Musk on wokeness

Still reading Isaacson’s Elon Musk:

“Wokeness wants to make comedy illegal, which is not cool. Trying to shut down Dave Chappelle, come on, man, that’s crazy. Do we want a humorless society that is simply rife with condemnation and hate and no forgiveness? At its heart wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armed with false virtue.”

I would add that it is stifling; can’t breathe.

China EV threat

I am continually flummoxed about the U.S.’s uncommitted actions against the Chinese Communist Party’s intentions here, namely its in-roads to the U.S. technology markets. Now we may have taken notice about the auto industry?

As to data, even though the White House announced a new executive order that aims to prevent “countries of concern,” including China, North Korea, and Russia, from purchasing sensitive data about Americans, I am not optimistic.

We know that China is using slave labor to manufacture various technologies and products. We know that they are propping up their sagging markets through government action. We know that they are not a friendly competitor.

We have to look on them as an authoritarian foe. We have to take action to curb their intrusions. The West as a whole needs to.

More China trouble

China has its tentacles into our
infrastructure. While the nation is diverted with other important issues. Also been watching the border situation get worse. When mainstream media outlets report on the issue then you know it’s not fake news.
“Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 37,000 Chinese citizens were apprehended as they illegally crossed the border; that’s 50 times more than two years earlier.”

Chaos reigns.

Christian nationalism without the nationalism

Just watched the PBS Newshour segment on Brad Onishi, who is a former evangelical minister who once identified as a “Christian nationalist.” The term is just too broad. During the segment he assumes that white evangelicals are the source of pro-Trump activism. He now hosts a (supposedly-popular) podcast “Straight White American Jesus” and wrote “Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism and What Comes Next.” Let’s just say that not many people are going to buy something the mainstream media gives them for free every day.

His failure to differentiate a small minority of people who actually say they are “Christian nationalists” from other right-wing and mainstream evangelicals is just an attempt to promote himself. The segment interviewed no subjects who would consider themselves Christian nationalists.

Poor segment, poor analysis.

Can AI ever know these senses?

In addition to the well-known five senses (sight, sound, taste, hearing, feeling), proprioception tells you where your body is in space. Your balance and the tilt of your head are not something you really perceive. Certain neurons sense your movement and detect stretching in muscles and tendons. This helps you keep track of your limbs.

I also know that people will “feel like” a person is in their airspace.

Other physical receptors detect oxygen levels in some of the arteries of your bloodstream.

A strange one is that people with synesthesia see sounds as colors or associate some sights with smells.

Will AI ever be able to create these sort of senses? There’s entirely too little appreciation for the human mind and body. AI has amazed us, but the human brain is capable of so much more than generative AI. I encountered a certain businessman at a friend’s party who, when I said AI is not AGI yet, was was wowed by the technology of ChatGPT and couldn’t believe that it was not yet human-level.

Whether you call it AGI yet, there is so much more to the human being and I don’t see AI robots having these senses.

AI specist

Just reading more of AI in Isaacson’s Elon Musk.
“The danger comes when artificial intelligence is decoupled from human will.”
We have to maintain control of AI. It should remain aligned with human goals. AI bots should be an extension of the will of individuals not systems that could follow their own goals and intentions.
This goes all the way back to the human development of tools. That’s what AI should be. But the question of consciousness has not really been answered.

Market Basics pt. 3

The decision rule says we do something as long as its added benefit is greater than the added cost. Profit is the reward for innovation, and is intrinsic to freedom.

Our rights to property hinge on three things:

– Private ownership under the right rules. Life, liberty and the acquiring and possessing of property. The king gave property to whom he wished, but the Americans wanted equality of opportunity.
– Market freedom.
– Reliable money. Government is for everyone, thought the Founders, so the purpose of government was to safeguard others’ rights to property.

In the end, the right to acquire is a public good, and bureaucratic rules that are unpublished and complicated stand against freedom.

Is anything fishy going on? Best practices.

How can you tell? Here a few things to watch for:

1. Late-night logins.
2. Increase in spear phishing, from internal or external.
3. Malware frequently picked up on your networks.
4. Data flows to new places.
5. An increase in computer usage.

At some time, someone will get through your layered defenses, so have these three best practices in place:

1. BACK UP your data.
2. Employ image backups.
3. Create local admin accounts to be able to access computer with admin rights.

Ransomware Recovery

If you’re hit by ransomware, do not panic. Think through the processes below.

