How Much of Your Income — And Life — Does Big Tech Control?
In a review of Shoshana Zuboff’s groundbreaking Surveillance Capitalism (2019), computer science historian Erik J. Larson recounts a 1950s conflict of ideas between two pioneers, Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) and John McCarthy (1927–2011).
Wiener warned, in his largely forgotten book The Human Use of Human Beings (1950), about “new forms of control made possible by the development of advancing technologies.” McCarthy, by contrast, coined the term “artificial intelligence” (1956), implying his belief in “the official effort to program computers to exhibit human-like intelligence.”
His “AI Rules” view came to be expressed not in a mere book but in — probably — hundreds of thousands of media articles warning about or celebrating the triumph of AI over humanity.
Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Law to Hold Big Tech Companies Accountable for Content Moderation Practices
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a measure that he says will protect state residents from Silicon Valley’s “power grab on speech, thought and content.”
The Big Tech Bill, as DeSantis calls it, allows residents to fight back against de-platforming and censorship, allowing them to sue tech companies for up to $100,000 in damages for each proven claim in a bid to ensure companies are more transparent about their content moderation practices.
Growing Mystery of Suspected Energy Attacks Draws U.S. Concern
The Biden administration is facing new pressure to resolve a mystery that has vexed its predecessors: Is an adversary using a microwave or radio wave weapon to attack the brains of U.S. diplomats, spies and military personnel?
The number of reported cases of possible attack is sharply growing and lawmakers from both parties, as well as those believed to be affected, are demanding answers. But scientists and government officials aren’t yet certain about who might have been behind any attacks, if the symptoms could have been caused inadvertently by surveillance equipment — or if the incidents were actually attacks.
As the U.S. Unmasks, the Pressure Is on for Vaccine Passports
A year ago, Americans were confronting the unnerving reality that the COVID pandemic wouldn’t be a shared experience: Disruption and risk would unroll differently depending on where they lived and how their local politicians responded. Nationwide, deaths had just crossed 100,000. Washington, DC, remained under a stay-at-home order.
In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo was about to declare that masks would be mandatory inside businesses. But in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott reopened professional sports, and in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp did the same with bars and nightclubs.
If you thought 2021 would be different: Sorry.
Wisconsin Catholic Pastor Who Preached Against COVID-19 Vaccine Ordered to Step Down
The pastor of a Roman Catholic parish in Wisconsin who told his congregation to shun the COVID19 vaccine and preached right-wing politics from the pulpit has been asked to step down by his bishop.
The Rev. James Altman, of the St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse, made the announcement during his sermon at Sunday Mass, calling himself a victim of the “cancel culture.”
Indian Police Visit Twitter Office to Serve Notice About Inquiry
Indian police said on Monday they visited a Twitter office to serve notice to its country managing director about an investigation into the social media giant‘s tagging of a post by a ruling party spokesman as “manipulated media.”
Leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party last week shared portions of a document on Twitter they said was created by the main opposition Congress and highlighted government failures in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress complained to Twitter saying the document was fake, after which the U.S. company marked some of the posts — including one by BJP spokesman Sambit Patra — as “manipulated media.”
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