Friday, October 8, 2010

Government to guess your next move

From the 11 October 2010 Greater Niagara Newspapers

By Bob Confer

There’s no doubt that many times over the past 10 years you’ve complained at length about President Bush or President Obama. With all the chaos taking place in our lives (wars, economic crises, etc.) there are plenty of things to gripe about regarding their job performance.

If you’re a reasonable human being you probably didn’t wish them dead or severely injured by an assassin’s bullet.

At least that’s what you think.

The government, on the other hand, doesn’t think you think what you thought.

In something that seems straight out of a science fiction movie set in some oppressive futuristic landscape, the government is getting closer to utilizing technology that will analyze your thoughts and actions, guess your next move, label you as a threat for it and ultimately ensure prosecution, whether you deserve it or not.

That’s what’s in the works at the Mind Machine Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Scientists there have developed a computer program that will scan phone calls for perceived threats by tracking resentment in voice and the talkers’ affixation on certain topics. It will do the same with emails, noting similar behaviors that could, in their eyes, put government officials or the public in danger. According to MIT scientists, the system is being built to analyze 100,000 conversations per hour.

A computer of such magnitude (one of many) isn’t being made to look over correspondence collected from a handful of suspected terrorists. No, the goal that is being strived-for will allow Big Brother to look through endless reams of data, including the emails and phone calls that you - as a law-abiding citizen - share on a daily basis.

It’s bad enough that such technology will require expansion of the Patriot Act and the further destruction of our Fourth Amendment rights all in the name of national security. This technology will take it one step further and put words in your mouth and make assumptions about your motives for criticizing those in power.

Think about how often you’ve had phone conversations in which you’ve complained about the Obama Administration’s poor efforts in jump-starting the economy. Think about how many emails you’ve sent chastising the Bush Administration. Think about how many columns I’ve written about the federal government’s misguided ways. In all such cases, we’re creating extensive portfolios about ourselves, the trends of which show that we have a fascination with a certain subject, one that would be deemed uncomfortable and inherently evil by the Mind Machine and those who use it.

It’s not a stretch to think it will be used in such a manner. As a matter of fact, there’s plenty of proof that it will be.

A couple of weeks ago Hilbert College held their First Responder – Military Symposium at which one of MIT’s professors, Mathieu Guidere, spoke at length about the Mind Machine Project and how it will be used to ascertain potential threats against the President’s life or determine if someone possesses the same obsessive traits that lone bombers do.

This is old hat to Guidere and the federal and local agencies that fawn over him. He was instrumental in the development of the Radicalization Watch Project which also used behavioral analysis to stereotype government critics as radicals and he was a keynote speaker at a component of the International Law Enforcement Symposium held in Florida this part February that focused on post-deployment soldiers as a threat to law enforcement. Under both circumstances, those with patriotic tendencies (be they individuals who are concerned about our country’s future or fought for our country’s future) are perceived to be dangerous to society, just like they are in a variety of state and federal documents such as those produced by MIAC, a derivative of Homeland Security (refer to “Bob Confer: Terrorist”, published here in April 2009).

Information is deadly in the hands of a government that thinks that way. Because of that, someday soon - maybe even now – it won’t be safe to talk with your friends or share emails with them unless you’re all about rainbows and butterflies. It’s scary to think we can’t say one bit of negativity about the ruling class without a computer assuming we’re criminals. Whatever happened to the freedoms of speech, privacy and thought?

1 comment:

-jay said...

A good idea: cancel you facebook, twitter, etc. accounts while you are at it.