Brain implants or other types of neural links, such as Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) between the brain, the internet, and the cloud, are quickly entering the realm of science rather than science fiction.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is ready to run trials with closed-loop mood control chips linked to AI (artificial intelligence) that can deliver an electrical impulse to regulate a soldier's mood.
In the private sector, Elon Musk has announced Neuralink - a neurotechnology venture that will not only focus on fighting diseases but also on augmenting humans so they can better compete with machines.
The technology is advancing in campuses and government-backed labs around the world, attracting serious funding from established technology players, technology institutes, and top universities.
For instance, Professor Newton Howard of Oxford University has produced a functional neural implant prototype by combining some of the brightest minds at MIT, Oxford, and Georgetown, and the resources and technical know-how of Intel and Qualcomm.
All of this begs the question:
Is the world ready for this kind of human enhancement, and is it a worthy idea to pursue in the first place?
Well, I for one wouldn't be standing in line waiting for my brain implant, as it would take away too much of what makes me who I am.
The 'promises' of a bio-enhanced future
The introduction of brain implants that we normal people could buy at the mall will open a Pandora's box of possibilities.
Hey Google! Who Should the US Government Kill Today?
Only months after it was disclosed that the Pentagon was using artificial intelligence (AI) to hunt for terrorists, officials have now acknowledged that Google has been collaborating with the Department of Defense to use AI in analyzing drone footage.
The disclosure comes amid an uproar among Google employees who aren't happy to be assisting in the development of military applications.
While Google has had controversial contracts with the government before - most notably with the NSA - this is its "pilot" project with Project Maven, which is itself the Pentagon's own flagship weaponized AI program.
The purpose of Project Maven is to implement Big Data and machine learning into the U.S. military, which officials say is currently in a new AI arms race with China and Russia.
The most recent movie-length documentary about the phenomenon of Bitcoin dives deeply into the cryptocurrency's roots, exploring the Cypherpunks who established the field before Satoshi Nakamoto came along.
The film covers all of,
...as well as some more recent happenings in 2015, when the mainstream banking world started turning to the technology.
The central theme of the film, however, focuses on regulation and mainstream bitcoin adoption.
Particular attention is given to the events surrounding the January 2014 New York Department of Financial Services hearings on bitcoin, and the then Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky.
Cambridge Analytica used its own database and voter information collected from Facebook and news publishers in its effort to help elect Donald Trump, despite a claim by a top campaign official who has downplayed the company’s role in the election.
The data analysis company, which uses a massive database of consumer and demographic information to profile and target voters, has come under the scrutiny of congressional investigators who are examining the Trump campaign.
This week, the group became the focus of a new controversy after the Daily Beast reportedthat the company’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, had contacted Julian Assange last year.
Nix allegedly asked the WikiLeaks founder whether he could assist in releasing thousands of emails that had gone missing on a private server that had been used by Hillary Clinton.
Assange confirmed the contact but said the offer was rejected.
The news prompted a top former campaign official, Michael Glassner, who was executive director of the Trump election campaign, to minimize the role Cambridge Analytica played in electing Trump, despite the fact that it paid Cambridge Analytica millions of dollars in fees.
In a statement on Wednesday, Glassner said that the Trump campaign relied on voter data owned by the Republican National Committee to help elect the president.
"Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false," he said.
But that claim is contradicted by a detailed description of the company’s role in the 2016 election given in May by a senior Cambridge Analytica executive.
Speaking at a conference in Germany, Molly Schweickert, the head of digital at Cambridge Analytica, said that Cambridge Analytica models, which melded the company’s own massive database and new voter surveys, were instrumental in day-to-day campaign decisions, including in helping determine Trump’s travel schedule.
The company’s models also helped drive decisions on advertising and how to reach out to financial donors.
Schweickert said Cambridge Analytica started working with the Trump campaign in June 2016.
"It became obvious that a sophisticated data apparatus would be needed to combat the years of infrastructure and experience the Clinton campaign had been building up," she said.
One of the company’s strategies was to work in "collaboration" with news publishers like Politico, the political news website, which Schweickert said helped the company target a political ad about the Clinton Foundation to readers in key battleground states.
"We knew we would be showing this to the right individuals," Schweickert said.
In another case, in the late stages of the November election, Schweickert said the company acquired data on voters who voted early - data it collected from local counties and states - and linked the information to individual Facebook profiles.
