Intel’s Bug is a Plague

This week it was revealed that Intel, the largest manufacturer of computer processors has, since 1995, been producing processors with an inherent bug. The bug provides a way to hack every computer and mobile device that has one of those processors. This translates into an incomprehensible amount of computers and mobile devises that can be hacked for the most private, and mistakenly believed, protected data.

We will inevitably lose our identities as we have lost our privacy.

While I am a lawyer, I am also a natural intuitive. Psychic, if you will. As a result of that inherent dichotomy in the way I am wired, I have always had two sets of nearly incompatible friends. One set is my left-brain, logical-rational friends and the other my right-brain, creative-intuitive friends. Most of the latter are psychics. People whose intuition is highly developed and who believe in concepts that make my left-brain friends roll their eyes in condescension and disbelief…concepts such as past lives, bi-location, astral projection and for purposes of this post, the lost continent of Atlantis.

It is human nature that when we encounter people whose world view is radically different than our own to see those people as either ignorant or crazy. After all, how else does one continue to put stock, not to mention faith, in one’s ideas and beliefs if not by negating those which present a direct challenge to our status quo? The latest example of this is how many people dismiss, even hate, Donald Trump…and none more than the hard core politicians and agenda driven individuals who have been running this country their way for a hundred years. But this is just one example.

Here’s another.

My psychic friends and I believe that Atlantis (and perhaps Lemuria) were civilizations that had advanced technologically to the point, or beyond, to which we have now arrived. As a result of misusing that advanced technology, combined with a corresponding lack of ethical and moral development, that civilization destroyed itself. Further, add to that historical perspective the concept of reincarnation and we believe that many of us alive today were also alive then, in Atlantis. We are, so to speak, “back.” It is our opportunity to “get it right” this time by not allowing the technology to control or destroy humanity.

Which brings me back to the Intel bug. We are most likely going to make the same mistakes again that were made in Atlantis. We are headed for destruction in several ways thanks to the proliferation of technological development alongside a dearth of moral, ethical, and social development of equal measure.

We are all addicted to the technology. You know it and I know it and anyone who says otherwise is in denial. From the couples and families who dine together while texting, to the waiting rooms at hospitals and public spaces filled with people all on their cell phones, to the internet shopping, to the manipulated news we allow to control our thinking, to the social media that is a vacuous substitute for real life…we are all addicted.

Now we are on the verge, through AI, of substituting robots for what is left of relationships. Men will be able to have female bot partners that satisfy their every carnal fantasy with no corresponding emotional demands while women will be able to have partners that satisfy their emotional needs without having to work so hard to make that happen or, in many instances, paying the price of their self-respect in order to even have a partner.  We will purchase our customized partners while human mates be damned. Japanese men have already shown us the future of what happens when you can choose between an emotionally complex (and perceived demanding sexual partner) and one that provides whatever is asked for while asking nothing in return. The Japanese men prefer the bots.

Isn’t that why we like our dogs and cats so much? Unconditional love, even when we neglect or abuse them? We get what we want and need while the “other” be damned. It’s easier that way, right? The problem is that what comes easy is generally unappreciated and undervalued. We find meaning in life from our struggles, from the things we strive, sweat and work for not from what comes easy. It’s one of the most profound lessons of human existence that we all learn, sooner or later. So having everything we want handed to us, or our every want and desire anticipated and satisfied, will not only be empty of meaning it will cripple and enslave us.

So, while it is typical that when most people hear the word psychic, or talk of alternate realities and reincarnation, they take it with a grain of salt…or not at all…those of us who have walked that path for all, or most, of our lives have seen this handwriting on the wall. We are headed for self-destruction. Not of a few individuals, but of the species as we know it.

Why?

Because regardless of how lifelike the bots are, or how advanced the AI becomes, none of it is human. At best these are all man-made substitutes. Only hubris leads us to conclude that we can replicate through technology what God has created. And like all forgeries, what we try and replicate will, in the end, be revealed for the fraud it is.

The Torah, the first Five Book of Moses commonly referred to as the “Old Testament” is instructive. This same hubris led humankind to build a tower to the heavens so that back then they, too, could be as God. The effort resulted in chaos, destruction and separation we still suffer from today.

Laugh at and dismiss the psychics, the intuitives with a sixth sense, if you will. But in your heart you know that we are in trouble and it isn’t Donald Trump, the Republicans or the Democrats that is the source of that trouble. It is us…and the disease that will wipe us out isn’t plague. Its hubris.

