Shenzen

Behind China’s Success

Like pretty much everybody that is up to date with current events, I’ve been following China’s rise as a high-tech superpower with great interest. The article touches on some very important points concerning innovation while showing some interesting statistics about one of China’s innovation hubs, Shenzhen.

But there’s more than patent applications that will power China’s success. The country’s social system is more competitive than many of its Western adversaries. Many Westerners (including me) would have ethical qualms in toying with genetically engineered human embryos. I’m quite sure that China is willing to go further and faster with such experiments. It is quite possible that this is an even greater game-changer than our so-called efforts into artificial “intelligence”.

Artificial Non-Intelligence

The Danger with Artificial “Intelligence” Is That It’s Not (yet) Intelligent

Albert Einstein once said that “our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal”. He said this in December 1917, almost a hundred years ago, after seeing Europe ravaged by the First World War. Regardless, Einstein continued contributing to that same technological progress. Human curiosity and our desire to achieve are incompatible with stagnation. We will have to deal with this by being careful with the technology we will inevitably develop.

Like many have said before me, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can either be our salvation or our doom. It is a far bigger game-changer than nuclear bombs. But the problem is that there is NO Artificial Intelligence yet, and there won’t be for quite some time to come. Everything that the world’s corporations are selling now-a-days as “smart” or “intelligent” is actually a mindless human construct. Sure, it’s advanced, but if a rocket is more advanced than a spoon, that doesn’t make it in the slightest more intelligent than the spoon. They both lack one of the prime ingredients of intelligence, which is self-awareness. And therein lays the true threat.

Right now, our so-called artificial “intelligence” is nothing but a tool that corporations can and will use ruthlessly against one another (and against the people of one another). This is already taking place on the stock market, something I wrote about last year. Back then, I highlighted the fact that exactly because these algorithms are not intelligent, they will be used to enrich and empower whoever spent money in building them, regardless of their morals or social affiliation. And let’s not forget that software is far easier to steal and smuggle than radioactive material. Put the wrong AI in the hands of the wrong people and…

That Pepsi Commercial

That Pepsi Commercial

I am saddened by the fact that Pepsi took a noble message and a beautiful story only to ruin everything by having a script and implementation so utterly disrespectful towards minorities, women and social classes. Pepsi wants to say “we should look beyond social classes”, but instead highlights the ugly differences that exist between the privileged and the other 99%. The commercial is also a rather sad mix of cliché and kitsch.

Bottom line? It’s bad taste. Just like Pepsi and the rest of the canned sugar industry.

A Dark Side Of Software

A Dark Side of Software

Lying and cheating to get a competitive edge is nothing new and certainly not limited to human beings. But Earth has plenty of resources and there’s no serious threat to our existence in sight (other than ourselves, of course). Because companies affect so many beings, cheating has serious effects.

Thanks to software, never before has cheating had so many ways of staying hidden through complexity and obscurity. Thankfully, some people still have a conscience and this is how we found out about the way Uber, Volkswagen and probably many other companies have stayed above the law and ruined the lives of countless people.

CRISPR Designer Babies

CRISPR. Designer Babies on the Way?

It was bound to happen sooner or later. CRISPR, the acronym associated with a major breakthrough in genetic engineering has just brought us much closer to being able to perform arbitrary changes in living organisms. This is important because it may bring us closer to finding cures for thousands of diseases, create anti-aging treatments and even change features in our unborn children.

EpiPen by Mylan

Big Pharma Finds Itself in the Spotlight Again

Now and then, the dirty tactics of Big Pharma burst out into the open. At the end of 2015, the disgusting maneuvers of Valeant came to light. Then-CEO, Martin Shkreli, laughed at and insulted the representatives of the people. We might sometimes dislike politicians, but the arrogance and greediness of these pharmaceutical companies is absolutely staggering.