and circus adventures in Hyperreality while the ‘real’ world passes by entirely undetected. The ultimate triumph of inverted totalitarianism?
In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism”
Point is, a little technology is amazing. But all technology, all the time is dystopia. And strutting and fretting our entire lives digitally is a reduction of the rich possibilities of life beyond the algorithm. Even as the increasingly comprehensive digital footprints we generate are also, clearly, a way too tempting repository for governments and companies to ignore — and so they do the opposite: lift, store and manipulate the substance of our digital lives at will.
“Right now, at the frontier of technology, people are deciding the future of human-computer interaction. The Myo armband is one futuristic input among many. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for the United States (DARPA) has just announced that they’re developing a “cortical modem,” a direct neural interface that stimulates your visual cortex and displays information without glasses or goggles. It’s a heads-up display that plugs straight into your brain. Equal parts captivating and terrifying.
We believe that any digital input that disregards human biology — as the desktop environment did — can’t succeed in the 21st century. Our bodies are already rebelling against technology’s impact, and any device that asks us to act more like machines — by fundamentally changing our bodies, habits, vocabulary, or how we relate to one another — isn’t a sustainable option.”