Carole (contact@carolegold.com)

The Danger of The Drew Magarys of The World

My co-blogger, Steve Clark, texted me a link earlier today with the following comment: “This is what passes for journalism!” So, naturally, I had to click through.

love-and-hate

Where I landed was at GQ online and an article by, correspondent and author, Drew Magary titled, “If You Vote For Trump, Then Screw You.”  Creative and engrossing title, don’t you think?  Yeah, me neither. Not so much. But, in all fairness, and since I respect Steve, I read the article. So I fully understand Steve’s incredulity.

It’s an adolescent, vulgar, profanity-laced rant by…well, an adolescent. I’d say more about the “correspondent” but that sentence pretty much sums up space occupied by nine paragraphs of filth and unrestrained emotional immaturity. I’d much rather write about how Magary’s rant is symptomatic of something much larger.

We are a nation divided and that’s not a bad thing. From true diversity of thought comes new ideas. When it comes to problem solving, difference is the petri dish of creativity. The catch is that each side of the divide has to honor the differences of the other so that they can communicate and, hopefully, zero in on the merits of each others’ arguments. Name calling, accusation, disrespect, hyperbole…these are impediments to problem solving. All they do is cause the object of their slings and arrows to defend positions rather than remain open and receptive to possible solutions.

The real harm of the verbal filth spewed by Magary in his self-indulgent tirade is not done to Donald Trump. To give him credit for his honesty (evidenced by the article’s title) Magary makes his intention pretty clear. His hatred is directed at anyone who sees merit in the candidate or who would vote for him. So, Magary hates his fellow Americans who disagree with his particular political preference.

Where does such intolerance and narrowness of thought leave us?

If we take the Magary approach, close to half the country needs to hate the other half. To me, this is a bit like using your left arm to beat up your right arm if you have an irritation. While it may, in the moment, address a superficial and temporary annoyance, in the long run (and we need to think about the long run) you will have done serious damage to a part of you that needs to be functional and cooperative.

You see, there is only one of us. Yes, you read that correctly, There is only one of us. We are all branches on that one tree called humanity. It serves no one, and nothing, for us to treat one another as if harming someone else never comes back to harm us.  Hatred, whether its the fuel for Islamic terror or fuel for a so-called “correspondent”… is still hatred.  Hatred is a cancer of the soul and does as much damage,  perhaps more, to the host than it does to its intended object.

After all, there are only two emotions. Love and fear. Every negative emotion, including hate, is a derivative of fear. So in the end, the Drew Magarys of the world are afraid. Of what, I don’t know. But so much hate is really so much fear.

So, I would recommend that Drew Magary re-think what’s eating at him ( literally I might add) and perhaps understand that there are people out here who seriously disagree with him but who love him all the same.

 

Carole

contact@carolegold.com

How To Overcome Fear

You can be made to physically torture your friend.

Fear1

If you think that assertion is impossible then you’ve never heard of the Milgram Experiment.

In 1963, a Yale psychologist, Stanley Milgram, devised an experiment in an attempt to show the difference between Germans and Americans as it pertained to acquiescence and obedience in performing the kinds of grotesque acts made known during the 1961 Nuremberg War Criminals trial of Nazi SS Officer Adolph Eichmann.

Milgram set out to discover if the Germans were psychologically and culturally inclined towards obedience in simply following orders, as had been the common explanation for the German populace’s general permitting of, and participating in, the atrocities of the Nazi regime.

Milgram’s findings were shocking and deeply disturbing; but, for the purpose of understanding our current circumstances, they are also enlightening.

What Milgram found was that if two people who knew each other were physically separated and unable to view one another, and one was directly under the control of an authority figure, that individual could be directed to torture the third party in ever increasing increments even to the point of death.

So why is this half-century old experiment instructive?

People who crave power, wealth and control have always sought newer and better ways of manipulating and enslaving the masses of humanity who wind up doing the “heavy lifting,” thus allowing for an elite segment of the population in every generation to prosper at the expense of the many. Our generation is no exception.

The newest and to-date most effective delivery system for affecting this end is the Internet. Government, in cooperation with the media, are able to rapidly disseminate the facts of their choosing, generally misinformation or disinformation, to a public that consumes this information with little to no critical thinking. But this fact alone would not achieve the intended outcome were it not for two additional components.

First is the fact that what the government and the media disseminate, generally, are fear-based memes. These are ideas that are intended to confuse, conflate, and overwhelm for the purpose of generating a climate of fear.  Fear is the best mechanism of control. Fearful people are desperate people who will seek any means to alleviate their desperation. The most common means of choice is anger. An angry person acts on offense by striking out at another rather than owning their own voluntary submission to fear. It’s always easier to blame someone else rather than take responsibility for one’s own action or inaction.

The second fact is that the Internet allows for anonymous anger in all its gradations…frustration, aggression, rage, hate and vitriol.  This is the key to why and how Milgram’s findings are relevant and helpful if we are to alter our current trajectory.

Vitriolic hate speech is now everywhere on the internet. It has escalated exponentially during this election cycle. I do not believe it began with Mr. Trump. I believe he is the inevitable result of what was surreptitiously begun decades ago by the Progressive (Socialist) movement and which reached its zenith during the Obama administration, as our President began to make targeted and unveiled attacks upon his political opponents.

Two such examples are the President’s mocking of the Tea Party, a single issue political organization that simply sought a revision of the tax code. Yet, Obama thought nothing of mocking them in derisive and divisive language (“Tea Baggers”) or, in his speech to LaRaza saying, “We are going to punish our enemies and reward our friends” when referring to political opponents of his policies. This type of demonizing and divisive speech brought out of the closet, and sanctioned at the highest level, permission to get personal and condescending with one’s opponents.

When you combine theses three factors 1) the quest for control by fear-based means; 2) internet anonymity and, 3) permission to hate one’s adversaries you have created an environment where a Donald Trump can rise to the level of Presidential candidate and thereby make it permissible for anyone to openly express their fear, and ensuing anger, by way of personal attack and hate speech.

My point is not about for whom you should vote. My point is about taking back control of your own mind, jettisoning fear-based behavior, and realizing that you are being used. I realize that doing that is only half the problem. The harder part is what to do once that’s accomplished.

When I was in law school I had a run-in with a Professor who tried to have me removed from the school. He had a history of harassing students and then, through misuse of his power, frightening them into performing certain favors for him that were outside the scope of the professor/student relationship.  One particular semester he set his sights on me. He intimidated and frightened first year students into doing his bidding or, in the alternative, suffering the consequences of his threats. While this pattern of behavior had been successful for him in the past, I was older than the average first year student and refused to comply.

He filed a formal grievance against me conjuring up false accusations. Rather than submit to his established position of power, I hired a Constitutional attorney to represent me in the hearing on his petition. After protracted hearings, the hearing judicial body concluded that 1) I had done nothing wrong, and, 2) that I should none-the-less offer him a public apology. When I inquired of the panel why was an apology in order for a finding of no wrongdoing they refused to provide the basis yet formalized their finding. I refused.

As a consequence, my graduation date from law school was delayed a year as I had to 1) make up his course in summer session which was the only time the required course was taught by a professor other than him and 2) I became so ill as a result of what I had gone through that I was out sick for one year with a stress related disease before I could return and complete my law school education.

Shortly after I returned to school following my illness, another Professor Emeritus, of national renown, summoned me into his office. He offered me a deal. He said that if I never spoke outside the school of what had occurred, he would allow me to do an extra-credit paper for him for which he would give me the three credits I had missed in having to drop out of the other Professor’s course following the hearings.  When I asked him why it was contingent upon my not speaking of the incident outside the school, his reply was that “you are about to enter a very select profession and we don’t tell on our own.”

There I was studying Socrates, and the most honored legalistic principles humankind had ever created, and one of the icons of that profession was trying to bribe me into keeping silent the shame of this higher institution of learning and by so doing violate the very ethics it was teaching. I refused his offer of a deal.

Fear didn’t work on me. Yes, I paid a price in delaying my graduation. But I retained my ethics, my dignity and my truth. It was a price I’d pay again any day.

Perhaps it’s because I was raised by a father who taught me, by example, that authority, in and of itself, is not to be honored. That respect is earned not freely given. Or perhaps it’s because there is something in my nature that hungers for justice and ethical behavior.  To some extent, it’s probably a combination of both.

More importantly, and of greater influence, is my belief that we are all autonomous beings with the ability to know truth and rightful action if only we demand of ourselves the courage of our convictions.  Without a belief in autonomy and the courage to stand for it in the face of fear, we are all 1940 Germans turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the subtle, and not so subtle, atrocities that surround us.

