CFR Pushes Central Planning to Fuse Education With Economy

The CFR’s education policies are virtually identical to historic Technocracy that wanted to develop education as a “continental system of human conditioning.” This is the same mentality that produced Alphas, Betas and Deltas in Huxley’s Brave New World. ⁃ TN Editor

The globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations is urging state and local officials, as well as other leaders, to transform the education system, claiming that looming changes in the economy and the workplace will require workers who are properly “educated” and “trained” for the new paradigm. The effort seeks to “reverse-engineer” every part of the education and workforce training system, and ensure that components are “all walking in lockstep.” In interviews with The New American, two of the CFR task force members involved in developing the recommendations warned of major problems ahead for America if the organization’s ideas were not acted upon — and soon.

However, also in interviews with The New American, education experts, critics of technocratic governance, and leading lawmakers all sounded the alarm about the CFR’s proposed schemes. One expert argued that the educational policies advanced by the task force resemble the tools used by totalitarian regimes such as the communist dictatorships of the Soviet Union and China. Another expert condemned the ideas as moving America toward technocracy. A prominent educator expressed shock that the report made no mention of the very real and very serious problems with the current education system. And considering the CFR membership’s long history of betraying America and liberty around the world to advance globalism and tyranny, lawmakers warned that there are very good reasons to be concerned.

According to the CFR’s Task Force report, dubbed “The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century,” America will be facing massive changes in the years ahead. Especially concerning to the CFR’s panel behind the report is the growth of automation and technology, which will displace large numbers of American workers across a broad range of industries. All of that is true, of course. But any effort to sell drastic changes including even bigger Big Government and an enormous array of new unconstitutional policies must have at least a kernel of truth to sound palatable. This effort is no exception.

The plot is audacious and comprehensive. In the article entitled “CFR: U.S. Needs More Mass Migration, Bigger Welfare State,” The New American explored the enormous transformations that the powerful CFR is pursuing relating to social-welfare programs and immigration. In short, under the guise of preparing America for the future, the CFR argued that the U.S. government must massively expand the size and scope of government, ranging from healthcare and retirement to increased immigration. Sweden and Denmark, two of the nations with the most bloated governments on Earth, are praised as successful models. Interestingly, even while warning of huge looming job losses for American workers, the CFR report advocated a surge in immigration.

The other key component of the CFR’s “Work Ahead” agenda deals with “education.” Indeed, the CFR report claims America needs “dramatic” so-called transformations in the education system. Much of this must be driven by government, the globalist group argued. Simply “waiting and hoping that the market will sort out the challenges,” according to the CFR report, “is not an adequate response.” It was not made clear why. Rather, the CFR claimed only that failure to provide “the education” that apparently helpless Americans supposedly “need” for the future would be dangerous. It was also not clear why Americans could not take responsibility themselves for their education.

In a phone interview with The New American, CFR task force project director Ted Alden said the goal of the effort was to “make it a top national priority to prepare the American workforce for the changes that are coming.” According to Alden, the thing that the United States did “better than any other country” was pushing ahead with tax-funded education for everyone. “In the early 20th century, the U.S. led every country in terms of moving Americans into secondary education, then into post-secondary education with the G.I. Bill,” he said when asked why the market system could not deal with the coming changes. “A lot of this came from state and local government. This is a familiar history that we handled well in the 20th century.”

CFR Recommendations

Among the various changes and recommendations that the CFR is peddling:

• Ensure that college and university are “within the reach of all Americans,” presumably by either forcing taxpayers to pay for it all or by shackling young Americans to ever-greater levels of debt they cannot pay.

• Link “education more closely to employment outcomes.” “A change in thinking is needed, from seeing education and work as distinct and separate activities to considering them as closely linked,” the report continues.

• Provide “expanded counseling for students to set them on successful education-to-work paths,” since apparently government knows best what “path” those children should be on. The government schools should also lay out “guided pathways” to direct students toward what the central planners believe will be needed in the future.

• Collect more data on students to be disseminated by government, on everything from education to career, to make all the central planning work. “Washington should expand and improve its own data gathering and dissemination,” the report says, adding that the private sector must also be conscripted into this Big Data scheme.