1. When can you start on your client’s recovery? At least seven days will lapse before you can get to work on the systems.
2. How long will my client be down? Give your client some ready, loaner servers.
3. Should my client pay the ransom? Keep your client asset list ready. What is the priority for bringing the data back online.
4. Am I as an MSP going to be liable? You will encounter this later in the process. Make whoever provides your errors and omissions insurance aware of the problem.
5. How do I prevent this?
– Set up users so they don’t have admin rights.
– Do not log in to workstations with domain admin accounts.
– Create an alert to let you know if you have a domain admin logged into a machine that’s been idle for more than an hour.
– Don’t give normal users domain access rights. Only give them these rights when they are applying updates. Give them local admin rights only as needed and create these rights on a separate account.
– Do not share passwords or usernames between accounts.
– Never log in to your backup servers or solution from the servers you are backing up.
– Check your AV status, running or not? Make sure it gets updated and users can touch it.

*** Ransomware doesn’t work if it doesn’t kill the backups. ***

Google takes responsibility

I can’t do any better than to point out that Google incognito mode shares your IP address, device data, and browser history despite seemingly offering a private browsing experience. “Google has updated its disclaimer in Incognito Mode according to MSPowerUser, and lawyers have been working to finalize a settlement.”
Read for more.

Market Basics pt. 2

Markets allow us to operate according to our own plan. The price system–supply and demand–is the creation of a spontaneous order. It creates wealth for consumers and interference in the market brings unintended consequences, such as removing a species from an environment. Naturally, the demand curve works like this: if prices fall, then more people buy, and if prices rise, less people buy.

Self-interest is not the same as selfishness. Self-interest is doing what you are better off doing, and philanthropy functions on it. Mother Theresa felt she was better off doing what she did; she felt better doing it.

Price is what you give up to get something else. Mother Theresa felt the added benefit of working was greater than the cost of working.

Market Basics pt. 1

Contrary to current thought (from among others, college-age Americans) about capitalism, the spontaneous order of the market fosters philanthropy. The pricing system is based on voluntary exchange and mutual benefit occurs because everyone is better off. This is freedom. Outside interference with the market system will reduce freedom. Most people do not think of how the market involves enormous coordination with no central planner. Cooperation brings efficiency and innovation. Innovation takes X (raw materials) and makes it more than X. Profit is the incentive to innovate and creates things others want.

Consumer demand and the will to serve and please others leads to philanthropy. Acting to one’s own plan actually allows us to bless others from our excess. The market is moral because it is based on merit and it requires you to think of others.

China and WWIII

A number of things are going on around the globe concerning China:

– China is only calling for a two-state solution in Israel, not condemning Hamas. It seems the efforts to support a cease-fire are only words; Beijing is leveraging anti-Israel sentiment to enhance its standing. This is all to do with China’s desire to challenge U.S. authority and standing in the world.

– Beijing has not said a thing about the Houthi attacks on civilian shipping in the Red Sea. The crimes and threats there don’t seem to be a bother to Xi. Again this comes down to Chins wanting a geopolitical advantage over the United States. China says the U.S. is creating chaos and offers no support to solving that problem.

– A regional war over Taiwan could cost the world $10 trillion.

– And, of course, China is saber-rattling over Taiwan’s upcoming election. They’re pushing “US skepticism” and sowing doubt about our alliance. Because of Beijing’s disinformation campaigns Taiwan opinion about the U.S. may be changing and Taiwan’s geostrategic importance is evident.

– Tibet, ethnic Uyghurs, Mongolians, and Manchus; Beijing is seeking to erase Tibetan identity like it has done with those people groups.

This is all happening while the wars in Ukraine and Israel are taking place.

My voice is my passport

That was one of the famous lines from Sneakers (1992). Today, you may have devices and apps listening in on your passport. Voice assistants like Bixby, Siri, or Alexa may be doing it. Apple says Siri runs a speech recognizer at all times. “Hey Siri” or “OK Google” can start the recording. Apps may also be recording your voice.

Use these recommended steps to protect yourself.
1. Turn off Siri, Bixby, or Alexa.
2. Turn off your microphone by going to the settings for each app that may use your voice (or ambient sound!).
3. Use anti-malware software.
4. Use a VPN.

Anti-virus software may help you. Just like a VPN can.

Friends and Frenemies; Other things

I use the term frenemies very loosely. My friends from college are generally anti-politics in the church. I can see that that is needed. But I am just burned out on this subject and plan to take it up in October.

On to other things, I was intent on starting to read the classics I own from college and read part of the life of Johnson and some Middle Ages material, but after having read the introduction to the Canterbury Tales, I no longer continued to read The Wife of Bath. Since I didn’t have the desire to read the footnotes in every line of Chaucer, I faded out.

I am now reading Isaacson’s Elon Musk. Yes, a big change, but I love it so far. What an interesting man. He is determined and aggressive–but even with his problems, accomplishes great things.

There are, of course, many anti-capitalist people out there today, but many people do recognize his brilliance.