What we’ve learned from Tay, Microsoft’s Chatbot

Tay's got no chill, alright

Tay’s got no chill, alright

Microsoft Research launched a chatbot on Twitter called Tay on the 25th of March 2016 and had to take it down just two days after that because the AI (artificial intelligence) behind the chatbot had become very offensive. It seems that the chatbot was the victim of an “attack” carried out by the good people over on 4chan’s /pol/ message board. Basically they were able to teach the AI all of the offensive remarks that it made. I’ve included some examples below.

AI reflecting the human condition

AI reflecting the human condition

Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Research, apologized for the chatbot’s behavior in a blog post, and also had the following to say about this:

For context, Tay was not the first artificial intelligence application we released into the online social world. In China, our XiaoIce chatbot is being used by some 40 million people, delighting with its stories and conversations.

We stress-tested Tay under a variety of conditions, specifically to make interacting with Tay a positive experience. Once we got comfortable with how Tay was interacting with users, we wanted to invite a broader group of people to engage with her. It’s through increased interaction where we expected to learn more and for the AI to get better and better.

The logical place for us to engage with a massive group of users was Twitter. Unfortunately, in the first 24 hours of coming online, a coordinated attack by a subset of people exploited a vulnerability in Tay. Although we had prepared for many types of abuses of the system, we had made a critical oversight for this specific attack. As a result, Tay tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images.

Looking ahead, we face some difficult – and yet exciting – research challenges in AI design. AI systems feed off of both positive and negative interactions with people. In that sense, the challenges are just as much social as they are technical. We will do everything possible to limit technical exploits but also know we cannot fully predict all possible human interactive misuses without learning from mistakes. To do AI right, one needs to iterate with many people and often in public forums. We must enter each one with great caution and ultimately learn and improve, step by step, and to do this without offending people in the process. We will remain steadfast in our efforts to learn from this and other experiences as we work toward contributing to an Internet that represents the best, not the worst, of humanity.

Those are some very interesting remarks by Lee, and it reminded me of all the people — such as SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and scientist Stephen Hawking — who often mention that we have to be careful with AI because it can be dangerous. These people believe that the kind of scenarios that we’ve seen in movies like The Terminator might become reality if we’re not careful with AI. Musk even called the prospect of AI “our greatest existential threat” in a 2014 interview with MIT students at the AeroAstro Centennial Symposium.

I’ve thought a lot about AI and it’s implications myself, and so far I’ve come to the conclusion that AI is not the problem; the problem is human consciousness.

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The Manipulated Man

During the past weekend I came across an interesting book by Esther Vilar titled “The Manipulated Man.” If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading it, as there’s a lot of truth in the book. In fact, I recommend reading this book before you decide to get married, or commit yourself in any kind of (exclusive) relationship with the opposite sex!

In her book Vilar explains that men are being manipulated into becoming slaves for most of their lives, and her observations in that regard are spot on. However, Vilar blames everything on women, and this is where she’s wrong. In fact, this is a big contradiction throughout her book that she completely overlooked.

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Relationships of the Future

We’re currently living at a time when there are a lot of social changes underway at relatively rapid speeds (compared to the past), due in large part to the Global Brain. Until recently, humankind made a lot of progress when it comes to our scientific and technological development, but we’ve basically remained stagnant when it comes to social developments. Sure, there was some progress over the course of thousands of years, but today we’re essentially still struggling with the same anti-social systems that were forced upon us thousands of years ago. In terms of our social development, we’re still pretty much barbarians, and are just beginning to realize this now, which is what’s causing a worldwide search for new and more sustainable ways of living together. And it’s in this overall process that our relationships are also undergoing major changes.

Before I continue, I want to clarify that when I mention “relationships” in this post, I’ll be focusing more on what we know today as “romantic relationships” which are generally based on attraction or lust between two individuals. However, the basic concepts that I will discuss also apply to all kinds of relationships between individuals, be it friendships, family, business relationships etc.

When it comes to our social development, there’s a transition going on right now towards the natural or universal order. We can also see this happening when it comes to our relationships; these days there’s a trend towards having open relationships (friends with benefits, no strings attached, etc.) instead of the traditional exclusive relationships that we’ve had in the past, such as the exclusive romantic relationships between two people that usually ended up in marriage. Like I discussed in the past in my post on marriage, divorce rates are rising globally, and a constantly growing number of people are choosing to stay single. In addition, we’re seeing that polygamy is also slowly becoming more accepted in society, no doubt because people are beginning to realize that humans are naturally polygamists, and that there’s no sensible reason for why a person would choose to limit themselves by tying themselves exclusively to another person, and suffer all the disadvantages that come with that.

