Regardless of who you are, what you do for a living or your level of interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), you should be concerned about its far-reaching potential, the harmful results that will follow, and the devastating outcome for a future generation.
Obviously, there are great benefits derived from this new technology; however, it’s essential to recognize that AI is a sharp and dangerous double-edged sword. Now that we have crossed the threshold into Deep Learning—which removes human input to problem-solving equations—our society is forever changed, and our long-term existence remains in question.
Don’t believe for a minute that machines are going to take over, no—that is a fantasy for the big screen; instead, we should be concerned with a single world-wide authoritarian state which will control information and knowledge. Our concerns should be laser-focused on the potential of a modern-day Star Chamber, a small and organized group of powerful and influential people working closely together so they may ensure absolute control over those they deem inferior, or at least consider them an operational element within their wheel of progress.
They will preach freedom and goodwill for the world while taking control of our lives; they will gain access and predictable power over human decision making—with an insignificant margin of error, only to manipulate large segments of daily activity for a host of motivations.
We’re not fear-mongering, absolutely not, but humankind’s essences and its destiny should never have been controlled to the point of automation and predictability in the first place. There will come a time when rebellion will take on this fight, and resistance will unleash the chains placed on an individual’s freedom of choice and privacy. Unfortunately, civil unrest will move beyond anything we might compare it to, and more exceptional minds than ours will question the uncertainty of society’s future, but we do ask the question of why the Second Amendment is continually argued and fought over?
Here are some facts that should cause pause; you are being followed, identified, and influenced by both the government and data collecting businesses. You are being used to influence others by the tasks you perform on your digital device, office computer, or laptop. When in public or shopping at any of the larger chain stores, your movements are being videotaped, along with precise data points which are extracted and time-stamped for security and marketing purposes. Your homes are recording your voice and movements by security apparatus you invite in under the disguise of safety. And there is more; your unique behavior patterns are being compiled into cross-matching files, which will follow you for the remainder of your life, so that at any given time, your location, actions, and even state-of-mind can be determined without your knowledge.
Does this sound like utopia, or does it scare the living hell out of you?
We should become suspect and ponder these questions: Has anyone asked for my permission to gather behavioral insights into my personal life? Is my private data being sold without my knowledge? Is someone or something cross-checking my facial features, genetic material, social media postings, email dialogues, geo-targeting data, financial records, and medical records, then creating a secret—but available—composite of me, and offered to the highest bidder?
What does the unabashed invasion of your privacy look like; it is when events begin to dismantle your freedom of choice, when all information about you is shared without permission, and when your every movement is predictable. It is when this sea of emotional turmoil is stirred by processes outside of your control and credited to Deep Thinking AI, which is here to stay and grow more invasive.
Older adults who have had less face time on social media platforms are harder to track, and their lives will become unimportant since they are at the end of their life cycle. As for everyone else, they are surrounded by programs that monitor every keystroke, sites visited, and eavesdropping of conversations through invasive home monitoring systems. Regardless of how careful you are, no one is exempt from prying eyes and data collection mavens. We are all in the collection system, and irrespective of what you’re fed by the Wall Street titans, the information they’ve accumulated on you will continue to be collected and analyzed, it will remain permanently stored, frequently updated and always retrievable. The companies responsible for gathering this information are well ahead of government agencies in charge of its oversight.
...the information collected is either being sold or hacked, then shared to hundreds—if not thousands of companies, who quietly and quickly build a profile that goes so deep, you wouldn’t recognize some of the data that describes your personality.
You may wonder why this is happening; for those who do ask the question, the answer is simple; control (under the guise of crime prevention) and greed (an obsession of accumulating vast amounts of wealth). These two variables go hand in hand, and it is what is driving 24-hour surveillance on society. An example of this is found in our political structure; it has turned into a club with a membership that is driven by power and control, a.k.a. money and laws; these are the pinnacles that drive unfathomable ambition.
By now, everyone should realize that every move they make, whether inside their homes and every time they leave the house, is recorded. Neighbors have video doorbells; others have cameras. Just about anyone can tape you with a phone or with a drone, and with cities and towns setting up monitor devices on street poles and highways, and further enhanced by millions of close-circuit cameras attached to businesses that record inside their buildings and their perimeters, surveillance has become absolute in our lives.
What is accomplished with this information? If you’re a bad guy and do a crime, the authorities will find you and take a sample of your DNA for good keeping. Then, by matching your mugshot, fingerprints, and a genetic sample, they’ll have comprised a comprehensive profile just in case it’s required at a later date.
For everyone else, the information collected is either being sold or hacked, then shared to hundreds—if not thousands of companies, who quietly and quickly build a profile that goes so deep, you wouldn’t recognize some of the data that describes your personality.
Finally, the masterminds behind the search engines, social media channels, dating sites, along with every other location you believe is making your life more exciting or interesting, is gathering every micro-second of behavioral data you share online so that they—through AI—will be able to predict, with accuracy, your travels, likes and dislikes, bet on your choice of a mate, number of children you’ll have, your IQ, where you’ll live, how much money you’ll earn, the car you’ll drive—and when you will likely make the purchase, who you will vote for, and just about every thought you believe is your own. With this information, they will have attached a predictability scale that is easily updated once these things happen, they will then add it to your bio-social-physical profile.
While this may sound like an impossible feat, the research taking place behind the ivy walls of universities and in labs is well beyond this layman’s best guess to what the future holds for the earth’s inhabitants. Using logic, does any sound mind honestly believe the horse isn’t out of the corral?
According to a report in Forbes, “Rethinking Privacy for the AI Era,” March 2019, (interestingly the piece had no byline), a study conducted by Intouch International, found that close to 9 out of 10 American users of the internet are concerned about their privacy and security online. And, a whopping 67 percent of those polled are in support of stricter national privacy laws.
What is causing the disconnect between the public’s thirst for immediate gratification for information and the sharing of personal data? Part of the equation is the complex and unresolved issue surrounding the granting of permission found when accessing websites. As soon as legislation is passed, the social engineers are creating new user agreements that either force acceptance or make users quickly bypass long and complicated contracts for the use of a site. Without knowledge, many web-surfers are signing their privacy rights away and end up in massive databases.
The concept of harnessing data isn’t new; and while, the English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is attributed to having prophesized, “Ipsa scientia potestas est” (knowledge is power), further research indicates that the original documented phrase “Knowledge is power,” was from Imam Ali (599-661 CE) in the 10th century. He is quoted as saying, “Knowledge is power, and it can command obedience. A man of knowledge during his lifetime can make people obey and follow him, and he is praised and venerated after his death. Remember that knowledge is a ruler, and wealth is its subject.”
We, too, will have something relevant to say even if it was created by a machine for the good of our futures.
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