• Concentrate greater emphasis on “lifelong learning,” which will “require changes in behavior” by employees. This means adults need to be constantly ready and willing to go back to the government for more so-called education to keep up with changes in society and the economy.

• Insist state and local governments do a better job of central planning and incorporating their ideas about what society and the economy need into the education system. Among other policies, taking a page out of the Soviet playbook, authorities must “undertake detailed skills assessments of the population and the workforce needs of local employers,” the CFR task force argued. “Devising and implementing appropriate educational options depends on a solid assessment of the workforce needs of local employers and the education and skills level of the state workforce.” Also required: “close collaboration among state governments, educational institutions, and employers.”

• Include new “workplace readiness standards” in middle- and high-school curricula, requiring the education establishment to predict the future of the economy and prepare all children accordingly. “Skills readiness standards would be aligned with skills that are or will be in demand for quality jobs in the future or present,” the report added, noting that the standards would be continually revisited by “standard setters.” These standards should include “habits of the mind,” the CFR said cryptically, without elaborating.

• Have the federal government create “lifelong learning accounts” to provide money for everyone to pursue “lifelong learning.” This would be “a national program to help finance mid-career retraining,” the CFR said without citing any provision in the U.S. Constitution that would authorize such a program.

• Have the federal government develop a national ranking system for schools, building on the Obama administration’s efforts. While this would ostensibly help students decide which colleges offer the best value, it would also help the federal government demonize and marginalize educational institutions such as Christian colleges that resist the growing extremism that has infected higher education.

• Launch propaganda campaigns through the federal government and state governments involving public figures from sports and entertainment to “encourage young people to make the best possible educational-to-work choices.” It was not immediately clear how authorities would determine what the best possible education and work choices would be. Social media and other tools should be used, the report said.

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Day 10: Technocracy And Education

Technocrats have long since hijacked the American education system for their own agenda. What once was a system of actual education of students has now become a system intended to produce nothing more than conditioned Technocrat workers. When this is understood, modern education programs – President George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” policy and President Barack Obama’s Common Core Education Standards and the Trump Administration signing a UN agreement that states “We commit to facilitating the internationalization of education” – will become crystal clear.

When the Technocracy Study Course was written in 1934 by M. King Hubbert and Howard Scott, it was literally intended to be the “bible” of Technocracy. It contained all of the basic elements of societal construction along with rules and principles for living.

Hubbert and Scott names education as one of the pillar service sectors of Technocracy was education. On page 232, they listed “The end products attained by a high-energy social mechanism on the North American Continent” as:

    1. a high physical standard of living,
    2. a high standard of public health,
    3. a minimum of unnecessary labor,
    4. a minimum of wastage of nonreplaceable resources,
    5. an educational system to train the entire younger generation indiscriminately as regards all considerations other than inherent ability—a Continental system of human conditioning. (emphasis added)

William Akin elaborated on this in his book, Technocracy and the American Dream (1978, p. 142).

A continental system of human conditioning will have to be installed to replace the existing insufficient educational methods and institutions. This continental system of general education will have to be organized as to provide the fullest possible conditioning and physical training… It must educate and train the student public so as to obtain the highest possible percentage of proficient functional capacity.

Since the basic need of society was technical expertise, their education system would abolish the liberal arts, which addressed outmoded moralistic solutions to human problems. It would essentially replace the humanities with the machine shop. In the process, members of society would be conditioned to think in terms of engineering rationality and efficiency. Man, in short, would then be conditioned to assume the character of machines, to accept “a reality understood in terms of machine-like function.” 

Early Technocrats, thoroughly captivated by the vain religion of Scientism, believed that truth about man and the universe could only be discovered through science. As a result, the pioneer of behavioral psychology, B.F. Skinner, was a principal contributor to Technocrat understanding of human conditioning. It was a theory that they eagerly embraced and applied to their utopian model of Technocracy.

Skinner’s association with the Technocracy movement has been well documented in academic literature. Alexandra Rutherford, for instance, wrote B. F. Skinner and Technology’s Nation: Technocracy, Social Engineering, and the Good Life in 20th-Century America in the History of Psychology, in which she stated,

Skinner’s efforts were part of a much larger social engineering tradition that received one of its fullest expressions in the Technocracy Movement of the 1930s.

