Tag Archives | Corporation Watch

CETA, the corporate lobby and the new transatlantic economy

corporate-charterThe Council of Canadians says corporations have direct influence over the terms of the Canada-EU trade deal and have used it to introduce policies that favour them over the public.

Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians says, “The push for multilateral trade deals is (though they say it’s for lower tariffs and more economic opportunity) usually because business interests are pushing the deals. There’s a huge amount of lobbying going on.”

Dey says that not only are businesses pushing for free trade policies, but are then often involved in writing the terms of the agreements between states.

Dey says, “There are all kinds of lobby groups working on the deal. It’s nebulous because it’s impossible to put our finger on who’s doing what, but groups like Business-Europe are very involved in lobbying, even the NGO tables and half of the NGOs are industry associations. It’s a horrible process that reflects the interest of the corporate agenda.”

Dey continues, “The people around the table are the people who make the decisions.… Read the rest

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AI: Coming to a Sexbot Near You

Robotica

Aaron Krumens Via Extreme Tech:

While the cynical among us knew it was only a matter of time before the rise of the sexbots, the partnering of RealDoll — maker of high end sex mannequins — with Hanson Robotics has moved that eventuality one step closer to reality.

This new venture has been dubbed Realbotix by founder and CEO Matt McMullen of RealDoll. The goal is to endow the RealDoll line of sex figurines with some basic animation, transforming them from immobile mannequins to full on androids that can follow commands and verbally respond to the user. This advanced line of sex dolls will come equipped with animatronic heads, capable of blinking and opening their mouths suggestively. The dolls will reportedly also make use of a mobile app and a virtual reality headset, whereby the physical doll provides haptic feedback for interactions taking place within the virtual reality console.

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Humans are Infinitely more Dangerous than Robots

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Michael Lee Via IEET/World Future Society:

Innovator Elon Musk was widely reported in the media when he described artificial intelligence (AI) as probably the most serious threat to the survival of the human race. [1] But while artificial intelligence systems will certainly take over an increasing range and number of jobs formerly carried out by people, humans will remain infinitely more dangerous than robots for generations to come.

It is humans who have masterminded organised crime and its global empire of fraud and sex slavery. It is people who are behind today’s worldwide scourge of domestic violence. It was two brothers who raided the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly magazine, in which 12 people were killed. It was a young man with suicidal inclinations who co-piloted the Germanwings plane into the French Alps at 430mph, killing all 150 people on board. It was Al-Shabaab gunmen who stormed the residences of the Garissa University College in Northern Kenya while the students were sleeping, murdering at least 148 people in cold blood and injuring 79 others.

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Reason Magazine Subpoena Stomps on Free Speech

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Virginia Postrel Via Bloomberg View:

Wielding subpoenas demanding information on anonymous commenters, the government is harassing a respected journalism site that dissents from its policies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York claims these comments could constitute violent threats, even though they’re clearly hyperbolic political rhetoric.

This is happening in America — weirdly, to a site I founded, and one whose commenters often earned my public contempt.

Los Angeles legal blogger Ken White has obtained a grand jury subpoena issued to Reason.com, the online home of the libertarian magazine I edited throughout the 1990s. The subpoena seeks information about commenters who posted in response to an article by the site’s editor Nick Gillespie about the letter that Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht wrote to Judge Katherine B. Forrest before she sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Ulbricht was convicted of seven felony charges, included conspiracies to traffic in narcotics and launder money, and faced a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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An 8-year-old Falls Into One of Mexico’s Most Contaminated Rivers. 18 Days Later, He’s Dead.

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At Fusion, Steve Fisher reports on how many companies (mostly US owned) dump toxic chemicals in Mexico’s rivers:

It was a warm sunny afternoon in 2008 in the dusty suburb of La Azucena. Eight-year-old Miguel Ángel Lopez Rocha was kicking a ball with his friends. A group of boys were playing near the Ahogado Canal, a tributary to the Santiago River and a recipient of factory discharge, that cuts through one of the most prosperous industrial zones in Mexico, located in El Salto, Jalisco.

