Elon Musk Claims A.I. Is The Biggest Threat Against Civilization

If you read the New York Times yesterday, you probably saw the story where Elon Musk warned Facebook researchers about artificial intelligence. He claims A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes. Musk is the CEO and Founder of Space X and Tesla.

Musk expressed his feelings at a dinner party Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, hosted at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. Musk said. “If we create machines that are smarter than humans, they could turn against us. The tech industry should consider the unintended consequences of what we are creating before we unleash it on the world.”

You can read the NY Times article here.

I asked several friends, in the tech and science fields, to give their reaction to what Musk said.

Dr. Steve Mandy, Miami Beach, FL.

Did you ever see the 60’s SciFi movie Forbidden Planet? It tells the whole story.”

Gary Arlen, President, Arlen Communications, Bethesda, MD, research/analysis and consulting firm.

Nearly 30 years ago, I attended a seminar at Harvard where some participants described separate Pentagon-funded programs to develop robots, artificial intelligence and other features that would be the building blocks for synthetic soldiers.  I’ve thought of this often during the current debate about the value of AI.  One of the flaws back then was that such replicants (as in BLADE RUNNER) would lack human emotion and understanding/caring, which may have been good in a heartless war-fighter.

“So now as a society, we’re confronting that same issue which goes beyond “superintelligence” as discussed in the Times article. Yes, AI robots (as “personified,” pun intended) in movies, could be dangerous.  But there are more sinister ways that A.I. affects our lives in non-hominoid ways, for example: personal monitoring as described in my recent article about China’s AI juggernaut, such as privacy invasion.  http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20180506/index.php#/20.

“Since AI is truly a global science/technology/moral issue, there are worldwide implications.  But as seen at the Zuckerberg/Senate hearings, these decisions are ‘way above the capabilities of policy-makers.  I expect that AI developments will take shape and become part of our way of living, starting with industrial uses.   And the arguments will continue, possibly until a superintelligent, sentinent ‘being’ can dominate a flesh-and-blood opponent.  I’m not putting a clock on that one.”

Rob Reis, President, Higher Ground, Palo Alto, CA.

“When the hacking of our supposedly-secure credit card databases and the dying from supposedly-safe autonomous cars becomes a thing-of-the-past, only then is our software industry ready to take on super-intelligence.”

Dick Krain, Retired Senior Executive, Grey Advertising, NYC.

“If a self-driving car approaches an intersection and wants to make a right turn and there is a car coming from the left, it must decide if the other car’s speed will permit it to turn, if the car will slow down or stop to permit it to turn, if the car will speed up and beat it to the turn or if it should just stop and wait for the other car to pass.

“Now, if the other car is also self-driving, you could build in some form of communications device to take over and coordinate the two machines. But, what if the other car is driven by a human? What happens then? Will the self-driving car be able to correctly forecast what the human driver will do? Will the human driver be able to determine that the car waiting to make the turn is a self-driving car? A bad decision can lead to injury or death to the self-driving car’s passenger or the human driver in the other car.

“As more and more self-driving cars replace human driven cars, will essentially the self-driving cars take over the responsibility of driving? Will traffic rules have to change? What about pedestrians? How do they decide if it is safe to cross the street? If they are hit by a self-driven car, who is at fault? Add bicycles and skate boards into the equation and you see the clear dangers of artificial intelligence.”

Maurice de Hond, Founder, The Steve Jobs School, Amsterdam, Holland.

“My opinion is that, like always, developments in technology give a lot of blessings, and also some dangers. It takes time before we are aware of those dangers, and get them under control.

“This will also be the case with A.I. I think the real danger will come in 20/30 years. The danger will not be the technology itself. It could get used in the wrong way by people who have no understanding of the consequences.”

Let’s keep the dialogue going.

A 31 Year Relationship

My friend Maurice de Hond is probably one of the most famous people in the Netherlands. You can’t walk around most places in Amsterdam without him being recognized. If you are Dutch, you know Maurice.