The balance of Rutherford’s paper detailed the “several philosophical and structural similarities between the Technocrats’ and Skinner’s social visions.” 

The Technocracy Study Course is thoroughly dependent on this line of thinking, and every chapter stresses the importance of and need for “conditioning” of all members of society in order for Utopia to materialize. Of course, this goes well beyond just education, but early conditioning of young students was of paramount importance:

No conditioned response to a given stimulus can ever occur unless the subject has previously been through the conditioning experience involving this stimulus and the corresponding response. (p. 187)

Enter Common Core Education Standards

Although the modern drift of education toward Technocratic conditioning started in the early 1980s, it is not the purpose of this paper to present details that others have presented over the years. Rather, I will skip forward to the latest program called the Common Core Education Standards Initiative (CCESI) which has swept the American education system over the last 10 years.

CCESI was sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), both of which are non-governmental organizations. CCSSO is a progressive advocacy organization that focuses on “education workforce; information systems and research; next generation learners; and standards, assessment, and accountability.”The NGA’s membership is exclusively the Governors of each state and territory, but it presents itself as a political organization. 

It is important to note that both the NGA and CCSSO are completely independent of any government authority or accountability. 

Did funding for CCESI come from the federal government? No! Instead, the primary financier was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, controlled by Microsoft pioneer Bill Gates – a Technocrat. In fact, over a 10 year period, Gates provided almost $500 million to various organizations to develop the curriculum according to his own personal vision of education. 

Furthermore, according to its own website, the resulting copyright for CCESI is tightly held by these same organizations:

NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made. 

Parents today wonder why the nature and focus of education has changed so radically over the last 10 years. The simple reason is that it has been hijacked by private Technocrat-oriented organizations and funded by Technocrats like Bill Gates. To call this a monumental coup would be an understatement. 

Of course, the Technocrats had help and full cooperation from the federal government which had distributed Common Core to the individual states, -proof of how deep the Technocrat influence runs within our political structures.

In sum, Akin’s observation of Technocracy’s “Continental system of human conditioning” has proven correct: “It would essentially replace the humanities with the machine shop.”




ASU sustainable

ASU President Michael Crow Leads Sustainable Charge

Michael Crow is a consummate Technocrat who has created a new kind of educational experience at ASU, one that is measured by its social impact rather than traditional statistics like awards or intellectual rigor.

Notably, Crow is also Chairman of the Board of the CIA’s venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel. His In-Q-Tel bio states,

Michael M. Crow became the sixteenth president of Arizona State University on July 1, 2002. He is guiding the transformation of ASU into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution that combines the highest levels of academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact—a model he designed known as the “New American University.”

Under his leadership ASU has established major interdisciplinary research initiatives such as the Biodesign Institute, Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), and more than a dozen new transdisciplinary schools, and witnessed an unprecedented academic infrastructure expansion, tripling of research expenditures, and attainment of record levels of diversity in the student body.

Crow was previously professor of science and technology policy and executive vice provost of Columbia University, where he served as chief strategist of Columbia’s research enterprise and technology transfer operations.  ⁃ TN Editor

To those who ask what ASU’s ranking “#1 in innovation” actually means, ask no further. Perhaps if you’ve seen a billboard or two (or three) on the Price Freeway, you may have noticed that Arizona State University has been rated first in innovation from US News and World Report for five consecutive years.

“Great,” says ASU student Lorenzo Rios, “so what does that actually mean?” Rios’ voice echoes that of countless other students, many of them turning the university’s capitalization on the achievement into a light-hearted joke.

Although these young scholars now exploit the ranking by sarcastically granting their friends nicknames like “innovator” when they complete insignificant tasks, the real-life accomplishments from ASU President Michael Crow are no joke.

In his recent presentation to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, Crow highlighted he numerous ways that he and his staff have worked toward putting Arizona State at the top of America’s list of robust academic institutions.

Crow served as deputy provost and a senior faculty member of Columbia University in New York City for 12 years before coming to ASU where he has been president for 17 years. Columbia, as Dr. Crow describes, was “too small an arena in too rigid a place,” despite the incredible opportunities he had there.

The level of success we desire in the United States, he says, will not emerge from the establishment institutions like Columbia University, but rather from new places that are able to do new things like ASU.

