Jordan B. Peterson’s books are at the top of my shelf, just next to G.K Chesterton and C.S Lewis.
They call him controversial. They call him dangerous. Mainstream press (or should say “presstytutes”?) line up in forming all kinds of tactics aimed at discrediting him.
They really don’t like what he has to say.
And the reason is simple.
That’s because we already reached the times of which Orwell spoke in his famous quote:
“The further a societydrifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”
Dr. Peterson’s “12 rules for life” is a treasure chest of great lessons. Some are new and some are the ones, we always knew yet needed to be reminded of.
I could write long essays on how they resonate with me & how they helped me in some of the toughest moments of my life. But that’s story for another time.
There is one common theme, that is at the core of Jordan B. Peterson’s writings.
His relentless pursuit of the Truth.
Since writing my thesis (more than a decade ago) on methods of influence and manipulation and their ethical aspect, this is the theme that I can relate to on deeply personal level.
So for those of you who do not know Peterson’s writings really well I highly recommend that you disregard everything you heard about him in media, just grab his “12 lessons for life” and start reading it.
But for start if you are not up for such a big leap, a brand new opportunity has arrived. Official channel of Jordan B. Peterson just posted a well animated video which illustrates some of his essential ideas.
The animations are brilliant and on the point, much like Dr. Peterson’s lectures themselves.
I would not recommend to treat the video as a ‘ersatz’ to the proper thing which are his books.
But surely it is a great, short & crisp introduction to what he has to say.
And to start understanding why it is so damn important.
Few posts down the line I was writing on how the rise of the deepfake technology will require strong countermeasures. The deepfakes are becoming so precise that it is almost impossible to distinguish them from the real video by naked eye.
So now, we will need support of an AI in order to be able to distinguish fakes from a real videos.
That, in turn, will lead to more sophisticated & undetectable deepfakes. And so the spiral begins.
“While in the beginning, AI-generated synthetic videos (using DNNs — Deep Neural Networks) were designed to deceive the human eye from authentic videos, advancements in technology are now taking measures to produce deepfakes undetectable to detection algorithms. “
The good guys will fight back with tools like the one eye reflection analysis software that is almost bulletproof. Almost… because there is still that 6% window where fakes can remain undetected.
You will soon be enabling anti-fake plugins while surfing one youtube, TikTok or other platforms, same way you switch on your ad-blockers. Possibly some platforms will have those integrated in them & analysis will occur upon uploading the user generated content.
In any case – deepfake vs deepfake detection algorithms struggle will become part of our daily online experience & inseparable part of common cyber security measures.
With a announcement of the global roll out of the vaccine, it seems we are closer to the end of pandemic. Yet, I also can’t help but notice that we are just at the beginning of the a journey to completely new world. This new reality that unfolds from behind the post-pandemic chaos, comes with irreversible changes to how live, travel and do business. One of the core aspects of these changes will be data governance.
Information such as health status, contact and vaccination history will become a must-have part of our digital wallets (and in case you haven’t got one, you will have another reason to catch up on it) and they will be accessible by third parties (by on-request basis).
IBM and World Economic Forum are among the biggest players who put the digital health passes (called also CovidPass) into the game.
IBM comes with a block-chain based product that is already integrated with Salesforce and allows organisations to validate health status of the individual, so that a decision can be made on if to allow physical contact/travel/event participation etc.
It is a blockchain-based platform designed to incorporate multiple data sources as specified by each organization – such as test results and onsite temperature scans – which can allow individuals to share their health pass through an encrypted digital wallet on their smartphone
Even if not obligatory per se, it is not hard to conceive a scenario where digital health passes become as common as smartphones. Which means that if you wish to travel or simply efficiently do business you will not have much choice but to get one. The importance of data protection and governance will become even more critical, especially with regards to how such personal data as health records would be shared across the borders. Not to mention the whole aspect of the application itself. Once Digital Health Passes will get popularity, the spectrum of use cases which they cover would surely expand.
Maybe we will be able to pass information about our food allergies when making a travel or restaurant booking. Maybe our health status will be monitored by health insurance companies.
What is certain, is that a new age is coming.
And our personal information will not be so personal anymore.
In their recent efforts of promoting so called “inclusion” one of the major cartoon TV published a graphic on their social networks, targeted at children, which was encouraging the use of “gender non-conforming pronouns” (hope, I got it right…).
So… Rejoice Fellow Citizen, your TV channel is now teaching Newspeak to your kids! Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 are not knocking at your door anymore, they have already stormed your house with their muddy boots and making themselves comfortable on your couch.
Apparently language matters. And the proponents of the great cultural revolution perfectly know that, after all they are all good Marxist scholars.
Once you hijack the language you can pave the way to people’s minds and souls.
If I can bend society around me and all my social interactions, so that they subdue to my subjective view of reality then indeed the possibilities are limitless. I can be anything. Anything, in that amorphous, pudding-like mass of conforming jelly (non-conforming to gender, resisting supremacies yet so obedient in whatever the corporations are telling them) that our society becomes.
And so… I can’t help but wonder.
Who is really driven by hate here?
