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I came across this today and thought about you and @Taoboi




I was wondering whether a general 'Tech' or 'Personal Tech' thread should be created, where questions such as these can be placed, so each one doesn't get lost in the shuffle of various other topics and threads.

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Cool. Thank you!

Looks like the CHIPS funding will fall short, which means China will likely remain the leader in producing microchips for the foreseeable future.


A.I. is getting scarier with each news report.


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Two interesting articles on AI that made me view differently the whole political theatre we've been seeing of AI inventors saying its only a matter of time before AI makes us all apparently obselete. So just give up now, right? 


The second article is linked from the first, and I especially liked her analysis. Who decides what constitutes 'rote work'? Some coder in Marin County?


While the author doesn't explicitly mention this as a solution, she implicitly ("community control of resources") hints at a solution--- the nationalisation of too-powerful tech industries. Otherwise we risk slipping into feudal fiefdom reliant on tech-detrrmined UBI (basically a welfare handout). The point is not to hand sovereign tech behemoths control over our entire lives -- whether we work or not, whether we live or die in destitution and despair.

Recently, Chile nationalised its lithium industry. Because without lithium for batteries, tech cannot really exist. Machine learning cannot exist. Crypto mining cannot exist. Smartphones cannot function.

Instead of decrying this 'socialist' move, many countries are tendering offers to the Chilean government to be part of their industry.

Full nationalisation is not necessarily a cure-all, but here we are. FTR, I'm pretty much a moderate when it comes to many things economic and political. I believe in balance, yin/yang, all that stuff. But Chile's recent move got me thinking.

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There will always be the aspect of unintended consequences.

In the mid 1990s as a student, I started using the Internet, when it was still referred to as the “World Wide Web”. By the late 1990s, I took a college computer science course in html, where we “practiced” how to build a website from html code. There were no  templates back then, you had to create one. Inside humor but if you couldn’t make the little dog fetch, you couldn’t make the links work, essentially rendering your website unusable. Back then, the intention of the internet was as an information tool, to share information, which is probably why it is often referred to as Information Technology (IT), right? Also the reason why educational institutions like colleges and universities were among the first places outside of NASA to open up use of this technology. It was meant to be am educational and information sharing tool. There was never any thought to commerce or porn or harassing people online. But it happened, and it happened very quickly. I remember the first AOL online disks going out into households (I used Netzero myself, as it was still free back then). I didn’t visit chat rooms but at the prodding of someone, ventured into one and noticed the harassment almost immediately. Strangers (most likely men) asking for my measurements, what I looked like…I handled it by giving ridiculous responses. But, after batting away relentless impertinent questions, I exited the chat room, and have never entered one since. I mentioned this because the Internet has consistently evolved this way. The big corporations entered the chat, so to speak and gulped down all the smaller, locally run ISPs started by entrepreneurs and ramped up the price and gradually stalled innovation. In the early ‘00s, I was the first person to complain to my local bank about a phishing email that I had received from a scammer spoofing their website. They had no idea what “phishing” even was back then, but promised they would investigate it. They soon sent emails and letters to their customers warner of scams using websites that are designed to be nearly identical to their website and notified customers that they would never e-mail their customers request account information or personal details via email. At the risk of sounding negative, I bear no illusions of AI being used as a tool for any kind of altruistic purpose. If the “Godfather of AI” is warning of dangers, after he abruptly quit Google, hey I’m more in favor of giving more regard to what he is saying. JMO.

In terms of tech sovereignty, I am in favor of it, and I rate it as somewhat in line with food security, every nation should look to have a degree of sustainability for national and economic security. I do think that when a nation like Chile does it, it is regarded as being for reasons of sovereignty and no one questions it, but when a nation like the U.S. does the same, it tends to be regarded with immediate suspicion. I am not saying that, based on the U.S.’ history, suspicion isn’t warranted, I am just saying that people will not regard Chile or Tanzania in the same way, they will regard the U.S. doing the same thing.

