News — At The Edge — 2/2

Doc Huston
5 min readFeb 2, 2019

What could possibly go wrong — surveillance capitalism, tech merging with big brother, new communication system — with god on our side?


‘Surveillance capitalism’ has gone rogue. We must curb its excesses.

“[W]e are shifting into a new surveillance-based economic order in which our private experience becomes the free raw material for markets that trade in predictions of our actions…[and] but also to shape it…to automate us….

This digitally informed behavior modification is carefully designed to bypass our awareness…robs us of autonomy, of the freedom to choose our actions and of the right to say ‘no’….

[A] one-way mirror: These firms know everything about us, while their operations are unknowable to us. Their predictions are about us but not for us….

’[A] shadow economy that’s largely unchecked — out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers’….Regulation will require a new framework that strengthens our understanding of privacy rights.[We] need to interrupt and in some cases outlaw

  1. the unilateral claim to private human experience as a free source of raw material and its translation into data;
  2. the exclusive concentrations of knowledge illegitimately gleaned from our behavior;
  3. the manufacture of computational prediction products based on the secret capture of our experience;
  4. the sale of behavioral prediction products.”

Is Big Tech Merging With Big Brother? Kinda Looks Like It —

“[By 2020] China’s social rating system…[will have] every footstep, keystroke, like, dislike, social media contact, and posting tracked by the state…[affecting] ’creditworthiness’ or ‘trustworthiness’…[of] individuals and companies…granting or denying them access to public services like health care, travel, and employment….

Big Brother is an emerging reality…[but] can’t happen here, right?….

[The] big-data monopolists already hoover up behavioral markers and cues on a scale and…then analyze, package, and sell that data….

The speed at which individual-rights-and-privacy-based social arrangements collapse is likely to depend on how fast Big Tech and the American national security apparatus consummate a relationship that has been growing ever closer…because Big Tech is increasingly beholden to Washington, which has little incentive to kill the golden goose that is filling its tax and political coffers….[

Already] Amazon is the sole provider of cloud services across ‘the full range of data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret’…an integrated ‘big data fusion environment’… that allows government analysts to ‘connect the dots’ across all available data sources, whether classified or not….

[This] should send a chill up the spine of anyone who understands how powerful these systems can be and how inherently resistant they are to traditional forms of oversight…. This is the threat that is now emerging in plain sight….

’Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency….

This is surveillance’….

[Amazons] especially tempting opportunities to repurpose their existing microphones, cameras, and data…[with] judges who have ordered it to turn over recordings from Echo devices…made without their users’ knowledge….

Since you can build machines that fix their own problems — debug themselves — these machines are innately self-aware, and therefore there’s nothing stopping them from evolving until they reach HAL-like proportions….

It is in this context that both right- and left-leaning factions of the American elite appear to accept the merger of the US military and intelligence complex with Big Tech as a good thing….

The overwhelming ugliness of our public discourse is not accidental; it is a feature of the game…[creating] a socially toxic vacuum at the heart of American democracy, from which information monopolists…have sucked out all the profit, leaving their users ripe for top-down surveillance, manipulation, and control….

Huxley’s Brave New World or…Orwell’s 1984 [will] tell us little about the dangers posed to free societies by the fusion of big data, social networks, consumer surveillance, and AI….

A national or global surveillance network that uses beneficent algorithms to reshape human thoughts and actions in ways that elites believe to be just or beneficial to all mankind is…the road to a prison camp. The question now…is how long it will take before we admit that the riddle of human existence is not the answer to an equation.”

Google, Amazon, and Facebook all spent record amounts last year lobbying the US government —

“They poured a combined $48 million into lobbying last year — up 13 percent from 2017… as they are falling under increased government scrutiny…[and] run the risk of antitrust regulation as well as laws that could inhibit their ability to collect data — and, by extension, revenue….

[Google] increased its lobbying spend nearly 18 percent to $21.2 million. Facebook’s spend grew nearly 10 percent…[Money] lobbying is basically a rounding error for these tech companies.

New technology uses lasers to transmit audible messages to specific people —

“Researchers have demonstrated that a laser can transmit an audible message to a person without any type of receiver equipment…over the air could be used to communicate across noisy rooms…using two different laser-based methods….

[One] uses lasers that are fully safe for the eyes and skin to localize an audible signal to a particular person in any setting’…[using] water vapor in the air to absorb light and create sound…[and] ‘there is almost always a little water in the air, especially around people….

[Another] shows that sweeping a laser beam at the speed of sound at a wavelength absorbed by water….[and] sent to an individual, rather than everyone who crosses the beam of light. It also opens the possibility of targeting a message to multiple individuals….

[Today] transmit sound to a person more than 2.5 meters away at 60 decibels using the laser sweeping technique. They believe that the system could be easily scaled up to longer distances….

[First] method provides sound with higher fidelity, whereas the laser sweeping provides sound with louder audio.”

A Passion to Evolve.

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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston



Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —