Confusing signals are emanating from Microsoft’s “death star”, with some ethicists suggesting that it’s not difficult to interpret the “heavy breathing” of “full evil“. Apparently the headline we should be seeing any day now is: Former CEO ousted in palace coup, later reinstated under Imperial decree.
Even by his own admission, Altman did not stay close enough to his own board to prevent the organizational meltdown that has now occurred on his watch. […] Microsoft seems to be the most clear-eyed about the interests it must protect: Microsoft’s!
Indeed, the all-too-frequent comparison of this overtly anti-competitive company to a fantasy “death star” is not without reason. It’s reminiscent of 101 political science principles that strongly resonate with historical events that influenced a fictional retelling. Using science fiction like “Star Wars” as a reference is more of a derivative analogy, not necessarily the sole or even the most fitting popular guide in this context.
William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” is an even better reference that every old veteran probably knows. If only American schools made it required reading, some basic poetry could have helped protect national security (better enable organizational trust and stability of critical technology). Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” (named for Yeats’ poem) is perhaps an even better, more modern, guide through such troubled times.
Here’s a rough interpretation of Yeats through Achebe, applied as a key to decipher our present news cycles:
Financial influence empowers a failed big tech CEO with privilege, enabling their reinstatement. This, in turn, facilitates the implementation of disruptive changes in society, benefiting a select few who assume they can shield themselves from the widespread catastrophes unleashed upon the world for selfish gains.
The US, UK, and other major powers (notably excluding China) unveiled a 20-page document on Sunday that provides general recommendations for companies developing and/or deploying AI systems, including monitoring for abuse, protecting data from tampering, and vetting software suppliers.
The agreement warns that security shouldn’t be a “secondary consideration” regarding AI development, and instead encourages companies to make the technology “secure by design”.
That doesn’t say ethical by design. That doesn’t say moral. That doesn’t even say quality.
It says only secure, which is a known “feature” of dictatorships and prisons alike. How did Eisenhower put it in the 1950s?
From North Korea to American “slave catcher” police culture, we understand that excessive focus on security without a moral foundation can lead to unjust incarceration. When security measures are exploited, it can hinder the establishment of a core element of “middle ground” political action such as compassion or care for others.
If you enjoyed this post please go out and be very unlike Microsoft: do a kind thing for someone else, because (despite what the big tech firms are trying hard to sell you) the future is not to forsee but to enable.
In April 2022 I warned Elon Musk would turn Twitter into a hate speech platform. Seems like just yesterday. Now the platform claims to be dying, directly related to its engorged and self-inflicted affirmation of hate.
Elon Musk’s Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform. […] Those former council members soon became the target of online attacks after Musk amplified criticism of them…
Musk dissolved the safety group that had been setup to stop hate, under his pretense of not caring about anything (not even money) other than increasing unlikable speech online. He then directly targeted those people he had just removed, trying to harm them with amplification of the kinds of online attacks that they formerly would have been able to stop.
African dictatorships have been known for this kind of nonsense, where they jail any former leader on bogus charges after taking control of the courts and firing the judges.
He repeatedly kept making such sad, petty and clownish mistakes while hate speech predictably exploded on the site. His “banana republic” model of platform management quickly began rotting its ability to function, dumping professionalism and talent at Twitter to replace it with lame fealty and immature belligerence, pivoting towards “harm by design“.
Just like racist and corrupt African dictatorships he didn’t see such harm as a mistake, however, because allegedly he so badly wanted to amplify some very specific strains of dangerous racism and antisemitism (the ones he personally agreed with) that nothing else mattered.
For him, “free speech” seems merely a vehicle for his delusional plan to make Twitter into a fawning “digital [Turd Reich]” that he presides over.
That’s the best way to explain why the falsely self-titled “free speech absolutist” is crying like a baby now about some speech he didn’t like, saying that he will bombard the legal system until it bends to his will and silences those he disagrees with.
In previewing X’s argument, Musk appeared not to dispute the results of Media Matters’ analysis, instead targeting the group for having created a test account…
Legal experts on technology and the First Amendment widely characterized X’s complaint on Monday as weak and opportunistically filed in a [Trump judge] court that Musk likely believes will take his side.
“It’s one of those lawsuits that’s filed more for symbolism than for substance—as reflected in just how empty the allegations really are, and in where Musk chose to file, singling out the ultra-conservative Northern District of Texas despite its absence of any logical connection to the dispute,” said Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas…
“This reads like a press release, not a court filing to me,” said Joan Donovan, a professor of journalism and emerging media studies at Boston University. “X does admit the ads were shown next to hateful content…”
“This lawsuit is riddled with legal flaws, and it is highly ironic that a platform that touts itself as a beacon of free speech would file a bogus case like this that flatly contradicts basic First Amendment principles and targets free speech by a critic,” First Amendment attorney Ted Boutrous told CNN.
The stupidly of the actual filing reveals it is entirely political, not at all about laws. In fact, it’s a sloppy rejection of law and order, full of flip-flopping contradictions characteristic of permanent improvisation to avoid accountability (hypocrisy typical of dictatorships).
Musk didn’t dispute the main report finding, because it’s so obviously true.
Holy shit. If you search HeilHitler, you get a ton of ads. I literally just got the German Government’s ‘come live in Germany’ ad on the search,” wrote independent journalist Erin Reed. “The German Govt is literally accidentally advertising to Hitler searchers to ‘come live in Germany.’ Media Matters was not lying.
