The US National Security State Is Using Coronavirus To Drive Authoritarian Technocracy

It is imperative to understand that the “Great Panic of 2020” is engineered around the pandemic by Technocrats who are driven to take over and control the whole planet, and especially the United States.

The US government is already compliant toward Technocracy, but the American people are not. Until the soul of liberty is crushed in America, Technocrats will not have their way with us or the rest of the world. ⁃ TN Editor

Last year, a U.S. government body dedicated to examining how artificial intelligence can “address the national security and defense needs of the United States” discussed in detail the “structural” changes that the American economy and society must undergo in order to ensure a technological advantage over China, according to a recent document acquired through a FOIA request. This document suggests that the U.S. follow China’s lead and even surpass them in many aspects related to AI-driven technologies, particularly their use of mass surveillance. This perspective clearly clashes with the public rhetoric of prominent U.S. government officials and politicians on China, who have labeled the Chinese government’s technology investments and export of its surveillance systems and other technologies as a major “threat” to Americans’ “way of life.”

In addition, many of the steps for the implementation of such a program in the U.S., as laid out in this newly available document, are currently being promoted and implemented as part of the government’s response to the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. This likely due to the fact that many members of this same body have considerable overlap with the taskforces and advisors currently guiding the government’s plans to “re-open the economy” and efforts to use technology to respond to the current crisis.

The FOIA document, obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), was produced by a little-known U.S. government organization called the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). It was created by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its official purpose is “to consider the methods and means necessary to advance the development of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.”

The NSCAI is a key part of the government’s response to what is often referred to as the coming “fourth industrial revolution,” which has been described as “a revolution characterized by discontinuous technological development in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, fifth-generation telecommunications networking (5G), nanotechnology and biotechnology, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and quantum computing.”

However, their main focus is ensuring that “the United States … maintain a technological advantage in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other associated technologies related to national security and defense.” The vice-chair of NSCAI, Robert Work – former Deputy Secretary of Defense and senior fellow at the hawkish Center for a New American Security (CNAS)described the commission’s purpose as determining “how the U.S. national security apparatus should approach artificial intelligence, including a focus on how the government can work with industry to compete with China’s ‘civil-military fusion’ concept.”

The recently released NSCAI document is a May 2019 presentation entitled “Chinese Tech Landscape Overview.” Throughout the presentation, the NSCAI promotes the overhaul of the U.S. economy and way of life as necessary for allowing the U.S. to ensure it holds a considerable technological advantage over China, as losing this advantage is currently deemed a major “national security” issue by the U.S. national security apparatus. This concern about maintaining a technological advantage can be seen in several other U.S. military documents and think tank reports, several of which have warned that the U.S.’ technological advantage is quickly eroding.

The U.S. government and establishment media outlets often blame alleged Chinese espionage or the Chinese government’s more explicit partnerships with private technology companies in support of their claim that the U.S. is losing this advantage over China. For instance, Chris Darby, the current CEO of the CIA’s In-Q-Tel, who is also on the NSCAI, told CBS News last year that China is the U.S.’ main competitor in terms of technology and that U.S. privacy laws were hampering the U.S.’ capacity to counter China in this regard, stating that:

“[D]ata is the new oil. And China is just awash with data. And they don’t have the same restraints that we do around collecting it and using it, because of the privacy difference between our countries. This notion that they have the largest labeled data set in the world is going to be a huge strength for them.”

In another example, Michael Dempsey – former acting Director of National Intelligence and currently a government-funded fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations – argued in The Hill that:

“It’s quite clear, though, that China is determined to erase our technological advantage, and is committing hundreds of billions of dollars to this effort. In particular, China is determined to be a world leader in such areas as artificial intelligence, high performance computing, and synthetic biology. These are the industries that will shape life on the planet and the military balance of power for the next several decades.”

In fact, the national security apparatus of the United States is so concerned about losing a technological edge over China that the Pentagon recently decided to join forces directly with the U.S. intelligence community in order “to get in front of Chinese advances in artificial intelligence.” This union resulted in the creation of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), which ties together “the military’s efforts with those of the Intelligence Community, allowing them to combine efforts in a breakneck push to move government’s AI initiatives forward.” It also coordinates with other government agencies, industry, academics, and U.S. allies. Robert Work, who subsequently became the NSCAI vice-chair, said at the time that JAIC’s creation was a “welcome first step in response to Chinese, and to a lesser extent, Russian, plans to dominate these technologies.”

Similar concerns about “losing” technological advantage to China have also been voiced by the NSCAI chairman, Eric Schmidt, the former head of Alphabet – Google’s parent company, who argued in February in the New York Times that Silicon Valley could soon lose “the technology wars” to China if the U.S. government doesn’t take action. Thus, the three main groups represented within the NSCAI – the intelligence community, the Pentagon and Silicon Valley – all view China’s advancements in AI as a major national security threat (and in Silicon Valley’s case, threat to their bottom lines and market shares) that must be tackled quickly.

Targeting China’s “adoption advantage”

In the May 2019 “Chinese Tech Landscape Overview” presentation, the NSCAI discusses that, while the U.S. still leads in the “creation” stage of AI and related technologies, it lags behind China in the “adoption” stage due to “structural factors.” It says that “creation”, followed by “adoption” and “iteration” are the three phases of the “life cycle of new tech” and asserts that failing to dominate in the “adoption” stage will allow China to “leapfrog” the U.S. and dominate AI for the foreseeable future.

The presentation also argues that, in order to “leapfrog” competitors in emerging markets, what is needed is not “individual brilliance” but instead specific “structural conditions that exist within certain markets.” It cites several case studies where China is considered to be “leapfrogging” the U.S. due to major differences in these “structural factors.” Thus, the insinuation of the document (though not directly stated) is that the U.S. must alter the “structural factors” that are currently responsible for its lagging behind China in the “adoption” phase of AI-driven technologies.

Chief among the troublesome “structural factors” highlighted in this presentation are so-called “legacy systems” that are common in the U.S. but much less so in China. The NSCAI document states that examples of “legacy systems” include a financial system that still utilizes cash and card payments, individual car ownership and even receiving medical attention from a human doctor. It states that, while these “legacy systems” in the US are “good enough,” too many “good enough” systems “hinder the adoption of new things,” specifically AI-driven systems.

Another structural factor deemed by the NSCAI to be an obstacle to the U.S.’ ability to maintain a technological advantage over China is the “scale of the consumer market,” arguing that “extreme urban density = on-demand service adoption.” In other words, extreme urbanization results in more people using online or mobile-based “on-demand” services, ranging from ride-sharing to online shopping. It also cites the use of mass surveillance on China’s “huge population base” is an example of how China’s “scale of consumer market” advantage allowing “China to leap ahead” in the fields of related technologies, like facial recognition.

In addition to the alleged shortcomings of the U.S.’ “legacy systems” and lack of “extreme urban density,” the NSCAI also calls for more “explicit government support and involvement” as a means to speed up the adoption of these systems in the U.S. This includes the government lending its stores of data on civilians to train AI, specifically citing facial recognition databases, and mandating that cities be “re-architected around AVs [autonomous vehicles],” among others. Other examples given include the government investing large amounts of money in AI start-ups and adding tech behemoths to a national, public-private AI taskforce focused on smart city-implementation (among other things).

