jm + grim-meathook-future   23

Now Any Government Can Buy China’s Tools for Censoring the Internet
Well, this is grim:
“Autocracy as a service” lets countries buy or rent the technology and expertise they need, as they need it. It gets around the problem that being able to censor and surveil the internet isn’t just a technology challenge, but a management and human resource one. China offers a full-stack of options up and down the layers of the internet, including policies and laws, communications service providers with full internet shutdown options pre-installed, technical standards, satellites, cables, and infrastructure. This is possible because China has developed its own indigenous internet stack, sometimes copying the foreign technology it sought to replace. China even offers training in governance and strategy, consulting on writing a national strategy, and help building smart cities with its own full surveillance stack, euphemistically called “safe cities.”
grim-meathook-future  china  censorship  future  internet  surveillance  autocracy  repression 
2 days ago by jm
China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West - The New York Times
China continues to break new ground in grim meathook future dystopia:
The Chinese government is building “essentially technologies used for hunting people,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who tracks Chinese interest in the technology. In the world of science, Dr. Munsterhjelm said, “there’s a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity.”
grim-meathook-future  china  racism  science  surveillance  dna  phenotypes 
7 days ago by jm
Dexcom T1 diabetes glucose monitoring devices suffer major outage
This is really shocking ineptitude. The level of incident response would have been poor for a gaming company, never mind one selling vital healthcare appliances on which peoples' lives depend.
healthcare  incident-response  outages  fail  dexcom  diabetes  hardware  iot  devices  internet-of-shit  grim-meathook-future 
9 days ago by jm
China’s Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm - ICIJ
“The Chinese have bought into a model of policing where they believe that through the collection of large-scale data run through artificial intelligence and machine learning that they can, in fact, predict ahead of time where possible incidents might take place, as well as identify possible populations that have the propensity to engage in anti-state anti-regime action,” said Mulvenon, the SOS International document expert and director of intelligence integration. “And then they are preemptively going after those people using that data.”

Mulvenon said IJOP is more than a “pre-crime” platform, but a “machine-learning, artificial intelligence, command and control” platform that substitutes artificial intelligence for human judgment. He described it as a “cybernetic brain” central to China’s most advanced police and military strategies. Such a system “infantilizes” those tasked with implementing it, said Mulvenon, creating the conditions for policies that could spin out of control with catastrophic results.

The program collects and interprets data without regard to privacy, and flags ordinary people for investigation based on seemingly innocuous criteria, such as daily prayer, travel abroad, or frequently using the back door of their home.

Perhaps even more significant than the actual data collected are the grinding psychological effects of living under such a system.  With batteries of facial-recognition cameras on street corners, endless checkpoints and webs of informants, IJOP generates a sense of an omniscient, omnipresent state that can peer into the most intimate aspects of daily life.  As neighbors disappear based on the workings of unknown algorithms, Xinjiang lives in a perpetual state of terror.

The seeming randomness of investigations resulting from IJOP isn’t a bug but a feature, said Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute whose research focuses on China’s use of data collection for social control. “That’s how state terror works,” Hoffman said. “Part of the fear that this instills is that you don’t know when you’re not OK.”
terror  dystopia  china  algorithms  ijop  future  policing  grim-meathook-future  privacy  data-privacy  uighurs 
16 days ago by jm
Collapse OS
'Bootstrap post-collapse technology' -- quite a pessimistic view on the future, but an interesting thought experiment I guess.

'An operating system designed to run on ad-hoc machines built from scavenged parts. Its development is going well and the main roadblocks are out of the way: it self-replicates on very, very low specs (for example, on a Sega Genesis which has 8K of RAM for its z80 processor).'
software  operating-systems  collapse  grim-meathook-future  z80 
7 weeks ago by jm
Computer says no: the people trapped in universal credit's 'black hole'
This is some horrifically dystopian shit from the UK:
Tears filled the eyes of Danny Brice, 47, in London when he showed the Guardian how difficult he has found negotiating the UC programme with learning disabilities and dyslexia.