This helped Cambridge Analytica determine whether people had been exposed to certain political advertisements, and whether those people had turned in their early voting ballots, helping them to predict the outcome of the election.
When asked by a German audience member whether this was legal, given privacy rules in Europe that would "probably" make the activity illegal in Germany, Schweickert responded:
"It’s a very different sort of data privacy culture."
"All the data we work with is already publicly available," she said.
News that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix approached Wikileaks founder Julian Assange last year to exploit Hillary Clinton's private emails has amplified questions about Cambridge's role in President Trump's 2016 campaign.
Shortly after The Daily Beast reported Nix's contact with Assange Wednesday, the Trump campaign's executive director sought to downplay Cambridge's role.
Michael Glassner said in a statement that the Republican National Committee was the campaign's primary source of voter data.
"Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false," Glassner wrote.
The statement did not respond to reporting in WIRED and elsewhere revealing a close relationship between the Trump campaign and Cambridge staffers.
Cambridge did not respond to WIRED's request for comment.
So, what gives? Such he-said-she-said battles are usually better left to Beltway happy hours.
But as Congress and special investigator Robert Mueller turn their spotlights on Cambridge Analytica in their probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, it's essential to get the facts straight about what the firm did - and didn't - do for the Trump campaign.
Here's what we know.
Cambridge worked both for the Trump campaign and a Trump-aligned Super-PAC. In June 2016, Cambridge sent three staffers, led by chief product officer Matt Oczkowski, to the campaign's San Antonio office.
I have just read through the new United States National Security Strategy (NSS) released by President Trump in December 2017.
There have been many comments on it most of them focusing on the hostility in the document towards Russia and China but also some question of what the Strategy is.
Well, after reading page after page of delusions, bombast, bragging, bullying, lies, fantasies and deep-seated megalomania, you discover that there is no strategy. They don't have one.
The only use that document has is as irrefutable evidence that the government of the United States is what they like to call a Joint Criminal Enterprise intent on seizing control of the world for its sole interests.
Fortunately, they have, apparently, no idea how they are going to achieve that goal except through war, war, and more war, and if that doesn't work some more war until they collapse from exhaustion, like a mad, rabid dog.
But it's clear who they are afraid of and so show their weakness.
China and Russia make them nervous.
And, if I were an adviser to the government of Pakistan, I'd say, "watch your back, more trouble is coming."
Other nations that still have a backbone, the usual list,
...the defiant ones, are like an itch they can't scratch, and the written scowls in this document are meant to make them shake in their boots but only make you laugh.
A major US military build-up - including nuclear weapons - is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China.
John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation.
When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there.
It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.
I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, 'disappeared', a political embarrassment.
I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China (below video), in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency:
Trump and the International Deep State
The first charge against Trump was the CIA-backed claim that Russian intelligence agencies hacked organizations affiliated both with Hillary Clinton and with the Democratic Party, and that the hacks were apparently, "designed to benefit Donald Trump's presidential aspirations in one fashion or another.
(Politico also reported that, "Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office.")
A second charge against Trump, closely related, was that, as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions.
Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows. What's more, several of Trump's senior advisors have business ties to Russia or its satellite politicians.
In May 2016 the Washington Post and Buzzfeed charged specifically that, Trump's top adviser, Paul Manafort, has spent much of his recent career working for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, and doing complex deals for an oligarch with close ties to Putin...
Manafort… has, according to court documents, managed tens of millions of dollars for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch denied entry to the U.S. reportedly for ties to organized crime, but so close to Vladimir Putin that top Russian officials fought (unsuccessfully) to get him a visa.
On the eve of the new Trump presidency The New York Times reported that,
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort… and Roger Stone.
When the uninitiated think of the "Deep State," they tend to imagine a group of men getting together in a room, smoking cigars and plotting world domination.
But the Deep State is not one coordinated network of people controlling the government from the shadows.
Instead, it refers to individuals and groups that have the resources to shape the direction of the world to their benefit and don't hesitate to make use of them.
At times, the interests of different factions of the Deep State collide.
That often happens when the direction of the world is rapidly changing, as is the case now after the election of Donald Trump.
Nobody knows this better than Peter Dale Scott, the foremost expert on the US Deep State.
Below, you will find a new introduction to the paperback version of The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy, Updated Edition (copyright 2017), (with permission of the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield. All rights reserved).
