The Fear of A.I. & The “Human” Condition

There are endless doomsday scenarios that people become obsessed with and frightened by. From global warming to the fear of an apocalyptic artificial intelligence take over. These fears are justifiable, we should be cautious and strive to overcome these potential dangers but should also understand what’s at the heart of these fears.

The latest doomsday scenario is the fear of artificial intelligence. Bill Gates, Steven Hawkings, and Elon Musk have made headlines with their warnings about the dangers of A.I. However, many A.I. experts are in disagreement with this theoretical scenario, which has sparked debate. Mark Zuckerberg entered the debate in disagreement with Musk, believing it to be irresponsible to spread doom and gloom without fully grasping the situation. Musk says Zuckerburg has a limited understanding of A.I. but A.I. experts appear to side with Zuckerberg.

In response to Musk’s warning, Pedro Domingos, a professor at the University of Washington who works on machine learning, has said, “Many of us have tried to educate him and others like him about real vs. imaginary dangers of AI, but apparently none of it has made a dent”.

Gates, Hawkings, Musk, and Zuckerberg are not A.I. experts. Undoubtedly, they are versed in the subject but if people insist on using the appeal to authority fallacy, they should go to the experts on A.I., who have varied perspectives on the matter, none of which are as simplistic as a full-blown A.I. take-over that will “end humanity”. Of course, we should be cautious, but not irresponsibly dramatic.

To be clear, Gates, Hawkings, and Musk are not outright asserting that A.I. will end humanity, they are simply acknowledging the potential dangers of it. Unfortunately, apocalyptic headlines are great click-bait, so people highlight the negative doomsday scenario while forgetting the positive-transformative scenario, which they have all mentioned as well.

Ray Kurzweil, who has an astonishing prediction accuracy of 86%, believes we should not fear artificial intelligence since it will be slowly integrated into our society, in various sectors and competing groups and therefore, no single group or sector would control or become controlled by A.I.

The reality of A.I. is more complicated than people realize. For example, we could see a state ruled with A.I. by choice, rogue A.I. that steals control of an area, A.I. that sides with human interests, and perhaps even civil wars among A.I. The “human” role in this won’t be quite human, either. By the time A.I. is that complex, we’ll have a large variety of bio-enhancements that change our view of what it means to be human in the first place.

These end game fears reveal a misconception we have about ourselves. We perceive ourselves as separate from that which we create and have evolved from but we’re actually the continuation of a bigger process.

If we are separated as commonly perceived, at what point did we become human and at what point did humanity become humanity? The answer is that there was no defining moment at which we became what we are. We weren’t suddenly homo-sapiens, just as we weren’t suddenly Neanderthals, suddenly the basic oceanic life forms that we evolved from, nor the basic compounds that collided with Earth or the stars which those compounds came from. Likewise, the implications of A.I. and the singularity are not suddenly what we’ll become. It’s all a part of the same overarching process and it should not be feared nor thought of as an end to humanity.

As hippie-dippie and new-age as it may sound, we are connected to the cosmos and we are the cosmos. The cosmos created a way to see its reflection, slowly evolving into its own introspection. Just as we were once an oblivious baby, we learned to read and write, to understand our surroundings and it’s not unreasonable to think that the universe is doing the same thing in a more complex way that’s simply more difficult for us to understand.

“Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God” — Plato

The struggle that grips us and perhaps the cosmos itself is not the fear of it ever ending but the fear of our own reflection, the complexity, and depth of it all; the struggle of “to be or not to be”. Every day, we wake up and yearn for something more, wishing we could manifest all that we dream of and yet, it would be terrifying to step into a world in which we‘re literally capable of anything, practically destroying what makes it desirable in the first place.

It’s not the “human” condition, it’s the cosmic condition. It’s the struggle and strife of it, the balancing act and introspection of it, that gives life meaning.

“It is precisely the godlike in ourselves that we are ambivalent about, fascinated by and fearful of, motivated to and defensive against. This is one aspect of the basic human predicament, that we are simultaneously worms and gods.” — Abraham Maslow

Ethereum Burning Bright With Potential

Etymology Of Ether 

Borrowing from Old French, ether, from Latin aethēr (“the upper pure, bright air”), from Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr, “upper air”), from αἴθω (aíthō, “I burn, shine”).

The scaling dispute within the Bitcoin community isn’t over and it’s caused a lot of concern over the future of Bitcoin, prompting many to transfer to Ethereum. Suddenly, many are waking up to the possibility that Ethereum could eventually overtake Bitcoin. Although that’s unlikely, at least for the time being, let’s talk about the prospects of Ethereum.