“I call it the black hole,” he said. “I feel shaky. I get stressed about it. This is the worst system in my lifetime. They assess you as a number not a person. Talking is the way forward, not a bloody computer. I feel like the computer is controlling me instead of a person. It’s terrifying.”

Nine million people in the UK are functionally illiterate and 5 million adults have either never used the internet or last used it more than three months ago. And yet many of these people rely on a “digital by default” welfare system.
poverty  ai  algorithms  uk  politics  universal-credit  dystopia  bureaucracy  dwp  benefits  grim-meathook-future 
8 weeks ago by jm
The Plan to Use Fitbit Data to Stop Mass Shootings Is One of the Scariest Proposals Yet
“The proposed data collection goes beyond absurdity when they mention the desire to collect FitBit data,” Annas told Gizmodo. “I am unaware of any study linking walking too much and committing mass murder. As for the other technologies, what are these people expecting? ‘Alexa, tell me the best way to kill a lot of people really quickly’? Really?” [....]

Fridel said that “literally any risk factor identified for mass shooters will result in millions of false positives,” adding that the most reliable risk factor is gender, and that most mass murderers are male. “Should we create a list of all men in the United States and keep tabs on them?” she said. “Although it would be absurd and highly unethical, doing so would be more effective than keeping a list of persons with mental illness.”
dystopia  technology  grim-meathook-future  data-protection  data-privacy  fitbit  harpa 
september 2019 by jm
Computer says "prison camp"
China: Big Data Fuels Crackdown in Minority Region:
Chinese authorities are building and deploying a predictive policing program based on big data analysis in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said today. The program aggregates data about people – often without their knowledge – and flags those it deems potentially threatening to officials. According to interviewees, some of those targeted are detained and sent to extralegal “political education centers” where they are held indefinitely without charge or trial, and can be subject to abuse.

“For the first time, we are able to demonstrate that the Chinese government’s use of big data and predictive policing not only blatantly violates privacy rights, but also enables officials to arbitrarily detain people,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “People in Xinjiang can’t resist or challenge the increasingly intrusive scrutiny of their daily lives because most don’t even know about this ‘black box’ program or how it works.”


(via Zeynep Tufekci)
via:zeynep  human-rights  china  grim-meathook-future  future  grim  policing  xinjiang  prison-camps  surveillance  big-data 
january 2019 by jm
Austerity is an Algorithm
Fucking hell, things sound grim Down Under:
Things changed in December 2016, when the government announced that the system had undergone full automation. Humans would no longer investigate anomalies in earnings. Instead, debt notices would be automatically generated when inconsistencies were detected. The government’s rationale for automating the process was telling. “Our aim is to ensure that people get what they are entitled to—no more and no less,” read the press release. “And to crack down hard when people deliberately defraud the system.”

The result was a disaster. I’ve had friends who’ve received an innocuous email urging them to check their MyGov account—an online portal available to Australian citizens with an internet connection to access a variety of government services—only to log in and find they’re hundreds or thousands of dollars in arrears, supposedly because they didn’t accurately report their income. Some received threats from private debt collectors, who told them their wages would be seized if they didn’t submit to a payment plan.

Those who wanted to contest their debts had to lodge a formal complaint, and were subjected to hours of Mozart’s Divertimento in F Major before they could talk to a case worker. Others tried taking their concerns directly to the Centrelink agency on Twitter, where they were directed to calling Lifeline, a 24-hour hotline for crisis support and suicide prevention.

At the end of 2015, my friend Chloe received a notice claiming she owed $20,000 to the government. She was told that she had reported her income incorrectly while on Youth Allowance, which provides financial assistance to certain categories of young people.

The figure was shocking and, like others in her position, she grew suspicious. She decided to contest the debt: she contacted all of her previous employers so she could gather pay slips, and scanned them into the MyGov app. “I gave them all of my information to prove that there was no way I owed them $20,000,” she says.

