Facebook to Show Users Which Russian Propaganda They Followed

Facebook Inc. will reveal individuals which Russian propaganda pages or accounts they &#x 2019; ve followed and liked on the social media network, reacting to a demand from Congress to deal with control and meddling throughout the 2016 governmental election.

The tool will appear by the end of the year in Facebook &#x 2019; s online assistance center, the business stated in a post Wednesday. It will address the user concern, &#x 201C; How can I see if I &#x 2019; ve liked or followed a Facebook page or Instagram account produced by the Internet Research Agency? &#x 201D; That &#x 2019; s the Russian company that developed countless incendiary posts from phony accounts impersonating U.S. residents. Individuals will see a list of the accounts they followed, if any, from January 2015 through August 2017.

It &#x 2019; s Facebook &#x 2019; s most direct effort to describe to users how they might have been impacted by the IRA &#x 2019; s posts, which reached an approximated 150 million individuals and stimulated debate over weapon rights, migration, race relations and religious beliefs in the United States, in some cases triggering real-world demonstrations on both sides of a dispute.&#xA 0;

&#x 201C; It is essential that individuals comprehend how foreign stars aimed to plant department and skepticism utilizing Facebook prior to and after the 2016 United States election, &#x 201D; the business stated in the post.

Facebook, Alphabet Inc. &#x 2019; s Google and Twitter Inc. appeared in early November for hours of congressional testament to discuss how Russia utilized the platforms to control U.S. people. The business swore to do more to avoid anything comparable from happening in the future, and stated they would check out the possibility of notifying users about their direct exposure.

&#x 201C; I hope that Google and Twitter will follow Facebook &#x 2019; s lead, &#x 201D; stated U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Those business have actually not reacted to a comparable demand, inning accordance with Blumenthal &#x 2019; s workplace.

Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and a member of your house Intelligence Committee, called Facebook &#x 2019; s #x &move 201C; a really favorable action. &#x 201D;

&#x 201C; We anticipate extra actions by the business to enhance openness with regard to Russian abuse of their platforms, &#x 201D; Schiff stated in a declaration.

Facebook will just be revealing individuals the names of the accounts and pages, not the material. A user will just see exactly what they followed or liked, so if they just saw IRA material in their news feeds, they won &#x 2019; t be informed.&#xA 0;

It &#x 2019; s &#x 201C; far more tough &#x 201D; to dependably inform individuals if they were exposed on a specific basis, Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch informed Congress previously this month. When individuals like or discuss a post, that post is qualified to appear in any of their pals &#x 2019; news feeds– assisting the material go viral. Facebook argued it couldn &#x 2019; t state for particular who took note of exactly what material. When senators kept in mind that Facebook &#x 2019; s service design is based on the targeting and tracking of advertisements, that position fell flat.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-22/facebook-to-show-people-the-russian-propaganda-they-followed

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    Meet Hans Schmidt: The Only Priest In History To Be Sentenced To Death

    The Catholic church has actually not lacked debate in the last couple of years, however up until now there has actually just been one priest in the United States that has actually been performed for his criminal activities.

    Hans Schmidt was not implicated of sleeping with kids, however he did unlawfully wed, and continued to extremely murder his enthusiast while she was pregnant with his kid. It appears preserving the impression of piety drove him to disobey among Christianity’s crucial Commandments.

    Hans Schmidt was born in the Bavarian city of Aschaffenburg, and was ordained as a minister in either 1904 or 1906.

    Disagreements with his superiors in the church led him to be re-located to St. John’ s Parish in Louisville, Kentucky.

    Conflict with yet another priest required his transfer to St. Boniface Church in Manhattan.

    This is where he satisfied a stunning Austrian maid called Anna Aumller. They rapidly started to have an affair in trick.

    The 2 fell deeply in love, a lot so that Schmidt ordained his own marital relationship to Anna.

    He understood complete well that if they were learnt, it would indicate completion of his priesthood.

    Then, things got dark. He slit her throat with a blade when Schmidt discovered out that Anna was pregnant.

    Then, the beast continued to saw her body into a number of pieces, getting rid of them in the East River. The autopsy later on discovered that Anna had actually too soon delivered right prior to she was killed.