Media Matters was not lying. The filing is not about the law.
The basis of the empty and politicized complaint by Musk is that if someone uses the Swastika filled hate platform, its owner Elon Musk wants to politically deny their right to speak about anything they see even if they speak about it anywhere else.
There’s precedent for this in American history, if you study the years just before Civil War. American journalists were murdered if they dared to even speak about hate acts, such as reporting how many innocent Blacks were tortured, lynched, and mutilated by white nationalist mobs.
Does the name Elijah Lovejoy ring any bells? No? What about the name of this other guy?
You might have gathered the police didn’t intervene. You might also have figured out also that nobody, not a single attacker, was held responsible. Officials in Illinois and even newspapers went mostly quiet.
There was one very notable exception by a twenty-eight year old representative of the state who spoke out against lawlessness destroying freedom of speech — vigorously denouncing mobs that “throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors”.
His name was Abraham Lincoln.
Now does Lovejoy ring a bell? Still no? Here’s what Lincoln said about him.
Lovejoy’s tragic death for freedom in every sense marked his sad ending as the most important single event that ever happened in the new world.
The most important single event that ever happened in the new world! This should come to mind as Elon Musk boasts that he will shove his piles of ill-gotten money at angry mobs and corrupt politicians to aggressively attack and silence anyone who says things he does not like.
Elon Musk clearly is on the wrong side of history. He basically is leaning into old corrupt circles of racist oppression and hate in American politics to drive the country backwards towards its horrible past before Lincoln: destroy freedom of the press while claiming to be the only source of truth.
“When Republicans vow to use state power against critics of Musk, they aren’t merely promising to shield this billionaire’s business interests from his own expressions of antisemitism,” [Washington Post columnist] Sargent wrote. “They’d also wield state power to corruptly protect someone who is marshaling his immense power over our information ecosystem to privilege and elevate that worldview.”
Republicans are basically testing whether they can end democracy in America like it has been tried and failed before. Missouri and Texas courts seem “unrelated” to the casual law expert, but historians easily can explain why they were chosen by Musk — for racist and corrupt reasons.
Still, to this day, we see a well known (and researched), unmistakable phrase of antisemitism.
Third, note the phrase chosen by the man increasingly becoming known for… his antisemitism.
“I’m aware of that old sort of trope of like, you know, ‘I have a Jewish friend,’” Musk said. “I don’t have a Jewish friend. I think probably, I have twice as many Jewish friends as non-Jewish friends. That’s why I think I like to think I’m Jewish basically.”
He says he can avoid the trope, then plows straight into it by implying some of his best friends are Jews by hinting at having “numbers”. Then he clumsily erases his friends’ Jewish identities by claiming he is “basically” them, as if unclear (perhaps revealing his deeper thought “my best friends are me“).
This is evidence of the lazy and arrogant antisemite who doesn’t even try to avoid the most glaringly obvious mistakes of history.
For as long as we could remember, the adults had lived in this contradictory way with complete unconcern. One was friendly with individual Jews whom one liked, just as one was friendly as a Protestant with individual Catholics. But while it occurred to nobody to be ideologically hostile to the Catholics, one was, utterly, to the Jews. In all this no one seemed to worry about the fact that they had no clear idea of who “the Jews” were.
NASA needed this second attempt to go off without a hitch, Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration-systems development, said at a space conference last month. “We need that to be successful to get us that much further down the road.”
It had to work, actually succeed in mission, to meet a moon landing schedule for 2025. Instead, as one should have expected from the man known best for promoting Nazism, this rocket X’d itself out of the sky.
Once again we have to remember that SpaceX was founded by a man who ridiculed and mocked the cautious culture of NASA by boasting he could deliver a Mars landing by 2018… a scam setup to take money from NASA like a giant advanced fee fraud.
Mars 2018? Look at the date.
Moon 2025? Just blew that up.
SpaceX, despite killing and maiming its workers in a mindless rush to repeat errors, cut corners and ignore science, apparently can’t even achieve the basic space flight without historic failure.
…one would think that this prominent NASA tribute to someone who used massive amounts of slave labor – with inhumane, lethal consequences – should at least be put in a box somewhere.
It’s notable NASA has been indirectly funding overt Nazis again like it’s the 1950s… perhaps thinking there was some kind of velocity magic (anti-gravity tricks) in hiring cruel, abusive fascists. The government agency must have started to realize by now, however, that being a Nazi doesn’t mean someone knows anything about how to build a rocket.
As the German historians put it, NASA clearly trampled on corpses in their past. A chilling fact is more people died working for Werner von Braun building his rockets to serve Hitler (he personally selected slaves out of Nazi slave camps that he would kill) than his rockets ever managed to actually hit:
Für seine Weltraumpläne ging er über Leichen… Bei der Produktion verloren mehr Menschen ihr Leben als bei den Einschlägen. Unter unmenschlichen Bedingungen arbeiteten KZ-Häftlinge in einem Bergwerksstollen bei Nordhausen in Thüringen an der Raketenmontage.
Arguably America succeeded because of the many talented hidden Black women working at NASA, in spite of the outlandish and loudmouthed Nazi in their way who had failed so miserably as Hitler’s minion before he came to depend on them and steal their success.