The bean counters were unmoved. They maintained that Chloe had reported her after-tax income instead of her before-tax income. As a result, they increased the amount she owed to $30,000. She agreed to a payment plan, which will see her pay off the debt in fortnightly installments of $50 over the course of two decades. “I even looked into bankruptcy because I was so stressed by it,” she says. “All I could think about was the Centrelink debt, and once they upped it to 30k, I was so ashamed and sad and miserable,” she says.
austerity  algorithms  automation  dystopia  australia  government  debt-collectors  robo-debt  dole  benefit  grim-meathook-future 
april 2018 by jm
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked | Technology | The Guardian

A map shown to the Observer showing the many places in the world where SCL and Cambridge Analytica have worked includes Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Iran and Moldova. Multiple Cambridge Analytica sources have revealed other links to Russia, including trips to the country, meetings with executives from Russian state-owned companies, and references by SCL employees to working for Russian entities.

Article 50 has been triggered. AggregateIQ is outside British jurisdiction. The Electoral Commission is powerless. And another election, with these same rules, is just a month away. It is not that the authorities don’t know there is cause for concern. The Observer has learned that the Crown Prosecution Service did appoint a special prosecutor to assess whether there was a case for a criminal investigation into whether campaign finance laws were broken. The CPS referred it back to the electoral commission. Someone close to the intelligence select committee tells me that “work is being done” on potential Russian interference in the referendum.

Gavin Millar, a QC and expert in electoral law, described the situation as “highly disturbing”. He believes the only way to find the truth would be to hold a public inquiry. But a government would need to call it. A government that has just triggered an election specifically to shore up its power base. An election designed to set us into permanent alignment with Trump’s America. [....]

This isn’t about Remain or Leave. It goes far beyond party politics. It’s about the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world.
elections  brexit  trump  cambridge-analytica  aggregateiq  scary  analytics  data  targeting  scl  ukip  democracy  grim-meathook-future 
may 2017 by jm
Bidding Website Rentberry May Be the Startup of Your Nightmares
omg this is horrible, grim-meathook-future stuff.
A landlord lists a rental space and potential tenants bid against one another to claim the lease. Tenants’ personal information is available to the landlord. The landlord then makes their final decision by weighing what the best offer is along with which bidder seems like they’d be the best tenant
grim-meathook-future  horror  renting  rent  tenancy  rentberry  libertarian  homes  startups 
april 2017 by jm
Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target 'Abortion-Minded Women' During Clinic Visits - Rewire
Geofencing used for evil:
What Flynn realized is that he could use [ad targeting] to infer that a woman might be seeking an abortion, and to target her for ads from anti-choice groups [using geofenced advertising].

“We can reach every Planned Parenthood in the U.S.,” he wrote in a PowerPoint display sent to potential clients in February. The Powerpoint included a slide titled “Targets for Pro-Life,” in which Flynn said he could also reach abortion clinics, hospitals, doctors’ offices, colleges, and high schools in the United States and Canada, and then “[d]rill down to age and sex.” “We can gather a tremendous amount of information from the [smartphone] ID,” he wrote. “Some of the break outs include: Gender, age, race, pet owners, Honda owners, online purchases and much more.”

Flynn explained that he would then use that data to send anti-choice ads to women “while they’re at the clinic.”
geofencing  grim-meathook-future  abortion  phones  smartphones  pro-choice  ads 
may 2016 by jm
Volvo says horrible 'self-parking car accident' happened because driver didn't have 'pedestrian detection'
Grim meathook future, courtesy of Volvo:
“The Volvo XC60 comes with City Safety as a standard feature however this does not include the Pedestrian detection functionality [...] The pedestrian detection feature [...] costs approximately $3,000.