One final thought about  why I am skeptical about AI, I read an article in a tech blog which stated that AI will not help decrease or mitigate the effects of scams (including deep fakes, phishing and spam call, emails etc and identity theft). If nothing else, I had hoped AI would at the very least, help prevent these things from occurring. Well, maybe the law of unintended consequences might work here and someone will program some safeguards?

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DD, we were college students around the same time, because I too was dipping my toe onto the World Wide Web when it was in its infancy. Or reading info on university wide intranet systems.

I believe the Godfathers of AI and their doomsday prophecies. I am by nature pessimistic (read: realistic), and having seen how automation hollowed out people's lives in places like West Virginia or Ohio, I very much fear what is coming down the pipe.

Descartes once said "I think, therefore I am" or something like that.

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Well, if big tech is going to do the thinking, or rather the journey of discovery of learning for me, why even get up in the morning? I feel so much personal accomplishment from.my work, from talking with and learning from people and books. I learned Japanese and Korean for five years -- just because I was fascinated by those places and wanted to.

A lot of examples you cite, and which I also have experienced, illustrate how tech has let us down almost as often as it aids us. And that is because in the rush to maximise profits, companies fire good people who could make their product or service so much better, and go further. Instead, firms have picked cost over quality: give them any old tech crap and let's force these square pegs to fit into round holes, and at least an app is churning this sh!t out which costs us nothing!

(Example: a year ago I took my parents to Paris on the Eurostar. The company inexplicably cancelled our train back to London, told my aged parents to download the app on their phones (!! Which they don't have) so they could rebook a train which would not be available for +2 days. They expected my parents to sleep in an unfamiliar and somewhat dangerous train station for two or three nights. Eurostar did not want to man the ticket booths in order to rebook their customers on earlier trains and in a more dignified way. These were expensive tickets, too. Anyway, leaving it all to AI triggered pandemonium in the Gare du Nord in Paris, to the point where French transport police had to be called in).

If AI cannot fix some of the basic phishing problems it originated in its early days, how can it solve more complex issues? And pre-empt future problems we haven't even predicted yet?

IA that US would be harshly criticised of it did what Chile did. The US and the West is in a position of weakness currently as it tries to secure expensive and necessary resources for the smooth running of its economies: labour, oil, gas, LITHIUM lol, etc. It is reliant on, say, Saudi goodwill for the oil, for example, at a time of shifting geopolitics. The Saudis have their own agenda, don't want the US lecturing them about human rights, and can leverage their position. Other emerged or emergent powers are offering them deals without certain preconditions. So that is the Saudi bargaining chip currently. 

But the US has some national resources, too. Not just oil and shale and lumber. And Wall Street (though I believe Wall Street may be in a vulnerable position these days if the dollar stops becoming the world's de facto cutrency). It has Silicon Valley. If, say, a certain search engine behometh were to be partly nationalised? Or a maker of smartphones and tablets? Or OpenAI? That would make crazy waves. Maybe scare the rest of tech to leave the US? Who knows. But it might also give the US government its own major bargaining chip on the world stage.

Obviously these are all hypotheses and I haven't thought all this through. Lol.

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Wow, @Catwhat happened to your parents with the Eurostar was unacceptable! That makes me incensed just to read it. The use of tech in customer service has now become infused with a deliberate lack of humanity—soulless, devoid of regard. I have often felt as if these systems have become a barrier so that companies can minimize their contact with human beings.

IKR? If AI can’t at least save us from these damn robocalls and scams, what the hell use is it?!

To get around the protectionist accusations, I think the Biden administration is trying to carve out some collaborative trade agreements with allied countries, particularly European Union nations where the concerns and grumbling has been the strongest (and loudest). I think that neither the United States nor the EU wants to close off any potential pathways to sell their products to the other’s consumers. As long as no nation becomes dependent upon any one nation outside of its own borders, the cross trade agreements could be a sound idea.

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