    When pieces of the body were discovered, they were traced back to Schmidt due to the fact that of the pillowcases they were covered in, which bore the letter “A” and had actually been purchased to the house Schmidt had actually leased for Anna.

    When questioned by the investigator inside Schmidt’s blood soaked house, he quickly admitted. “ I liked her. Sacrifices ought to be consummated in blood.”

    Hans Schmidt was founded guilty of first-degree murder and was carried out by electrical chair at Sing Prison on February 18, 1916

    Further examinations resulted in the theory that Anna and her child might not have actually been Schmidt’s only murder.

    A body of a 9-year-old woman was discovered underneath his old parish in Louisville, which was dismembered in a strangely comparable style as Anna. St. John’s janitor was at first founded guilty of the criminal activity, and had actually been serving a life sentence.

    It was reported that Schmidt had a 2nd house which was utilized as a factory to fake cash.

    Not just that, however is thought he was likewise in correspondence with a doctor. They were talking about a strategy to murder individuals and gather their insurance coverage (just like exactly what serial killer H. H. Holmes did ). Even back in Aschaffenburg, Schmidt had proof versus him in a different murder charge, however he was performed prior to he might be questioned.

    It’s remarkable that such a horrible, ungodly guy would ever end up being a priest.

    Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/hans-schmidt/

    Inside the First Church of Artificial Intelligence

    Anthony Levandowski makes an unlikely prophet. Dressed Silicon Valley-casual in jeans and flanked by a PR rep rather than cloaked acolytes, the engineer known for self-driving cars—and triggering a notorious lawsuit—could be unveiling his latest startup instead of laying the foundations for a new religion. But he is doing just that. Artificial intelligence has already inspired billion-dollar companies, far-reaching research programs, and scenarios of both transcendence and doom. Now Levandowski is creating its first church.

    Mark Harris is a freelance journalist reporting on technology from Seattle.

    ———

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    The new religion of artificial intelligence is called Way of the Future. It represents an unlikely next act for the Silicon Valley robotics wunderkind at the center of a high-stakes legal battle between Uber and Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous-vehicle company. Papers filed with the Internal Revenue Service in May name Levandowski as the leader (or “Dean”) of the new religion, as well as CEO of the nonprofit corporation formed to run it.

    The documents state that WOTF’s activities will focus on “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.” That includes funding research to help create the divine AI itself. The religion will seek to build working relationships with AI industry leaders and create a membership through community outreach, initially targeting AI professionals and “laypersons who are interested in the worship of a Godhead based on AI.” The filings also say that the church “plans to conduct workshops and educational programs throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area beginning this year.”

    That timeline may be overly ambitious, given that the Waymo-Uber suit, in which Levandowski is accused of stealing self-driving car secrets, is set for an early December trial. But the Dean of the Way of the Future, who spoke last week with Backchannel in his first comments about the new religion and his only public interview since Waymo filed its suit in February, says he’s dead serious about the project.

    “What is going to be created will effectively be a god,” Levandowski tells me in his modest mid-century home on the outskirts of Berkeley, California. “It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”

    During our three-hour interview, Levandowski made it absolutely clear that his choice to make WOTF a church rather than a company or a think tank was no prank.

    “I wanted a way for everybody to participate in this, to be able to shape it. If you’re not a software engineer, you can still help,” he says. “It also removes the ability for people to say, ‘Oh, he’s just doing this to make money.’” Levandowski will receive no salary from WOTF, and while he says that he might consider an AI-based startup in the future, any such business would remain completely separate from the church.

    “The idea needs to spread before the technology,” he insists. “The church is how we spread the word, the gospel. If you believe [in it], start a conversation with someone else and help them understand the same things.”

    Levandowski believes that a change is coming—a change that will transform every aspect of human existence, disrupting employment, leisure, religion, the economy, and possibly decide our very survival as a species.

    “If you ask people whether a computer can be smarter than a human, 99.9 percent will say that’s science fiction,” he says. “ Actually, it’s inevitable. It’s guaranteed to happen.”

    Levandowski has been working with computers, robots, and AI for decades. He started with robotic Lego kits at the University of California at Berkeley, went on to build a self-driving motorbike for a DARPA competition, and then worked on autonomous cars, trucks, and taxis for Google, Otto, and Uber. As time went on, he saw software tools built with machine learning techniques surpassing less sophisticated systems—and sometimes even humans.