However, there's another lesson here, in crappy car UX and the risks thereof:
But even if it did have the feature, Larsson says the driver would have interfered with it by the way they were driving and “accelerating heavily towards the people in the video.” “The pedestrian detection would likely have been inactivated due to the driver inactivating it by intentionally and actively accelerating,” said Larsson. “Hence, the auto braking function is overrided by the driver and deactivated.” Meanwhile, the people in the video seem to ignore their instincts and trust that the car assumed to be endowed with artificial intelligence knows not to hurt them. It is a sign of our incredible faith in the power of technology, but also, it’s a reminder that companies making AI-assisted vehicles need to make safety features standard and communicate clearly when they aren’t.
self-driving-cars  cars  ai  pedestrian  computer-vision  volvo  fail  accidents  grim-meathook-future 
may 2015 by jm
The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It's Gamergate
Like, say, the Christian right, which came together through the social media of its day — little-watched television broadcasts, church bulletins, newsletters—or the Tea Party, which found its way through self-selection on social media and through back channels, Gamergate, in the main, comprises an assortment of agitators who sense which way the winds are blowing and feel left out. It has found a mobilizing event, elicited response from the established press, and run a successful enough public relations campaign that it's begun attracting visible advocates who agree with the broad talking points and respectful-enough coverage from the mainstream press. If there is a ground war being waged, as the movement's increasingly militaristic rhetoric suggests, Gamergate is fighting largely unopposed.

A more important resemblance to the Tea Party, though, is in the way in which it's focused the anger of people who realize the world is changing, and not necessarily to their benefit.
culture  gaming  journalism  gamergate  tea-party  grim-meathook-future  culture-wars  misogyny 
october 2014 by jm
Uber Optics
That the company's consistent, nearly frozen posture of disingenuous smirking means that the most perceptible "Uber problem" is almost always how it frames things, rather than how it actually operates, whether it's systematically sabotaging of competitors or using its quarter-billion-dollar war chest to relentlessly cut fares and driver pay to unsustainable levels in order to undercut existing transit systems, is remarkable in its way, though. If your company's trying to conquer the world, in the end, being a dick might be the best PR strategy of all.
uber  dicks  dystopia  grim-meathook-future  teachers  california  free-markets  optics  pr  economy  america 
october 2014 by jm
Ucas sells access to student data for phone and drinks firms' marketing | Technology | The Guardian
The UK government's failure to deal with spam law in a consumer-friendly way escalates further:

UCAS, the university admissions service, is operating as a mass-mailer of direct marketing on behalf of Vodafone, O2, Microsoft, Red Bull and others, without even a way to later opt out from that spam without missing important admissions-related mail as a side effect.

'Teenagers using Ucas Progress must explicitly opt in to mailings from the organisation and advertisers, though the organisation's privacy statement says: "We do encourage you to tick the box as it helps us to help you."'

Their website also carries advertising, and the details of parents are sold on to advertisers as well.

Needless to say, the toothless ICO say they 'did not appear to breach marketing rules under the privacy and electronic communications regulations', as usual. Typical ICO fail.
ucas  advertising  privacy  data-protection  opt-in  opt-out  spam  direct-marketing  vodafone  o2  microsoft  red-bull  uk  universities  grim-meathook-future  ico 
march 2014 by jm
The world’s first 3D-printed gun
I wasn't expecting to see this for a few years. The future is ahead of schedule!

A .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal. [...]

While this pistol obviously wasn’t created from scratch using a 3D printer, the interesting thing is that the lower receiver — in a legal sense at least — is what actually constitutes a firearm. Without a lower receiver, the gun would not work; thus, the receiver is the actual legally-controlled part. In short, this means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun. What a chilling thought.
via:peakscale  guns  scary  future  grim-meathook-future  3d-printing  thingiverse  weapons 
july 2012 by jm
Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers - YouTube
'some portions of the experience, such as the sky, may be replaced by personalised advertising.' Uploading your consciousness in the age of copyright maximalism, as Nelson Minar put it (via Nelson)
via:nelson  grim-meathook-future  future  singularity  funny  copyright  advertising 
may 2012 by jm

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