With regards to the latter, the document says “this level of public-private cooperation” in China is “outwardly embraced” by the parties involved, with this “serving as a stark contrast to the controversy around Silicon Valley selling to the U.S. government.” Examples of such controversy, from the NSCAI’s perspective, likely include Google employees petitioning to end the Google-Pentagon “Project Maven,” which uses Google’s AI software to analyze footage captured by drones. Google eventually chose not to renew its Maven contract as a result of the controversy, even though top Google executives viewed the project as a “golden opportunity” to collaborate more closely with the military and intelligence communities.

The document also defines another aspect of government support as the “clearing of regulatory barriers.” This term is used in the document specifically with respect to U.S. privacy laws, despite the fact that the U.S. national security state has long violated these laws with near complete impunity. However, the document seems to suggest that privacy laws in the U.S. should be altered so that what the U.S. government has done “in secret” with private citizen data can be done more openly and more extensively. The NSCAI document also discusses the removal of “regulatory barriers” in order to speed up the adoption of self-driving cars, even though autonomous driving technology has resulted in several deadly and horrific car accidents and presents other safety concerns.

Also discussed is how China’s “adoption advantage” will “allow it to leapfrog the U.S.” in several new fields, including “AI medical diagnosis” and “smart cities.” It then asserts that “the future will be decided at the intersection of private enterprise and policy leaders between China and the U.S.” If this coordination over the global AI market does not occur, the document warns that “we [the U.S.] risk being left out of the discussions where norms around AI are set for the rest of our lifetimes.”

The presentation also dwells considerably on how “the main battleground [in technology] are not the domestic Chinese and US markets,” but what it refers to as the NBU (next billion users) markets, where it states that “Chinese players will aggressively challenge Silicon Valley.” In order to challenge them more successfully, the presentation argues that, “just like we [view] the market of teenagers as a harbinger for new trends, we should look at China.”

The document also expresses concerns about China exporting AI more extensively and intensively than the U.S., saying that China is “already crossing borders” by helping to build facial databases in Zimbabwe and selling image recognition and smart city systems to Malaysia. If allowed to become “the unambiguous leader in AI,” it says that “China could end up writing much of the rulebook of international norms around the deployment of AI” and that it would “broaden China’s sphere of influence amongst an international community that increasingly looks to the pragmatic authoritarianism of China and Singapore as an alternative to Western liberal democracy.”

What will replace the US’ “legacy systems”?

Given that the document makes it quite clear that “legacy systems” in the U.S. are impeding its ability to prevent China from “leapfrogging” ahead in AI and then dominating it for the foreseeable future, it is also important to examine what the document suggests should replace these “legacy systems” in the U.S.

As previously mentioned, one “legacy system” cited early on in the presentation is the main means of payment for most Americans, cash and credit/debit cards. The presentation asserts, in contrast to these “legacy systems” that the best and most advanced system is moving entirely to smartphone-based digital wallets.

It notes specifically the main mobile wallet provider in India, PayTM, is majority owned by Chinese companies. It quotes an article, which states that “a big break came [in 2016] when India canceled 86% of currency in circulation in an effort to cut corruption and bring more people into the tax net by forcing them to use less cash.” At the time, claims that India’s 2016 “currency reform” would be used as a stepping stone towards a cashless society were dismissed by some as “conspiracy theory.” However, last year, a committee convened by India’s central bank (and led by an Indian tech oligarch who also created India’s massive civilian biometric database) resulted in the Indian government’s “Cashless India” program.

Regarding India’s 2016 “currency reform,” the NSCAI document then asserts that “this would be unfathomable in the West. And unsurprisingly, when 86% of the cash got cancelled and nobody had a credit card, mobile wallets in India exploded, laying the groundwork for a far more advanced payments ecosystem in India than the US.” However, it has become increasingly less unfathomable in light of the current coronavirus crisis, which has seen efforts to reduce the amount of cash used because paper bills may carry the virus as well as efforts to introduce a Federal Reserve-backed “digital dollar.”

In addition, the NSCAI document from last May calls for the end of in-person shopping and promotes moving towards all shopping being performed online. It argues that “American companies have a lot to gain by adopting ideas from Chinese companies” by shifting towards exclusive e-commerce purchasing options. It states that only shopping online provides a “great experience” and also adds that “when buying online is literally the only way to get what you want, consumers go online.”

Another “legacy system” that the NSCAI seeks to overhaul is car ownership, as it promotes autonomous, or self-driving vehicles and further asserts that “fleet ownership > individual ownership.” It specifically points to a need for “a centralized ride-sharing network,” which it says “is needed to coordinate cars to achieve near 100% utilization rates.” However, it warns against ride-sharing networks that “need a human operator paired with each vehicle” and also asserts that “fleet ownership makes more sense” than individual car ownership. It also specifically calls for these fleets to not only be composed of self-driving cars, but electric cars and cites reports that China “has the world’s most aggressive electric vehicle goals….and seek[s] the lead in an emerging industry.”

The document states that China leads in ride-sharing today even though ride-sharing was pioneered first in the U.S. It asserts once again that the U.S. “legacy system” of individual car ownership and lack of “extreme urban density” are responsible for China’s dominance in this area. It also predicts that China will “achieve mass autonomous [vehicle] adoption before the U.S.,” largely because “the lack of mass car ownership [in China] leads to far more consumer receptiveness to AVs [autonomous vehicles].” It then notes that “earlier mass adoption leads to a virtuous cycle that allows Chinese core self-driving tech to accelerate beyond [its] Western counterparts.”

In addition to their vision for a future financial system and future self-driving transport system, the NSCAI has a similarly dystopian vision for surveillance. The document calls mass surveillance “one of the ‘first-and-best customers’ for AI” and “a killer application for deep learning.” It also states that “having streets carpeted with cameras is good infrastructure.”

It then discusses how “an entire generation of AI unicorn” companies are “collecting the bulk of their early revenue from government security contracts” and praises the use of AI in facilitating policing activities. For instance, it lauds reports that “police are making convictions based on phone calls monitored with iFlyTek’s voice-recognition technology” and that “police departments are using [AI] facial recognition tech to assist in everything from catching traffic law violators to resolving murder cases.”

On the point of facial recognition technology specifically, the NSCAI document asserts that China has “leapt ahead” of the US on facial recognition, even though “breakthroughs in using machine learning for image recognition initially occurred in the US.” It claims that China’s advantage in this instance is because they have government-implemented mass surveillance (“clearing of regulatory barriers”), enormous government-provided stores of data (“explicit government support”) combined with private sector databases on a huge population base (“scale of consumer market”). As a consequence of this, the NSCAI argues, China is also set to leap ahead of the U.S. in both image/facial recognition and biometrics.

The document also points to another glaring difference between the U.S. and its rival, stating that: “In the press and politics of America and Europe, Al is painted as something to be feared that is eroding privacy and stealing jobs. Conversely, China views it as both a tool for solving major macroeconomic challenges in order to sustain their economic miracle, and an opportunity to take technological leadership on the global stage.”

