Aaron and Melissa Dykes make the point that the AI programs used by Renaissance Technologies and Cambridge Analytica are proprietary, secret from the public. Those wielding such information technologies know everything about us, allegedly better than we know ourselves, while we know nothing about them. In essence, individually and collectively, we are being steered by a black box. 

While they lump the FBI, CIA, and politicians from both parties into one amorphous "they", the Dykes make a lot of good points. Here are some excerpts.

Now politicians can tell you what you want to hear with great precision. They feed back  personalized ads , based on what things you've done, supported, said, basically trends they've seen you latching on to. And they feed those trends back to you. They could be telling everyone completely different things. [order changed]

On Renaissance Technologies:

You're talking about a black box investment firm that's just a money making machine. It's all in a secretive black box, no one else can see it, it's proprietary. And when they apply this to politics you get out is this reverso picture of what the population wants to hear.

They point out that individualized ads are sufficient to convince one segment of the population to buy whatever justification "they" invent for their moves, and then they pit that group against opposed groups to divide and conquer.

This money and data machine. It's like you're playing chess with a supercomputer.

The NSA and CIA are running quantum computers and what they call sentient world simulations in real time. They are using the world wide web to continuously suck up data about us all the time, continuously analyzing.

Where do you ever have anything that is even remotely authentic when all you ever get is feedback about yourself, or your group, or the people you identify with? It's like a game or a movie where you're fighting against a shadow version of yourself, how do you beat that?

This money and data machine, it's like you're playing chess with a supercomputer.

This is a game society. They're steering people into the direction they want to go.

They have put us all in a box. They're using game theory and real-time data analysis to feed back to everyone what they want to hear. So they've always got an excuse for everything that at least works for one group, while alternately pissing off the opposite group and keeping those two groups fighting amongst themselves, with each other. That's what they've done now with the internet. They're putting everyone in an echo chamber and telling them what they want to hear or need to hear, to justify what they're doing. They've already worked out the entire game board 17 moves ahead. They've figured out every angle. And then they're just feedback-looping everyone in echo chambers. Digital echo chambers, that's what the internet is being used for now. They're going to run society with artificial intelligence this way.

Some weird computer AI black box is now pretty much becoming the driving force of our society. [order changed]

It makes sense to me that the lies from the GOP and 45* are intended to use their gullible followers in a sort of chess move, to pit them against other groups, as a strategy to steer our country and the world economy. I agree that this AI game theory psychometric manipulation of the public already outpaces human intelligence. People like Robert Mercer no doubt control it at the moment, or at least think they do. But once human beings are being collectively massaged into AI control, a tipping point has been passed. It never occurred to me that the first manifestations of the Singularity might be pumped up hate, as part of game-like exploitation of human weakness.

Here's their video.

For more on this topic see Robert Mercer's psyops behind the extremist takeover in the Writing to Congress group.

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Interesting, Ruth, and also inevitable.

It's a variation on natural selection known as artificial selection. Charles Darwin wrote of it.

The slogan "survival of the fittest" revealed its author's misunderstanding of natural selection. Had he understood, he would have said "survival of the most adaptable".

Yeah, adaptability implies anti-social personality disorder. Welcome to the world we live in.

OK, this is our new reality. What a terrible time to use critical thinking skills; the puppet master controls the puppets, and we are the puppets!

In WW II there were many resistance movements.

"Resistance movements during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means ranging from non-cooperation, disinformation and propaganda, to hiding sought after agents and even to outright warfare and capturing of towns."

~ resistance movements of WWII

This is the 21st Century, very different from the 20th Century. The resistant movements of the past can offer only a starting point to develop strategies of action for today.

Can the atheists of the world form a coalition that will meet the challenges of AI? Do we have enough in common to form bonds between people from different cultures? 

Sharing information is a use of resistant power! Recognizing the realities we face is another, and so is forming coalitions. 

Organizing atheists is like herding cats. Organizing religionists is like herding lemmings.

Excellent point  I'd rather be a cat than a lemming. Choose a style! Suffer the consequences! 

Suffer?

In OED: experience; archaic, tolerate or allow.

Where has Joan gone?

I'm getting old and tired. I foresee a bleak future and am frightened for my great-grandchildren. I do all I can to keep the men and women in my family from marching off to war with patriotic zeal, waving a U.S. flag, and singing "Onward Christian Soldiers!" 

It seems that the Christian myth spreads throughout the community, or never died. There is something about loggers and farmers that call on the supernatural for the solution to problems. 

Welcome back, Joan.

You wrote of what's been on my mind for a while, there's a level of mental ability that divides people.

People who are below that level don't see the differing myths: the political or natural myths and the religious or supernatural myths.

When their political/natural "god", Trump, orders them into war they will go with the zeal their religious/supernatural god requires.

People who are above that level, usually wealthy, get into places of safety in a conventional, non-nuclear, war.

Because they are not safe in a nuclear war, and only because they are not safe in a nuclear war, is why we've had no nuclear wars since WW2.

The awful reality is that nuclear weapons:

1) have kept nuclear-armed small nations safe from the colonizing attempts of large nations, and

2) have kept large nations at peace with each other.

"Homo sapiens" is a dangerous myth.

Well put.

An AI black box doesn't need to have goals of its own, invisible to its human "masters" (and such an AI would sensibly stay stealthy -- see "Terminator movies too comforting") for us to be concerned about being subtly (or not so subtly) manipulated to those masters' advantage.

... they've always got an excuse for everything that at least works for one group, while alternately pissing off the opposite group and keeping those two groups fighting amongst themselves, with each other.

From Monty Python's Life of Brian:

BRIAN: Are you the Judean People's Front?

REG: Fuck off!

BRIAN: What?

REG: Judean People's Front. We're the People's Front of Judea! Judean People's Front. Cawk.

FRANCIS: Wankers.

BRIAN: Can I... join your group?

REG: No. Piss off.

BRIAN: I didn't want to sell this stuff. It's only a job. I hate the Romans as much as anybody.

PEOPLE'S FRONT OF JUDEA: Shhhh. Shhhh. Shhh. Shh. Shhhh.

REG: Stumm.

JUDITH: Are you sure?

BRIAN: Oh, dead sure. I hate the Romans already.

REG: Listen. If you really wanted to join the P.F.J., you'd have to really hate the Romans.

BRIAN: I do!

REG: Oh, yeah? How much?

BRIAN: A lot!

REG: [pause] Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah...

JUDITH: Splitters.

P.F.J.: Splitters...

FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

REG: What?

LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.

REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!

LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.

REG: People's Front! C-huh.

FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?

REG: He's over there.

P.F.J.: Splitter!

<Groan>

Sounds like "circular thinking 101"

1. Do not obey in advance.

I found that wisdom in cyberspace, in "20 Lessons from the 20th Century About How to Defend Democracy from Authoritarianism" by Yale Historian Timothy Snyder.

It opens the first, and in my not very humble opinion, the most important of his 20 lessons.
1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

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