In the Milgram Experiment there were only two participants who, as the voltage of the electric shocks escalated, adamantly refused to inflict more pain. All the other participants deferred to authority, however abhorrent. Which would we have been?

I am certain of my answer. Do you know yours?

Carole

 

Self Selection by Algorithm

Algorithms rule the web but also the information you see.

Feedback

Every click you make, every article you read is monitored, tracked and analyzed.  As you select your preferences, the media companies and their algorithms take note. Given that the web’s media values are all based on page views and click-through rates, it’s vital that they keep you coming back to their sites.

You means all of us.

In order to keep you coming back and engaged in the site, media companies send you articles and posts that the algorithms indicate you like. Websites test and re-test headlines while writing and re-writing articles to maximize user engagement. Their business is not news. Its engagement on the site. Thinking this through, its easy to see the problem. If we only select articles and viewpoints that we like, it reinforces the world view that we already have.

I read a lot. I know that I don’t know much. It’s the reader’s dilemma; the more I read, the more I realize how little I know. Because of this, I always try and read books outside my area of expertise. But online,  my selections are tracked and the findings determine what is made available to me going forward. The articles I might have an interest in, or that challenge my beliefs, are not shown to be because the algorithms don’t think I will click on them.

Because of this, peoples’ world views get narrowed and reinforced by what they see. These hardened world views make it more difficult for people see the other side of the story. Look at how divided our country has become on so many issues. There seems to be no middle ground anywhere. Just mention the name “Trump,” and where you stand on his candidacy, and its enough to terminate a friendship.

Look at the following issues and you will see how polarizing some them have become:

  • Global Warming
  • Health Care
  • Abortion
  • Role of Government

If you are a climate change skeptic (i.e a “climate denier”) there are calls to treat you the same way holocaust deniers are treated…with contempt and rebuke! For most, the debate is over and the issue is where you stand on the topic.

When the Center for Medical Progress posed as buyers of aborted fetuses and documented their conversations with  Planned Parenthood, Federal Prosecutors rushed to prosecute the people who had made the videotapes not the people actually committing the crimes. The erroneous position seems to be that abortion is a right and, therefore, there is no way that people engaged in the procedure could be guilty of any crime.

At the heart of these issues is an inability to see the other person’s point of view. In days past, these issues were discussed and debated.  Even as recently as the 1960’s, one of the Left’s mantras on free speech was “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

The death that followed was that of the mantra and what it represented: free speech…which actually IS a right.

With the advance of political correctness, there are many things one is no longer allowed to say.  Add to that media stories that are scrubbed and served up to your liking, people can become self righteous and closed-minded regarding their beliefs.

It gets worse. Facebook, in many ways a media company, has been known to edit out Conservative view points so that their customers can’t even get the full depth and breadth of a news story

In my own professional life, doing consulting on Search Engine Optimization strategies, I have had many clients tell me that they don’t see the value in S.E.O. because their site always appears at the top of Google. For example I had a client who would type in “divorce lawyer” every day on his browser and was always happy to see that his website was at the top of the list. He would click on his web site and, from where he stood, he thought all web site searches resulted as did his. I had to explain to him that because he types in that term every day, and clicks on his site every day, the search engines are displaying the results of what they think he wants to see. In essence, his feedback loop was continually getting reinforced even though his site wasn’t even ranking at any significant level.

For many, as with my former client, its and eye-opening experience to see how much information is actually deliberately  pre-selected for us to view. In essence, our choices are being made for us which continued to reinforce our reality.These “results” become the reality for that each user; but.. they have no veracity in the real world.

This self-selection process is only increasing and accelerating. I feel it will lead people to even narrower viewpoints that already exist. In this regard, as in others, technology is isolating us while limiting our scope of knowledge and impeding the enrichment our lives.

The self selection process is an ailment from which we all suffer and for which we are all susceptible. Maybe a healthy dose of skepticism toward everything we see and read, plus a willingness to engage in ideas foreign to us, would go along way to making us less isolated and a less antagonistic society.

I speak Spanish fluently. As a result, I often process information in Spanish, which has words for which English has no easy or singular translation. Therefore, the language differential causes me to stretch my own mind to put the disparate words on equal footing. This process is healthy for my cognitive mind but also enriches me as an individual.

If someone or something did that thinking for me, and pre-selected what I thought the translations should be… oh right!!…that’s the definition of Artificial Intelligence… the mission Google and others in social media are racing to perfect.

Welcome to the latest virtual reality show…”America Got Algorithm.”

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com