Pretty much immediately after the 2016 election, I blocked Facebook. I didn't delete my account. I disabled the newsfeed with a browser plugin, making the platform an almost write-only medium. Something just felt wrong about it. Like it was too needy, as it slid into and then well beyond tabloid territory. Too engaging, but in a draining, physically sickening way before finally falling asleep to the pale blue glow. It felt strained. Frenzied. Fried. I half-joked that there was a dangerous adversarial AI on the back end and it didn't seem like a good idea to connect to it.
I hadn't been able to bring myself to really connect to the election itself either. I felt bad about it, like I should have been engaged and working on it somehow, but it seemed so weird and extra meaningless. How could this nutty thing actually be important? I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway (partly because we were fighting to keep our cooperative homes and that was tiring in its own way). I turned off the US election because it felt like a reality show. And I don't watch reality shows.
Now we know that there really was an adversarial AI on the other side. It was shepherded or cultivated or mined* by some humans, who were building a giant "vote crazy" knob and cranking it up to 11.
The AI on the other sides is still evolving. What's it learning now? Can it study quietly at its desk without disturbing others? What is it watching and listening to? What does it see and hear? What's it reading these days? What is it preparing for? Is it a seasonal elections worker? Does it get tired? Do we get tired of it?
Continue reading Truths Win Out
The virtual cockpits from which the US drone fleet are operated have been infected by a virus, anonymous Air Force sources tell Wired. Not only that, but officials at Creech AFB in Nevada where the deathly video games are played, apparently didn’t notify the Air Force’s network security organization of the breech. When you put this together with the extrajudicially authorized overseas executions of US citizens, well, it’s just a little bit too SkyNet for me to feel good about.
Open-Source Camouflage From Computer Vision. As facial recognition becomes more popular as a means for police state identification, innovative makeup and hairstyle fashions can be deployed to foil the Orwellian algorithms. Talk about weird. Now we’re going to be dressing for the machines?
I’m a little bit of an information pack rat. I started blogging before there were blogs, from UGCS. It seemed mildly neurotic and self involved and exhibitionist at the time. I mostly did it for my mom as a way to keep in touch without having to e-mail all the time. I’ve lost information here and there, even digital information (which seems kind of unforgivable), but analog too. Actually, I think more I just didn’t create much analog information. Five intense months of life, bicycling across Europe in 1994. Maybe 2 rolls of film total? Almost no photos from my summer in Russia. Both my parents were avid photographers. My dad professionally (though eventually he tired of the weddings and quinceañeras, and retreated to a steady stream of passport and similar photos… para las micas rosas, y para amnestia…) and my mom (so far as I can tell) more personally. Family pictures, documentarian style, wildflowers, and some prizes in the Fresno County Fair. But I never got into it, until I got a digital camera in 1999. My first piece of digital film was a 64 MB compact-flash card (incredibly, several times larger than the 20 MB hard disk in my first computer, which I got in 1993). It cost about $100. The camera was a Nikon Coolpix 700, with 2.1 MP sensor and no zoom. I bought it in an online auction (at Yahoo!) for $425, but had the seller leave me feedback at eBay (you could leave anyone feedback for anything back then). I mailed the check, and he mailed the camera, simultaneously, trusting each other. I still have our e-mails. The pictures could go directly to the web… via the web server I had running in my bedroom in Santa Cruz. I still have those pictures. No developing. No cost-per-click of the shutter. Kayaking through Southeast Alaska with Becky in the summer of 2000 I had to limit the resolution to 640 x 480 to avoid running out of space over 3 months, and I couldn’t use the LCD lest I run out of batteries, but at least I took the pictures, and kept them.
Continue reading For Love of Information