Ajit Pai

How Corporations Get to Own the Internet

Once upon a time, governments were major stakeholders in most large-scale technological and scientific ventures. Such projects were either built directly by the government, or by companies in which the people had a lot of say. But all that is far behind us. Now-a-days, government isn’t exactly “the people” anymore. And now, it’s corporations who build the telecommunication infrastructure for tomorrow.

I find it rather sad that as I’m typing this, I am pondering which is worse: having my digital life in the hands of corporations that will exploit it however they see fit, or (/and?) allowing governments to keep encroaching on our privacy and freedom? It’s becoming harder to distinguish between the two, especially as corporations have proven time and again that they can easily buy government.

Smartphone Privacy

Why It’s Not Surprising That Smartphone Privacy Is Going from Bad to Worse

Throughout the past years there have been several high-profile occasions when apps were in the news for questionable tracking strategies. Even applications that do not use novel means of compromising our privacy are gobbling up increasing amounts of data while their creators cash in on the profits obtained from selling the user’s digital life to the highest bidder. At the receiving end of this deluge of spyware are we, the people.

Even for those of us that do read the list of permissions an app requests upon installation, it is hard to avoid installing certain apps because they come with other features that we need. It’s an old trick that is akin to the Trojan horse. This is how these dubious app creators get in our back yard: by offering something that is 90% useful and 10% spyware, but which must be accepted as a whole.

Printing Money Is Sexy

Printing Money Is Sexy

I love the Internet at times like this. Here’s a beautiful answer to a series of pictures that the elite has shamelessly published online. I never really expect empathy from the likes of those that control financial systems, but this way of launching a “money product” is particularly disgusting. Financial honchos have staged a nonchalant photoshoot as if they were fundraising for orphanages. The online response has been hilarious (while in the same time highlighting the sadness of the situation we’re in).

Kids and Screens

Kids and Screens

There’s been a lot of research in the past years regarding exposing children to screens (of various kinds). The “when and how much TV to watch” debate has been raging on for decades (with clear results but with even harder to apply rules, especially as a lot of people seem to not care about the facts).

However, the new screens available to children today, namely mobile phones, pads, portable game consoles and other such interactive entertainment devices are an order of magnitude more powerful when it comes to influencing brain development.

Alarm bells should start ringing when some of the most famous people dealing with technology try to protect their children from these sort of devices.

Machine Learning and Our Future

Machine Learning and Our Future

Machine Learning is all the rage these days. Be it computer vision, speech recognition, pattern matching or high-speed decisional capabilities, this century is the century of software. Like all technological revolutions, there’s potential for miracles and catastrophes.

Large corporations have started to realize that Machine Learning is a way to prevent smaller competitors from threatening them. This is because small companies can’t (yet) afford the huge infrastructure and Big Data investments that ML requires. It’s not surprising then that Microsoft, Google, FaceBook and others have open-sourced ML platforms, trying to attract developers and smaller companies to their ecosystems.

This post will touch on but a few of the changes we can expect in the coming decades thanks to the upcoming advances in Machine Learning. Looking at our history, we can see how the industrial revolution has supercharged our progress as a species. I believe that the Machine Learning revolution will make the industrial revolution seem like a snail in slow motion. This is both hopeful and scary.

Love

Painful Facts about Pornography

When asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” an 8th grade girl replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].” A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys. A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.

This was a quote from the article below. The topic of pornography has been debated a gazillion times but there is now a renewed discussion in the light of what is quickly becoming a torrent of painful social studies. These findings keep popping up increasingly often. Through statistics and surveys, we keep finding a direct connection between pornography and dismal changes in the attitude men have towards women. Were women emancipated only to wake up in an age where their freedom is transformed in a choice of what sort of sex object they want to be?

Petrol Money Poison

Petrol Money Poison

One of the most unfortunate things that can happen to human beings is social disconnection. Depression often causes this. But in today’s article I’ll focus on wealth. A root cause of social disconnection due to wealth is when an unprepared individual attains great wealth. In this situation “unprepared” means not ready to emotionally and rationally adapt to a sudden change of situation. The moral compass of such individuals is vulnerable. In time, many of them end up behaving in ways that would seem unacceptable if they could ask their own younger selves.

Social disconnection also occurs in children born in a situation where vast wealth has already disconnected the entire immediate social group (friends & family) from the way “normal” people live. By “normal people” I mean the statistical average for the standard of living when looking at the entire planet. Children born in socially disconnected families (and this includes royalty) grow and develop using completely different life standards. They don’t even get to opt out of this until much later and sometimes never, something that will in the future probably be considered akin to abuse through deprivation of opportunity (similar to what children in poor, unstable families experience with parents that have a history of substance abuse).

In this post, I’m focusing on a certain social group: petrol-rich citizens from the Middle East. Here’s what that triggered me to write this piece, an article that tells about how Qatar’s billionaires have migrated to the richest areas of the most expensive city (property-wise) in Europe.

Bitcoin Logo

Does Cryptocurrency Have a Future?

The cryptocurrency craze is on! Social media websites have been swarmed by advertisers hoping to entice people to jump on the Bitcoin wagon or tempting them to invest in any of the ICOs (initial coin offerings) popping up almost on a weekly basis for various competing cryptocurrencies. It’s almost hysterical.

The Bitcoin has grown by more than 1200% in about a year. That’s a staggering development no matter who you ask. Many analysts warn that the bubble will soon burst, but they’ve been saying this for months and the Bitcoin is still growing.

How Lack of Touch Damages Men

How the Lack of Touch Is Damaging Men

Most people feel much more comfortable seeing two women holding hands rather than two men, even if the two men are father and son. The men might be brothers, but still, a large part of society will assume some sort of sexual background behind the simple and beautiful act of sharing the sense of touch. And when it comes to sex, the differences in social acceptance between lesbians and gays is even greater. Why is that?

The article below explains the developmental and educational roots of what is one of the most damaging discriminations made by society: starting already from early childhood, men are deprived of platonic touch. This is robbing men of the emotional security that touch brings to most mammals and particularly primates.