The NSCAI document also touches on the area of healthcare, calling for the implementation of a system that seems to be becoming reality thanks to the current coronavirus crisis. In discussing the use of AI in healthcare (almost a year before the current crisis began), it states that “China could lead the world in this sector” and “this could lead to them exporting their tech and setting international norms.” One reason for this is also that China has “far too few doctors for the population” and calls having enough doctors for in-person visits a “legacy system.” It also cited U.S. regulatory measures such as “HIPPA compliance and FDA approval” as obstacles that don’t constrain Chinese authorities.

More troubling, it argues that “the potential impact of government supplied data is even more significant in biology and healthcare,” and says it is likely that “the Chinese government [will] require every single citizen to have their DNA sequenced and stored in government databases, something nearly impossible to imagine in places as privacy conscious as the U.S. and Europe.” It continues by saying that “the Chinese apparatus is well-equipped to take advantage” and calls these civilian DNA databases a “logical next step.”

Who are the NSCAI?

Given the sweeping changes to the U.S. that the NSCAI promoted in this presentation last May, it becomes important to examine who makes up the commission and to consider their influence over U.S. policy on these matters, particularly during the current crisis. As previously mentioned, the chairman of the NSCAI is Eric Schmidt, the former head of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) who has also invested heavily in Israeli intelligence-linked tech companies including the controversial start-up “incubator” Team8. In addition, the committee’s vice-chair is Robert Work, is not only a former top Pentagon official, but is currently working with the think tank CNAS, which is run by John McCain’s long-time foreign policy adviser and Joe Biden’s former national security adviser.

Other members of the NSCAI are as follows:

  • Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, with close ties to Trump’s top donor Sheldon Adelson
  • Steve Chien, supervisor of the Artificial Intelligence Group at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Lab
  • Mignon Clyburn, Open Society Foundation fellow and former FCC commissioner
  • Chris Darby, CEO of In-Q-Tel (CIA’s venture capital arm)
  • Ken Ford, CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
  • Jose-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University and former National Science Board member
  • Eric Horvitz, director of Microsoft Research Labs
  • Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (CIA contractor)
  • Gilman Louie, partner at Alsop Louie Partners and former CEO of In-Q-Tel
  • William Mark, director of SRI International and former Lockheed Martin director
  • Jason Matheny, director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, former Assistant director of National Intelligence and former director of IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Project Agency)
  • Katharina McFarland, consultant at Cypress International and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition
  • Andrew Moore, head of Google Cloud AI

As can be seen in the list above, there is a considerable amount of overlap between the NSCAI and the companies currently advising the White House on “re-opening” the economy (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Lockheed Martin, Oracle) and one NSCAI member, Oracle’s Safra Katz, is on the White House’s “economic revival” taskforce. Also, there is also overlap between the NSCAI and the companies that are intimately involved in the implementation of the “contact tracing” “coronavirus surveillance system,” a mass surveillance system promoted by the Jared Kushner-led, private-sector coronavirus task force. That surveillance system is set to be constructed by companies with deep ties to Google and the U.S. national security state, and both Google and Apple, who create the operating systems for the vast majority of smartphones used in the U.S., have said they will now build that surveillance system directly into their smartphone operating systems.

Also notable is the fact that In-Q-Tel and the U.S. intelligence community has considerable representation on the NSCAI and that they also boast close ties with Google, Palantir and other Silicon Valley giants, having been early investors in those companies. Both Google and Palantir, as well as Amazon (also on the NSCAI) are also major contractors for U.S. intelligence agencies. In-Q-Tel’s involvement on the NSCAI is also significant because they have been heavily promoting mass surveillance of consumer electronic devices for use in pandemics for the past several years. Much of that push has come from In-Q-Tel’s current Executive Vice President Tara O’Toole, who was previously the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and also co-authored several controversial biowarfare/pandemic simulations, such as Dark Winter.

In addition, since at least January, the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have been at the forefront of developing the U.S. government’s still-classified “9/11-style” response plans for the coronavirus crisis, alongside the National Security Council. Few news organizations have noted that these classified response plans, which are set to be triggered if and when the U.S. reaches a certain number of coronavirus cases, has been created largely by elements of the national security state (i.e. the NSC, Pentagon, and intelligence), as opposed to civilian agencies or those focused on public health issues.

Furthermore, it has been reported that the U.S. intelligence community as well as U.S. military intelligence knew by at least January (though recent reports have said as early as last November) that the coronavirus crisis would reach “pandemic proportions” by March. The American public were not warned, but elite members of the business and political classes were apparently informed, given the record numbers of CEO resignations in January and several high-profile insider trading allegations that preceded the current crisis by a matter of weeks.

Perhaps even more disconcerting is the added fact that the U.S. government not only participated in the eerily prescient pandemic simulation last October known as Event 201, it also led a series of pandemic response simulations last year. Crimson Contagion was a series of four simulations that involved 19 U.S. federal agencies, including intelligence and the military, as well as 12 different states and a host of private sector companies that simulated a devastating pandemic influenza outbreak that had originated in China. It was led by the current HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Robert Kadlec, who is a former lobbyist for military and intelligence contractors and a Bush-era homeland security “bioterrorism” advisor.

In addition, both Kadlec and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which was intimately involved in Event 201, have direct ties to the controversial June 2001 biowarfare exercise “Dark Winter,” which predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks that transpired just months later in disturbing ways. Though efforts by media and government were made to blame the anthrax attacks on a foreign source, the anthrax was later found to have originated at a U.S. bioweapons lab and the FBI investigation into the case has been widely regarded as a cover-up, including by the FBI’s once-lead investigator on that case.

Given the above, it is worth asking if those who share the NSCAI’s vision saw the coronavirus pandemic early on as an opportunity to make the “structural changes” it had deemed essential to countering China’s lead in the mass adoption of AI-driven technologies, especially considering that many of the changes in the May 2019 document are now quickly taking place under the guise of combatting the coronavirus crisis.

The NSCAI’s vision takes shape

Though the May 2019 NSCAI document was authored nearly a year ago, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in the implementation of many of the changes and the removal of many of the “structural” obstacles that the commission argued needed to be drastically altered in order to ensure a technological advantage over China in the field of AI. The aforementioned move away from cash, which is taking place not just in the U.S. but internationally, is just one example of many.

For instance, earlier this week CNN reported that grocery stores are now considering banning in-person shopping and that the U.S. Department of Labor has recommended that retailers nationwide start “‘using a drive-through window or offering curbside pick-up’ to protect workers for exposure to coronavirus.” In addition, last week, the state of Florida approved an online-purchase plan for low income families using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Other reports have argued that social distancing inside grocery stores is ineffective and endangering people’s lives. As previously mentioned, the May 2019 NSCAI document argues that moving away from in-person shopping is necessary to mitigate China’s “adoption advantage” and also argued that “when buying online is literally the only way to get what you want, consumers go online.”