People, who refuse acknowledging something that just plays whack-a-mole with their inherent sense of Truth? Or people, who despise the Truth so much that they are expecting everyone around them to participate in their lie?
Who is really trying to impose their worldview and not being ‘inclusive’ enough?
People who denounce the right of others to ‘self-identify’? Or rather those who deny the others the right to objectively observe & name reality for what it is?
If you think 2020 wasn’t awkward enough, here comes an eerie, symbolical scene for its ending. A babushka style Mary and Joseph, (ancient?) astronaut, an Uruk-Hai warrior (seriously!), and an angel that looks like taken from a Starbucks logo.
It is not an avangard street art, from a squat. Nope, its this years Nativity Scene revealed few days ago in front of St. Peters Basilica in Vatican. If this is the way that Holy See wants to sum up the weirdness of what we all experienced in 2020 then I guess they achieved their goal.
One might say; this is just art. A creative interpretation, a step beyond the trivial depiction of what we all already know. Yet, if art is to instil in us specific emotions – then why is that it does not bring the joy that should be associated with Christmas. Instead… the feeling I get when looking at these sculptures is something that I would describe as a mix of amusement and uneasiness. It just feels off.
Particularly, that astronaut, that seems to be copy pasted from some fringe historians stories about ancient aliens. If you look closely you will see that its holding something in its hands… is it a gift?
As Catholic, I do believe that symbols are meaningful. So I wonder; is this just a artistic flop or a well thought, obscured preview of a things to come?
That future is being decided, as it seems above the head of a common man. The governments and big corporations, are putting their hands together in a tight grip to secure peace and prosperity.
What do these new plans for The Great Reset mean, exactly?
Well for one, a shift to a so called “stakeholder capitalism” where private corporations play the role of “trustees of society” and directly or indirectly influence the way the economy is shaped as well as the some of the laws.
In theory, this means that all the big players, governments and major private organisations come together to tackle global challenges such as social, environmental issues or, you got it… the pandemic.
But what that could mean in practice?
It could mean further acceleration of the trends we are seeing today.
Globalisation, higher taxation, invigilation, more rules to follow (such as climate/diversity/inclusion) which only big players can abide in order to stay afloat. More barriers and obstacles for small and medium size business, which not only have to deal with a post-Covid impact but also higher taxes (which big players can avoid more easily) and an additional set of requirements with regards to policies/infrastructure etc. enforced by them via legislature.
So in short – when big boys/girls get together (even if in theory for the”greater good”) then there might not be any space left for the little ones.
So fellow Citizens… erm… rejoice?
Some are pointing out, that such a merger of state and business, is always a murky water (as history shows).
Others warn of neo-feudalism and there are those who see it as a paving road to… you got it New World Order.
And I do mean here some backwater, foil hatter from demonetised YouTube channel – but a renown dignitaries such as Archbishop Vigano (former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States).
In his recent letter to President Donald Trump, Vigano writes a dire warning of a things to come, if the globalist agenda continues in it’s current form.
“The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups. Beyond the enormous economic interests that motivate the promoters of the Great Reset, the imposition of the vaccination will be accompanied by the requirement of a health passport and a digital ID, with the consequent contact tracing of the population of the entire world”
It is a rare treat to see, an article in the mainstream media hinting on the New World Order scenario, that is not mocking or dismissive.
The marriage of AI & some kind of a global power (such as world government or multi-national corporation) that enslaves society through powerful technology is a theme which has been explored a lot in various sci-fi stories and scientific books. Max Tegmark is analysing such scenario in the first chapter of his book “Life 3.0” with such a terrifying accuracy that one can’t help but wonder, if this is a prediction or a glimpse to what is really happening behind the curtain.
The Author of the article does not only explore the grim possibility of the global enslavement done through the means of omnipresent surveillance but also quite accurately points out to how the AI-supported technology can already be used in politics, media or propaganda.
“AI also underpins the growth of online misinformation, which is another tool of the authoritarian. AI-powered deep fakes, which can spread fabricated political messages, and algorithmic micro-targeting on social media are making propaganda more persuasive. This undermines our epistemic security – the ability to determine what is true and act on it – that democracies depend on. “
Credit: BBC Di Minardi
In the era of Facebook and TikTok controversies, in the world where our personal data is the new oil, the primary resource through which the industries gain their wealth and governments stay in power we ought to take such scenarios seriously. And we ought to ask have a discussion on where this is leading us. What will eventually happen if we just “go with the flow”?
Yet, much too often, such concerns are marginalised and thrown into the same pot as the flat Earth theories.
So did BBC just join the Foil Hat club?
Truth be told, the bare fact that this story appeared in the mainstream media leaves me with a question.
Are we being warned to resist? Or are we just being familiarised with the notion… so that we accept?
As the world adapts to the pandemic reality, industries are taking various measures to keep their businesses going. Aim is to reduce the physical interactions between people, and minimize the risk of spreading the virus. And so the automation of workforce enters new areas and conquers new frontiers. Crowded spaces of restaurant kitchens and convenience stores are some of those.
The opportunities offered by sterile machines become even more tempting, in times were survival of your business could depend on hygienics and cleanliness.
