Targeted political ads

As you will have noticed, internet advertisers are bombarding you with ads tailored just for you, based on your browsing history and the volumes of data that the marketers have put together about you.  That technology is finding its way to television.  Watch for its use in political advertising.  In his last election, Chris Christie’s campaign bought ads on Friday Night Wrestling after they found that its viewers don’t vote much, but could probably be persuaded to vote for Christie.  And if you have satellite TV, you may be getting ads that your neighbor watching the same program isn’t getting. [Read more...]

Foiling spies by going back to the typewriter

Some German officials have become so paranoid over revelations of NSA surveillance and CIA spying, that they are considering dropping computers for communications and going back to typewriters.  They are also playing classical music during meetings to thwart American bugging devices. [Read more...]

Are spies manipulating your Facebook polls?

According to new revelations from Edward Snowden, a British spy agency is manipulating online polls, inflates YouTube numbers, directs online traffic, and manipulates the web in other ways for propaganda purposes. [Read more...]

Cyborg apocalypse in 2045

Human beings are innately religious, so when they reject traditional religions they replace them with new ones.  Often, they project their religious sensibilities onto other areas of life, such as politics or psychology or medicine, turning them into means of salvation or apocalypse.

Today, many people fear, love, and trust technology.  I have heard of the “singularity”–that time when computers will allegedly attain consciousness–proclaimed as a means of finding eternal life, when we can all download out minds into our computers and live forever.  Now a book is warning about a singularity apocalypse, when computers start to consider human beings–who will by then be cyborgs–to be the equivalent of dangerous insects. [Read more...]

Never-ending war

Drones that can zap our enemies from above like Zeus throwing down thunderbolts would seem like a great anti-terrorism technology.   But we probably won’t like them as much when other countries–and terrorists–use them to assassinate people on our soil.

But whatever you think of drone warfare, I was struck by a news story reporting on a bipartisan commission studying the issue in which one consequence is said to be a state of “never-ending war.” [Read more...]

Supremes rule for cell phone privacy

The Obama administration and the state of California argued that law enforcement officials should be able to go through the information on a person’s cell phone, which they argued was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets.  But the Supreme Court, striking a blow for privacy in 21st century technology, ruled–unanimously, no less–that cell phone data (which includes not just call records but with your calendar and appointments a record of nearly all of your activities) is private and cannot be accessed by authorities without a warrant. [Read more...]


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