Someone kicked the ball into the canal. It was Lopez Rocha’s turn to retrieve it. As he reached down to pick it up, he tripped and fell directly into the backwaters of the canal.

Later that night, feeling dizzy, Lopez Rocha stumbled into the bathroom. He was vomiting profusely. His mother rushed him to a hospital in nearby Guadalajara, where doctors quickly determined that the young boy was suffering from arsenic poisoning.

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The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral”

I, Robot coverCoby McDonald Via California Magazine:

Good vs. bad. Right vs. wrong. Human beings begin to learn the difference before we learn to speak—and thankfully so. We owe much of our success as a species to our capacity for moral reasoning. It’s the glue that holds human social groups together, the key to our fraught but effective ability to cooperate. We are (most believe) the lone moral agents on planet Earth—but this may not last. The day may come soon when we are forced to share this status with a new kind of being, one whose intelligence is of our own design.

Robots are coming, that much is sure. They are coming to our streets as self-driving cars, to our military as automated drones, to our homes as elder-care robots—and that’s just to name a few on the horizon (Ten million households already enjoy cleaner floors thanks to a relatively dumb little robot called the Roomba).

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You Can’t Really Dust For Vomit

SFO

Thursday

5am:
I slept in.

I’m just now shuffling up all zombie-like to the bullet-proof glass window to slide my five “tip” thru the metal tray to Sammy in exchange for 137’s key and medallion. I’m still feeling the generic brand nighttime cough syrup that I’ve been abusing to put myself down at my prescribed 8pm bedtime. My head is fuzzy still.

I passed 137, my regular Prius, en route to the window and noted that her windows are all down. Bad omen. Are we talking vomit?

5:05am:
I’m done with the window and cordial niceties with Sammy, the new-ish office worker that Citizen’s Cab poached from Arrow. Sammy and I have finally gotten a groove on it seems. But he’s a little out of it this morning, complaining about some serious bruising due to a boating accident over unspecified body parts that he promises I do not want to see.

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Can Transhumanism Overcome a Widespread Deathist Culture?

Mort

Zoltan Istvan via IEET:

The rapidly growing field of transhumanism—an international social movement whose highest immediate priority is overcoming human death via science and technology—is facing a colossal challenge. About 85 percent of the world’s population believes in life after death, and much of that population is perfectly okay with dying because it gives them an afterlife with their perceived deity or deities—something transhumanists often refer to as “deathist” culture.

In fact, four billion people on Earth—mostly Muslims and Christians—see the overcoming of death through science as potentially blasphemous, a sin involving humans striving to be godlike. Some holy texts say blasphemy is unforgivable and will end in eternal punishment.

So what are transhumanists to do in a world where science and technology are quickly improving and will almost certainly overcome human mortality in the next 30 years? Will there be a great civil rights debate and clash around the world?

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Next Jobs Automation Will Kill

liz west (CC BY 2.0)

liz west (CC BY 2.0)

Barb Darrow via Forbes:

Most of us watched as automation displaced factory workers and other laborers; but now many “skilled” workers are getting anxious as the robot overlords come for us.

When automated factories started erasing jobs at manufacturing companies, most of us shrugged: Great, better products cheaper, was the general line of thinking

But as automation keeps creeping up the stack, taking over more of what most would call “skilled” positions, well that’s getting some folks—who consider themselves skilled professionals—nervous.

Take airplane pilots for example. That’s now a dead-end job according to Mary “Missy” Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab (HAL) at Duke University (and a former Naval fighter pilot.) She said that “in all honesty” she could not recommend that anyone become a commercial airline pilot going forward, given the current state of the art.

“Commercial pilots today touch the stick for three to seven minutes per flight—and that’s on a tough day,” she told an audience at the MIT CIO Symposium on Wednesday.

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