He continues, “The opportunity here and the reason that I was hired was to take this very large public university which had not yet matured and see if you could actually build a new kind of university.”

Building this new class of education in America is something ASU certainly has accomplished, with many well-established universities following Dr. Crow’s example of innovation.

Becoming #1 in the U.S. for innovation is determined by a peer-based survey from Crow’s counterparts in other academic institutions.

According to the U.S. News and World Report, nominees must demonstrate innovative ways within their campuses to improve in categories such as curriculum, students and faculty or campus facilities and technology.

Dr. Crow describes the process of growth and development as a long and hard-fought game, but the outcome has proven to be worth the fight.

“ASU today is one of the 10 most significant patentors of all universities on the planet. We weren’t even in the top several hundred when we started that process,” he says.

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Snitch U: Don’t Say ‘Only Women Have Abortions’

If the logical end of Progressivism is total insanity, then we are very close to or at the end on most college campuses. The United Nations uses its SDG’s to incessantly push for ‘inclusiveness and equality for every person everywhere’. Be careful what you wish for.

As documented in Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Globalization, Progressivism is part of the root of Technocracy and Transhumanism. In the latter stages, Progressivism leads to  mental instability, breaks with reality and other severe emotional problems. ⁃ TN Editor

In an Iowa State University classroom recently, students began discussing the touchy issues of abortion and birth control when a student spoke up and declared those topics to be “women’s issues.”

Yet one dissatisfied student took to the university’s Campus Climate reporting website to complain that the discussion, which took place in September, was offensive to the trans community.

According to the student, declaring abortion and birth control women-centric issues “erases trans men and people who are non-binary who get abortions and/or use birth control.”

The student then reported the professor to administration, complaining “there was no push back by the professor to get students to be more inclusive and instead repeated this erasure.”

This report was one of 49 filed with Iowa State’s “Campus Climate” staff over the last year obtained last week by The College Fix through a public records act request. (The names of the individuals involved were redacted by the university to protect their identities.)

The Iowa State climate program is similar to so-called bias response teams at other universities, and it aims to “provide support for those who report being impacted by hate, intolerance or bias on campus.”

According to the university’s website, the climate team may ask those named in complaints to engage in “constructive dialogue,” although officials insist there are no “disciplinary sanctions” imposed.

Iowa State spokeswoman Angela Hunt told The College Fix that information collected from the website is “shared with campus partners who follow normal protocols for their unit.”

Hunt said the campus climate reporting process has been in effect since 2017, and noted the Campus Climate Response Team includes members from the Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion, Dean of Students Office, Department of Residence, ISU Police Department, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, University Counsel, University Human Resources and Strategic Relations and Communications.

“Reports through the website are referred to the appropriate partner who will determine what, if any, next steps will be taken by their administrative unit,” Hunt said in an e-mail to The Fix.

In the past year, the climate reporting system, which allows students and faculty members to anonymously report one another, has been used frequently by transgender activists to inform on professors and other campus institutions. Of the 49 reports, about 20 percent dealt with issues such as “trans erasure” or “misgendering.”

In August 2018, a student reported having a discussion with their music professor about gender and pronouns, but complained the professor was still having problems with “misgendering.”

“Today was worse,” the student wrote, “in that I corrected him twice and on the second time he said ‘He, she, it, whatever.’”

A week later, a student reported another professor for joking that students should be able to tell an individual’s sex just by looking at them. “He then made a face expressing uneasiness,” the student wrote.

In another complaint, a student last fall visited Thielen psychiatric services on campus, and while filling out the paperwork, noticed only women were asked when they had their last menstrual cycle.

“Women are not the only people who have menstrual cycles,” the student wrote. “Trans-men can have menstrual cycles, as can non-binary people, etc.”

The student was concerned that merely seeing the question could be damaging to trans individuals, saying it could “trigger dysphoria in people seeking health services at Thielen.”

And in December, a transgender student changed their name in the school computer system, only to later find out the computer switched back to their “dead name.”

“This is a possibly dangerous situation for me since I am a forestry major and my program is more conservative,” the student wrote. “Seeing or hearing the name causing me [sic] intense mental grief and I literally cannot take it.”