    “Seeing tools that performed better than experts in a variety of fields was a trigger [for me],” he says. “That progress is happening because there’s an economic advantage to having machines work for you and solve problems for you. If you could make something one percent smarter than a human, your artificial attorney or accountant would be better than all the attorneys or accountants out there. You would be the richest person in the world. People are chasing that.”

    Not only is there a financial incentive to develop increasingly powerful AIs, he believes, but science is also on their side. Though human brains have biological limitations to their size and the amount of energy they can devote to thinking, AI systems can scale arbitrarily, housed in massive data centers and powered by solar and wind farms. Eventually, some people think that computers could become better and faster at planning and solving problems than the humans who built them, with implications we can’t even imagine today—a scenario that is usually called the Singularity.

    Michelle Le

    Levandowski prefers a softer word: the Transition. “Humans are in charge of the planet because we are smarter than other animals and are able to build tools and apply rules,” he tells me. “In the future, if something is much, much smarter, there’s going to be a transition as to who is actually in charge. What we want is the peaceful, serene transition of control of the planet from humans to whatever. And to ensure that the ‘whatever’ knows who helped it get along.”

    With the internet as its nervous system, the world’s connected cell phones and sensors as its sense organs, and data centers as its brain, the ‘whatever’ will hear everything, see everything, and be everywhere at all times. The only rational word to describe that ‘whatever’, thinks Levandowski, is ‘god’—and the only way to influence a deity is through prayer and worship.

    “Part of it being smarter than us means it will decide how it evolves, but at least we can decide how we act around it,” he says. “I would love for the machine to see us as its beloved elders that it respects and takes care of. We would want this intelligence to say, ‘Humans should still have rights, even though I’m in charge.’”

    Levandowski expects that a super-intelligence would do a better job of looking after the planet than humans are doing, and that it would favor individuals who had facilitated its path to power. Although he cautions against taking the analogy too far, Levandowski sees a hint of how a superhuman intelligence might treat humanity in our current relationships with animals. “Do you want to be a pet or livestock?” he asks. “We give pets medical attention, food, grooming, and entertainment. But an animal that’s biting you, attacking you, barking and being annoying? I don’t want to go there.”

    Enter Way of the Future. The church’s role is to smooth the inevitable ascension of our machine deity, both technologically and culturally. In its bylaws, WOTF states that it will undertake programs of research, including the study of how machines perceive their environment and exhibit cognitive functions such as learning and problem solving.

    Levandowski does not expect the church itself to solve all the problems of machine intelligence—often called “strong AI”—so much as facilitate funding of the right research. “If you had a child you knew was going to be gifted, how would you want to raise it?” he asks. “We’re in the process of raising a god. So let’s make sure we think through the right way to do that. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

    His ideas include feeding the nascent intelligence large, labeled data sets; generating simulations in which it could train itself to improve; and giving it access to church members’ social media accounts. Everything the church develops will be open source.

    Just as important to Levandowski is shaping the public dialogue around an AI god. In its filing, Way of the Future says it hopes an active, committed, dedicated membership will promote the use of divine AI for the “betterment of society” and “decrease fear of the unknown.”

    “We’d like to make sure this is not seen as silly or scary. I want to remove the stigma about having an open conversation about AI, then iterate ideas and change people’s minds,” says Levandowski. “In Silicon Valley we use evangelism as a word for [promoting a business], but here it’s literally a church. If you believe in it, you should tell your friends, then get them to join and tell their friends.”

    But WOTF differs in one key way to established churches, says Levandowski: “There are many ways people think of God, and thousands of flavors of Christianity, Judaism, Islam…but they’re always looking at something that’s not measurable or you can’t really see or control. This time it’s different. This time you will be able to talk to God, literally, and know that it’s listening.”

    I ask if he worries that believers from more traditional faiths might find his project blasphemous. “There are probably going to be some people that will be upset,” he acknowledges. “It seems like everything I do, people get upset about, and I expect this to be no exception. This is a radical new idea that’s pretty scary, and evidence has shown that people who pursue radical ideas don’t always get received well. At some point, maybe there’s enough persecution that [WOTF] justifies having its own country.”