Reports have also argued that these changes in shopping will last far beyond coronavirus, such as an article by Business Insider entitled “The coronavirus pandemic is pushing more people online and will forever change how Americans shop for groceries, experts say.” Those cited in the piece argue that this shift away from in-person shopping will be “permanent” and also states that “More people are trying these services than otherwise would have without this catalyst and gives online players a greater chance to acquire and keep a new customer base.” A similar article in Yahoo! News argues that, thanks to the current crisis, “our dependence on online shopping will only rise because no one wants to catch a virus at a shop.”

In addition, the push towards the mass use of self-driving cars has also gotten a boost thanks to coronavirus, with driverless cars now making on-demand deliveries in California. Two companies, one Chinese-owned and the other backed by Japan’s SoftBank, have since been approved to have their self-driving cars used on California roads and that approval was expedited due to the coronavirus crisis. The CPO of Nuro Inc., the SoftBank-backed company, was quoted in Bloomberg as saying that “The Covid-19 pandemic has expedited the public need for contactless delivery services. Our R2 fleet is custom-designed to change the very nature of driving and the movement of goods by allowing people to remain safely at home while their groceries, medicines, and packages are brought to them.” Notably, the May 2019 NSCAI document references the inter-connected web of SoftBank-backed companies, particularly those backed by its largely Saudi-funded “Vision Fund,” as forming “the connective tissue for a global federation of tech companies” set to dominate AI.

California isn’t the only state to start using self-driving cars, as the Mayo Clinic of Florida is now also using them. “Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus by using cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients,” Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida stated in a recent press release cited by Mic.

Like the changes to in-person shopping in the age of coronavirus, other reports assert that self-driving vehicles are here to stay. One report published by Mashable is entitled “It took a coronavirus outbreak for self-driving cars to become more appealing,” and opens by stating “Suddenly, a future full of self-driving cars isn’t just a sci-fi pipe dream. What used to be considered a scary, uncertain technology for many Americans looks more like an effective tool to protect ourselves from a fast-spreading, infectious disease.” It further argues that this is hardly a “fleeting shift” in driving habits and one tech CEO cited in the piece, Anuja Sonalker of Steer Tech, claims that “There has been a distinct warming up to human-less, contactless technology. Humans are biohazards, machines are not.”

Another focus of the NSCAI presentation, AI medicine, has also seen its star rise in recent weeks. For instance, several reports have touted how AI-driven drug discovery platforms have been able to identify potential treatments for coronavirus. Microsoft, whose research lab director is on the NSCAI, recently put $20 million into its “AI for health” program to speed up the use of AI in analyzing coronavirus data. In addition, “telemedicine”– a form of remote medical care – has also become widely adopted due to the coronavirus crisis.

Several other AI-driven technologies have similarly become more widely adopted thanks to coronavirus, including the use of mass surveillance for “contact tracing” as well as facial recognition technology and biometrics. A recent Wall Street Journal report stated that the government is seriously considering both contact tracing via phone geolocation data and facial recognition technology in order to track those who might have coronavirus. In addition, private businesses – like grocery stores and restaurants – are using sensors and facial recognition to see how many people and which people are entering their stores.

As far as biometrics go, university researchers are now working to determine if “smartphones and biometric wearables already contain the data we need to know if we have become infected with the novel coronavirus.” Those efforts seek to detect coronavirus infections early by analyzing “sleep schedules, oxygen levels, activity levels and heart rate” based on smartphone apps like FitBit and smartwatches. In countries outside the U.S., biometric IDs are being touted as a way to track those who have and lack immunity to coronavirus.

In addition, one report in The Edge argued that the current crisis is changing what types of biometrics should be used, asserting that a shift towards thermal scanning and facial recognition is necessary:

“At this critical juncture of the crisis, any integrated facial recognition and thermal scanning solution must be implemented easily, rapidly and in a cost-effective manner. Workers returning to offices or factories must not have to scramble to learn a new process or fumble with declaration forms. They must feel safe and healthy for them to work productively. They just have to look at the camera and smile. Cameras and thermal scanners, supported by a cloud-based solution and the appropriate software protocols, will do the rest.”

Also benefiting from the coronavirus crisis is the concept of “smart cities,” with Forbes recently writing that “Smart cities can help us combat the coronavirus pandemic.” That article states that “Governments and local authorities are using smart city technology, sensors and data to trace the contacts of people infected with the coronavirus. At the same time, smart cities are also helping in efforts to determine whether social distancing rules are being followed.”

That article in Forbes also contains the following passage:

“…[T]he use of masses of connected sensors makes it clear that the coronavirus pandemic is–intentionally or not–being used as a testbed for new surveillance technologies that may threaten privacy and civil liberties. So aside from being a global health crisis, the coronavirus has effectively become an experiment in how to monitor and control people at scale.”

Another report in The Guardian states that “If one of the government takeaways from coronavirus is that ‘smart cities’ including Songdo or Shenzhen are safer cities from a public health perspective, then we can expect greater efforts to digitally capture and record our behaviour in urban areas – and fiercer debates over the power such surveillance hands to corporations and states.” There have also been reports that assert that typical cities are “woefully unprepared” to face pandemics compared to “smart cities.”

Yet, beyond many of the NSCAI’s specific concerns regarding mass AI adoption being conveniently resolved by the current crisis, there has also been a concerted effort to change the public’s perception of AI in general. As previously mentioned, the NSCAI had pointed out last year that:

“In the press and politics of America and Europe, Al is painted as something to be feared that is eroding privacy and stealing jobs. Conversely, China views it as both a tool for solving major macroeconomic challenges in order to sustain their economic miracle, and an opportunity to take technological leadership on the global stage.”

Now, less than a year later, the coronavirus crisis has helped spawn a slew of headlines in just the last few weeks that paint AI very differently, including “How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Fight Coronavirus,” “How AI May Prevent the Next Coronavirus Outbreak,” “AI Becomes an Ally in the Fight Against COVID-19,” “Coronavirus: AI steps up in battle against COVID-19,” and “Here’s How AI Can Help Africa Fight the Coronavirus,” among numerous others.

It is indeed striking how the coronavirus crisis has seemingly fulfilled the NSCAI’s entire wishlist and removed many of the obstacles to the mass adoption of AI technologies in the United States. Like major crises of the past, the national security state appears to be using the chaos and fear to promote and implement initiatives that would be normally rejected by Americans and, if history is any indicator, these new changes will remain long after the coronavirus crisis fades from the news cycle. It is essential that these so-called “solutions” be recognized for what they are and that we consider what type of world they will end up creating – an authoritarian technocracy. We ignore the rapid advance of these NSCAI-promoted initiatives and the phasing out of so-called “legacy systems” (and with them, many long-cherished freedoms) at our own peril.

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Technocrats Are The Quiet Revolutionaries Hiding In Government

This is an important article from Australia that correctly identifies Technocracy in its historical context and modern Technocrats who are the radical and hidden danger hiding behind political structures and politicians. ⁃ TN Editor

The familiar sight on television screens over the past few months of the prime minister and the state and territory leaders flanked by, and often deferring to, their senior health experts, suggests a comfortable, and wholly workable, relationship between those elected to govern and those with particular expertise to contribute.