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new humanism

Pope Announces Global Compact On Education For ‘New Humanism’

Pope Francis called on global leaders to join in on May 14, 2020 to sign a new Global Compact on Education that will lead to a ‘New Humanism’. Channeling Hillary Clintons book, It Take a Village, he wants to ‘educate’ all young people into becoming global citizens. ⁃ TN Editor

In a renewed and enthusiastic endorsement of globalism, Pope Francis has announced he is hosting an initiative for a “Global Pact” to create a “new humanism.”

The global event, set to take place at the Vatican on May 14, 2020, is themed Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance.

According to a Vatican statement issued on Thursday, Sept. 12, the Pope is inviting representatives of the main religions, international organizations and various humanitarian institutions, as well as key figures from the world of politics, economics and academia, and prominent athletes, scientists and sociologists to sign a “Global Pact on Education” so as to “hand on to younger generations a united and fraternal common home.”

“A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism,” Francis said in a video message to launch the initiative.

A Vatican-backed website launched to promote the pact added: “Educating young people in fraternity, in learning to overcome divisions and conflicts, promote hospitality, justice and peace: Pope Francis has invited everyone who cares about the education of the young generation to sign a Global Pact, to create a global change of mentality through education.”

The Pope’s message on the ‘Global Pact’

In a strikingly secular message containing only one throw-away reference to the Lord, Pope Francis called on people to “capitalize on our best energies” and to be “proactive” in “opening education to a long-term vision unfettered by the status quo.”

“This,” he said, “will result in men and women who are open, responsible, prepared to listen, dialogue and reflect with others, and capable of weaving relationships with families, between generations, and with civil society, and thus to create a new humanism.”

Quoting Hillary Clinton’s favorite aphorism, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Pope Francis asserted the need to create an “educational village,” in which “all people, according to their respective roles, share the task of forming a network of open, human relationships.”

At a time when the right to homeschool and the right to a free choice of school are threatened, and when countries throughout the world level taxes to provide public schooling to which no Catholic parents could safely send their child, Pope Francis omitted any reference to the prerogatives of parents as the primary educators of their children.

Referencing the “Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace for Living Together,” which he signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last February, Francis explained that, in this new global village, “the ground must be cleared of discrimination and fraternity must be allowed to flourish.”

Readers will recall that the Abu Dhabi document aroused controversy for stating that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.”

“In this kind of village,” the Pope also said an “alliance” must be forged “between the earth’s inhabitants and our ‘common home,’ which we are bound to care for and respect. An alliance that generates peace, justice and hospitality among all peoples of the human family, as well as dialogue between religions.”

Not everyone is convinced that peace can be achieved by promoting the Abu Dhabi document, however. Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently observed that “however noble such aims as ‘human fraternity’ and ‘world peace’ may be, they cannot be promoted at the cost of relativizing the truth of uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His Church.”

In his message, the Pope said that in order to reach these “global objectives,” as an “educating village” we must “have the courage to place the human person at the center” and to “train individuals who are ready to offer themselves in service of the community.”

He ended his message by inviting “everyone to work for this alliance and to be committed, individually and within our communities, to nurturing the dream of a humanism rooted in solidarity and responsive both to humanity’s aspirations and to God’s plan.”

Healing the Planet

Pope Francis has tasked the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education with organizing the initiative. According to a website dedicated to the global pact, the Congregation oversees “216 thousand Catholic schools, attended by over 60 million pupils and 1,750 Catholic universities, with over 11 million students.”

In explanatory note accompanying the Pope’s message, the Congregation said that the May 14 global pact initiative seeks to involve “international organizations” and the “great ones of the earth” in helping to “heal the fracture between man and the Absolute” and the separation between “reality and the transcendent.”

It also aims to heal the “horizontal fracture” between men of difficult cultures, religions and backgrounds. And it intends to heal the “fracture between man, society, nature and the environment” in the face of an “urgent need” to create an “ecological citizenship” based on sustainability and an “austere responsibility.”

“The objectives set for the next few decades aim to set up training models that take into account a constantly increasing population, diminishing resources and the fact that climate change places everyone before a serious responsibility: that of developing our planet in a sustainable way, with an eye to the needs of future generations,” the Congregation said.