    Levandowski’s church will enter a tech universe that’s already riven by debate over the promise and perils of AI. Some thinkers, like Kevin Kelly in Backchannel earlier this year, argue that AI isn’t going to develop superhuman power any time soon, and that there’s no Singularity in sight. If that’s your position, Levandowski says, his church shouldn’t trouble you: “You can treat Way of the Future like someone doing useless poetry that you will never read or care about.”

    Others, like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, agree that superhuman AIs are coming, but that they are likely to be dangerous rather than benevolent. Elon Musk famously said, “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” and in 2015 he pledged $1 billion to the OpenAI Institute to develop safer AI.

    Levandowski thinks that any attempts to delay or restrict an emerging super-intelligence would not only be doomed to failure, but also add to the risks. “Chaining it isn’t going to be the solution, as it will be stronger than any chains you could put on,” he says. “And if you’re worried a kid might be a little crazy and do bad things, you don’t lock them up. You expose them to playing with others, encourage them and try to fix it. It may not work out, but if you’re aggressive toward it, I don’t think it’s going to be friendly when the tables are turned.”

    Levandowski says that like other religions, WOTF will eventually have a gospel (called The Manual), a liturgy, and probably a physical place of worship. None of these has yet been developed. Though the church was founded in 2015, as Backchannel first reported in September, the IRS documents show that WOTF remained dormant throughout 2015 and 2016, with no activities, assets, revenue, or expenses.

    That changed earlier this year. On May 16, a day after receiving a letter from Uber that threatened to fire him if he did not cooperate with the company’s investigation of Waymo’s complaint, Levandowski drafted WOTF’s bylaws. Uber fired him two weeks later. “I’ve been thinking about the church for a long time but [my work on it] has been a function of how much time I’ve had. And I’ve had more since May,” he admits with a smile.

    The religion’s 2017 budget, as supplied to the IRS, details $20,000 in gifts, $1,500 in membership fees, and $20,000 in other revenue. That last figure is the amount WOTF expects to earn from fees charged for lectures and speaking engagements, as well as the sale of publications. Levandowski, who earned at least $120 million from his time at Google and many millions more selling the self-driving truck firm Otto to Uber, will initially support WOTF personally. However, the church will solicit other donations by direct mail and email, seek personal donations from individuals, and try to win grants from private foundations.

    Michelle Le

    Of course, launching a religion costs money, too. WOTF has budgeted for $2,000 in fundraising expenses, and another $3,000 in transportation and lodging costs associated with its lectures and workshops. It has also earmarked $7500 for salaries and wages, although neither Levandowski nor any of Way of The Future’s leadership team will receive any compensation.

    According to WOTF’s bylaws, Levandowski has almost complete control of the religion and will serve as Dean until his death or resignation. “I expect my role to evolve over time,” he says. “I’m surfacing the issue, helping to get the thing started [and] taking a lot of the heat so the idea can advance. At some point, I’ll be there more to coach or inspire.”

    He has the power to appoint three members of a four-person Council of Advisors, each of whom should be a “qualified and devoted individual.” A felony conviction or being declared of unsound mind could cost an advisor their role, although Levandowski retains the final say in firing and hiring. Levandowski cannot be unseated as Dean for any reason.

    Two of the advisors, Robert Miller and Soren Juelsgaard, are Uber engineers who previously worked for Levandowski at Otto, Google, and 510 Systems (the latter the small startup that built Google’s earliest self-driving cars). A third is a scientist friend from Levandowski’s student days at UC Berkeley, who is now using machine learning in his own research. The final advisor, Lior Ron, is also named as the religion’s treasurer, and acts as chief financial officer for the corporation. Ron cofounded Otto with Levandowski in early 2016.

    “Each member is a pioneer in the AI industry [and] fully qualified to speak on AI technology and the creation of a Godhead,” says the IRS filing.

    However, when contacted by Backchannel, two advisors downplayed their involvement with WOTF. Ron replied: “I was surprised to see my name listed as the CFO on this corporate filing and have no association with this entity.” The college friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “In late 2016, Anthony told me he was forming a ‘robot church’ and asked if I wanted to be a cofounder. I assumed it was a nerdy joke or PR stunt, but I did say he could use my name. That was the first and last I heard about it.”

