Daily Reading #288

I was just thinking about how William Gibson’s visions of dystopian integrations of technologies is likely to be optimistic. It seems to me that we are seeing insider plots everywhere, and that produced with ordinary cell phones. Only the military, CIA and NSA-supplied groups in the world have graduated to mega-plots that seize entire countries one small power center at a time. The winningness of the NWO game has been undeniable, the long strng of countries whose bonds were dissolved enough to break into economic units with new owners, corporate rading grown up. It is all a very strong selling point for serious crypto and the discipline to use it! Without serious crypto, you can’t safely plan coups! None of the plotters and executers of 9/11 have suffered one iota for their evil deeds, indeed most have been rewarded greatly.

It ain’t supposed to be this way.

But could easily get worse, simple combinatorics. Already we have computers calling people and bothering them. Chatbot technology on the other end of those, with simple voice recognition. Obvious escalation is as we have read in so many old scifi stories, the house butler who doesn’t let people into the house, handles all commuications. All the modern equivalents to Grand Visiers of old and advisors of all kinds in the present. Who pioneered computer intelligences running scams to justify their processor and memory storage bills? Same as frontiersmen in solar outposts have to pay for oxygen.

So computers are wasting people’s times because computer simulations of people good enough for the task are cheaper than people. Makes you wonder about the 4 calls a week I get from the Indians-Pakistanis pretending to be from Microsoft’s Technical support. Who does more than laugh at them in this day and age. They don’t like to talk, so they aren’t there to be practicing their English. Doesn’t it make sense for them to keep track of how many times people have laughed at them at particular telephone numbers so they dont’ try them again? Are people so cheap over there it isn’t worth doing that? Are they being paid to testing telephone circuits and systems? Are the calls intended as harassment? I never heard of anyone getting one nearly every day, saying the same thing. If you do anything but hang up, they are right there with an answer, pushing their story. How can this have a positive-enough return on that huge human time investment?

The Pakistanis are far from the only callers, local home improvement contractors and solar system installers through someone having to do with credit cards, politicians, many charities, and bright and vivacious “Hi my name is ” that I hang up on before I am even sure whether they are people or computers.

The obvious equivalents infest online comment threads and chat sites, tho I don’t know anything about the latter.

The same thing with the Nigerian scammers. Do we really have so many people of failing mind online and at the end of phone numbers to run an economic specialization one, one so large as to waste minutes of my life, the life of every person online and onphone every week?

From one point of view, we get off cheap. As compared dangers of road trips by royalty in central Europe in the worse periods of local civilization, crimes in the modern world are royal teaparties for the Abbess of a particularly prudish religious order. Nigerian princes will steal your money. The old guys would take that and hold you until your relatives paid their share.

But this is just getting off the ground. When chatbots get as good as the Pakistanis, real fraud begins. Seize control of a major DNS node, and you can make computers believe insane things about routing. Analogies in human affairs are easy. Add the ability to jigger the phone system so as to get the local PD’s 911, etc. The compromises will get harder and harder to detect, attacks will always be in advance of defense.

This is quite a lot more rational than the article suggests. After all, would a cancer or blood screen with an 82% false positive rate be useful?
Well, it depends. Yes, of course, if the cost of the next-level, more-careful check is low and the cost of a false negative very high, 82% false positive is OK if the total the positive rate is only a few percent above the ‘real’ rate. In this case, the cost of a false negative is low, but both the cost of rechecks and false positive rates were low. A next-level check was the police checking the cameras against the records, human assistance, and humans and the automated system are good enough not to false-positive too many people. Reporters don’t grasp operating reality and statistics :

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/05/uk-police-say-92-percent-false-positive-facial-recognition-is-no-big-deal/

Propaganda asserting that ‘Trump’s metastasizing scandals’ will lead to the impeachment, assuming the premise upon which all the rest of the article hangs. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they will not be able to cleanly adopt a ‘disclose everything’ strategy, because they are clearly in the illegal payments for illegal trade schemes up to their neck. If George’s story of the $1.7B of bribe money in the Uranium 1/Iran deal flowing through House Credit Union accounts is correct, our Congress is invested with criminal conspiracies exchanging US arms, technology and access for money, drugs, sexual services, organs and membership in dark cults that return vast wealth for participation in more advanced crime. He has traced these back to specific institutions and people at specific times, with specific victims. This is unraveling quickly in the press. Now we will see if there are any honest elements in our federal government free to do their jobs. This episode of American history is far from over, and I think there is far more risk of a violent phase of this plot than the rest of the world seems to think. :

https://www.alternet.org/impeachment-donald-trump-really-coming-republicans-definitely-think-so

My own state seems to me to ride on a knife’s edge budget. Any drop in the budget, the roads go to hell immediately. I have driven through a lot of states, repeatedly and on many different routes, I have a big-enough sample to know. My state’s roads degrade quickly, developing very major potholes in an instant. My kid said there was a pot-hole on his way to work, big 8-lane on the way to the major cities that got so big it that one AM there was a big line of cars along the road, damaged running gear. They don’t fix them as fast as they need to be fixed, for sure. The highway department doesn’t bear those costs. What makes them break down so fast? And the highway dept to find and fix them so slow?

Being a monopoly means you don’t need to care. Comcast is playing a winning business case, but people hate them. Ditto AT&T’s various monopolies. Why do the cable companies think Netflix did so well even way back in the day of the DVD? And how to explain why they suddenly have a surplus of successful competitors in the TV serial market? Do they imagine it was because they were such great and loved cable TV providers? Hard to see the technology, but networks of fiber optic cables through local neighborhood’s back yards, meshed with wifi-point-to-point and trunked on municipal networks could be a serious competition quickly. All the technology is in place, citizens can run their networks and do in many places. That social tech is being tested where there is no cable, but inevitably will expand to compete with cable.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/04/comcast-wont-give-new-speed-boost-to-internet-users-who-dont-buy-tv-service/

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