3 months ago in Music

Trouble

by Elvis Presley
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 3 months ago in Quotes
No community is easier to govern than one that rejects the very concept of community.
"The Dark Tower"
 3 months ago in Quotes
What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers (“U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat”) and then in the public consciousness, the “U.S. officials say” part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach “Experts say” or “President says” to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn’t say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them.
 3 months ago in Quotes
We are humans, living in a human society, with human values and purposes, and the associated processes and conflicts, at every point of social scale. Furthermore, we are a process, with a past and an unguessable future, at every point of social scale.

It is patently an act of incredible destruction to increasingly, globally and inescapably “control” important domains of human lives, relationships and society with extremely superficial centralized mathematical models of what humanity is.

There will be unintended consequences. They will be horrifying, and we may not even grasp what we've lost.
 3 months ago in Quotes
The only people who expect technology to act like a benevolent god are the ones who have replaced their god with it.
 3 months ago in Stuff

Shape of Stories

by Kurt Vonnegut
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 3 months ago in Quotes
Lack of respect for the human right to privacy by governments and corporations will lead to mass surveillance, gamified control and microtargeted propaganda.

Every one of these is dangerous, but gamified control is by far the worst of these, as it directly attacks the concept of equality which many human rights are fundamentally based on. "Equal access to public service"? Well sure you had the chance to have a good enough score to be allowed in this part of town. It is your own fault that you are a bad human. Giving up privacy will place governance in the hand of unthinking uncaring algorithms. If you the think the human bureaucrats were bad, wait until you experience the automated ones. But even worse: these three mechanisms empower authoritarianism and are easily abused to reinforce power of a ruling caste.

Modern technology makes it easier to ignore the basic human right to privacy than to respect it. I therefor would not compare privacy to free speech, like Snowden does. Free speech is easy. In my opinion it is far more reasonable to compare privacy to the right to a fair trial: having fair trials is significantly harder than despotism. And in a similar way, most people care very little about fairness in court, unless they are directly impaired, and many are willing to throw it away if they believe some evil is using it to hide from justice.
 4 months ago in Quotes
Under the guise of freedom of speech nowadays falsehoods, and even more critically just plain noise is pervasive; the freedom to shout nonsense is inhibiting the freedom to hear a reasonable and diverse set of opinions and facts. Most (loud and repeated) messages are by corporations and other groups too; because that channel simply has more resources - and that's unfortunate not because corporations are intrinsically evil (which they aren't), but because people are intrinsically social and groups of people often quite the reverse; so that corporate "speech" in the form of campaign finance typically is plainly corruption - albeit legal, even if most of its constituent individuals are reasonably moral people. In short; we know the evils of censorship and have robust traditions to at least oppose that; but we do not have similar traditions vs. overload and deception, and indeed our (entirely reasonable) protections against censorship make us more vulnerable to these rising problems. Is there a solution? Who knows; but any solution certainly is not on the public radar yet let alone nearby.
 4 months ago in Stuff
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 4 months ago in Stuff
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 4 months ago in Quotes
Sure, torturing Uyghurs is kind of sucky. But do you realize the depth of the pain of the Chinese people, who even now, 70 years after the Communists took over, still nurse all the psychological wounds that came from 100 years of humiliation? Look, China has had a glorious 5000 years of history as a civilization. So this means that when you hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, you're wounding them to the core of their very beings, because that history runs so deep. That might make them seem a bit more sensitive, almost like cry-babies to your eyes, but that's only because you don't understand their pain. Whatever torture the Uyghurs are experiencing is nothing like the pain the Chinese people feel when a soccer player besmirches the moral character of the CCP.
 4 months ago in Quotes
The numbers in a billionaire's net worth include no contextual information - nothing about the lives damaged, the jobs lost, the opportunities eliminated, the time wasted, the scamming, cheating, and manipulation, the ecological support structures destroyed.

Business and personal accounting systems deny, ignore, and suppress those contextual details. So does the "investment" industry. And that makes a mockery of "price discovery" because the nominal market price always excludes critical externalities.

It's possible to become extremely rich without negative externalities. It just happens to be incredibly difficult. The looser your ethics, and the less empathy you have for competitors and victims, the easier it gets. It's a feedback loop which rewards unethical behaviour.

Essentially, money itself is a form of morality-laundering. It's an integer when it should be a complete trace through a common contextual event map.
 4 months ago in Quotes
I've found it subtly unnerving and in some way boring how women are beginning to look exactly the same, it's almost like something of comparable virality to the whole flat minimal UI design meme now exists in fashion.
 4 months ago in Quotes
Yet another circumstance must be mentioned which proves favorable for the Nazis and their immensely powerful apparatus of oppression: the development of modern technology gives the rulers, as has long been insufficiently understood, an advantage over the ruled. The more effective the weapons become and the less you can protect yourself against them, the more the armed is superior to the unarmed. The Bastille could not be successfully stormed in the age of airplanes and tear gas. Rifles equipped with rifles have no chance against motorized police forces; it makes no sense to build barricades against a government that has tanks. And in the event of a revolution, it is not only weapons development that favors those in power, the state over the individual: modern technical development and the associated sophisticated organization work in the same direction. Traffic has led to the countries becoming small and easy to monitor. How many hiding places there were in a country a hundred years ago! At that time, every power hit natural barriers! Today there is no loophole and no hideout for the rebel anymore. Even the thoughts that are able to penetrate the walls have become "controllable" because they are tied to the mass distribution of news, to radio, film and the press. How long will it take before every house has its own microphone and every private word, like every telephone call today, can be heard? The ant state is at hand. It may not be a coincidence that states like Germany and Russia have elevated technology to the status of a religion. Conversely, this development of modern technology makes the preservation of freedom a human task that is more urgent than ever.
"Germany: Jekyll & Hyde (1939 - Deutschland von innen betrachtet)"