There is little in what we have been watching to indicate tensions – yet, the ongoing debate about the appropriate role of experts in a democracy reveals tensions aplenty. Indeed,

it might be argued that there is no more pressing problem in both public policy and democratic thought than this relationship between the rulers and the experts, and by implication, between what people want and what experts agree to. It is not just a dry academic argument.

The highly contested role of experts in government is now widely seen as a major contributing factor to the global surge in populism as populist leaders urge people to “take back their lives”. It is a significant factor in the current rise of nationalism in Europe, with populists leading the charge against the “undemocratic technocracy” of the European Union; it played a crucial role in the Brexit debate that led Britain out of the EU; and it is very much a part of Donald Trump’s America.

The parameters of the discussion are broad in the extreme. They range from zealots at one end of the spectrum arguing for the replacement of politicians by experts in a system in which leaders are chosen for their relevant skills and proven performance, as opposed to whether or not they fit the majority interests of a population, to the other end of the spectrum represented by Donald Trump who, according to Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig in their book, A Very Stable Genius, repeatedly told his chief of staff John Kelly when lining up experts to brief him: “I don’t want to talk to anyone. I know more than they do. I know better than anybody else.”

The idea of technocracy began to develop in the early 20th century as a public policy concept designed to advocate the application of the scientific method to solving social problems.

The term was coined by the American engineer William Henry Smyth in 1919, and adopted as a key theme by the sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen in his influential book, Engineers and the Price System (1921).

It was further popularised by James Burnham in his widely read The Managerial Revolution (1941). The term has come to mean “government by technical decision making.”

As a social movement, technocracy gained prominence, predominantly in the United States and Canada (but also in Germany and the Soviet Union) briefly in the 1930s, advocating the replacement of elected politicians and business people with scientists, engineers and economists who had the technical expertise to manage the economy and address the problems of the Great Depression.

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Anthony Fauci: The Consummate Unelected, Unaccountable, Technocrat

Wesley Smith correctly points out that freedom at the hands of Technocrats is an oxymoron. Science should properly advise political leaders, but it has no ability to determine or create public policy and should not be allowed to dominate it. ⁃ TN Editor

In recent months, as a vicious pandemic spread out of China, an emerging technocracy—rule by experts—threatened to seize control of much of our public life.

When National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and other infectious disease specialists instructed us to self-isolate, President Donald Trump “shut it [the economy] down.”

Governors issued executive orders shuttering restaurants and hair salons. Mayors banned private gatherings. Funerals—even at the graveside—became grieving ceremonies that most were forbidden to attend. As for beaches and public parks, they became ghost zones.

The policy purpose behind our national quasi-home arrest was to “flatten the curve” of new COVID-19 cases to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed—as happened terrifyingly in Northern Italy. Whether or not our insipidly termed “alone together” national isolation was effective—I think it probably was—we can all give thanks that hospitals did not collapse, and draconian triage measures such as Italy imposed were never required.

But that laudable success came at a terrible toll. Tens of millions were thrown out of work. Despite concerted government efforts to shore up the economy, the small-business sector imploded—some shops and restaurants never to reopen. Uber and taxi drivers lost countless fares. Parking lot attendants and airport shop workers became unemployed. Major corporations faced bankruptcy.

Greater Control

One would have thought that the legal lockdowns were sufficiently restrictive. But once power has been tasted, the human tendency is to grab for ever greater control.

Soon, media pundits and politicians began to refer ominously to a less vibrant, prosperous, and free “new normal.” Flattening the curve quickly metamorphosed from a temporary measure to save hospitals into a permanent effort to prevent anyone from getting sick.

“Experts,” such as the bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel—a prime architect of the Affordable Care Act—told us with presumed authority, that we could not return to the way things were until a vaccine was developed, a time Emanuel estimated to be potentially as long as 18 months.

Justifying seizing greater control under the mantra, “if it saves just one life,” some of our most influential experts began pounding the drum to make a future COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for everyone. A committee of the New York Bar Association urged the organization to support legislation toward that end.

Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz went so far as to tell an interviewer that “the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor’s office and plunge a needle into your arm.”

Mask Confusion

Then, there was the less-intrusive question of masks. Initially, Fauci opined that masks did little good and should mainly be worn by health care providers. But soon, the CDC changed its guidelines urging that we all wear cloth coverings in public places. Most of us went along. Better safe than sorry, after all. We wanted to do our part.

But voluntary submission wasn’t enough for our would-be overlords. Many urged the passage of legal mandates. In a co-authored New York Times op-ed, Emanuel—sniffing that “face mask compliance this side of the Pacific has been uneven”—urged that wearing masks be made mandatory.

To avoid a popular “backlash,” Emanuel implored our neo-patrician entertainment celebrities, sports stars, and politicians to model mask-wearing as a means of normalizing it among us plebeians. Some governors promptly saluted and issued mandatory “wear masks” orders.

Are these mask mandates medically necessary? According to the latest “science,” for most of us, it would seem not, most of the time. For example, a report recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine discussing masking in the health care facility context, also contained illuminating information about our general circumstances:

“We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.”

Oops. Then, what might be the point of wearing masks when it is not an effective prophylactic? “Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution,” the scientist wrote, “may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety.”

The World Health Organization appeared to strike another blow against the necessity of imposing technocratic mandates when a WHO scientist stated that transmission by asymptomatic patients “is very rare.” That would mean that the number of potential transmitters of the virus at any given time is far lower than originally thought, which has great public policy implications.

Apparently, the technocratic class understood that potential, too. The next day, after much establishment screaming, the scientist took back her “very rare” characterization, now saying that about 16 percent of infected people are asymptomatic and “able to transmit the virus.” (WHO’s confusion—another WHO “expert” said, “There is much that is not known”—doesn’t change the point of this essay, but it does raise the question of whether we can trust “the experts,” considering the part played by political pressure in such pronouncements. But that is a question that will have to wait for another essay.)

Technocracy Temptation

These shifts in—and befuddled utterances about—our scientific understanding should staunch the drive for technocratic mandates. Our leaders don’t rule. They govern. Other than in circumstances of close personal contact over extended time in health care facilities and other risky places, legally requiring masks—when it provides scant prophylactic benefit—would be merely to harness the power of symbolism as an outward manifestation of obedience to the technocratic order. That isn’t a proper purpose of public policy.

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Yale: Technocracy Has Fallen And Can’t Get Up?

Yale University is saying that Technocracy is being rejected by the current administration, but nothing could be further from the truth. Technocrats are firmly in control, as evidenced by people like Dr. Anthony Fauci setting policies for economic destruction of America. ⁃ TN Editor

As the U.S. faces one of the most severe public health crises in its modern history, there are those who advocate for technocracy as a means to guide the country.

Iziah Thompson, Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of the New York City Comptroller, told The Politic that “technocracy is a very charged term” that can be defined in many ways, but that at its core it would entail “a better run society…that installs a higher degree of power [to] experts in government: bureaucrats that often work irrespective of what political machinations are underway.”

