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Thinking about Nuclear Threat

– will Computer Based Espionage save us from Nuclear War and  Terrorism?

Yesterday when I traveled home from my work I read the feuilleton of the German newspaper FAZ in the Airplane. The leading arcticle was George Dysons „The Entscheidungsproblem – The military industrial complex“ [1] in which he philosophized about the origins and the role of computer based espionage and the fascinating fact, that today it is possible to reconstruct technically what people think. A person was sitting beside me who read a book in his reader device. We were flying above the clouds and I was photographing the airplane and some cloud formations when I was thinking about the article.

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Dyson wrote about the Corona program, Americas first earth observation satellite series that was developed secretely in cooperation by the NSA and CIA together with the department of defence. He concluded „Google Earth is Corona’s direct descendant, and it is a fact as remarkable as the fall of the Berlin wall that anyone, anywhere in the world, can freely access satellite imagery whose very existence was a closely guarded secret only a generation ago“ and this sounds as if the technical developments would have lead to a freely accessable earth surveilance system, where anyone could decide which pictures of which objects and regions he wants to analyze.

But this is by no way the fact! All Google Earth pictures are censored. It is not so easy to get free accessable current information for all regions in the world, especially if there are strategically important objects on the pictures or there is an international conflict in the interesting area where sattelite building nations are involved into. One possible way to get detailed photographs would be asking competing nations that also use surveillance sattelites, but they will likely prefer to stay leading in knowledge. So the only reliable method left would be to build your own surveillance satellites like anyone in the world is allowed to by international law. This can be done by small companies and is even a well probed technology for over ten years, now [11]. But it is by no means not established by the big media companies and not at all by Google Earth! The government would immediately take over control of the company if they started to build their own surveillance sattelites and publish the data uncontrolled. Dysons words are much to euphemistic. Sattelite images would have only any value for newspapers and free men, if they are up to date and not censored. The pictures we see on Google Earth are only left over data garbage without any relevant political, military or social information.

Then Dyson wrote about the PRISM program and the alarming legal phenomenon that „The NSA has defended wholesale data capture and analysis with the argument that the data (and metadata) are not being viewed by people, but by machines, and are therefore, legally, not being read.“ He is right, this is very alarming. We have transfered the desision, if a person is an enemy or a friend to machine algorithms. Search engines and trojanes spy out the internet links of billions of people. Millionfold multiplied artificial intelligence on the biggest computers ever then parallelly analyzes the internet behavior of any of them and „if the links and suspicions are strong enough, our drone fleet, deployed ever more widely, is authorized to execute a strike .“

I have written once a short article, where I related the danger of  several man made technologies to each other under the aspect of destroying whole lifes, also of the ancestors. Ray Bradbury inspired me to this article, and the most interesting result was, that it is not the biological or atomic weapon that is the most dangerous technology ever, but it is the search machine and the E-Book Reader [2]. I wrote this article long before the knowledge of PRISM and it was only a logical result by counting the numbers of the killed minds, if their books and thoughts are manipulated. I also wrote that it would be possible with digital media to find enemies long before they even know themself that they once will become an enemy and eleminating them in time. This would be done be predicting their thoughts by analyzing the books, pages, articles, sentences they read, and since the publication of PRISM I’m 100 percent sure: it is done.

Dyson now writes „Why kill possibly dangerous individuals (and the inevitable innocent bystanders) when it will soon become technically irresistible to exterminate the dangerous ideas themselves?“ He is absolutely right. It is just more elegant to eleminate dangerous thoughts themself and thereby prevent enemies before they can emerge. The burning of books as in Bradbury’s „Fahrenheit 451“ [3] will defenitely come. No, it has allready appeared. I have heard of several cases, where books had either deleted completely from the electronic libraries or parts of them. It also happened that providers silently remote-deleted books or exerpts from the personal devices of the owners [4]. Today such silently remote deletions or word changes in books are argumented with copyright infringement. Tomorow it may be argumented with the prevention of illegal underage pornography or the correction of older, from a todays point of view political incorrect, formulations about minorities. It is predictable that the majority of the citizens and the courts will agree both arguments to remote-delete this illegal property. Soon deletion and filtering will be argumented – as Dyson predicts – with „dangerous thoughts“. Fahrenheit 451 has become silently reality and will expand rapidly in the near future. It is not that books will be forbidden, it will be only some lines of them, or some chapters. The result will be the same: lobotomy and even post mortem lobotomy of the minds of all unwanted authors. And so the hydrogen bomb is only the number three of the most dangerous technologies ever because it can only kill the living but not the spirits of the dead.

