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A Brief History of Silicon Valley

Tech Insider created a four-minute video on the history of Silicon Valley. It’s fun to watch and informative, especially for younger people who weren’t alive when “the Valley” went from groves and orchards to Apples and Googles. The video doesn’t address one key question: How long will Silicon Valley survive? I discuss this in…
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A Spy’s Eye View

Surveillance is a big part of intelligence gathering. Agents spend long days and even longer nights listening, watching and waiting. But what if there were a simpler solution? What if intelligence officers could record information with their eye? Let’s discuss.

The post A Spy’s Eye View appeared first on Laissez Faire.

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Working for the Machines

Today I see in the news that Google is trying to dehypnotize potential ISIS recruits by manipulating what content they see when they try to search for pro-ISIS stuff. That’s mind control. And it works. 

Meanwhile, Facebook is trying to have it both ways by insisting that advertising on their platform is effective while claiming the tsunami of fake news articles about the election – which outnumbered legitimate stories – had no impact on the election. But either way, it’s mind control. Because ads work.

Mind control also takes the form of A-B testing, which is common practice for most tech companies. That involves rapidly testing up to thousands of variables for different ad variations until they know what is the most effective way to manipulate consumers. In other words, mind control. And it works.

Twitter is allegedly “shadowbanning” some users – including me – because they don’t like how I might be persuading people. Shadowbanning means limiting how many of my users see my content. That’s mind control, and it works. The fewer people that see what I tweet, the fewer I can influence.

In those four examples we can see that technology companies have already replaced some portion of human decision-making. Eventually machines will replace ALL of your decisions. 

How’s that possible?

It’s possible because machines make better decisions than humans. Or they will. Consider your health-monitoring wristband. Someday it will tell you when you need to eat and what to eat. It will tell you when you are dehydrated and suggest that you take a drink. It will tell you the best time to exercise, and it will “train” you to do so, with rewards. In the short run, you will see your machines as making helpful suggestions. But once you learn that the machines always make good suggestions – and you do not – you will start taking the machine’s suggestions simply because it is easier.

I would argue that your political choices are already largely determined by Facebook, Google, Twitter and the other media companies. It feels exactly like free will to you, but it isn’t. And someday soon our technology will tell us how to eat, when to sleep, when to sip water, when to exercise, and even who to date. Once married, technology will tell you the best time of the month for procreation. It might even clear your calendar by rescheduling your day.

The inevitable conclusion of all of these forces is that machines will someday make all of our important decisions. We are probably less than ten years away from that.

Losing your free will to machines might sound scary. But you never had free will in the first place. It was always an illusion. When the machines take over our important decisions we will do the same thing we do now – we will imagine that we are making the decisions on our own. Today our important decisions are made with emotions, and rationalized after the fact. We incorrectly call this process “thinking.” In the near future, our machines will make our daily decisions using Big Data and whatever they know about us as individuals to maximize our outcomes. You’ll like that future because the machines will make better decisions than you, and you’ll have better quality of life.

In the new world ahead, you will be the robot – albeit a moist one. The machines will be doing the thinking and making the decisions. You will simply do what they program you to do. Like a robot. And all of that will happen before Artificial Intelligence is popular. In terms of capability, all the machines need in order to take over for human decision-making is lots of relevant data, body monitor sensors, and some pattern recognition software. We’re almost there.

You might like reading my book because you haven’t taken 10,000 steps yet today and your fitness band says you should.

And you might love my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend as you approach your meeting spot. Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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Don’t Google It

How often to you hear someone say “Just Google it” or something similar? It’s as if Google is the only search engine out there, even though there are plenty of others. I rarely use Google. In fact, I only use it when there is no other good option, as they have certain features that other […]

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