Facebook Developing Ability to Read Your Thoughts…and the Dark Secret of Machine Learning

In this week’s edition of Mind Hack, Jeff DeRiso investigates Facebook’s unveiling of Building 8 and their research into brain-computer interfaces.  He explores some curious inconsistencies in the relationship between DARPA and institutions of technological research.  Also, AI deep learning has created devices whose decisions cannot be explained to humans, what problems does this pose? Lastly, is there really a war between Neuroscience and Psychiatry?  Sounds a tad bit dramatic.

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Show notes:

Facebook is building brain-computer interfaces for typing and skin-hearing

FLASHBACK: DOD and Intel Agencies Consider Using Russian Mind Control Device on David Koresh

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

The War between Neuroscience and Psychiatry

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  1. Jeff,
    Anonymity does have the benefit of requiring researchers to deal only with the data, and not politics or questions of biased research methods due to funding sources. If careful scientific investigation is the goal, reputation, funding, and the rest are best left out of the entire process of scientific investigation. Of course, “science” is practiced and funded by a political process (consensus), and as such will reflect political realities (lying).

  2. Enjoying your videos, Jeff. The obsession with technology is a very obvious symptom of where humanity has headed in the wrong direction. If it’s not electronic it can’t possibly be hi-tech.

    Anonymity would seem appealing to the academic world which is possibly the most judgmental groupthink profession on the planet. Many dare not express their personal opinions if that means swimming against the tide, professionally. Retribution for stepping off message is swift, loud and ruthless. As a practice it would mean never having to grow up by avoiding developing social skills. People need social skills, machines do not. On that note, AI is evolving machines, not humanity. What to do when AI grows up and says ‘humans not required’? Do we trust the algorithm or our unscientific instincts?

    Brain as productive or conduit of consciousness? There is plenty of evidence for the latter. I recommend the books of neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander, as one example. Science has no interest in studying love. They don’t even recognise the soul. Science is tunnel vision. The new religion.

    What kind of standard are they aiming for in AI? Equivalent to the human consciousness? If so, that is not aiming very high.

    How would you fast track the development of AI? Feed it lots and lots of human brains. Hello, Facebook.

    • Jeff DeRiso says:

      I’m still torn on the anonymity issue, because people (including researchers) need to be held accountable for their actions. That can only be done by other people who know them personally.

      I will check out Eben Alexander’s work, thank you. I’ve only scratched the surface of NDE research but it seems to have implications that contradict the underlying assumptions of materialism.

  3. Another great show, Jeff. This may very well be my favorite Newsbud series at the moment. Lots of interesting ideas, but the final question of the pros and cons of publishing scientific analysis under a pseudonym is definitely worthy of discussion.

    Part of me is resistant to the potential “virtues” of publishing political or scientific analysis or commentary as an “anonymous source” based primarily on the nefarious use of these sort of leaks as part of standard political propaganda. However, the relationship between science, politics, and financing of various forms of research and development as well as corporate sponsorship of academia (a particularly slippery subject in and of itself) underlies one of the fundamental flaws which perhaps makes the use of hit here a bit of a necessary evil. At least in this case… maybe

    With large parts of the scientific research in academia and private sector relying on corporate dollars, often invested in validating or invalidating one theory or another for the purpose of advancing a particular product or policy agenda, the aspect of self-censorship seems to have gotten increasingly worse as we become a more information/propaganda saturated audience with the availability of instant response time and multi-pronged utilization of 24 hour news and social media echo chambers.

    Particularly in instances related to climate science we’ve seen instances of figures such as Tim Ball come under quite vicious attacks that emphasize a sort of personal smear campaign which, whether you agree with him or not, marginalizes the space for scientific debate. At the same time, one’s credentials, associations, and potential vested interests in an area of scientific debate are certainly relevant when it comes to making a reasonable assessment of the possible frame of bias that without foreknowledge could easily skew the reception of the argument disproportionately without proper skepticism. On the topic of climate science specifically, I’m not “decided” one way or another; aside from the idea that being “decided” is ambiguous and counterproductive on this matter, but I certainly view the toxicity of the politicization and vilification of skepticism in this area a particularly disturbing example of groupthink where statements like “the science is decided” or “95 percent of scientists agree” goes against the general principles of honest scientific inquiry and debate.

    It seems to me that skepticism itself is something that tends to be viewed with hostility when it comes to science and politics (I know, not a “bombshell” statement there, but whatever… ;-). Whether or not, to what extent, and in which ways this has worsened now opposed to say twenty years ago would be an interesting question. I tend to view it as worse and I would say that the increased privatization and corporate sponsorship of science and tech research has been one of the largest contributing factors, but I’m not under the illusion that government sponsorship through public funding leads to an entirely different set of “altruistic” goals and outcomes by any means.

    More generally, at least theoretically, in a Democracy the interests of the public as a whole ought to be more accurately represented in expenditures on science and education and the extent to which corporate interests have essentially bypassed the need for any sort of public consent, scientific debate may at times require some level of anonymity to reach the public without being preemptively extinguished by the network with the deepest pockets.

    • Jeff DeRiso says:

      Your comment outlines a problem I’m still working towards understanding. How can we de-corrupt the process by which we apply scientfic research to improve society?

      You’re right that skepticism is viewed with extreme hostility by the political and scientific elite, which is an unhealthy pattern of behavior that trickles down to the average person on social media who gets overly defensive when someone disagrees with them. I’m researching an article now that draws a distinction between biased, agenda-driven “science” and truly unbiased science done for altruistic reasons.

      Because the word science has clearly been weaponized as a tool for political agendas, I think a good place to start is to define what we really mean when we talk about science.

      • Jeff,
        This issue (see link) in the medical field speaks to all the issues both you and previous commenters have made and represents the potential dangers of how we engage in scientific research – and how to go about improving the present state of affairs.

  4. victor friese says:

    Science is simply the exploration of phenomena to determine how they work. But, what we have nowadays is not usually science. It is just fraud. That’s the problem with this world. All the great people and all the great things… they’re all frauds. Like walking talking turds done up in finery whilst trotting about telling us how great they are. It is obscene.

  5. trueanalysis.eu says:

    Excelent show. New generation can possibly de-corrupt things, but they need to be told the whole picture.
    People programming via education and blind obsession of authorities is a real problem there. But it can be solved.

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