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Something that people have apparently not quite connected is that these developments are incremental steps towards and can already be considered within the spectrum of mind reading. The only reason that that a majority of today's people do not recognize the situation as squarely in mind reading territory based on examples from literature and popular culture is that the the technical limitations still retrain government, with great frustration.

Although the same heeds of danger did not suffice in the early 20th century, we are facing the same mechanics that led to the world war. We are at a nexus of an ugly transition into the consequences of the information age the same way that humanity would ultimately face demise at the nexus of the consequences of industrialization leading up to the World War, first and second part.

The problem is a generational one; the baby boomer generation, with it's industrial age mindset is incapable from internalizing the consequences of their unprincipled actions.

Balderdash! How many people are in the baby boom generation? And you paint them all with one bush? Do you do the same for people of a particular race? Upon closer inspection you will find that few boomers are responsible for your woes. Your parents maybe, but most of us are as powerless as you. "Industrial mindset"? Poppycock! I look around and I see many young people serving up enormous amounts of their private information on public forums. Boomers have nothing to do with this. Quit obsessing about "boomers". It's such a useless distraction.

I expect few complaints will elicit less sympathy than the plight of the poor put-upon baby boom generation.

Thanks. Now stop being distracted.

You mean, we have a new paradigm, an unprecedented new perspective and ability, so the first thing we're gonna use it for is to try and kill as many people as we can before they kill us?

>so the first thing we're gonna use it for is to try and kill as many people as we can before they kill us?

As we always did. But let me correct you "the first thing we're gonna use it for is grabbing as much power as we can, which involves killing as many people as we can before they kill us, as they have the unfortunate tendency to resist".

Yeah, but thats an entirely different ballgame if you ask me. The thing that differentiates this and mind reading, is full public/mainstream understanding.


"Oh hey ma, the damned government is demanding public SSL keys, that means they can grab the data between your computer screen, and [insert popular services] servers"


"Err, ma. The government has just announced they're now going to be reading peoples minds wherever and whenever you are."

I'm sure one would illicit a much more active response, and as ever, its down to full understanding.

Precisely, I agree that this is the logical direction in which this is heading.

I think there's an implicit but rarely stated understanding - in silicon valley in particular - that there's value beyond traditional monetary capital in collecting and storing personalized information about individuals, groups, and organizations - i.e. security, profiling, recruitment and research value.

Background checks for hires, selection and identification of possible good candidates for roles, psychological profiles, etc could all - theoretically - be extracted given enough information. For now it is - allegedly - being used purely to identify and track bad elements, but these dubious 'values' exist in the data regardless (and, notably, also for attackers).

Knowing the intent of individuals and what they plan to do would clearly be massively valuable as well - PKD 'pre-crime' springs to mind, and I think Eric Schmidt was strongly signalling to the world that Google is hunting this value aggressively during this 2010 interview:


As connectivity spreads and devices become closer to our biological selves, this is only going to become more accurate - and thus more powerful and controlling for anyone with the ability to use and see the data.

The real questions I have are: how accurate are these predictions really (is Google anywhere near as advanced as their public statements would have us believe?), and how many organized criminals / terrorists will in their right minds continue to use these services, extrapolating, as they must, about these directions as well. With the current silicon valley mindset, the technologies to support all this infrastructure will be pursued even if for reasons of pure capital - they all align perfectly with valid use cases in the advertising, sales and marketing realms. (see: intent analysis)

I think there is a dream of purely computerized security based on 'enough' global buy-in to US-based services, aligned with sufficient communications interception. For example, if 70% of the world uses US services for communications, perhaps that is enough to identify suspicious holes/gaps/anomalies in social networks - as well as simpler patterns of criminal behaviour within the covered communications - and thus anticipate problems.

But whether this is near a reality, and whether the ones who suffer on aggregate are {citizens/residents} or {organized crime, terrorists} I think is very unclear without transparent statistics on coverage / actual crime preventions / etc. I would guess that the NSA, GCHQ, Facebook, Google et al are not there yet, but what they have done is create an arms race where if they do not follow-through, others elsewhere may do - and thus it has become a matter of national security (in terms of supremacy of the allies) after all.

Frankly I would question given the financial crisis whether they are even hunting the right targets, but direction is presumably still set from a political and defence angle as opposed to overall public good.

Given that other nations are likely now following in these same footsteps, I think it is extremely important that the US sets good precedents, because others will take their lead. And to make a parallel with the cold war, it seems like resolution of this kind of arms race would need co-ordination and agreement with other international spy agencies - after all, the volumes and value of the data/analysis they are storing is presumably as potentially destabilizing to international safety as nuclear stockpiling is.

This is all very interesting. So far it seems to be used to show me adverts for stuff I have already bought.

That's commonly known as 'remarketing' - by co-operating a little, a website and an advertising network can communicate the pages and products you've been looking at, and then the ad network can show you the products (or related items) again when you visit other sites.

It's frequently annoying if you've already made the purchase / decided not to, but it's a marketing ROI 'hack' in that the users who are being shown these adverts have already previously expressed some interest in them.

Even if 50% of users aren't interested any more or bought the product, the remaining 50% are still 'well qualified' -- i.e. known relevant -- and so showing the content again to them is more likely to result in sales, and so is 'cheaper' for the advertiser than targeting otherwise-unknown users. It's better for the ad network as well since their customers (the advertisers) will get better results.

Intent mining is really more about analyzing what people are saying online (or, equally, the text they're entering via search engines) and working out what they are intending to do - are they looking to purchase a camera, or are they looking for information about a business?

The two aren't completely separate - remarketing combined with intent mining could presumably have some interesting results (we've seen you were investigating shoes yesterday, and you're travelling to a mall - I'll show you some adverts from shoe stores there), but they're slightly logically different.

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