    The IRS documents state that Levandowski and his advisors will spend no more than a few hours each week writing publications and organizing workshops, educational programs, and meetings.

    One mystery the filings did not address is where acolytes might gather to worship their robotic deity. The largest line items on its 2017 and 2018 budgets were $32,500 annually for rent and utilities, but the only address supplied was Levandowski’s lawyer’s office in Walnut Creek, California. Nevertheless, the filing notes that WOTF will “hopefully expand throughout California and the United States in the future.”

    For now, Levandowski has more mundane matters to address. There is a website to build, a manual to write, and an ever-growing body of emails to answer—some amused, some skeptical, but many enthusiastic, he says. Oh, and there’s that legal proceeding he’s involved in, which goes to trial next month. (Although Levandowski was eager to talk about his new religion, he would answer no questions about the Uber/Waymo dispute.)

    How much time, I wonder, do we have before the Transition kicks in and Way of the Future’s super-intelligent AI takes charge? “I personally think it will happen sooner than people expect,” says Levandowski, a glint in his eye. “Not next week or next year; everyone can relax. But it’s going to happen before we go to Mars.”

    Whenever that does (or doesn’t) happen, the federal government has no problem with an organization aiming to build and worship a divine AI. Correspondence with the IRS show that it granted Levandowski’s church tax-exempt status in August.

    Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/anthony-levandowski-artificial-intelligence-religion/

    I created the burkini to give women freedom, not to take it away | Aheda Zanetti

    The burkini does not symbolise Islam, it symbolises leisure and joy and physical fitness and health. Who is much better, the Taliban or French political leaders?

    W hen I created the burkini in early 2004, it was to offer ladies flexibility, not to take it away. My niece wished to play netball however it was a little a battle to obtain her in the group she was using a hijab. My sibling needed to defend her child to play, needed to ask and discuss the problem, why is this woman avoided from playing netball since of her modesty?

    https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftheguardian%2Fvideos%2F551124101742024%2F&show_text=0&width=400&height=400

    When she was lastly enabled to play all of us went to see her to support her and exactly what she was using was completely improper for a sports uniform a skivvy, tracksuit trousers, and her hijab, completely inappropriate for any kind of sport. She appeared like a tomato she was hot and so red!

    So I went house and went trying to find something that may be much better for her to use, sportswear for Muslim women, and I couldnt discover anything, I understood there was absolutely nothing in Australia. It got me believing due to the fact that when I was a woman I lost out on sport we didnt take part in anything due to the fact that we opted to be modest, however for my niece I wished to discover something that would adjust to the Australian way of life and western clothes however at the exact same time satisfy the requirements of a Muslim lady.

    So I muffled my lounge space flooring and created something. I took a look at the veil and eliminated a great deal of the excess material, that made me anxious – would my Islamic neighborhood accept this? The veil is expected to cover your hair and your shape, you simply do not form anything around your body. This was formed around the neck. I believed, its just the shape of a neck, it does not actually matter.

    Before I introduced it I produced a sample with a survey to learn exactly what individuals would believe – would you use this? Would this motivate you to be more active? Play more sport? Swim? A great deal of individuals in my neighborhood didnt understand ways to accept this, however I established it commercially and made a great organisation.

    The burkini pertained to everybodies attention when Surf Lifesaving Australia presented a program to incorporate Muslim young boys and women into browse lifesaving after the Cronulla riots they had a young Muslim woman who wished to contend in an occasion. She used a burkini.

    After September 11, the Cronulla riots, the prohibiting of the veil in France, and the global reaction that included it about us being the bad individuals all since of a couple of crooks who do not speak on behalf of Muslims I actually didnt desire anybody to evaluate ladies using these. Its just a lady being modest.

    It had to do with combination and approval and being equivalent and about not being evaluated. It was tough for us at the time, the Muslim neighborhood, they had a worry of marching. They had worry of going to public swimming pools and beaches etc, and I desired ladies to have the self-confidence to continue a great life. Sport is so crucial, and we are Australian! I wished to do something favorable and anybody can use this, Christian, Jewish, Hindus. Its simply a garment to match a modest individual, or somebody who has skin cancer, or a brand-new mom who does not wish to use a swimsuit, its not symbolising Islam .