Link Roundup, 10/26/2019

From the BBC: A guide to Brexit

From The Washington Post: The US budget deficit surges to nearly a trillion.

From The Verge: Zuckerberg struggles to explain why Breitbart should be included in ‘trusted news.’

From The New York Times: Biden ‘s big-donor, big-spending strategy hits the rocks.

From Vox: An Interview with Stuart Russell on mitigating the dangers from AI.

From FiveThirtyEight: Overview of 3rd quarter campaign finance disclosures.

22 Comments

      1. Mary, what do you mean, “degenerate”? Violence is the natural manifestation of the tinderbox much of the western world is facing today. You can say all you want that “this time is different”, but human history will say you are wrong…very wrong.

        The right-wing has demonstrated time and time again that violence is a valid tool in this most recent battle for the direction of humanity. The left better get their collective head wrapped the concept that that violence is inevitable….and now. Not just in the U.S., but Poland, Italy, Hungary, Brazil, Philippines, to name a just a few countries..

      2. EJ

        Thanks Mary and Flypusher.

        Dinsdale: Let’s play a game. Both you and I will stop posting here entirely until such time as we are able to post photos of ourselves participating in an antifascist action. Does that sound fair?

        I’ll do mine tonight. After that, the ball is in your court.

      3. EJ, a few things:

        1. How did it go last night? I am scrawling through the BBC and The Independent sites and can’t see any stories.
        2. I will continue to post, when the weight of history is on my side. You see what is happening in Chile right now? You see what is happening in Hong Kong?
        3. How about you give me a list of resistances against authoritarian regimes that were successful without the use of violence, and I will make up a list that used violence, and then we can compare.

  1. I believe our secret weapon has always been immigrants. The ability to assimilate into a society that at least on the surface only asks for belief in a system of governance in order to be regarded as a citizen. I think Alexander Vindman is a hero before he ever set foot in front of the House inquiry. The evil I see on our landscape is native born.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/us/politics/who-is-alexander-vindman.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage#commentsContainer

    1. He is the “real” thing, and, he was on the call.

      I will be glad when the impeachment hearings are open to the public. It will, of course, result in grandstanding by the traditional disrupters – Jordan, Gaetz, Etc, I suspect Republican outrage (feigned) over testimony behind closed doors may well backfire on them. (58 Dems and 47 Repubs were allowed in these meetings with equal privileges). Assuming the formal launch by vote “legitimatizes” the Impeachment process to Republicans, (which I highly doubt), all those subpoenaed witnesses claiming executive privilege and the courts hearing these claims, are fair game. Plus, withheld documents are going to be challenged where needed and the courts will have a hard time justifying any ruling other than in favor of the impeachment request.

      As for this nefarious investigation Barr is conducting, and his chosen role in obstruction, that too will become more obvious. What is more unlikely is that anything that buttresses the impeachment decision will have any credibility to trump’s base , nor will sway republicans (who know trump is guilty), gutless wonders that they are.

      So, in the end, the election in 2020 is still America’s best chance to remove trump from office, and those odds are frightening.

  2. That Vox interview is terrifying.
    As bad as the tyrant is for the planet, the potential effects of AI dwarf his impact.

    I think about the Internet as a tool, no more than a shovel. A shovel can help build a house, or kill someone. The Internet was supposed to be this great equalizer, a great boon for civilization. It has been, but no one could fathom the negative effects 30 years ago that we face today due to the existence of the Net.

    But AI is also going to be far, far more than a tool. It will be several, or many, orders of magnitude more powerful than the Internet. The positive effects will be at the edge of our brightest fantasies today, but the negative impacts will be beyond anything we can imagine today.

    I would bet all that I own that the blowback against AI when it becomes ubiquitous will be make the Luddite uprising look like a tiny blip in discontent. I think Frank Herbert had it right.

    1. Meh, as long as the AI isn’t empowered with apocalyptic weapons systems, the worst that can happen isn’t that bad. The example given of a self-driving AI given reaching its destination as having priority over anyone’s safety … if we were dumb enough to program it that way, a few people would die and then we’d shut it down and reset its priorities. The example of an algorithm discriminating in healthcare is more realistic … but again, all it takes are for the bad consequences to become *noticeable* and we reset it. The healthcare management AI, like most AI applications outside of transportation, literally has no mechanical means to affect the world. It relies on humans to implement its decisions and we’ll stop doing so if we realize it’s screwed up.

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