This is the moment when a newspaper claiming to uphold that most essential function in a liberal democracy – acting as a watchdog on power – formally abandons the task. This is the moment when it positively embraces the role of serving as a mouthpiece for the government. The tell is in one small word in a headline on the Guardian’s front page last week: “Revealed”.
When I trained as a journalist, we reserved a “Revealed” or an “Exposed” for those special occasions when we were able to bring to the reader information those in power did not want known. These were the rare moments when, as journalists, we could hold our heads high and claim to be monitoring the centres of power, to be fulfilling our sacred duty as the fourth estate. But the Guardian’s “exclusive” story “Revealed: UK’s push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance” is doing none of this. Nothing the powerful would want hidden from us is being “revealed”. No one had to seek out classified documents or speak to a whistleblower to bring us this “revelation”. Everyone in this story – the journalist Patrick Wintour, an anonymous “Whitehall official”, and the named politicians and think-tank wonks – is safely in the same self-congratulatory club, promoting a barely veiled government policy: to renew the Cold War against Russia.
It is no accident that the government chose the Guardian as the place to publish this “exclusive” press release. That single word “Revealed” in the headline serves two functions that reverse the very rationale for genuine watchdog-style journalism.
First, it is designed to disorientate the reader in Orwellian – or maybe Lewis Caroll – fashion, inverting the world of reality. The reader is primed for a disclosure, a secret, and then is spoonfed familiar government propaganda: that the tentacles of a Russian octopus are everywhere, that the Reds are again under our beds – or at least, poisoning our door handles. British diplomats plan to use four major summits this year – the G7, the G20, NATO and the European Union – to try to deepen the alliance against Russia hastily built by the Foreign Office after the poisoning of the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March.
This – and thousands of similar examples we are exposed to every day in the discourse of our politicians and media – is the way our defences are gradually lowered, our critical thinking weakened, in ways that assist those in power to launch their assault on democratic norms. Through such journalistic fraud, media like the Guardian and BBC – because they claim to be watchdogs on power, to defend the interests of the ruled, not the rulers – serve a vital role in preparing the ground for the coming changes that will restrict dissent, tighten controls on social media, impose harsher laws.
The threat is:
1984 is 2018?
Recorded conversations, warrantless surveillance of citizens, and government invasion of privacy…It sounds like a page out of George Orwell’s novel “1984.” But it’s happening here, in America, behind the closed doors of government intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Despite the protests of those who wish to offer up our privacy on the altar of national security, keeping the classified intelligence committee memo secret does not make us any safer.
DARPA’s XAI Future
The popular scenario has AI deploying autonomous killer military robots as storm troopers. The mission of DARPA is to create the cutting edge of weaponized technology. So when a report contends that the Pentagon now using Jade Helm exercises to teach Skynet how to kill humans, it is not simply a screenplay for a Hollywood blockbuster. “Simply AI quantum computing technology that can produce the holographic battle simulations and, in addition, “has the ability to use vast amounts of data being collected on the human domain to generate human terrain systems in geographic population centric locations” as a means of identifying and eliminating targets – insurgents, rebels or “whatever labels that can be flagged as targets in a Global Information Grid for Network Centric Warfare environments.” While this assessment may alarm the most fearful, Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in DARPA: Next-generation artificial intelligence in the works, presents a far more sedated viewpoint. “Walker described the current generation of AI as its “second wave,” which has led to breakthroughs like autonomous vehicles. By comparison, “first wave” applications, like tax preparation software, follow simple logic rules and are widely used in consumer technology.
While second-wave AI technology has the potential to, for example, control the use of the electromagnetic spectrum on the battlefield, Walker said the tools aren’t flexible enough to adapt to new inputs. The third wave of AI will rely on contextual adaptation — having a computer or machine understand the context of the environment it’s working in, and being able to learn and adapt based on changes in that environment.”
Here is where the XAI model comes into play: