Artificial intelligence is currently the center of many discussions in the world. Some argue that the invention of artificial intelligence may take our world to the next level of advancement, while others say that it will inevitably lead to the end of humanity due to its ability to outrun humans the employment market. The issue that artificial intelligence would bring by replacing human jobs involves many different topics that are each complicated enough by itself. I will try my best to provide a brief insight on this issue, but I will certainly not cover every single aspect of it. If you are interested in one or more topics, you should definitely look more into it, as this issue may greatly impact every aspect of our life in the foreseeable future.
Artificial intelligence would have a huge impact on society in terms of employment. Many of the current jobs in our society requires a relatively low skill level, and are thus very easily replaced by artificial intelligence. For example, truck driving is a relatively low skilled job and can be easily replaced by employing self-driving cars, which are becoming reality in a fascinating speed. According to the American Trucking Associations (trucking.org) in the United States alone, there are 3.5 million truck drivers nationwide, not including the 7.7 million people who are employed in a job that relates to truck driving. Since there are about 300 million people in total in the United States, having all truck drivers replaced by AIs will cause 3.5 million people to lose their jobs and the employment rate will rise up by more than 1 percent. Similar jobs that could be replaced easily by AIs include retail and wholesale employees, those that work in restaurants and bars, and many others, essentially all service jobs that are repetitive and requires physical rather than mental labor. Since AIs only cost electricity, they are far more efficient in costs to business owners comparing to human employees, who needs insurance, forms labor unions, and requires to be paid. As an effect of AIs replacing simple jobs, the unemployment rate worldwide will skyrocket, and it will surpass the unemployment rate during the Great Depression in no time. The increasing unemployment rate would lead to a lot of things, such as a rise in poverty and crime rates. Another problem is that eventually, all jobs including those considered “high-skilled” nowadays will be replaced, and it will come faster than we thought. Less than one century ago, we once thought that chess is unique to humans and are unplayable by robots. Today, A.I. has beaten the best player in the world in virtually every popular board game, including chess, go, and many others by simply using machine learning and are already challenging the best players in video games, which are exponentially more complicated comparing to board games. Artificial intelligence is also threatening other jobs, including creative activities such as drawing and composing, proving that creativity isn’t a trait uniquely possessed by humans. You can see how A.I. drawings look like at an online free service that uses deep learning and block chain to generate high-quality anime characters. As theses advanced A.I. start to mature, more and more jobs will be threatened, until there are no jobs for humans available anymore.
To conclude, although advanced artificial intelligence will increase the productivity of our society, it may also bring a lot of problems that needs to be solved by over performing human workers in jobs. Although all of this are merely speculations based on our current situation and understanding of the problem, it should still be very concerning as social changes usually come greater than expected throughout human history. The problem is nearer to us than you might have thought, however, I do think that we still have more than enough time to think about the solution to this problem. This problem might be big, but the human race is great at adapting to new environments, so you don’t have to panic, at least for now… 😉
I’ve met many different people on the internet, some of them, most of which I encountered during online debates regarding internet surveillance, asked me a question. “How is your theory about government watching us different from conspiracy theories, such as the Flat Earth Conspiracy?”. I have encountered those arguments for too many times that I feel like I need to write an entry about it: How is my “conspiracy theory” different from the others?
To understand why what I’m talking about isn’t necessarily a conspiracy theory, we first need to understand what a conspiracy theory is. A definition of the word that I really like is from Wikipedia. Wikipedia defined conspiracy theories as “an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. “( In the rest of this entry, I will explain in more details with this definition in mind.
The biggest problem here, as you might have noticed, is that government surveillance over the internet is not merely an “explanation of an event or situation”. Something important about conspiracy theories is that it either cannot be proven(as in the case of cults) or is straight up false(as in the case of anti-vaccine). It is pretty much an established fact that Big Brother is watching what you’re doing on the internet nowadays. Examples of this occurring in America is the Watergate incident. Government surveillance is an actual thing here in the United States, and it is probably more severe than you might have thought. You can look deeper into this by doing further research, a good place to start will be looking at classified documents of the United States leaked by Wikileaks ( regarding surveillance. To provide you with a general sense of what is going on, the government of the United States spent about 70 billions dollars on mas surveillance alone.
In short, no, my “conspiracy theory” of government mass surveillance is NOT a conspiracy theory but rather an established fact. Although they share some characteristics(Both involving a powerful organization harming the people). I am informing everyone about this issue not to make you believe that Big Brother is watching you, but rather to make sure that you understand how severe it is. I’ll talk more on surveillance in later entries, as they are one of the major focuses of this blog.
You’ve probably known by now that human beings are not that smart. I’ve met plenty of people who can serve as perfect examples for this fact — people who know what the government and internet giants are doing with there personal like but still don’t mind at all. Those relatively-not-so-smart people have many arguments that they think would be proof that mass surveillance is good, or at least not that evil. Today I would address some common arguments on this issue by those people.
The first argument that we’re going to address here is the argument that “advertisements are fine”. There are people out in the world (and probably many of them) that thinks big tech companies collecting their data for purposes of customizing experiences, such as providing advertisements, is fine. They think that having the tech companies knowing who they are isn’t a bad thing, but a good thing instead. However, although it is true that giving the big companies information about you may provide conveniences, many problems can rise as a result. For example, in 2012 during the election for the president of the United States, Facebook provided it’s users a way of showing that they voted. As a result from peer pressure, the voting rate that year increased. Although having more people vote is a good thing, it is a dangerous signal, because if big companies like Facebook can control whether or not we go to vote, they will likely be able to control our other actions, imagine what will the result be if Facebook only provided people of a certain party with the “I voted” mark? By knowing information about you and your peers, Facebook will be able to sway elections around the world. And more scarily, if Facebook was able to do this, so would Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and pretty much every other huge tech company. Surveillance combined big companies is destroying democracy around the world.