PRISM is NO wooden sword

This all makes sense. What is the reason the military and intelligency networks and the search algorithms and artificial intelligences for finding enemies had been invented? It was originally to prevent chemical, biological and nuclear weapon proliferation and especially limiting the nuclear threat after loss of radioactive substances from the former Soviet Union arsenals. All internet espionage programs started for this reason in the beginning of the 1990s. At the end of the cold war and chaotic conditions in many nuclear battaillons, it seemed to be impossible to prevent the distribution of nuclear materials by classic methods. This is why many governments decided to track any single instance that had to do to the greatest possible extent with nuclear proliferation. I think this is what Dyson means, when he concludes „Yes, we need big data, and big algorithms – but beware.“

Because it is not possible to fight against objects with means that are not at least as powerful than the objects themselves, any observation technology has of course dangerous consequences. You can not fight a tank with a wooden sword. This logic argumentation also explains simply why the PRISM program is at least as dangerous than the nuclear threat is, for whose defence it was built. I actually think it is by far much more dangerous than any nuclear weapon can ever be.

From 2001 on, the internet tracking programs  got the additional task to find any kind of enemy and possible terrorist, too. From then on their power and influence of the programs grew continiously. It is not possible to decide between a normal terrorist and a nuclear terrorist. History has shown that fully refueled skyjacked airplanes can also have the blasting force of small tactical nuclear weapons. This can also be calculated, they are in the range of 0.1 kT nucear bombs like e.g. the small Davy Crocket atomic bomb [5]. So any kind of opinions or thoughts can in principle result in a very dangerous attack against established institutions by using common big machinery with high energy concentrations. It’s not even neccessary to build a standard chemical bomb. And this is why they started to track any thought, any data, any link, any movement, any metadata of anybody in the world – anything in the web of You and of me. If You think they don’t track Your internet behavior, because You are a complete uninteresting person, You are completely wrong. For PRISM no uninteresting person on the planet exists.

I have written some articles where I put forward an opinion that observation and limitation technology is the wrong way to fight against the nuclear threat and vice versa will lead us to endless war („against terrorism“). In my opinion the only realistic way for sustainable preventing nuclear misuse is to spread nuclear technology as wide as it is possible  to raise the living standard in all corners of the world. This can only reduce the number of enemies and therefor reduce the propability of terrorism. Observation and limitation technology will only raise the numbers of enemies and the propability of terror attacks. This is simple logic and I can not understand that there are people who do not agree. And I suspect the intelligence services that they know this simple correlation between wealth, envy, tolerance and hate as I know it. Today I assume they tolerate terrorism. They are hunters. And as any hunter they would never wipe out their prey completely, rather cultivate it. In the case of terrorism cultivating the pray can mean to fuel hatred, maybe simply by releasing information that any innocent person in the world is kept under surveillance by the terrorist hunters. This would doubtlessly produce a lot of new terrorists, assumably more than ever before.

Writing about the Humanistic Purpose of Nuclear Bombs

As a senior engineer I have a dialectic view on any kind of machinery. So I think the hydrogen bomb is not only one of the most dangerous machines ever build because of it’s huge energy release. It is also the greates gift of nature ever, because of the same reason. But I know that virtually no one has this knowledge. This is why I write articles to promote the development of completely new types of civilian hydrogen explosives. Used as it’s most advanced version – as the pure fusion bomb – and with some additional technical changings more becoming a kind of nuclear dynamite, the hydrogen bomb offers the possibility to provide today endless fusion energy in powerplants [6]. It also can be used as a kind of powerful nuclear explosive to do a thousand of very constructive things with it  [7] and it can be used as an extremely efficient space propulsion that will make space traveling affordable for the common man [8]. It makes interstellar space traveling today possible, too [9]. Mankind must not fear the hydrogen bomb because it is the only technology that can free us from all bondages and bring us the humanistic heaven on earth if we use it wise as the ultimate tool and not as a weapon.

The only way to prevent the missile threat is of course to allow any nation to build it’s own space launchers and rather to help but to hinder them. Material and energy resources on the planet are limited. Anyone knows this and therefor anyone who is wise is searching for new ways to access the practically endless raw material sources of the solar system to guarantee his nations intermediate-term future existance [10]. If someone tries to prevent someones others rockets developments and therefor his future existance he will of course and rightfully harvest a nuclear threat. This is a case of self-defence. It must be allowed to build space launchers for any company in any country in the world to get access to the raw material sources in the viscinity of earth to ensure it’s existance. When future existance and prosperity of a country is secured there is no reason to threaten other countries with missiles.

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The Reader who will never receive my Ideas

This was what I was thinking about, yesterday evening, sitting in the airplane, after the anti-terror security check in the airport, now 8 km above ground, flying home from my work. The business man beside me was just reading an e-book and smiled involuntary. I decided to ask (the poor guy) something:

„Exuse me, Sir?“

„Yes!“

„May I ask You, what You are reading?“

„Of course. I’m reading the classic novel >>The last of the Mohicans<< by J.F. Cooper.“

„Oh, a very good book, about friendship, courage, loyalty, freedom and honor! But are You sure that it is still the same book as it was – let’s say – 10 hours before?“, I asked him.