  • Ethereum could receive support from activists, libertarians, the “alternative right”, and many groups who advocate for transparency and lack of censorship. For example, a popular right-leaning news outlet, Breitbart, published an article on Ethereum Project’s aim of a censorship-resistant computer. The various decentralization aims of the Ethereum Project will attract support from a large variety of groups and entities with the same aims.
  • Ethereum was already considered undervalued, to begin with, and its price can be expected to rise as it’s potential is continually realized.
  • If Ethereum gains enough momentum, a lot of investors will flip from Bitcoin to Ethereum causing a dramatic shift. This phenomenon is referred to as “the flippening” and while it has not truly begun, Ethereum is already holding a steady price of $45-50.
  • The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance essentially guarantees a bright future for Ethereum, with Microsoft, Intel, JP Morgan Chase, and many other big companies involved.
  • In a DigixGlobal live stream, the speaker states in regard to Enterprise Ethereum, that “you will be blown away when you see the next group of members onboarding, it’s kinda the who’s who of planet Earth”.
  • It’s flexible, professional, and has a face to its leadership, a lot of development, and an untarnished name.
  • Ethereum is already getting mainstream media attention calling it the “new Bitcoin”.
  • Dark Market implementation is likely if not inevitable. This will not tarnish as Bitcoin has absorbed that stigma and that negative association will not as easily transfer onto Ethereum as it was with Bitcoin. Although this isn’t a problem for the intelligent investor, the average individual is easily influenced by mainstream media narratives about ‘criminal activity’ and negative stigmas of that nature.  Overall, this hasn’t stopped Bitcoin and it especially, will have no lasting influence over Ethereum but for the time being, it’s a factor for subpar investors and everyday individuals.
  • There is an apparent inverse relationship between Bitcoin and Ethereum that helps Ethereum’s growth in the long-run. This will probably not last but for as long as it does, it creates an associative sense of growth until people become more informed about major differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • Bitcoin is no longer seen as infallible. A paradigm shift has opened people’s eyes to the possibility of Bitcoin failing as the dominant cryptocurrency, which opens the door for Ethereum and other alternatives. Bitcoin will remain on top for a long time unless something dramatic happens but the potential for alt-coins is there, especially more legitimate ones like Ethereum.
  • Ethereum is the most popular blockchain technology for enterprise development.
  • Storj is only one of many that will switch to the Ethereum blockchain if things become increasingly slow and complicated with Bitcoin.

Ethereum is incredibly different from Bitcoin, it offers completely different utilities. It could end up being the silver to the gold that is Bitcoin and perhaps the scaling problems will eventually be a mere blip on the radar. Regardless, Ethereum has a lot to offer, far more than what I’ve listed and in the long-run, will outperform most cryptocurrencies. It’s a great investment and its burning bright with potential.

 

Is There An Ongoing Coup In America?

Is there a coup and counter-coup taking place in Washington?

Steve Pieczenik, a former U.S. Department of State official who has served under the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, said this was going to happen. He predicted it in 2016, stating “Quite frankly, this is a second American Revolution”. He has also stated that the opposition we‘re seeing now is the “gurgling of a dying institution”, and that a silent and peaceful second American Revolution has occurred.

Of course, that opposition is underway, with media groups such as Vice in discussing a coup in America and Rolling Stones claiming mass disruption works, while a former official under Barack Obama is calling for a military coup against Donald Trump and Trump himself is blaming Obama for the leaks and protests against him. Some are already saying that Obama should be held accountable for the soft coup against Trump.

Julian Assange said that an “Amazing battle for dominance is playing out between the elected US govt & the IC who consider themselves to be the ‘permanent government’. Glenn Greenwald commented on the matter, saying that while he feels Trump’s administration is dangerous, supporting the deep state is worse and that people shouldn’t support the deep state in opposing Trump. Assange agreed, saying that Greenwald had “put it exactly right”.

In a recent Ron Paul Liberty Report, a former CIA intelligence officer stated that a lot of the anonymous source based media reports are false and that it is the politicized upper echelon of the intelligence community and not the base of it that’s working against Trump and causing the leaks. Another former CIA officer said there are spies plotting against Trump and that these people are treasonous.

It would appear that a silent coup and a counter-coup did occur as Pieczenik stated but it’s not over, apparently. In fact, it might have only just begun.

Iconic: Federal Reserve Employee Used FED Computer To Mine Bitcoin

It’s incredibly iconic that an employee of the Federal Reserve, of all places, was caught mining Bitcoin with their own property.

“A former Federal Reserve employee was sentenced Friday to 12 months probation and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty in October to installing unauthorized software on a computer server at the U.S. central bank.

Nicholas Berthaume, who as a communications analyst had access to computer servers at the Fed’s Board of Governors in Washington, installed software that connected to an online bitcoin network in order to earn units of the digital currency, according to a statement Monday from the central bank’s Office of Inspector General.

