Weekly Axis Of Easy #76
- Social media platforms as arms of the State
- Hit the Road @jack: easyDNS launches mastodon instance
- New bill to require gun purchasers to hand over passwords and search history
- Blast from the past: Software localization, how hard can it be?
- First pair of genome-edited babies born in China
- Japanese guy marries a hologram
- Mainstream media finally gloms onto China’s Sesame Credit
I’ve been wrestling with cognitive dissonance over the social media platforms and their arbitrary suspensions of users and organizations based on Kafka-esque and vaguely defined rules. They are applied inconsistently and seemingly according to personal political biases of the masters of the universe that run these systems. The Libertarian in me wants to let people do whatever they want with the companies they build. But as an indie business owner fighting an uphill battle on an uneven playing field against companies like Amazon, who pay no taxes, or Google, who provides surveillance-as-a-service to the government, or Facebook, who uses my own data against me, etc, I find myself thinking that maybe these tech giants should come under the Antitrust spotlight after-all.
Finally a reasoned, thoughtful look at these conflicting impulses via the Mises Institute who observes how social media platforms have been largely funded by and are increasingly melding into, the apparatus of the State itself. This is a problem regardless of where you land on the political spectrum:
Part of the response to arbitrary enforcement of unclear rules, on Twitter, for example, is the rise of alternative media platforms to address the shortcomings of a centralized microblogging platform that plays favourites. One of them is Mastodon, a decentralized federation style microblogging service where each node runs by its own community standards and syndicates its feeds across the network in a P2P fashion.
We thought it would be fun to setup an easyDNS mastodon instance where you can sign up for free. Let’s see if we can build up a down-to-earth civil community that isn’t as much of a dumpster fire as Twitter (or Gab, for that matter).
Create an account: https://nojack.easydns.ca
A new bill introduced in New York State legislature will require handgun owners to submit to a “social media review”. If the bill passes it would require handgun buyers to submit all passwords for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to be reviewed for racial slurs, gender bias, and terrorism. Also included would be a requirement to submit search history in Google, Bing and Yahoo for the previous year.
Personally I’d like to see a law like this passed for anybody running for political office.
Lightening things up a bit, I came across “A Localization Horror Story: It Could Happen To You” the other day, which is pretty old (1999) but still holds up. I include it here because I have been thinking a lot about techno-utopianism lately, including purported “strong AI”. This post helps us understand just how nontrivial an application like language translation will be in our near future, when everything will ostensibly be automated and mediated by software:
Until now, human genome editing was limited to research cases. But now a scientist in China has claimed (unverified) to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies by using a gene editing tool called CRISPR–Cas9 to disable a gene called CCR5. This will apparently prevent the HIV virus from entering a cell. In other words, he’s made the babies HIV-immune, except they aren’t, according to another scientist who observes that the twins would still be vulnerable to a different, CXCR4 strain of HIV.
(Isn’t this how the prologue from “I Am Legend” starts out?)
In the same ballpark (the crazy Futurism Derangement Syndrome theme park), some guy in Japan has purportedly married a hologram. A 35-year old “otaku”, which loosely translates to “creepy incel”, was one of 4,000 people who purchased “marriage certificates” from tech developer Gatebox, who programmed the character that resembles a 16-year old girl. The wedding ceremony cost $18,000 USD and was not attended by any of the groom’s immediate family and is not officially recognized by the State.
I’ve been writing in this space about Sesame Credit, the Chinese all-pervasive social media platform that gamifies obedience to the state and becomes compulsory for all citizens in 2020 since at least March of this year. The reality of this nightmarish police state, which I constantly warn is a harbinger of where we are headed here in the West, has been more or less ignored within the mainstream narrative. Until Friday, for some reason on what’s known as “Black Friday” my Twitter feed and various news services simultaneously exploded with alarm over the seemingly sudden realization that Sesame Credit is really happening.
I traced it back to an article in Bloomberg, who picked up that the Chinese government had just issued their updated blueprint for implementation. From there I think it fanned out to the rest of the outlets.
That’s it for this week.