On February 3, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported President Trump's plans to pave the way for a broad rollback of the recent financial reforms of Wall Street.
Although no surprise, the news was in ironic contrast to the rhetoric of his campaign, when he spent months denouncing both Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton for their links to Goldman Sachs, even when his campaign's Financial Chairman was a former Goldman Sachs banker, Steve Mnuchin (now Trump's Treasury Secretary).
We've all heard the phrase: "Let's not talk about politics."
A new scientific study (Neural Correlates of Maintaining One's Political Beliefs in the Face of Counterevidence) shows why people readily abandon rationality for political beliefs. It also underscores how well Establishment forces have been able to push the populace into an 'us vs. them' mindset.
Researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute used functional MRI - a revolutionary technique that maps the brain by coupling cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation - to find out what happens in the brain on politics.
"When people's political beliefs are challenged, their brains become active in areas that govern personal identity and emotional responses to threats, neuroscientists have found."This would certainly explain how a hyper-partisan atmosphere breeds knee-jerk hostility, and agreement on anything becomes out of reach.
During their brain imaging sessions, participants were presented with eight political statements that they had said they believe just as strongly as a set of eight nonpolitical statements.
They were then shown five counter-claims that challenged each statement…
Last night we reported that while snacking on $40 hotdogs, the global financial, political and entertainment elite will be "struggling for answers" and cowering in "silent fear" as the world's most powerful people face a force they have never encountered before - the rising tide of populism, first demonstrated by the "unexpected" Brexit vote and subsequently by the "shocking" election of Trump.
As Moises Naim of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace put it,
"there is a consensus that something huge is going on, global and in many respects unprecedented. But we don't know what the causes are, nor how to deal with it."
Adding to the farcical nature of this year's Davos shindig is that, while one of the main topics of discussion is "populism" and social and wealth inequality, overnight a new Oxfam study (An Economy for the 99%) revealed that not only 8 people own the same amount of wealth as (the poorer) half of the world, but that since 2015, the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet.
It is expected that many of the "eight people" highlighted by Oxfam will be present at Davos:
Considering the hype around the latest celebrity statement about Trump by Meryl Streep and the upcoming ritual to put "the man" into "power" officially (which will most likely result in protests by moral, upstanding patriotic citizens), I thought to repost what I wrote (trigger warning!) right after the election.
This is going to come down to you, and it's deep!
Here's the thing from a basic Jungian perspective:
Trump is your shadow, America, a reflection of your unconscious, especially concerning people who identify themselves as Leftist, Liberals, and Progressives, their own shadow which they never deeply acknowledged, and hence project outwardly at the "other side" in their "holier than thou" political correct attitude, over-estimating themselves and dreaming to be awake.
The self-inflation, narcissism, greed, the "bigger is more," the "quantity over quality," the entitlement, the hypocrisy, the drive for recognition and fame, the "best" in the world, the bully, the "money can buy everything," the racism and sexism, etc... or anything else you despise in the man... it's all you, buried in your unconscious.
It's also the shadow side of the "American Dream" and obviously reflected in America's Imperialism.
This is an attempt to look at current global problems from a perspective digging deeper into the root of the system.
For as Einstein said,
"A problem cannot be solved from the same level of consciousness as created it."
It is also an attempt at phrasing it so, that it builds the better arguments to challenge the conventions and offer alternatives that shift the paradigm.
It will not be perfect.
You may disagree at times, find imperfect arguments and or reasoning. I ask you to help me improve or build your own new ideas aside, on top, underneath it.
Stories that liberate us from current stuck paradigms are desperately needed and hopeful alternatives offered. I know world wide many already are doing so.
Many things are improving.
There is hope!
Yet, somehow what makes sense for us, doesn't yet make sense for the majority. They have yet to begin to see or accept the stuckness in a damaging system.
Just when it seemed like the European Union's troubles couldn't get any worse, Donald Trump seemed to rub salt in its wounds last week.
In a joint interview with German newspaper Bild and The Times of London, he lauded Brexit, disparaged German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policy, and derided the EU as a "vehicle" for German economic domination.
Trump clearly would shed no tears were the union to collapse on his watch. But could he instead end up being the EU's savior?