What’s happening is that we’re transitioning from the traditional exclusive relationships — which create artificial scarcity, severely limit every individual in society and make them dependent — towards open and non-exclusive relationships — which create abundance, respect the sovereignty of every individual, and are based on true love. In other words, we’re transitioning towards relationships that are based on a peer to peer (P2P) social networking model, which is the way everything in nature fundamentally works (nature is fundamentally a P2P system).

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Open brief aan alle Politici en het volk van Suriname

40 Years of Slavery through Statism

40 Years of Slavery through Statism

Op een recent gehouden driedaagse conferentie van het AVVS de Moederbond heeft mevrouw Jennifer Simons aangegeven dat “we allemaal eens aan de macht zijn gekomen maar dat het geen van ons is gelukt om te zorgen voor duurzame ontwikkeling.” Ook gaf zij aan dat er bepaalde vragen zijn die we moeten beantwoorden, zoals “wat hebben we allemaal verkeerd gedaan, wat moeten we anders doen en hoe gaan we het anders doen?” Wat mevrouw Simons in essentie aan gaf is dat de politiek heeft gefaald.

Ik heb “goed” nieuws en slecht nieuws voor alle politici. Het slecht nieuws is dat u gaat blijven falen, ook al krijgt u duizenden jaren om het steeds weer opnieuw te proberen. Het “goed” nieuws is dat het niet helemaal uw schuld is.

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Creativity, innovation and making mistakes

I came across a very good article written by Espen Brunborg titled “Is the Internet killing creativity?” Brunborg touches upon a number of interesting subjects, and I especially liked the following bit towards the end:

But remember this: machines have no imagination. Robots work to a specific set of rules. They follow the recipe. They can’t create something that’s original and meaningful. They have no imagination. If we want to survive the Matrix (my robotic dystopian metaphor of choice), we need to maintain ours.

So we’re left with a choice. We can take the blue pill: we carry on as we are. We perfect the recipe. We choose the familiar. And eventually we hand our jobs over to robots.

Or we take the red pill: we go beyond the obvious and enter Wonderland. We fail. We fail again. And in the process, we offer what the machines can’t: memorable, original and creative experiences.

Brunborg is right, but taking the red pill is often very difficult for people. And this is because the societies we have today around the world condition people to be very afraid of failure.

For example, from early childhood you get reprimanded and punished if you make a mistake, instead of being encouraged to improve. In addition, people around you are quick to use any mistakes you make against you, often even far into the future. And this behavior is the result of the anti-social system that we live in, where people are constantly being encouraged to compete against one another (instead of cooperating), which causes them to develop predatory behavior. People become like crabs in a barrel — quick and eager to pull each other down whenever an opportunity arises to do so, so that they can position themselves higher. Any mistake you make is certain to be used against you in this system.

So it’s understandable that people are afraid to take risks; they’re afraid to be wrong and make mistakes, and afraid to admit it when they do. That’s what is stifling creativity, innovation and progress in general, apart from all the rules and procedures. Probably all creative people will be able to tell you stories about clients who rejected an idea (or needed a lot of convincing) because they thought it was too risky, and I certainly have my own. Most clients actually want to stick to “the familiar” just to be safe.

But like I pointed out in the past, if you want to stand out, then coming up with unique and creative ideas and trying them out, includes the risk of being wrong and making mistakes. Like Albert Einstein said, “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” If people are afraid to make mistakes, then it automatically also means they’re afraid to be creative, to innovate and to make discoveries (or inventions).

We have to change the way we think about making mistakes. Making mistakes is a natural part of learning. Making mistakes should only become a problem when people keep making the same mistake over and over again because they obviously fail to learn from it. Nobody should be treated in any negative way (reprimanded, punished, made fun of, etc.) simply because they made a mistake. Instead we should offer them our help if needed, and also learn from their mistakes. If you’ve made a mistake, or if you find out you were wrong, simply admit it immediately, make sure you take responsibility and learn from it, and then move on. You and everyone in society will reap huge benefits from that. That’s how I deal with being wrong, in any case.

