Category Archives: Poetry

AI Falls Apart: CEO Removed for Failing Ethics Test is Put Back Into Power by “Full Evil” Microsoft

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’sThings Fall Apart” (named for Yeats’ poem) is perhaps an even better, more modern, guide through such troubled times.

“The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Things Fall Apart was the debut novel of Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, published in 1958.

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.

And now for some related news:

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.

Not the death star

Returning Soldiers

by W.E.B. Du Bois, as published in The Crisis, Volume 18, Number 1, May 1919

…by the God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that that war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land.

We return.

We return from fighting.

We return fighting.

The famous Black soldiers of the 369th marching in a NYC parade to celebrate their victory in France. Source: National Archives

Russians Capture a Ukrainian Drone and Then It Kills Them

Here Trojan horse, over here. Come closer, closer please so everyone can see you better and take selfies.

This KyivPost story is hard to believe. Allegedly Russian soldiers worked hard to hijack and redirect a Ukrainian kamikaze-bomb drone to force it to land near them. Next they gathered even more Russians around in just such a way that… it could blow them all up.

Several members of a Russian air regiment and their security service colleagues have been reportedly killed whilst inspecting a Ukrainian kamikaze drone which they managed to hi-jack and land in an airfield in Kursk, Russia. A source in Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) told Kyiv Post the UAV was successfully intercepted by using radio-electronic warfare techniques and safely landed on the runway of the Halino airfield. The leadership of the regiment based there as well as members of the FSB then decided to investigate their new “trophy,” the source said. Their excitement was short-lived, with the drone blowing up as they were photographing and inspecting it. According to the source, those killed or wounded during the explosion included the commander of the 14th aviation regiment, one of his deputies, a group of aviator officers, a representative of FSB military counterintelligence, and airport personnel.

You have to admire the restraint of the journalist writing “drone blowing up as they were photographing and inspecting it”. No references to the infamous Russian Selfie-Roulette were made.

[Moscow] woman was left in a critical condition in hospital after she accidentally shot herself in the head while posing for a selfie.

This story relates to Russia rolling out a selection from its counter-UAS technology such as the Shipovnik-Aero developed in 2016 Syria. Every platoon allegedly gets them now.

…truck-mounted Shipovnik-Aero tactical jammer can reportedly attack two drones simultaneously. The system is fast. In approximately 25 seconds, it identifies the UAV, interrupts the drone’s command link, and if the parameters align, assumes control of the UAV’s flight path.

“United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation presented the Shipovnik-AERO electronic warfare system at the Army-2016 international military technical forum.” Source: RU Aviation

The truck looks a Radio Shack on wheels, in case you’re wondering what happened after all those stores closed in 2016. Also reminds me how in 2016 I was in a Tesla when some foreign ex-military jumped in, popped open a laptop and used a cheap dongle to flood the car with fake GPS signals and attempt to alter its path. It worked. I mean 2016 was kind of a big year for this stuff…

Anyway, back to 2023 and Russians pushing buttons, the rate of Ukrainian drones now being redirected (300+ per day) is getting so high that a lot of training is needed for what to do next. Making kamikaze drones even more accurate — soldiers tuning the incoming bombs to drop even closer to them — is self-defeating and embarrassingly stupid. I’m wondering now if someone clever poisoned old Radio Shack training manual translations into Russian with a trick phrase like “you can lick a drone by altering its flight path”. Oh look they landed it on their runway next to their intelligence HQ. One lick, two licks… boom.

Hello Mr. Putin, we have a sweet gift for you. Can you guess how many licks it takes…

Paris Overwhelmingly Votes to Ban ALL e-scooters

The concept of e-scooters is as old as electric cars, with clear evidence going back to the early 1900s.

Source: Smithsonian. “Autoped Girl by Everett Shinn, in Puck, 1916”

It’s worth pointing history out because if anyone ever really thought e-scooters were a good idea, there would have been evidence of them in Paris for 100 years already surviving tests, like the metro lines.

Alas, no e-scooters are associated with Paris history because… they are a bad idea.

…the problem may have had to do with the need for the device, which was more expensive than a bicycle but didn’t offer the seated comfort of a motorcycle.

Cost, comfort and safety.

Short stop momentum and falling off a stand-up scooter makes sense only when you are 12 or younger.

There’s a tendency of young men (and increasingly women) in America to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for a really, awful bad idea and think this alone makes it turn into a good one.

It’s the Wall Street “if people pay, it must be ok” moral code.

Fortunately the world isn’t as shallow and coin operated. And if more Americans studied history, they would have quite easily predicted how Uber, Lyft, Lime, Tier, Bolt, Bird… and all these ignorant new companies expensively rehashing very, very old concepts would not suddenly have a different outcome.

So here we are looking at 90% of people in Paris voting to ban the annoyingly ill-concieved and pathetically implemented e-scooters.

From September 1, e-scooters will be banned in Paris. As a result, 15,000 vehicles will need to be collected from the streets and squares of the French capital.

Other cities in Europe are now afraid that the heavy sidewalk-blocking garbage e-scooters removed from Paris could end up fouling their environments instead.

Bottom line, e-scooters failed to account for even basic transit design/risks and never should have been so aggressively funded.

Lime clearly operated as a crime,
while Bird landed like a turd.
No cheer was given to Tier in time,
but Bolt ended up in revolt.


In Lime’s transgressions, ugly shadows apace,
Bird’s descending, a tarnished grace,
Tier’s sucking, a silent space,
Bolt’s revolting, a lack of embrace.


In Lime’s transgressions, shadows near,
Bird descends, grace marred, I fear,
Tier’s absence, silence draws its lace,
Bolt’s revolt, devoid of love’s embrace.