„I don’t understand.“

„Didn’t You hear about the stories that Amazon had remotely deleted books on the readers of their customers and Apple can also do so and can change content on-the-fly if they wish?“

„Oh, this is what You mean. But I think it was only some offensive or offending stuff, they deleted remotely. Is this the reason, why You still reading classic newspapers?“, he answered. He asked me this because the big newspaper pages had disturbed him several times before when I was turning over the pages.

„Maybe one of the reasons. But please answer me, do You think it is o.k., if they decide something is offensive and change the books or articles on Your reader without asking You?“

„Of course not! They have to ask me, first. But if there would be some child pornography stuff or some dangerous things like how to build easily atomic bombs or something, I would probably accept to change the data“, he explained.

„So, You would accept to change very dangerous thoughts?“, I asked him precisely.

„Probably, yes..“

I ended the conversation as kind as I started it and started to ask myself:

  • When I’m writing articles how to develop and use new civilian nuclear detonators and how to solve the technical problems to use them as civilian nuclear dynamite to bring mankind a big leap forward [7], are this dangerous thoughts?
  • When I’m writing about building surveillance sattelites for any free media company in the world [10], this thoughts – regarding the protection of the freedom of the press –  are they dangerous, too?
  • And when I demand to accept and practice at last the explicit UN allowance of building space launchers for any country in the world [10], are this also dangerous thoughts?
  • Or what is with my article where I have shown with a simple logic explanation that it was not mostly medical science which had increased the average age of the population but simple population genetic mechanisms regarding the reproduction age [12] – also dangerous thoughts?
  • When I think about my articles, most of them may contain dangerous thoughts, maybe from a point of view that naive people could misunderstand them or from another point of view that some of the ideas, if implemented, would change anything.

Should I therefore stop writing them? Or should an artificial intelligence do the Entscheidungsproblem and filter all of my dangerous thoughts that are not good for the common citizen? It seems that Mr. Dyson means philosophic authors like me, whose unusal thoughts, that maybe dangerous for a naive intelligence, will never reach the ears of the future human readers. At least when it has become practice to filter dangerous thoughts automatically. The filtering of dangerous things and thoughts might have honorable reasons, but it will prevent any kind of unusual new ideas and will therefor limit the development of a society, when it starts to evaluate and filter ideas, he writes. But I think this is exactly what the established groupings of families and other leading forces want: to prevent any uncontrollabel development that would probably change the well adjusted ballance of power.

Why I’m not afraid of Nuclear Threat but of Stupidity

Artificial intelligence uses it’s input data, some basic rules and logical deductions that works for example in the following way:

  1. nuclear bombs are allways dangerous
  2. missiles are allways dangerous
  3. people who advocate both must be dangerous, too

This is a good example, because nuclear bombs and missiles are often but not allways dangerous. They can both creatively used for peaceful and humanistic purposes. Many things are only possible with them like providing endless fusion energy or building big cities on mars or simply landing on the moon. And a person who advocates new thoughts by questioning the basic rules 1 and 2 don’t has to be dangerous, even if a naive intelligence that is not able to question the foundations of it’s own thinking allways produces the logic result 3.

So the naive stupidity of artificial intelligence is what it makes so dangerous for me and for You, my dear reader. I think You are able to read between the lines, artificial intelligence is not. If You ever have learned in Your life how extremely dangerous apparently harmless naive stupidity sometimes can become, You will never rely on artificial intelligence again. I never heard or read dangerous ideas but I often experienced dangerous naivity or stupidity. And this is why artificial intelligence is so dangerous for all of us.

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Resources:

[1] „The Entscheidungsproblem – The military industrial complex“ by George Dyson, FAZ, 7/26/2013: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/ueberwachung/the-military-industrial-complex-the-entscheidungsproblem-12306230.html
[3] „Fahrenheit 451“ by Ray Bradbury: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451
[4] Amazon deletes books on customer’s readers: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html?_r=2
[5] Davy Crocket, small tactical nuclear bomb with blasting force similar to an exploding jet airplane (< 0.1 kT): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device)
[9] Methoden zur Ueberwindung stellarer Distanzen (Methods for reaching Stellar Distances, german article): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/methoden-zur-ueberwindung-stellarer-distanzen/
[11] Small surveilance sattelites: http://www.sstl.co.uk/
[12] Unsterblichkeit und die Auferstehung der Toten (Immortality and Resurrection, german article): https://monstermaschine.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/unsterblichkeit-und-die-auferstehung-der-toten/

Über monstermaschine

Blogger, Diplom-Ingenieur, TU, Raumfahrttechnik, Embedded Systems, Mitglied VDI, DGLR

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