Creativity should also not be limited by rules and procedures, or by “the familiar.” Jacque Fresco says that “being creative is taking known elements and putting them together in unique ways.” In other words, being creative means deviating from rules, procedures and “the familiar.” So creativity requires freedom. There can be no creativity without freedom. One needs to be able to experiment and explore all ideas wherever they may lead. And they may often lead nowhere, and that’s ok, as long as we learn from it, move on and keep trying new things.

Statisme: Een Systeem voor jouw Slavernij

Word Wakker, Je Bent Een Slaaf

Je bent geboren in een systeem dat je tot slaaf maakte vanaf het moment dat je op deze wereld kwam. No footnote data (ID: 1) Al je hele leven wist je bewust of onbewust, dat er iets ernstigs mis is met de wereld waarin je leeft. Hoewel je vanaf heel jeugdige leeftijd gehersenspoeld bent geworden om het te negeren, voelde je diep in je innerlijke, dat je recht op leven voortdurend werd aangevallen door hetzelfde systeem, dat vermoedelijk werd opgezet om je belangen te dienen.

Je bent getraind vanaf je vroege jeugd — terwijl je verstand nog onschuldig en weerloos was — om onwetend en onderdanig te blijven door het “onderwijs” systeem. Je bent getraind geworden om niet kritisch en zelfstandig na te denken, om hetgeen je geleerd werd niet in twijfel te trekken en om volgzaam en gehoorzaam te zijn aan het gezag en de opdrachten die je krijgt blindelings uit te voeren. Zoals de beroemde komiek George Carlin aan gaf, willen diegenen die verantwoordelijk zijn hiervoor, “geen bevolking die in staat is kritisch na te denken. Ze willen geen goed geïnformeerde, geen goed opgeleide mensen die in staat zijn kritisch na te denken. Dat gaat tegen hun belangen.” Wat ze willen zijn “gehoorzame werkers — mensen die net slim genoeg zijn om de machines draaiende te houden en het papierwerk te doen, maar dom genoeg om passief te blijven” en hun slavernij te accepteren.

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A story about me, a thief and the universe

Nokia Lumia 930

The universe is a very strange and mysterious place. Sometimes things happen that we can’t explain. Things that go against our understanding of what the universe is and how it works. Things that mainstream science cannot yet explain and indeed even refuses to look at.

We call it the “paranormal” — a term we use to label all strange and spooky experiences we have that we can’t find a rational explanation for. We like to think that we know a lot about the universe we live in, but the fact that we can’t explain these “paranormal” experiences is a clear indication of how little we really know. When things seem strange, don’t make sense, or seem contradictory, it simply means that we lack some very important information that would allow us to explain those phenomena in a rational way. I’m very certain of that because I know that the universe is fundamentally logical and thus rational.

Throughout my life I’ve had quite a few experiences that were very strange and often involved strange “coincidences” — what psychiatrist Carl Jung termed “synchronicity.” In a previous post where I discussed one such experience, I mentioned that I would share more of these experiences on this blog. So in this post I want to share one of the more noteworthy experiences I’ve had.

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Ian Murdock and Police Brutality

Ian Murdock, founder of Debian — one of the popular Linux distros  — died on the 28th of December 2015 after confrontations with the police. From online reports, including a series of tweets by Murdock himself, it seems he was the victim of police brutality, after which he may have committed suicide. Although Murdock’s Twitter account has been taken offline, his tweets can still be found on the Internet; there’s a series of them on Pastebin, some of which I’m including below:

7:12pm: I am a white male, make a lot money, pay a lot of money in taxes, and yet their abuse is equally doned out. DO NOT CROSS THEM!

7:08pm: This was right after the female officer ripped off my underwear.. I guess that’s not considered rape if you’re not a woman being raped.

7:03pm: “We’re the police, we can do whatever the fuck we want..”

6:49pm: What does one have to get education wise to become a police officer.. asking for a friend.

6:42pm: The rest of my life is to fight against the police.. they are NOT friends, so don’t ever ever believe otherwise.

6:41pm: The police are uneducated, evil, and sadistic. Do not trust them.

6:33pm: (2/2) They are uneducated, bitter, and and only interested in power for its own sake. Contact me imurdock@imurdock.com if you can help. -ian

6:31pm: (1/2) The rest of my life will be devoted to fighting against police abuse.. I’m white, I made $1.4 million last year,

6:07pm: i’m hoping coming from a successful white guy it will help everyone

6:06pm: i’m going to post my case on my blog.. if anyone can post it on hacker news or wherever i would apprieciate it

5:48pm: Writing up my experience for others to hopefully prevent others from police abuse then you won’t hear from me again

5:45pm: shall i post pictures for all my bruises from my against the police officers?