“The choice of education as a ground on which to make a global pact is a priority topic in the horizon of current and future scenarios,” it added.

Conferences and events will be held throughout the coming year to prepare for the May 14 signing of the “Global Pact” on education.

In May 2019, Pope Francis made a strong push for globalism, calling for a supranational, legally constituted body to enforce United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to implement “climate change” policies.

More recently, during an inflight press conference on his return from a seven-day apostolic visit to Africa, Francis said our “duty” is to “obey international institutions,” such as the United Nations and the European Union.

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California Unveils Huge ‘Cradle-To-Career’ Student Tracking System

This is the height of social engineering and far beyond Common Core Education Standards data tracking. SB-75 purposes to identify and track “predictive indicators” in order to “provide appropriate interventions” and “improve outcomes.”  ⁃ TN Editor

The California legislature has approved legislation that will be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to set up an educational system that will use big data to track children from “cradle to career.”

Senate Bill 75 was approved by a vote of 31-7 in the Senate and 62-14 in the Assembly. It will create a “longitudinal” data system that profiles and manipulates pupils from the earliest of ages so they are guided into a career determined by the central planners.

“This is long overdue. Finally, California, the center of the tech world, has a government that is catching up to the 21st century,” said Arun Ramanathan, CEO of Pivot Learning Partners, a nonprofit that will be benefiting from this legislation.

“I’m encouraged we are moving forward and proceeding through the workgroup in a thoughtful and deliberate way,” said Hans Johnson, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and director of its Higher Education Center.

The state bureaucracy is now tasked with determining exactly what data is collected from children to enable Big Brother.

This is apart of a national movement that is being spearheaded by failed Georgia Governor candidate Stacey Abrams, New York Times writer David Brooks, and Barack Obama’s former deputy secretary of Education Jim Shelton.

These centralizers hope to control and shape young minds from the earliest of ages using powerful technological tools.

“We refuse to settle for a world where a child’s potential is dictated by the conditions in which the child is born. We are committed to helping every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance,” said StriveTogether CEO and President Jennifer Blatz.

StriveTogether is responsible for the national Cradle to Career Network Convening. They coach their data sweep plan to treat kids like guinea pigs in the language of social justice.

“We know the systems designed to serve our youth are failing children and families of color and those living in poverty. We exist to give every child, every chance, cradle to career. We’re here to help create possibilities — giving children opportunities to go further and do better than the generations before them,” Blatz said.

Studies have shown that more technology in the classroom actually harms student outcomes, but the end game is power, control, and profit for these rapacious bureaucrats.

Big data and technological progress are enabling leftist government officials to take totalitarianism socialism to unforeseen heights. George Orwell must be spinning in his grave.

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Beware Robot Emotions: ‘Simulated Love Is Never Love’

Humans already have a strong emotional tendency to transfer attachment to inanimate objects. If robot makers exploit this tendency, then robot owners may have no idea they are being led into an emotional addiction. ⁃ TN Editor

When a robot “dies,” does it make you sad? For lots of people, the answer is “yes” — and that tells us something important, and potentially worrisome, about our emotional responses to the social machines that are starting to move into our lives.

For Christal White, a 42-year-old marketing and customer service director in Bedford, Texas, that moment came several months ago with the cute, friendly Jibo robot perched in her home office. After more than two years in her house, the foot-tall humanoid and its inviting, round screen “face” had started to grate on her. Sure, it danced and played fun word games with her kids, but it also sometimes interrupted her during conference calls.

White and her husband Peter had already started talking about moving Jibo into the empty guest bedroom upstairs. Then they heard about the “death sentence” Jibo’s maker had levied on the product as its business collapsed. News arrived via Jibo itself, which said its servers would be shutting down, effectively lobotomizing it.

“My heart broke,” she said. “It was like an annoying dog that you don’t really like because it’s your husband’s dog. But then you realize you actually loved it all along.”

The Whites are far from the first to experience this feeling. People took to social media this year to say teary goodbyes to the Mars Opportunity rover when NASA lost contact with the 15-year-old robot. A few years ago, scads of concerned commenters weighed in on a demonstration video from robotics company Boston Dynamics in which employees kicked a dog-like robot to prove its stability.