Is that a trend that will help save the economy or is it another step on dehumanising yet another industry?
As one one of the managers, interviewed in the videos below put its:
“People are concerned with human beings involved with their food, and the spread of disease. So if you eliminate human beings from equation in some way shape or form, and replace them with robots people tend to feel safer. “
Sounds like this is where we are heading. Eliminating humans from the equation.
Feels so much safer already, doesn’t it?
Robot cooks are on the way
Flippy the burger frying robot
Meet Model-T grocery store remote controlled robot
There is that house on top of the hill in southern Poland. It towers above the village, yet it remains hidden in the embrace of the forest. The branches of nearby trees stretch above its roof, as if nature is crawling back in, to reclaim the land that once belonged to it.
Although this scenery seems like from a gothic story this house brings the emotions which I will always associate with peace, harmony and respite. My family owns this place, it has become our holiday retreat, and for me personally; a sanctuary.
Each day, just at sun dawn I would run into the woods behind the house, climb up the hill, off the beaten path and sit on the grass. I would close my eyes. And breathe.
This is how I remind myself of what is real. This is how I remind myself of those grim times when the urban life has entangled me and brought me down to the brink of depression. When I was burned out, when toxic work environment and “startup way of life” got me immersed in pointless masquerades. I remember, those times well, when I got lost in the crowd of new humans, and almost lost view of the reality.
In this age of abundance of information the most scarce resource is the Truth
“Quid est veritas?” – asks Pilate. What is truth? he ponders, while the Truth stands right before him. I can’t help but to think, that today it is the same for us.
What is truth? What is real? As we delve deeper into the flashy distractions of modern “culture” and entertainment we lose the sense of what is real. Those things that make us human, that define human experience, that rawness of reality is something I have to rediscover deep in the woods. Those precious moments can be seen and heard only in silence.
Chop wood, plant trees, cut grass, gather mushrooms, shoot a bow, take my kids for a hike through the woods, teach them to walk in silence and show them how to observe the wildlife. Drink some coffee with friends from the village; old-fashioned people who value work of their hands, who toil in the fields, who have not yet been immersed in the noise of the Metropolis.
I see the dichotomy, the growing rift between those people and the ones whom I met when living in Big Cities such as Berlin, Paris or Dubai. It is almost as if there are two species living in parallel worlds.
There is the homo sapiens, and there is this new human. The first one is of the old world, the latter is of the Brave New World. The new human is not taught to create but to consume. The new human trades elusive goals of long term effort for pleasures of immediate gratification.
Nurtured by fabricated food, educated by video entertainment, kept in darkness through constant exposure to blinding lights. A new human thrives when facing a screen and navigates effortlessly through digital jungle yet remains helpless and lost when confronted with real life. The new human is stripped of his identity, cut from his roots, detached from his legacy, even from biology.
The new human unlike the old one is not forged by constant values, but constantly morphs with ever changing trends and fashions.
The history of a new human is not written in stone, not even in paper but in wikipedia. The new human does not belong nor rely on a family, his sense of safety comes from an omnipresent embrace of the welfare state.
Family and marriage are redefined, blurred are the axioms, nothing is normal and everything is normal. You can’t observe reality for what it is, because you would become guilty of a mortal sin of being judgemental. When everything is questioned, nothing is real.
But the Truth, has this one miraculous property that It always emerges, eventually. And it leaves naked, those who try to suppress it.
All these thoughts ran through my mind as I was listening to the wind hustling through the tree branches, touching the moss, smelling the soil, cherishing the view of the bright blue sky above. How foolish I was to ever lose sight of it? I myself, came so dangerously close to becoming new human. Thankfully, I was given that time of blessed silence so I could see what is real and what has a meaning. I could step back and breathe again.
As C.S Lewis observed:
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
Note: Burning pages is my attempt to capture some elusive thoughts and observations before they turn to ash. Call it a journal if you want.
Few posts ago, I was writing about the growing (and worrying!) potential of the deepfake technology. You can check the article here. A recent news from Reuters, provided another example of how disturbing the applications of such software can be.
The story features Oliver Taylor, a student at England’s University of Birmingham. He is an activist who engaged through a series of articles in a tense debate on political issues around anti-Semitism and Jewish affairs. You can see Oliver’s photo in the source article on Reuters.
All this would not be anything particularly out of ordinary if not for one small detail.
Oliver Taylor doesn’t exist.
His identity is forged and his photo is a deepfake; an image generated through neural networks. As investigators behind Reuters article determined, some people generated this modern “Ventriloquist Dummy” to give voice to their agenda.
Dan Brahmy, quoted in the article (from Israel-based startup Cyabra specialized in detecting forged images.) observes:
“Deepfakes like Taylor are dangerous because they can help build “a totally untraceable identity,” (..) investigators chasing the origin of such photos are left “searching for a needle in a haystack – except the needle doesn’t exist.””
Those who played Deus-ex: Human Revolution might remembera character Eliza Cassan. She was an influential news anchor, famous all around the world. She also happened to be (spoiler alert!) a computer generated visual, a mere shell for a powerful AI behind it.
It seems like the reality is catching up on that one quite fast. Maybe even… it already did?