Trump's most recent comments follow reported assurances given by the Trump transition team to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that the U.S. would quickly put a generous bilateral free trade deal on the table to strengthen London's hand in negotiating the terms of Brexit with the EU.
After meeting with Johnson in Washington, Sen. Robert Corker, once floated as a potential Trump secretary of state nominee, publicly declared that such a deal would be a high priority in Washington.
According to Josh Green of Bloomberg, this is all part of a plan hatched by Trump adviser Steve Bannon to break up the EU by offering similar bilateral deals to each of the union's weak-link member states until the edifice comes crashing down.
Trump's interview suggests that Green's reporting is more reality than conspiracy theory.
From Scandinavia to Amsterdam to India and elsewhere, the trend of going "cashless" is gaining traction.
We have been covering the shortcomings of what is rightly called the 'War On Cash' here at TDV for a while now and have shown just how negative the effects can be on an unsuspecting nation's people.
Chandigarh, India, which is the capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, is like one of India's labrats. Indian officials are working hard toward making it into India's first cashless city.
This initiative is part of the Prime Minister of India's call for state governments to begin developing what he's calling "smart" cities. That means cities attached to the latest Internet technology.
However there is nothing intelligent about his plan...
One of the major changes being made to work toward that objective was the insistence of having all bills paid electronically at government offices within the city.
Similarly, in Panjim, the capital of Goa, India, the local government is attempting to incentivize the locals into paying digitally by offering them discounts on train tickets and other public transportation services if they pay electronically.
The great and the good of Davos agree they have a problem with populism.
Finding a solution is the hard part.
On the second day of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in the Swiss Alps, delegates disagreed on how best to address the upending of the western political order, a debate made doubly urgent by the string of elections in Europe this year where anti-establishment parties could gain more ground.
While International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde urged a list of policies from programs to retrain workers to more social spending, others fretted that the turbulence is only starting.
Hedge Fund billionaire Ray Dalio warned on a panel chaired by Bloomberg Television's Francine Lacqua that, "we may be at a point where globalization is ending, and provincialization and nationalization is taking hold."
That leaves technocrats trying to patch together potentially expensive remedies to make the current system of global trade, banking and business links that the Davos club represents acceptable to the public at a time when newcomers like U.S. president elect Donald Trumpthreaten to dismantle it by scrapping trade deals and introducing tariffs.
"We need to go to a system where we are protecting workers, not jobs, and society will help people retrain or reorient," Richard Baldwin, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said in an interview in Davos.
"There may just be a need to man up. We have to pay for the social cohesion that we need to keep our societies advancing, and accept that this may be a higher tax burden on people."
I've been investigating and reporting on deep medical fraud for 29 years. I've been around the block a few hundred times. I've spoken with scientists who work for the government and universities, and the media operatives who support them. I know the game.
If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is, indeed, given the green light by President Trump to investigate vaccine safety, he's going to need a truck and a chain and DOJ threats of prosecution to drag key CDC scientists into the light and elicit specific statements from them.
Even then, the odds are these scientists will keep repeating the party line:
Kennedy could run up against an organized wall of silence - scientists refusing to speak with him, on the basis that he isn't qualified to make judgments in their "field."
In that case, he will need subpoena power, for starters.
Many years ago, I interviewed Jim Warner, a White House policy analyst in the Reagan administration. He had been trying to obtain medical-research information from the federal National Institutes of Health.
He told me he was given the absolute cold shoulder:
"If ever I've been tempted to believe in socialism, science has disabused me of that. These guys [at NIH] assume that it's their show. They just assume it."
Arrogance par excellence. Scientists rebuff the White House with a yawn.
Fortunately, Kennedy is a relentless investigator. He understands how science is corrupted and paid for.
And the ace in the deck is this:
there is already enough evidence in the open record to refute the CDC's claim of vaccine safety.
Trump has blazed a trail of rejecting major media.
It is impossible to know what the Not-Hillary inauguration will bring.
Not-Hillary because putting up Hillary as candidate was the most stupid thing the Democratic party and it paymasters could do. She had extremely high negative ratings and stood for everything that one could dislike with the party's policies.
Many who ended up not voting or voted for Trump could have been easily won by a different Democratic candidate even with much of the same general policies (see: Obama, Barack).
Hillary would surely have lost against any middle-of-the-road Republican candidate.
History will note that she was an arrogant but incompetent Democratic candidate who lost against a rather bad Republican candidate, one who lacked support even from his own party.