Smart robots like Jibo obviously aren’t alive, but that doesn’t stop us from acting as though they are. Research has shown that people have a tendency to project human traits onto robots, especially when they move or act in even vaguely human-like ways.

Designers acknowledge that such traits can be powerful tools for both connection and manipulation. That could be an especially acute issue as robots move into our homes — particularly if, like so many other home devices, they also turn into conduits for data collected on their owners.

“When we interact with another human, dog, or machine, how we treat it is influenced by what kind of mind we think it has,” said Jonathan Gratch, a professor at University of Southern California who studies virtual human interactions. “When you feel something has emotion, it now merits protection from harm.”

The way robots are designed can influence the tendency people have to project narratives and feelings onto mechanical objects, said Julie Carpenter, a researcher who studies people’s interaction with new technologies. Especially if a robot has something resembling a face, its body resembles those of humans or animals, or just seems self-directed, like a Roomba robot vacuum.

“Even if you know a robot has very little autonomy, when something moves in your space and it seems to have a sense of purpose, we associate that with something having an inner awareness or goals,” she said.

Such design decisions are also practical, she said. Our homes are built for humans and pets, so robots that look and move like humans or pets will fit in more easily.

Some researchers, however, worry that designers are underestimating the dangers associated with attachment to increasingly life-like robots.

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propaganda

Propaganda Coup: China Infiltration Into U.S. Education System

China has riddled U.S. education with propaganda promoting Technocracy, from universities to kindergarten. Partly for dogma and partly for espionage, these ‘Confucius Centers’ have been established throughout America with no restraint or alarm from U.S. government officials. ⁃ TN Editor

The Chinese government has infiltrated nearly every sector of the U.S. education system via a package of programs and monetary schemes that seek to indoctrinate American children and bring the Communist government’s propaganda into the classroom, according to a new report by a Senate investigatory body.

The wide-ranging report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has found that China has spent nearly $200 million on educational entities known as Confucius Institutes. These programs have been instated in U.S. schools across the country with the mission of indoctrinating students and painting a sympathetic portrait of the Chinese Communist government, according to the report.

The institutes are shrouded in mystery and have been the cause of much consternation on Capitol Hill and elsewhere as information about their reach and power in the United States becomes clearer.

While the programs appear on their surface to be mundane—mainly focusing on language and cultural issues—the Senate committee found that these institutes constitute a threat to the United States. The Chinese government, the committee found, “is attempting to change the impression in the United States and around the world that China is an economic and security threat.”

There are more than 100 Confucius Institutes currently operating in America—the most of any country—and China has plans to open many more, according to the report.

“As China opened over 100 additional Confucius Institutes in the United States over the last 15 years, the Department of Education remained silent,” the Senate committee warns in its report.

While Confucius Institutes have become a mainstay on college campuses across the United States, the Chinese government also has plans to expand into the kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum.

“The Chinese government also funds and provides language instructors for Confucius Classrooms, which offer classes for kindergarten through 12th grade students,” according to the report. “Confucius Classrooms are currently in 519 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States. Continued expansion of the program is a priority for China.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), a member of the Senate committee that conducted the investigation, said the bipartisan report shows a “stunning lack of transparency” about how these Chinese institutes function in the United States

“As China has expanded Confucius Institutes here in the U.S., it has systematically shut down key U.S. State Department public diplomacy efforts on Chinese college campuses,” Portman said in a statement. “We learned that schools in the United States—from kindergarten to college—have provided a level of access to the Chinese government that the Chinese government has refused to provide to the United States.”

“Absent full transparency regarding how Confucius Institutes operate and full reciprocity for U.S. cultural outreach efforts on college campuses in China, Confucius Institutes should not continue in the United States,” Portman said.

As the committee investigated these programs, it found that some U.S. schools contractually agree to uphold both Chinese and U.S. laws in order to get money for various programs.

Additionally, “the Chinese teachers sign contracts with the Chinese government pledging they will not damage the national interests of China,” according to the report. “Such limitations attempt to export China’s censorship of political debate and prevent discussion of potentially politically sensitive topics.”

U.S. school officials who spoke to Senate investigators disclosed that Confucius Institutes shun controversial topics, such as China’s poor human rights record and other hot button topics that could be damaging to the country’s reputation.