Thompson added that he and others who support technocracy “believe that there is a more scientific way to look at and implement public policy; […and that…] this power must be understood in the context of its balance with democratic control.” Thomson affirmed that protecting democracy is essential, but that the current status quo in the U.S. is flawed and in need of reform—reform which could effectively occur by providing technocrats with greater authority.

Although the United States has never adopted a fully technocratic government, it has long flourished as a global center for the development of scholars and experts. In addition to domestic professionals, the country has nurtured many renowned groups of foreign technocrats such as the Berkeley Mafia and the Chicago Boys, who returned to Indonesia and Chile respectively to apply their technocratic education and successfully catalyze growth in their socioeconomically stagnant nations.

U.S. leaders have also often integrated technocratic elements into governance. Members of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust”—an academic advisory team composed primarily of experts in law and economics—became key advisers to Roosevelt during the Great Depression and were integral in shaping policies such as the New Deal.

Thompson told The Politic that “the reality is that [the United States] federal government did get somewhat more technocratic under the Carter, Clinton and Obama administrations.” One of Thompson’s own professors from the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Tatiana Homonoff, was a part of the Social and Behavioral Science Team in the Obama White House, which aimed to “apply behavioral science insights to the work government agencies did.”

***

Technocracy in the United States has always existed in some form, but has never been truly widely-accepted. As Berman informed The Politic, the two main problems of this system were that it could “bring forth democratic legitimacy problems” and exacerbate “a disjuncture between the ideas of technocrats and the general populace.” Yet in 2020, American technocracy could meet its absolute extinction at the hands of the Trump administration.

Unlike some of his predecessors, Trump has shown great animosity towards expertise. This has been reflected both in his words and in his actions, especially in proposed changes to the federal budget. In 2019, President Trump proposed a $5 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health, a $1 billion cut to the National Science Foundation, and a $2.7 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2020, Trump again proposed deep reductions in government funds—this time to education and science agencies.

The coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted how Trump’s distrust of experts has proven to be a deterrent to the United States’ development. From overestimating the U.S. coronavirus testing capacity, to praising antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment for the coronavirus when this has been proven false by studies, Trump’s statements and decisions have had egregious consequences.

“Lives [have been] lost, plain and simple,” Emil Friedman ‘20, a Political Science major, told The Politic. “Had the administration taken seriously the warnings about COVID-19 in January, tens of thousands of lives would have been saved through better testing, tracking, and strategic stay-at-home orders in order to slow the initial spread.”

Friedman came to Yale in 2016, a few months before Trump was elected president. Possessing a passion for politics, he intended to major in the subject, and aspired to later work for the federal government. Four years later, his plans and those of many of his peers in political science have changed.

“Most of us have shied away from doing federal public policy,” said Friedman. “I decided to go into the private sector, and a lot of my friends have too. It’s difficult to work in a public sector environment where so much [of the] expertise and the content you learned at a place like Yale is totally rejected.”

The Trump administration’s hostile behavior towards expertise deprives the United States of  potential contributions from professionals such as Friedman. This, in turn, promotes dysfunction, as it hinders the development of national human capital, innovation and production.

The president’s disregard of scientific advice and factual information has recently intensified due to the current fragile economy and the pressures of an election year, which motivate him to make decisions based on political bias and personal instinct as opposed to data-based choices that may be beneficial in the long-run but unpopular in the short-run.

Despite the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has often worked to undermine the advice of experts around him. From disbanding advisory boards to limiting speaking time for key scientists in briefings, the Trump administration has done much in an attempt to ensure that the influence of experts does not eclipse that of the president. Highly-skilled health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci—a member of the federal government coronavirus task force and current director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—have constantly been silenced. Despite Fauci’s important role in the government’s COVID-19 response, the White House recently blocked him from testifying in a House of Representatives committee on that same topic.

In a virtual town hall held in late March, Trump claimed—against the advice of health officials who warned him that the worst effects of the pandemic were yet to come—that the U.S. would be open by Easter, and that one couldn’t just “close up the United States of America, the most successful country in the world by far.” This grand promise, filled with characteristic bravado and overconfidence, appealed greatly to Trump’s Republican base, which had been displeased by the inconveniences caused by quarantine.

Yet Trump was unable to fulfill this promise. Instead, the reopening process only began weeks later, a move which a public model predicted would lead to a 70 percent increase in the daily coronavirus death toll from May to June.

“With Trump it’s hard to even discuss technocracy, for he is sort of anti-technocracy,” stated Thompson. “He seems to despise bureaucrats and often trafficks in conspiracy… Trump gives a perfect example of what a technocracy does not call for. The idea of technocrat leadership calls for meritocratic well-paid professionals. These leaders should not have even the slightest hint of the perception of a conflict of interest or corruption.

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The Elite Technocrats Behind The Global ‘Great Reset’

The UN Agenda 2030 with its Sustainable Development Goals is claimed to “ensure peace and prosperity for people and the planet.” The actions are said to tackle poverty and hunger, bring better health and education, reduce inequalities, and save the oceans, forests and the climate. Who can argue against such benevolent goals? But the promised Utopia comes with a price – it sets shackles on our personal freedom.

Global Goals partners

The leading partners of the United Nations Global Goals project reveal the real technocratic agenda that lies behind the polished feel-good facade – it involves a plan to fully integrate mankind into a technological surveillance apparatus overseen by a powerful AI. The current pandemic scare has been a perfect trigger to kickstart this nefarious agenda.

1. The first leading partner is Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, built with the fortune from Microsoft and run by the company’s former CEO Bill Gates. The Foundation is one of the key operatives in implementing the Agenda 2030 plan, together with foundations like Rockefeller FoundationRockefeller Brothers FundFord FoundationBloomberg PhilanthropiesUN Foundation, and Open Society Foundation. They all have their roots in population control/eugenics and represents the global elite that ultimately are running the show and shapes the agenda on a global scale. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has, together with World Economic Forum, had a prominent role in orchestrating the current COVID-19 hysteria as well as the push for a digital ID.

2. The second partner is Avanti Communications, a British world-leading provider of satellite technology to military and government projects. Their satellites are said to “provide secure, rapid and reliable connectivity for government digital inclusion programmes”. They deliver a world-spanning connectivity which may be used to finally realize the old dream of a World Brain where all human activity can be tracked and analysed in real time.

3. The third partner is 2030Vision, a technology partnership “that connects businesses, NGOs and governments with the technology and expertise they need to realize the Goals”. It is founded and chaired by the British semiconductor company ARM and consists of corporations like Microsoft and the German software company SAP together with a number of technology advocacy groups. 2030Vision, which recently merged with World Economic Forums Frontier 2030, is a partnership that connects cross-sector organisations and the advanced technology solutions needed to support the delivery of the Global Goals.

2030Vision Platform will provide a focal point for the mobilisation of a more concerted and cooperative effort to apply advanced technologies to achieve the UN Global Goals.

4. The fourth partner is the multinational tech-giant Google, provider of cloud computing, a leading search engine and web browser, Android cell phone operating system, Youtube, AI solutions, and a companion of everyday life for billions of people that already intimately track users and their behaviors.