Berthaume also “modified certain security safeguards so that he could remotely access the server from home,” the statement said. When confronted, he tried to cover up his actions by deleting the software; eventually he was fired and admitted guilt, the office said. His actions didn’t result in the loss of any Fed information, and the board has enhanced security since the incident, the internal watchdog said.

Rebecca LeGrand, a lawyer who represented Berthaume, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Bitcoin is a software protocol for issuing and moving money across the Internet. New bitcoins are earned, or “mined,” by people who lend computing power to the networks that tally and certify transactions made using currency.” – Bloomberg

Trump & Bannon Are Right About The Media

There are countless examples that prove we cannot trust the notion of mainstream media as a non-partisan effort to objectively report the news. It is, therefore, important to question the motivations and biases of any given media institution and to never invoke a sense of incredulity. The following are just a handful of examples bolstering this truth.

Infiltration

In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly began Operation Mockingbird in an attempt to manipulate news media to seed propaganda and fund various cultural and student groups as organization fronts. Details of this operation are scarce and inconclusive. However, the operation was verified in the declassified CIA “Family Jewels” document.

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, a former journalist of the Washington Post, reported about the Central Intelligence Agency’s infiltration of the media. Bernstein revealed that more than 400 journalists had become an asset of the CIA. CIA assets were in The New York Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, Reuters, Time Inc, the Associated Press, etc.

“Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.” ( Carl Bernstein – The CIA and The Media

Politicization

In 2013, John Brennan became the director of the CIA under Barack Obama. In the same year, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, decided to buy the Washington Post. Later that year, Bezos secured a $600 million dollar contract with the CIA. This is an obvious conflict of interest and as many advocates of transparency and journalistic standards have requested, a disclaimer of this relationship should be provided.

In 2016, the Washington Post reported that a “secret CIA assessment” determined that Russia interfered with the 2016 Election in the hope of electing Donald Trump. This begged the question as to whether or not the CIA had become politicized under the leadership of John Brennan who has openly feuded with Trump on several occasions, especially considering that the narrative has dramatically shifted from the original assertion after statements from the Director of National Intelligence offered clarification. This is the perfect example of how a conflict of interest could create the potential for politicization.

Collusion 

In 2016, WikiLeaks revealed that numerous media outlets colluded with the Clinton campaign. Former U.S. Representative, Ron Paul, created a list that features those implicated in the media collusion.

Public Perception 

In 2016, Gallup revealed that American trust in media had fallen to an all-time low.

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. — Gallup

Through the ever-increasing access to information, even the average individual can determine fact from fiction. Reporting inaccurately, if not now, will sooner or later become a detrimental endeavor while for the time being, it’s a profiteering strategy for clicks. This is precisely what Buzzfeed and CNN did when they reported on Trump’s Dirty Dossier, a story that was obviously untrue, according to the Director of National Intelligence and according to common sense.

Conclusion 

The infiltration, politicization, collusion, and general recklessness of the mainstream media validates both Trump’s and Bannon’s assertions of media unfairness and bias. In fact, in regard to the infiltration of media, I found it unsurprising that Trump went straight to the CIA to put the media on blast. While to many, that made no sense, to those aware of the past relations between the media and CIA, it made perfect sense.

The media, as Steve Bannon stated, IS the opposition party. They are not accurately portraying reality and they’re doing a great injustice to the American people because perception informs reality and they are distorting that perception, thus distorting reality. This isn’t just about the leftist stranglehold over media but about a much wider issue that transcends party affiliation. Of course, I’m speaking here of national security, it’s a vulnerability that foreign nations can and will exploit. The distortion here is a prime opportunity for foreign actors to capitalize and that’s incredibly problematic, as it will only create more divisiveness and disinformation.

National Intelligence Council Report: Positive Outlook On Cryptocurrency

The National Intelligence Council releases a global trends report every four years following the U.S. presidential election. This post-election report, Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, reflects a positive outlook on cryptocurrency.

Of many concerns the report discusses, ranging from terrorism to ‘gray-zone’ warfare, cryptocurrencies are not one of them. Instead, it acknowledges that “New financial technologies— including digital currencies, applications of “blockchain” technology for transactions, and AI and big data for predictive analytics—will reshape financial services“. ( Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, pg. 15 )

The technological forecast and geopolitical conditions implied by global trends indicate that it’s a good time to invest in cryptocurrency and gold.

Cons

Global trends indicate rising tensions within and between countries, weak economic growth, shrinking workforces, increased competition for good jobs globally, potential reductions of open trade, the increase of terrorism and disruptive groups, an increase of gray-zone warfare, clean drinking water shortages, etc.

Pros

Individuals will be more empowered with new technologies, the world will be even more interconnected and have greater access to information, governments will be forced to be more transparent, biological enhancements will improve and prolong human life and challenge what it means to be human, reduction of monopolized and centralized institutions will free individuals, groups and individuals will be able to bypass traditional systems to create changes faster, many governments, including the U.S., will become more decentralized, and economies will become more diversified.

Guccifer 2.0 Emerges From The Shadows To Discredit Claims Of Russian Ties

Guccifer 2.0 has reemerged to discredit claims of Russian ties.

“I really hope you’ve missed me a lot. Though I see they didn’t let you forget my name. The U.S. intelligence agencies have published several reports of late claiming I have ties with Russia.

I’d like to make it clear enough that these accusations are unfounded. I have totally no relation to the Russian government. I’d like to tell you once again I was acting in accordance with my personal political views and beliefs.

The technical evidence contained in the reports doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. This is a crude fake.

Any IT professional can see that a malware sample mentioned in the Joint Analysis Report was taken from the web and was commonly available. A lot of hackers use it. I think it was inserted in the report to make it look a bit more plausible.

I already explained at The Future of Cyber Security Europe conference that took place in London in last September, I had used a different way to breach into the DNC network. I found a vulnerability in the NGP VAN software installed in the DNC system.

It’s obvious that the intelligence agencies are deliberately falsifying evidence. In my opinion, they’re playing into the hands of the Democrats who are trying to blame foreign actors for their failure.

The Obama administration has a week left in office and I believe we’ll see some more fakes during this period.

I guess you have a lot of questions for me. So, feel free to send them via DM.”

Freemason Hacks Thousands of Accounts, Including Vatican Cardinals & ECB President

In an odd event, a high-ranking Freemason, Giulio Occhionero, hacked into thousands of email accounts, including accounts of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, Italian Prime Ministers Matteo Renzi and Mario Monti, and several Vatican cardinals.

“There were tens of thousands of email accounts hacked, and among them were accounts belonging to bankers, businessmen and even several cardinals in the Vatican,” Roberto Di Legami, director of the specialised cyber police unit that conducted the investigation, told Reuters.

According to Bloomberg, the name of the hacking operation or customized malware was “Eye Pyramid“.

There’s a history of conflict between the Vatican and Freemasonry, which is why it’s particularly interesting that he hacked accounts of Vatican cardinals.

This might remind some of the infamous scandals of the Italian clandestine Masonic lodge, Propaganda Due, which resulted in the murders of the journalist Carmine Pecorelli and banker Roberto Calvi.

Bitcoin Hits $1,000 January 1st 2017

The projections of Bitcoin hitting 1,000 by late 2016 to early 2017 were spot on. Bitcoin hit 1,000 today, January 1st, 2017. This time, it’s different, though. The overall stability of Bitcoin has increased by a very substantial margin and will continue to increase with time.

The price of Bitcoin is still subject to volatility until it completes the S-curve of adoption but the future of Bitcoin is looking very promising. This is another great milestone for Bitcoin.

Analysis of ODNI Statements On Russian Interference

On Friday 7 October 2016, the ODNI released a Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security.

Seemingly contradictory assertions are being made in this statement. For example, it states that the U.S. Intelligence Community is “confident” that these compromises were directed by the Russian government while admitting that “we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government”. Likewise, stating that the “alleged hacked” e-mails or thefts and “ disclosures” released through DCLeaks, WikiLeaks, and the Guccifer 2.0 persona, are “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts”, undermines the narrative of Russian interference. There is simply too much indirect language and too many degrees of separation.

The language and terminology of the statement make it very difficult to understand what is and isn’t being asserted, exactly. It’s almost as if the statement is intentionally indirect and non-commital.

On Wednesday 14 December 2016, the ODNI released a Statement on Requests for Additional Information of Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.

An important part of this statement is the acknowledgment of briefings on Capitol Hill and that the USIC will make its findings available to the public “consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods”.

The briefings are probably the source of media misinterpretation from various “officials”. In regard to the inability to produce full evidence of Russian interference, it’s simply because no hard evidence actually exists and without that evidence, WikiLeaks is vindicated within the minds of Americans and belief in Russian involvement dissolves. In fact, 71% of Americans do NOT believe the Russian government was involved.

On Wednesday 16 December 2016, the ODNI released a statement in regard to their previous statements.

The strange part of this statement is that it reasserts the claims of the first statement and continues to utilize the terminology of disclosures of “alleged hacked” e-mails. However, it only refers to e-mail compromises in relation to the Guccifer 2.0 persona and claims that those disclosures were intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. This implies the “alleged hacked” emails were leaked through the directed efforts of the Russian government to interfere with the election process. What does this imply of the other leaks and their sources, though? Is the USIC only accusing the Guccifer 2.0 leaks of being a Russian-directed effort?

There’s an underlying impression that these statements and that the general narrative of Russian interference is to veil political corruption and mishap and perhaps even interagency dispute. It could also be that maintaining the narrative of Russian interference is a form of leverage against Russia.

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