5:36pm: then they pulled me out of my house and did it again

5:36pm: they followed me home

5:36pm: i had to go to the hospital

5:35pm: they beat the shit out of me twice, then charged me $25,000 to get out of jail for battery against THEM

5:34pm: if anyone wants to come over and see what the police did to me i would be more than happy for that

5:30pm: I’m not committing suicide today. I’ll write this all up first, so the police brutality ENDEMIC in this so call free country will be known.

5:27pm: Maybe my suicide at this, you now, a successful business man, not a NIGGER, will finally bring some attention to this very serious issue.

5:25pm: My career is over now, so I’ll be gone soon.

5:23pm: Quote: “We’re the police, we always win.”

While reading various of the news reports online, I couldn’t help thinking back to when Aaron Swartz took his own life after being repeatedly attacked and harassed by the government. It seems this is often the fate of highly gifted people of our time, who find themselves in the current anti-social system that we live in, where mostly psychopaths, barbarians and fucking morons roam.

I’m posting this because I want to answer one of the questions Murdock tweeted before he died: “What does one have to get education wise to become a police officer.. asking for a friend.”

The answer to that question is: preferably very little to nothing at all. Why? Because the government prefers it that way. From Global Research:

US Court Ruled You Can Be “Too Smart” to Be a Cop

Police department disqualifies anyone whose IQ is “too high.” Can a person actually be “too smart” to be a cop in America? A federal court’s decision back in 2000 suggests that, yes, you actually can be.

Robert Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, scored a 33 on an intelligence test he took as part of the application process to become a police officer in the town of New London, Connecticut. The score meant Jordan had an IQ of 125.

The average score for police officers was a 21-22, or an IQ of 104. New London would only interview candidates who scored between 20 and 27.

The police department went on to continue automatically disqualifying anyone whose IQ was “too high.” Jordan went on to become a prison guard instead.

Considering all the police brutality and officer-involved shootings in the news these days, here’s a rhetorical question for you: how well does this hiring practice bode for cops actually being able to follow the Constitution or use proper discretion while “protecting and serving” America?

More on this at The Free Thought Project:

Ever wonder why cops yell “quit resisting” as they beat a person who’s not resisting? Or why they shoot people who pose no threat? Maybe the answer is right in front of us.

It takes a special kind of person to go to work every day and harass, kidnap, and kill people for victimless crimes. The act of unquestioningly carrying out orders to ruin the lives of good people whose only “crime” was to do with their own body as they wish, would eventually have to raise the eyebrow of a person with a higher level of intelligence…or so we’d like to think.

Knowing that this ability to discriminate against intelligence in police departments exists tends to put ‘Police State USA’ in perspective. In the past decade we’ve seen heavily militarized actions against non-violent protesters. We’ve even seen school districts accepting MRAPs! And we’ve watched from the sidelines as Mayberry transformed to Martial Law.

A smart person does not create a domestic standing army and call it freedom. A smart person does not deliberately tear gas journalists. A smart person does not point a rifle at an innocent person and tell them that they are going to kill him. A smart person does not severely beat a person with down syndrome because he sees a bulge in his pants, which is actually a colostomy bag. A smart person does not continuously shoot at an unarmed man who posed zero threat and whose arms are in the air.

If more people knew this information you could rest assured that they would try and reform their police departments. No one wants their police officers to be unintelligent, right?

No one, except for the government, and for obvious reasons. The government loves to hire low intelligence, brainwashed zombies to do their dirty work, as I have extensively covered in a previous post. Not only that, but the government does everything it can to make sure that there will always be a good supply of such people in society. Very few of us manage to (eventually) escape (most of) the brainwash the government forces on us from early childhood (AKA “education”), designed to make us passive, ignorant and docile slaves who will blindly follow their orders — even when it’s to initiate violence against a fellow human being.

It’s sad to see that the barbarians have again managed to take out one of the few gifted people we have on this planet — someone who already made significant contributions to our development in the past, and who would probably have contributed much more in the future.

Hello from HTTPS, thanks to Let’s Encrypt

kareldonk.com over HTTPS

kareldonk.com over HTTPS

I spent the past weekend implementing HTTPS for my main websites, including this blog, and am glad to report that everything seems to have gone well. If you visit any of my *.kareldonk.com websites and suriname360, you’ll see a (green) lock in the address bar depending on which web-browser you use.