5. The fifth partner is the American global payment and technology company Mastercard. A key player in developing the digital ID that will be needed to access basic service and payment in the New International Economic Order that will rise out of the ashes of the old world system. CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga is a member of Council on Foreign Relations as well as World Economic Forums International Business Council.

6. The sixth partner is American corporation Salesforce, a cloud-based software company headed by Marc Benioff (one of the board of directors of World Economic Forum). They are a global leader in customer relationship management through the use of cloud computing, social media, Internet of Things and AI.

7. The seventh partner is UNICEF (United Nations Childrens Fund). A UN agency that will ensure that no child will be left behind from being integrated in the digital panopticon.

The UN Global Goals and the leading partners are closely intertwined with World Economic Forums Fourth Industrial Revolution – a megalomaniac transhumanist plan that will “redefine what it means to be human” and where every aspect of life will be monitored and controlled from above for the “betterment of humanity”.

In its most pessimistic, dehumanized form, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul. (Klaus Schwab)

The Great Reset

The current COVID-19 crisis is seen by the World Economic Forum and its chairman Klaus Schwab as the perfect trigger to implement their grandiose technocratic plan. Big Tech will come to “rescue” the world. In June 2020, Schwab declared, backed up by prominent people like Prince Charles and UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres, Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga, Microsoft President Brad Smith as well as the IMF director Kristalina Georgieva, the need of a Great Reset to restore order in a world steeped in panic, conflict and economic turmoil:

The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that our old systems are not fit anymore for the 21st century. It has laid bare the fundamental lack of social cohesion, fairness, inclusion and equality. Now is the historical moment in time, not only to fight the real virus but to shape the system for the needs of the Post-Corona era. We have a choice to remain passive, which would lead to the amplification of many of the trends we see today. Polarisation, nationalism, rasism, and ultimately increasing social unrest and conflicts. But we have another choice, we can build a new social contract, particularly integrating the next generation, we can change our behavior to be in harmony with nature again, and we can make sure the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are best utilized to provide us with better lives. (Klaus Schwab)

Highlights from the World Economic Forum teleconference (full speeches here):

This techno–fascist recipe will then, in an utmost non-democratic fashion without any public debate or skeptic inquiry, soon be integrated into the agenda of G20 and the European Union – relabeled as the Great Green Deal and with planet-saving qualities. Everything is already in place and, after ostensibly being put on the back burner during the COVID19 crisis, the Climate Change agenda is now back with a vengeance.

We only have one planet and we know that climate change could be the next global disaster with even more dramatic consequences for humankind. We have to decarbonize the economy in the short window still remaining and bring our thinking and behaviour once more into harmony with nature, (Klaus Schwab)

Unsurprisingly, Klaus Schwab fails to mention his own and his cronies’ role in creating this global economic mess in the first place – as it was “foreseen” with stunning accuracy in World Economic Forum’s and Bill Gate’s Event 201 (October 2019) and in the Rockefeller Foundation report Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development (2010).

If we don’t respond and act promptly and wisely, the foxes will soon to be in total control of the henhouse.

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Technocracy, Digital Feudalism And Scientific Dictatorship

This is the essence of Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation: “All this would be something like a type of global technocracy under (pseudo)promises of liberation that serves to feed the established powers.” ⁃ TN Editor

Many speak people are now speaking of ‘Digital Feudalism’, a topic that, for some experts, could be the end of liberal principles, the global drive for domination, vigilance, and absence of personal independence.

Why call it feudalism?

Let us remember that, during the Middle Ages, feudalism was a system of government with economic, social, and political components based on a series of ties and obligations. Specialists now warn that, after the world situation arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are being more dominated than ever, by a global surveillance system, with these same characteristics.

Today there are stronger digital tools, such as Big Data. Personal data is becoming the most valuable commodity in the world. In China, the State knows in real time, using digital tools, where you are, with whom you are, what you do, and even what are you thinking about. According to Byung-Chul Han, a philosopher of South Korean origin and teacher in Berlin, this would be the end of modern liberalism?

All this would be something like a type of global technocracy under (pseudo)promises of liberation that serves to feed the established powers. The idea is that anywhere you are in the world you must forcefully become part of this single community with a common identity striving towards a passive collective, like the ‘Happy World’ described in a visionary way by Aldous Huxley back in 1932.

If those who govern know more about us than we do, how easy will it be for them to manipulate us?

Professor of Communication, Fred Turner says the following: ‘The political vision that created social networks, mistrusts public property and political processes while celebrating digital engineering as an alternative form of government. In his opinion, digital networks have converted the dream of individuality and expressive democracy, into a source of manipulative Utopian wealth.’

Did you know that digital platforms extract great wealth from their user’s data?

According to FutureMajority.org, in 2019, the economic benefit that companies derive from online data, only in the United States totaled $ 80 billion. Social networks like Facebook, platforms like Amazon and digital companies like Google are becoming more and more successful because the personal data of users has become the most valuable product in the world.

The new technological tools can be seen as a great threat, which gradually gain more control over us, mainly those that are used within marketing and products sales in general. In many cases, digital platforms know our preferences better than we do.

Is it OK to live in a society where even our most intimate wishes are known?

Previously, we mentioned the famous ‘Big Data’, where algorithms of technology companies, already know what we are going to want and sell our preferences in the future. For some experts, all this talk of Digital Feudalism is nothing more than an optimized extractive economy, based on the almost infinite availability of raw material (our personal data) that enriches a few companies.

Our Data as Our Property

Perhaps a -solution- would be the legal implementation of the right to the ownership of our Personal Data. That users take their Data into account as personal property, like their houses or cars. Well, then we must demand these right to our privacy, our independence in every space for personal decision-making.

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Big data

Data Is The False Religion Of Technocrats

Data to a Technocrat is like heroin to an drug addict. They lust for it, beg for it, connive for it and manufacture it when there isn’t enough. Data is the life blood of Technocracy that provides for growth. Without data, there are no Technocrats or Technocracy. ⁃ TN Editor

In the false religion of data, heresy is asking for data that is not being collected because it might reveal unpalatably unprofitable realities.
Here’s how every modern con starts: let’s look at the data. Every modern con starts with an earnest appeal to look at the data because the con artist has assembled the data to grease the slides of the con.

We have been indoctrinated into a new and false religion, the faith of data. We’ve been relentlessly indoctrinated with the quasi-religious belief that “data doesn’t lie,” when the reality is that data consistently misleads us because that is the intent.

Nobody in the False Religion of Data ever looks at what we don’t measure because that would uncover disruptive truths. My latest book Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World looks at everything consequential that we don’t measure, and since we don’t measure it, we assume it doesn’t exist. That’s the end-game of the False Religion of Data: what’s actually important isn’t measured and therefore it doesn’t exist, while what is measured is artfully packaged to support a narrative that enriches those behind the screen of “objective data-based science.”

