All these years and I never realized that there was a third Zeitgeist documentary, “Moving Forward”. It doesn’t offer many novel ideas if you’ve seen the other two, but it does explore interesting thoughts on nature versus nurture and presents a rather compelling anti-consumerist stance. The solutions proposed, like advocating for a resource-based economy, reminded me strongly of the late Jacque Fresco’s ideas, which I found quite appealing!

Privacy Isn’t Dead. Far From It - Positive thoughts from the EFF, showing some of the recent progress made on the data privacy front.

Remember that it takes time to change the system. Today we take many protections for granted, and often assume that things are only getting worse, not better. But many important rights are relatively new. For example, our Constitution didn’t always require police to get a warrant before wiretapping our phones. It took the Supreme Court four decades to get this right. (They were wrong in 1928 in Olmstead, then right in 1967 in Katz.)

I recently read the articles written for the Westinghouse time capsules in 1939. The lucidity of the note left by Einstein is still spot on in today’s context :

Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilize power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves.

However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganized so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Furthermore, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence & character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce some thing valuable for the community.

I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.

Finished reading: The Strength of the Strong by Jack London 📚- ‘The Heathen’ was such a great friendship tale, this might be my favorite piece of writing by London.

Watching some french political debates today reminded me of this quote by Edward O. Wilson :

The real problem of humanity is the following: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.

Recent AI advances ask for a significant shift in our approach to innovation. Historically, our focus was on unleashing technology’s power; now, we must explore ways to contain it, remembering the adage, ‘Just because we can doesn’t mean we should’.

White faces generated by AI are more convincing than photos - Words fail me to express how concerning it is on so many levels, from political deepfakes to ethnic bias and much more.

Somewhat ironically, while humans seem unable to tell apart real faces from those generated by AI, the team developed a machine learning system that can do so with 94% accuracy.

Thought of the day from Pirkei Avot: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self only, what am I? And if not now, when?

Nepal joins a growing list of countries banning TikTok. - Around 15 countries have now banned the social media giant, whether fully or on government phones, over cybersecurity, data protection and content moderation concerns.

TikTok’s refusal to curb hate content was affecting “social harmony,” the report said, citing the Nepal government. Specifically, Nepal’s officials are apprehensive about TikTok content that is “stoking religious hate, violence and sexual abuse and has led to clashes offline, forcing curfews and the deployment of the police.”

Finished reading: La Conscience Juive by Vladimir Jankélévitch 📚 - Deep thoughts on Judaism being inherently “untranquility” and how it has shaped Jewish identity throughout the ages.