“Confucius Institutes exist as one part of China’s broader, long-term strategy,” the Senate committee concluded. “Through Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government is attempting to change the impression in the United States and around the world that China is an economic and security threat.”

There are provisions mandating that Chinese law be upheld on U.S. soil and the amount of public disclosure surrounding the institutes is extremely low. If a U.S. school were to spill the beans about these programs, the contracts—and money—would dry up.

“The Subcommittee obtained a contract between Chinese teachers and Hanban that requires Chinese instructors at U.S. schools to “‘conscientiously safeguard national interests.'” The contracts are terminated if the Chinese instructors “‘violate Chinese law’ or ‘engage in activities detrimental to national interests,'” according to the report.

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Parents Take Warning: A Generation Of Child Web Addicts

The natural  human inclination toward addiction is bad enough, but YouTube’s algorithms purposely lead youth to inappropriate and disturbing material that should not be impressed on young minds. If you have children or grandchildren, this is a must-read article. ⁃ TN Editor

Children have become such screen addicts they are abandoning their friends and hobbies, a major report warns today.

Researchers found under-fives spend an hour and 16 minutes a day online. Their screen time rises to four hours and 16 minutes when gaming and television are included.

Youngsters aged 12 to 15 average nearly three hours a day on the web – plus two more hours watching TV. The study said YouTube was ‘a near permanent feature’ of many young lives, and seven in ten of those aged 12 to 15 took smartphones to bed.

It concluded: ‘Children were watching people on YouTube pursuing hobbies that they did not do themselves or had recently given up offline.’

A growing number of parents admitted to researchers that they had lost control of their children’s online habits.

Campaigners described the report from media watchdog Ofcom as frightening.

‘In the early years, children need interaction with other people, and play – it is key to their social skills,’ said Sue Palmer of the group Toxic Childhood.

‘If that doesn’t happen when they are small, I don’t know where it leads. There is the screen time itself, and then there is what the screen time is displacing.’

The annual report, which was based on 2,000 interviews, also revealed that:

  • Children aged five to 15 spend 20 minutes more online a day than watching TV;
  • One in five pre-schoolers and two fifths of five- to eight-year-olds have an iPad or tablet device;
  • A fifth of children aged eight to 12 are on social media – despite a supposed ban on under-13s;
  • Nearly one in five children aged 12 to 16 have accidentally spent money online.

Children aged three and four still watch more television than online videos, but their TV consumption is shrinking whilst their time online is rocketing.

Many flock to YouTube and spend hours watching child-friendly videos such as how to make slime or draw animals. Others seek out ‘unboxing’ videos in which YouTube stars unwrap new products.

Some youngsters are becoming so obsessed with YouTube celebrities that they idolise them as role models, the Ofcom report said.

Some upload videos of their own, hoping to make a career for themselves. Disturbingly, many watch the lifestyle ‘vloggers’ pursuing hobbies and interacting with friends instead of doing so themselves.

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Made In USA: Chinese Schools Scanning Kid’s Brains For Attention

Technocrat engineers are attempting to disrupt education by measuring student attention/focus and giving ‘teachers’ a window into the mind.  Not surprisingly, China jumped at the opportunity for mass testing on 1.2 million students. ⁃ TN Editor
 

US-made devices could be used to collect data on 1.2m pupils in China.

Headbands that monitor concentration by reading brain signals have been trialled on thousands of Chinese schoolchildren.

The devices could soon be used on millions of students across China, according to the US tech company which designed them.

Massachusetts-based start-up BrainCo says its Focus 1 headbands can help teachers identify pupils who need extra assistance.

However, neuroscientists have questioned the devices’ effectiveness and the technology has also raised privacy concerns.

The headbands use electroencephalography (EEG) sensors to detect brain activity when the wearer is engaged in a task.

The devices were worn by 10,000 schoolchildren aged between 10 and 17 during a recent trial in China, according to New Scientist.

Teachers monitored pupils’ attention using an app which received information from the headbands. Lights on the front of the devices also show different colours for varying concentration levels, flagging to staff if students are not paying attention.

Students also played a smartphone game aimed at improving their concentration for 25 minutes at home each day.

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