Most of his fame comes from being a TV personality. He is a pollster, a computer expert, and the founder of School Suites, a start-up that promotes personalized learning in the school system. Maurice believes that each child should be educated on his or her own individual talents and interests. The days of mass learning in a traditional classroom is over. The transformation will take place over the next decade. Click here to read all about it. http://scoolsuite.nl/en/. He travels all over the world giving lectures about it.

He is also working with a cancer research company that will have a big announcement in the not-to-distant future. Keep your fingers crossed. We may beat this disease in our lifetime.

Maurice and I met though business but have remained friends for 31 years. We usually see each other once a year and speak to each other via email, social media and phone calls. Eliot and I also know Maurice’s adult children and their families.

Maurice is pictured with his wife Mari and daughter Daphne in the above photo. Maurice met Mari on his trip to Cuba almost 13 years ago. He went there to learn how to Salsa dance, and came back to Amsterdam with a bride.

We have all gotten together a number of times on both sides of the ocean. I’m thankful for the Internet because without it, we never would have maintained such close ties. I have done other profiles on Maurice before in DigiDame. This won’t be the last.

Pictures taken at Wynwood Walls.

A Facebook Gift

This video was created by Facebook about my trip to the Galapagos. I opened my Facebook account today and there it was. Interesting to note, some of these photos were never posted on Facebook. They were taken from my camera roll on my iPhone. Watch out what you store on your phone. Facebook can grab them.

Photos on your camera roll are stored by city, and by date. It’s not that difficult for a software program to capture a group of photos that are related to each other. The video did have one mistake and I was able to eliminate the photo from another story.

I’m pretty proud that I was able to take the video off of Facebook and post it here. That was something I couldn’t do before. All I had to do was save the video to my camera roll, then turn it into a YouTube video on my channel, and then post it here. It was so simple.

.

Facebook Is Not Alone

Image: CFO Innovation

For the last several weeks, I have had to listen to many of my contemporaries talk about the dangers of Facebook. I find it very interesting that most of the comments came from friends who know very little about Facebook, and why it became so important to so many.

While everyone is focused on Facebook, they seem to be ignoring the fact that they too are vulnerable because of their participation on digital media with giants such as Amazon and Google. Both companies are collecting far more information on all of us than Facebook has ever been capable of obtaining.

Think about it.

Amazon and Google know your personal email, home address, credit card information, purchases, websites you have visited, trips you have made, local tracking information, addresses of your friends, your reviews, on and on.

The so-called Facebook backlash is just the beginning of more truths about the digital world. Get ready for it. You are very involved and you better be prepared for all kinds of exposure.

Read about the realities of the digital world in Mashable.

Click here. Facebook isn’t the only one with too much of your data. Just ask Google and Amazon.

Facebook Can Be A War Zone

Mark Zuckerberg, the 33-year old tech billionaire, who created Facebook 13 years ago, never could have predicted that a New York real estate developer and TV personality, would have such a dramatic impact on his business. I am a frequent user on Facebook. I can attest that the social media platform can be a war zone when people start discussing Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.

It gets so rough at times that people leave Facebook for weeks or months. They just don’t want to see folks, who they considered good friends for many years, make certain remarks with which they vehemently disagree. Facebook can be a totally exasperating experience. You log in to wish someone a happy birthday, and you end up in a heated debate with another person over a Trump remark or policy.

Meanwhile Wall Street is blaming the fact that users are spending less time on Facebook because they are “consuming information rather than interacting with their friends and family members online.” Zuckerberg now promises that Facebook users will see more posts from family and friends and fewer from businesses and publishers. “Facebook is prioritizing news articles that it determines are trustworthy, informative and local, with the help of users.”

Trying to defend the amount of time users spend on Facebook, Zuckerberg also said, “So let me be clear: Helping people connect is more important than maximizing time they spend on Facebook.” It was reported that the company reduced time spent on its social media platform by roughly 50 million hours every day, or 5 percent, in the final quarter of 2017.