Trump won barely, but she lost completely...
Seen from the perspective of power centers Clinton once had all the support she needed. But she then lost a decisive group due to her uncompromising neo-conned foreign policy.
Here is an interesting take based on a theory from the 1950s:
[T]he power elite can be best described as a "triangle of power," (The Structure of Power in American Society) linking the corporate, executive government, and military factions:
The world was a different place when, in October 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) struck down the "Safe Harbour" data-sharing agreement that allowed the transfer of European citizens' data to the US.
The Court's decision concluded that the indiscriminate nature of the surveillance programs carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, exposed two years earlier by NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, had made it impossible to ensure that the personal data of E.U. citizens would be adequately protected when shared with American companies.
The ruling thus served to further solidify the long-standing conventional wisdom that Continental Europe is better at protecting privacy than America.
However, Europe's ability to continue to take this moral high ground is rapidly declining.
In recent months, and in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks across Europe, Germany, France and the United Kingdom - Europe's biggest superpowers - have passed laws granting their surveillance agencies virtually unfettered power to conduct bulk interception of communications across Europe and beyond, with limited to no effective oversight or procedural safeguards from abuse.
The same political leaders and legislators that once rebuked the NSA on the ethics of its mass surveillance practices, seem to now be taking a page out of the NSA's playbook.
This post surveys these three national legal frameworks, highlighting their troubling similarities, with the aim of showing how legislators from these countries are treading a dangerous line of surveillance expansion and overreach, paving the way for more European countries to follow in their footsteps.
Indeed, European countries are increasingly chiming in to an ever-growing chorus of supporters for wholesale global surveillance in the name of perceived security.
This rhetoric finds especially fertile ground in modern-day Europe, which has been engulfed by populist messaging surrounding the refugee crisis, immigration and heightened security threats.
However, rushed and vague mass surveillance laws, while they might increase public approval ratings in the short term, are not a true panacea to the fundamental flaws in European intelligence cooperation that were exposed by the recent attacks.
Two extreme, very polarized paradigms have emerged as President Donald Trump takes command of the White House.
After the shattered hopes and fraud perpetrated by America's first African-American president, Trump supporters naively believe they've elected their "great white hope" of a president who will "make America great again," taking at face value his "America comes first" rhetoric.
Many see Trump as a modern day George Washington figure, leading Americans in their second revolution, fighting to take back their country from the globalists.
But Trump's legions of supporters fail to realize that the entrenched power machine that appears to reluctantly and covertly be behind Trump's ascendance at the same time opposing him at every turn is in fact the very same power elite that's been backing his opponent all along - the Hillary-Obama-Bush DC establishment cabal.
Indeed the trumped up "establishment outsider" image that's won Trump the presidency belies the fact that in actuality he is an establishment insider who until now just hasn't held political office.
In stark contrast to the new president's loyal constituency, the anti-Trump, "liberal-minded," pro-Clinton-CIA minions' world-view steadfastly insist that Donald Trump along with "partner-in-crime" Vladimir Putin are the devil-incarnate themselves.
The malady, common among political leaders who commit heartless crimes while craving popular adulation as heroes and misunderstood saints, is 'Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy' (PMSP).
PMSP best explains the pathologic drive of politicians and policy makers who inflict relentless, systematic mass destruction and then intervene in a most theatrical manner to save a few victims - thus drawing gratitude from the victim and public support for their 'humanitarian intervention' - ignorant of their fundamental role in creating the mayhem in the first place.
The actions of the outgoing President Barack Obama in the last three days of his administration present an example of PMSP on the domestic front.
Throughout his eight years as President of the United States, Obama exhibited many symptoms of PMSP - both abroad and in the US .
For his cynical crimes, he was awarded the 'Nobel Peace Prize' among other honors.
A Republican-proposed House Resolution has quietly slipped past the public radar - proposing that the United States withdraw its membership from the United Nations, just as another bill was being concocted to cut US funding to the body.
The bill, proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), entitled American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017, seeks a complete US withdrawal from the UN, that the international body remove its headquarters from New York and that all participation be ceased with the World Health Organization (WHO) as well.
Rogers and other prominent Republicans have repeatedly voiced the idea that US taxpayer money should not go to an organization that does not promote US interests - especially one that does not stick up for Israel together with the US.