The data-based con can be constructed in any number of ways. A few data points can be cleverly extrapolated to “prove” some self-serving claim, a bit of data can be conjured into a model that just so happens to support the most profitable policy option, inconvenient data points can be covertly deleted via “filtering out the outliers,” statistical trickery can be invoked (with a wave of this magic wand…) to declare semi-random data “statistically significant,” and so on, in an almost endless stream of tricks.
Exhibit #1: the official rate of inflation. Here is the data con elevated to artistry. As I explained in Burrito Index Update: Burrito Cost Triples, Official Inflation Up 43% from 2001 (May 31, 2018), apples-to-apples unmanipulated data shows inflation is dramatically reducing the purchasing power of wages, a dynamic that is unevenly distributed: Inflation Isn’t Evenly Distributed: The Protected Are Fine, the Unprotected Are Impoverished Debt-Serfs (May 25, 2017).

While the official statistics on inflation claim an annual rate of 2.5%, unmanipulated estimates (the Chapwood Index for example) find inflation is north of 10% in major U.S. urban areas.

The official data soothsayers’ bag of tricks include completely bogus, made-up “hedonic adjustments” which magically lower the price of real-world goods and services. Autos are supposedly “cheaper” now because they’re so much safer and reliable. Perhaps, but can we be honest and admit they cost a lot more than they did a generation ago?The poor fools giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the con artists of Big Data Marketing apparently don’t understand the flimsiness of the “science.” As Mark, Jesse and I discuss in our latest Salon, Algorithmic Guerrilla Warfare, a few purposefully misleading data points turn the entire Big Data Marketing “science” into the familar “garbage in, garbage out.”

And so here we are in the midst of a pandemic, and the battles over “what the data tells us” sound more like religious wars than science. Everybody’s in such a hurry to conjure up a profitable con or make grandiose claims for their narrative that what we aren’t measuring is ignored.

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Transhumanism Is The New Religion Of Technocracy

Transhumanism is a metaphysical belief system that immortality can be achieved by applying advanced science to the human condition. It is based on Scientism, as is Technocracy. The Technocracy Utopia would ostensibly be populated by Transhumans. ⁃ TN Editor

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay, “Looking Forward to the End of Humanity”, Adam Kirsch posits a technological push, impelled by the global coronavirus pandemic, that would abolish death:

Eternal life through advanced technology seems like a pipe dream for a society that, until recently, had trouble manufacturing enough masks to save doctors’ and nurses’ lives. Yet Covid-19 may turn out to be just the kind of crisis needed to turbocharge efforts to create what its advocates call a “transhuman” future. With our biological fragility more obvious than ever, many people will be ready to embrace the message of the Transhumanist Declaration, an eight-point program first issued in 1998: “We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering and our confinement to planet Earth.”

There is an abundance of well respected thinkers who believe this is possible, including Google Ventures founder Bill Maris, cited in the article, and Yuval Noah Harari, in his Homo Deus sets the tone early on by declaring:

In the twenty-first century, humans are likely to make a serious bid for immortality….Humans always die due to some technical glitch….Nothing metaphysical about it. It is all technical problems.

Then of course, no discussion techno-utopianism would be complete without Ray Kurzweil, who posits a “technological singularity” which would provide for a personalized and totally controlled universe for every human, one where they would be in complete control to experience whatever they desired, for all eternity, once we all upload our consciousnesses into the cloud.

The WSJ piece hits on the same theme:

Today, cognitive scientists often compare the brain to hardware and the mind to the software that runs on it. But a software program is just information, and in principle there’s no reason why the information of consciousness has to be encoded in neurons.

The Human Connectome Project, launched in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health, describes itself as “an ambitious effort to map the neural pathways that underlie human brain function.” If those pathways could be completely mapped and translated into digital 0s and 1s, the data could be uploaded to a computer, where it could survive indefinitely.

Does any of this sound like heaven? Or paradise? Valhalla? That’s not surprising because Scientism (as distinct from exploration and discovery using the scientific method) has ushered in a new era of material reductionism so that religion, spirituality, or any other non-material aspect of reality that cannot be readily quantified have been stripped of relevance and meaning in our Brave New World.

Something has to fill the void that the absence of religion and spirituality will vacate. In my next book, The Singularity Has Been #Canceled, I posit that this vacuum will be filled with techno-utopian thinking, which will pull forward utopia and everlasting bliss from the next life, and via the promise of expertly managed technology, roll it out into this one.

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New Autonomous City Planned For Remote Techies From Silicon Valley

“Technocrats Unite!” might be more than a catch-phrase if a new autonomous city planned just for them jumps into existence. Autonomous in this instance means independent of any nation-state or other political authority, in other words, a utopian Technate. ⁃ TN Editor

Ex-Uber executive Ryan Rzepecki is looking to build a private, politically autonomous city that would accept the anticipated exodus of Silicon Valley tech workers who are now remote since corporate offices have shuttered.

As The Telegraph’s Margi Murphy reports, Rzepecki wants to use the cash from the $200 million sale of his electric bike company Jump — which he sold to Uber — into developing a plan for such a city.

“More and more people can work remotely and are not tied to existing cities, so there is demand to create new places for them to live, with new regulatory frameworks,” Rzepecki told The Telegraph.Advertisement There isn’t a location attached to the project just yet, but Rzepecki is in contact with urban planners including those at the Charter City Institute. He hopes to eventually leverage his connection with Silicon Valley insiders to make his vision a reality.

A charter city would entail working with a so-called host nation that would designate land for development. In exchange for an economic boost, they would give the okay for the city to operate independently.

Charter cities and the concept of seasteading as a whole have seen a resurgence of interest from Silicon Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a separate Telegraph report. Seasteads are permanent, politically autonomous floating cities that would operate on international waters, free from government oversight and taxes. As more tech companies embrace work-from-home policies and offices remain closed, employees are allowed more freedom to relocate for the foreseeable future.

As it is, surveys have suggested many tech workers are interested in leaving the San Francisco Bay Area for less dense locales, speeding up an “urban flight” from the region’s cities. But others may simply relocate within the Valley and the surrounding areas, like some in San Francisco who are snatching up real estate in the wine country north of the city.

Other top investors in the Valley, including billionaire and Trump advisor Peter Thiel, support the charter city and seastead movements and have poured millions into such projects over the years. As Business Insider’s Aria Bendix reported in mid-2019, floating cities may be a reality — but less so as floating communes for billionaires and more so as a solution for nations grappling with rising sea levels and overcrowding.

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Technocrat Fauci: Americans ‘Don’t Believe Science And They Don’t Believe Authority’

Dr. Anthony Fauci is a true Technocrat who hides behind pseudo-science while shaming, bullying and ridiculing anyone who dares to disagree with him. What American’s don’t believe is his phony-baloney pseudo-science. ⁃ TN Editor
 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the polarising director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, slammed everyday Americans for refusing to go along with ‘authority’ on medical matters, and accused people of ‘amazing denial’ when it comes to ‘truth’.

Speaking on a podcast called Learning Curve, produced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Fauci charged that “unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are — for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable — they just don’t believe science and they don’t believe authority.”

“So when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who’s talking about science, that there are some people who just don’t believe that — and that’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth,” Fauci asserted.

“It’s amazing sometimes the denial there is, it’s the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don’t want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines,” Fauci proclaimed, adding “That’s really a problem.”

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