The second argument that I will address here, a more popular one, is the argument for developing spying software. This argument argues that spying tools are developed to stop criminal activities such as terrorism. To thoroughly explain why this is wrong will take too much time. In short, I would say that people who use this argument are assuming that tools cannot be misused, sadly however, that is not the truth, just like a knife can be used both to cut vegetables can to stab people, spying software and exploits possessed by DHA, FBI, and other agencies can be used both to stop criminal activities and to promote tyranny, which they’re already doing.
The two arguments that I covered today are definitely not all there is? However, I feel like these two needs to be addressed more than the others. I might write an entry about other arguments in the future if there is time. If anyone disagree with me you are very welcome to send an email to [email protected] and talk to me. I really enjoy debating with people of different opinions so don’t be afraid. That’s it for this entry 😉
Cardinal Richelieu, a French bishop who lived in the 17th century, once said: “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”. It is disturbingly easy to find evidence that somebody committed a crime when you have enough data. This is, in fact, one of the reasons that many countries prohibit the use of fishing expedition by the police and why the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of United States prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of common citizens. Unregulated gathering of private information are extremely effective in controlling society, the method was once employed by the British to control its American colonies. Sadly however, intensive gathering of data had became easier than ever with the invention of internet, big data, and the lack of laws regulating the extraction of private information from tech companies in courts in the United States and a handful of other developed countries, many of which are in the European union.
This is an age in which the court can declare anyone guilty if they want to. Gathering large amounts of data that could be used to prove someone guilty may be difficult in the past, but not anymore. Nowadays, only a little in your life is safe from searches of the court. Most people choose to sync their data to a cloud server, which can be extracted by the police upon request. And those who don’t often times don’t bother to encrypt their devices, making it still possible for police to extract your information since 1: they can seize your devices and 2: they can easily break through normal safety measures, such as passwords. Thinking that passwords protect you from the authorities is a common misconception many people hold. Another common misconception believed by a lot of people is that the police cannot recover deleted items. This is totally wrong. In fact, without extra steps taken, deleted items can be found more than 80% of the times! What happens in your device when you click the “delete”button is that the system free up the space for overwriting. That means if you deleted something without properly overwriting it, it still stays perfectly in your device’s storing parts. The data can remain for a long period of time as long as newly stored information doesn’t overwrite it by chance or you intentionally overwrite it with certain software. There are many software across different platforms that you can use and they are all pretty good, you can choose anyone you want but I recommend an open-sourced one, as they won’t be hiding anything shady in their code.
To conclude, nowadays, having your data being vulnerable can be potentially very dangerous. Steps you should take to protect yourself includes stop syncing things onto cloud and start deleting your data with more care and encrypt your disk (which I believe I talked about in a previous entry). This entry is meant to show the dangers of exposing your data that is related to law. This topic in particular interests me so I feel like writing about it, ;), see you in the next entry~
This is the very last entry of my blog, at least for this year. So I wanted to write about something special — myself, a topic that is rarely mentioned in my blog entries. This entry may contain a lot more weird sentences that don’t make sense than usual, since talking about myself isn’t something that I’m particularly good at and my language gets really messed up when I attempt to do it.
Many people may be curious about my passions in things like surveillance, big data abuse, and such. And to be honest, I know that those are some weird topics that people usually don’t pay much attention to. My interests, just as those of many others’ stem from my daily life.
I was born in People’s Republic of China. Different from Taiwan (a.k.a. Republic of China), PRC is a totalitarian, communist state that places heavy censorship on contents people can see, especially in recent years. My biggest interest in my early ages (and still a big one currently) is playing video games. As a result, I was deeply into computers. I read about how they work, learned programming myself, and has built programs before middle school. As I grow more and more into technology, I inevitably have to face a huge challenge before I can learn more, the Great Firewall of China, a huge filter that blocks foreign websites that contains or may contain criticism of the communist party / government. Circumventing the GFW and seeing the outside world taught me a lot. Seeing what China is doing with technology to its citizens informed me that technology can be misused and can lead to terrible outcomes. However, although that I know about censorship, surveillance and all that, I wasn’t a passion of mine to talk about it since a huge portion of China’s population are just ignorant patriots who blindly supports the government and loves their country, the rest of them who disagrees with the government already know how bad internet abuse can be in changing people’s perceptions and suppressing people, so there really isn’t a need to talk about it.
Everything changed after I came to the United States, I observed that people here don’t really have a lot of knowledge about the damage to democracy that can be done through the use of new technologies that are supposed to benefit us. That is why I decided to make this blog about technologies can the misuse of it. First, I can talk about technology, which is itself an interest of mine. And second, I can inform people about the dangers technology can bring to us. I didn’t at all hope that it will have a huge impact, but helping a little is still better than helping none, one more person informed about the evilness of surveillance and censorship is one more person that can join the fight against dictators and preserve democracy. I am running out of time due to procrastinating but I’ll probably change a few things if I feel like it’s necessary after I submitted the blog. This is it for my blog this year, thanks a lot for reading 😉