Facebook has 2.13 billion monthly active users worldwide, an increase of 14 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. However, the tech firm saw its daily active users in the United States and Canada drop from 185 million to 184 million from the third to fourth quarter.

I researched a lot of stories to see if Zuckerberg ever admitted that the current administration could be having a negative impact on his creation. The closest I got was this Zuckerberg statement: “2017 was also a hard year. The world feels anxious and divided and that’s played out on Facebook.”

I guess that’s a start.

One Year And 14 Days Ago


I just don’t know how Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has been able to function this year. One year  and 14 days days ago, her husband, David Goldberg, then CEO of Survey Monkey, died unexpectedly from a heart attack. The world was in shock, at least I was.

Sheryl and David were the golden couple of the tech industry, or even the world. All eyes were on them. They were happy, prosperous, and cutting edge. Stories about them always talked about their devotion to each other, their children, their extended families and friends. 

I always wondered how this powerful couple managed to be so creative and productive in the business world and yet lead a relatively normal life. I obsessively read every story about them. I couldn’t get enough until that dreadful, awful day when David died.  

I recently read several stories in Mashable that Sheryl was going to address the graduating class of 2016 at the University of California at Berkeley this past weekend.  She finally opened up about how she was able to function this past year while staying completely active in one of the most successful tech companies. 

This was the first time she publicly spoke about the tragedy.”There are three P’s—personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence—that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship,” she said.

The entire speech appears on the YouTube video above. Sheryl appears at the 1:18.54 mark.

 

Pressing Facebook’s Buttons 

I always thought it was peculiar when a friend, or family member, announced on Facebook, that his or her father died. What was more shocking was when the sorrowful post received 100 “likes.”

I could never figure out if that meant Facebook members were happy that the father died or they just wanted to acknowledge the post. Of course, I knew that it meant “acknowledgement,” but it still disturbed me. 

Voila! Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg must have sensed my frustration. In a recent meeting, he admitted the company was working on a way for Facebook users to show “empathy” when it was inappropriate to “Like.”

Zuckerberg said they were not going to produce a “Dislike” button because he was not interested in turning Facebook into a platform “where people voted up or down.”

Therefore, Facebook is contemplating a “Sorry” button because they feel it’s more appropriate. Nothing has been finalized.

Watch the video to hear Zuckerberg talk about the possibilities.

Facebook Friends Hear From Sheryl Sandberg 

I was stunned tonight when I saw a post from Sheryl Sandberg on my Facebook feed. I can only assume that everyone got it. Over hundred thousand people instantly commented on her post wishing her nothing but the best. 

The post is so sad to read even though it is a beautiful tribute to her husband, Dave Goldberg. The world has changed. Sheryl decided to share her emotions publicly on social media. Years ago, we all privately mourned. Maybe it’s better just to belt it out.

In any case, it is heartbreaking.

           

Social Media Networks For Nepal

   Our visit to Nepal a few years ago. Photos by Eliot Hess.  

There are many people who question the impact of social media on today’s society. Some people feel it’s done more harm than good.

I’m not one of those people. I’ve seen how social media has helped the lonely become a part of a community, helped others build new relationships, re-established old ones, and come to the aid of millions in time of need. 

Google and Facebook have taken major roles in helping people across the world connect after the tragedy from the Nepal earthquake. Both are offering services that connect family and friends in the United States with the people of Nepal.

Facebook has introduced the Safety Check, a feature that allows Americans to find out  If their loved ones are okay.  All the survivors have to do is report in. Google resurfaced its Person Finder to help locate missing family and friends. Their Internet tools work faster than traditional methods (waiting for embassies to report who survived).  


It’s comforting to know that the big social networking companies have taken an active role in using their core competencies to benefit others. It’s always so rewarding to watch successful companies giveback and show us how their skill sets make all the difference in the world.