Tag Archives: humanity

Are You Out There?

23 Jan

 

The scientists asked volunteers to spend an hour recalling as many faces as they could from their private lives, covering old school friends, work colleagues, past partners and colleagues.

In recent studies psychologists have developed the first evidence based estimates of the number of faces the average human knows.

Through a series of recall and recognition tests on volunteers, researchers have discovered that while the human ability to recognize faces varies enormously, people know between 1,000 and 10,000 faces of friends, family members, colleagues and celebrities, with most being able to remember and recognize about 5,000 different faces.

But did you know that this year a startup company called  Clearview AI with its newly developed app has made it possible for a human being to recognize just about everybody they see!

The app works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview AI says it has collected from Facebook, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those photos originally appeared.

The size of the Clearview AI database is gigantic compared to others already in use by law enforcement. For example: The FBI’s database, which taps passport and driver’s license photos, is one of the largest, with over (only!) 641 million images of US citizens.

Clearview AI said in a statement that its technology is intended only for use by law enforcement and security personnel and since its creation more than 600 law enforcement agencies (as yet unnamed) have started using the app in the past year. Law enforcement officers say they’ve already used the app to solve crimes from shoplifting to child sexual exploitation to murder.

Privacy advocates however, warn that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and others. They’ve also warned that facial recognition technologies could be used to conduct mass surveillance. (what could possibly go wrong?!)

But the Clearview AI app is even more powerful than that because those who have had a chance to use and analyze it say that The computer code underlying its app includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses that would enable users  to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.

Remember those x-ray glasses that we used to see for sale in our comic books and hoped that for just $5.95 we’d actually have x-ray vision once they arrived in the mail?

Image result for x-ray glasses from the comic books

Wow! Forget x-ray glasses! In the foreseeable future we’ll be able to walk around with glasses that will be able to tell us who everyone we see… is! However, Clearview AI says that this new technology is not intended for use by the general public…but there are no federal laws against its public use. (what could possibly go wrong?!)

So get ready for a brave new world coming to a city near you. where everybody knows your name and you know theirs and privacy will be a distant memory…except in banks and airports no doubt… where they’ll probably still require 3 forms of photo ID before agreeing that you are who you… and their glasses… say you are!

The Smoking Gun

21 Jun

If today in the 21st century one man with a gun can commit mass murder… then why isn’t a gun considered a weapon of mass destruction?

To say that an archaic amendment to a living constitution, made during a time when the personal weapons of men could not help one commit mass murder, is an incontrovertible right that can never be modified, is equivalent to espousing the notion that the confederate flag, born in a refutation of human value, is now a symbol of honor and freedom among men.

When will America stop embracing dumb-assery… and start embracing humanity within our own borders?

Living in a Material World

20 Mar

https://i0.wp.com/resources.yesican-science.ca/trek/scisat/final/images/earth_atmosphere.jpg

Every now and then when I go on long highway drives I have a revelation. I’m Not sure if they are in any way prescient or prophetic…hopefully not, but here is my revelatory story from today’s sojourn across the state of New Jersey.

As I was driving down the highway at 75 MPH I noticed, while glancing into my rear-view mirror, an angry old man flashing his lights and gesturing for me to get out of the way. I was already traveling at 10 miles per hour more than the legal speed limit but I also noticed that as far as the rest of the traffic was concerned, I was a slacker! So I pulled out of his way only to find myself in front of a young woman talking on her cell phone who was rapidly gaining on me and looked as though she was prepared to go right through me if she had to.

Yikes! I was now pushing 80 MPH and still cars were passing me and weaving in and out of the traffic created by other motorists who thought that traveling in the 70’s was pretty damn fast…

And speaking of the 70’s I remember living and driving in the 1970s when the speed limit of the land was 55 MPH and set there as a way to save gas and oil and curb our need of foreign oil. And we were also concerned about pollution back then and the ecology and the ecosystems of our planet, or at least we said we were. We seemed to be trying. And we had hostages in Iran, and OPEC was ruling the day and we needed to change our dependence on oil and fossil fuels…

And now here we are in 2015, just having finished 2 long and grueling wars in the Middle East and threatening to start another! We are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups cutting off our oil supplies. And we bust open every inch of the earth on our own homeland in an endless search for more fossil fuels for us to waste on our highways, in our wars and with our modern devices of leisure and convenience…while the vast majority of us no longer even believe that any of this is doing any great harm to our world. And even if some of us do, it does not seem to affect our participation in the madness of it all. 7 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come.

Traveling at 80 MPH, it would only take us about 3 hours to reach the end of Earth’s atmosphere…all around our planet… about the distance from North Jersey to Washington D.C…that’s it. 3 hours of air and then you would be driving off into space and hoping that your car’s air conditioning would save you while you try to turn around. Of course it wouldn’t because the guy behind you would be flashing his lights and honking his horn while yelling at you to get out of the damn way…plus the air conditioning thing wouldn’t work…but you knew that, right?

But I digress, because I believe my true revelation was that we all live in a material world and have no intention to go quietly into that good night. Unless some scientists come up with a way to save the planet from ourselves and then get the dumb asses in Congress to believe them, rather than take Big Corporate’s money and continue to commit global suicide, I fear none of the rest of us will care nor take the time to pay any attention to what’s going on around us to see our own end approaching.

Sooner or later this planet is going to shake us all off like a bad cold…or not. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…that is if any of us plan on paying attention at the time…

Who Doesn’t Want to be a Liberal?

29 Nov

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?”…If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

– John F. Kennedy, September 14, 1960

It’s been 53 years since President Kennedy spoke those words and I still wonder why we still continue to argue over these policies. Why wouldn’t anyone want to espouse these very same liberal ideals today and all days? In my mind it is the difference between having the choice between Neanderthal and Cro Magnon….

It’s been 5 decades and it seems that all we’ve done is replace the unlimited fear of cold war and communist mass destruction with the age old and equally limitless fear of terror at the hands of primitive religious zealots, while poverty, housing, education, employment, liberty and civil rights are all in worse condition now then they were only a few short years ago and plummeting back to the levels where they had fallen when JFK first made that speech.

“…Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill, and executive vigor. I believe for these reasons that liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today.”  -JFK

Where is the morality in choosing to go backwards…or in being proud of not being well informed…or in advocating divisiveness and name calling over discussion and problem solving?

Where have we gone since 1960 but to the moon…and back again…

Are we right where we started… or worse for the wear?

And Where are we going from here?

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