I used certificates from Let’s Encrypt, a new, free and open certificate authority operated by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) and sponsored by Facebook and Cisco among others:

Let’s Encrypt knows a thing or two about how this works. Sponsors include Cisco, Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Akamai, as well as Facebook, IdenTrust, and a host of other knowledgeable Internet companies. This isn’t a rinky-dink operation.

At the same time that these Internet heavyweights are backing the push for universal encryption, we’re still hearing that various governments around the world are trying to subvert encryption standards. Kazakhstan has announced it will man-in-the-middle every secured communication in or out of the country, starting on Jan. 1. Whether or not it can actually do so may be immaterial, because the country has also stated it will monitor the Internet activities of every person within its borders and of those who communicate with outside those borders. France announced it would like to ban Tor and public Wi-Fi networks, though the prime minister later said it was perhaps a bit much — regardless, there is no mistaking the intent.

Their service is currently in beta and so far appears to be working well. Although their client software is designed to make the whole procedure of getting and installing certificates completely automated, it’s possible to use it in manual mode. This is very important if you’re hosting your website on a shared hosting account (like most people do) and don’t have low level access to the server(s). You can still obtain certificates on a different system manually, and then install them on the server hosting your website, provided that your hosting provider allows this via their control panel.

The certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt are Domain Validation (DV) certificates. These guarantee the user that the content they’re receiving/viewing does indeed come from the website they’re visiting. For example, it makes it difficult for third parties to look at and modify the content during transmission, or to inject content into pages (like advertising injection). And because of the encryption, it also provides a higher level of privacy.

Depending on your website it can take some time to make the necessary changes in order to make it fully secure via HTTPS. In my case I had to make changes in the HTML code to make sure no mixed content was being served, and I also had to update all my posts in the database to fix these issues (mostly fixing source URLs that used HTTP for loading content). Finally I configured the webserver to force serving all content through HTTPS.

Manually getting the certificates from Let’s Encrypt and installing them can be a hassle if you have to do it for a couple of domains, especially since the certificates are currently valid for only 90 days. But I think things might improve in the future. Right now Let’s Encrypt only supports manual domain validation via HTTP, but will soon also be supporting validation via DNS records which should be less work. In addition there’s talk about supporting longer certificate lifetimes, and I really hope they change their policy to support that. Personally I’d be happy with a certificate lifetime of at least a year so that I only have to renew my certificates once a year.

Of course it’s going to be even better when hosting providers begin implementing Let’s Encrypt on their servers especially for their shared hosting, so that they can automatically take care of getting and installing certificates from Let’s Encrypt (here’s a list of hosts that are working on it). In that case a lifetime of 90 days won’t be an issue, and this is what the people at Let’s Encrypt are going for in the first place. Here’s what DreamHost is doing:

DreamHost users will soon be able to generate and enable Let’s Encrypt certificates directly within their control panel. Who knows — now that certificates are free, we may even enable HTTPS for all new customers by default!

Thanks to Edward Snowden’s revelations, the world now knows that virtually all of their Internet traffic (innocent or otherwise) is being monitored at any given time. Who’s doing the monitoring? A lot of different governments around the world, for starters — and that’s just what he told us about. Anyone on the Internet can peek at traffic and spy on anyone or anything, with or without just cause.

DreamHost believes that your private data should remain private. You should have a reasonable expectation that your interactions with a website won’t be monitored by a third party — ever.

In the end it’s always going to be impossible to have complete security and privacy; we are after all a part of nature, and nature is an inherently open system where there can be no secrets in the long term. But seeing as how we currently live in a very hostile world caused by the anti-social system that we live in, we have to do what we can to protect ourselves as much as possible from all the possible abuse. And I think universal encryption initiatives like Let’s Encrypt will (temporarily) help us to work towards a better world.

Condolences to the Slaves of Suriname

Suriname: 40 Years of Slavery through Statism

Suriname: 40 Years of Slavery through Statism

Today the “Republic” of Suriname is celebrating 40 years of “independence.” As you may know, the slaves of Suriname won their “independence” from the Netherlands in 1975. In reality what happened is that they just went from one form of slavery into another, while being fooled into thinking that they actually became free and independent. Unfortunately, most of them are still very much asleep and unaware of the truth.

It’s a very sad state of affairs to say the least. So I’d like to offer my sincerest condolences to the slaves of Suriname for 40 years of enslavement through Statism. Please click here to educate yourselves. May you all wake up soon and realize the truth.

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