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October 5, 2023 Big Tech Views

Big Tech

Why ‘the Experts’ Need to Snuff Out Free Will

What we’re now beginning to hear is that free will is a problem. Not for us, of course, because we’re fervent fans of it, but for those who are trying to impose control over us.

artificial intelligence free will feature

By Rob Verkerk Ph.D.

“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.” — Siddhārtha Gautama

When the global plan to root out false scientific or medical information was laid bare at the Nobel Prize Summit in Washington, D.C., last May, we heard that we should no longer trust ourselves.

On matters of medicine or science, with particular reference to COVID-19 and climate change, we, the great unwashed, were told we should divert our trust to the only people capable of grappling with the complexities and uncertainties of these both perturbing and controversial issues.

Issues that have been brought to bear, whether justified or not, on the vast majority of people on this planet.

And who might this select group of much wiser than average people be?

“Incredibly,” these are the so-called “credible” — we would argue “captured” — experts and authorities found in the world’s top-ranking universities, and among the few national, international and supranational scientific, medical and health authorities.

On matters of health, think of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

To ensure that information streams from these few purportedly enlightened individuals and authorities are not contaminated by those of us who are confused by the science, or worse, are deliberately peddling misinformation, a globally coordinated censorship effort, assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), will be used to root out misinformation, disinformation or malinformation (MDM).

These three different terms are helpfully defined for us by none other than America’s cyber defense agency, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The definitions CISA gives us, abbreviated increasingly to MDM, seem, at face value, crystal clear:

  • Misinformation is false, but not created or shared with the intention of causing harm.
  • Disinformation is deliberately created to mislead, harm, or manipulate a person, social group, organization, or country.
  • Malinformation is based on fact but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate. An example of malinformation is editing a video to remove important context to harm or mislead.

But who becomes the arbiter of MDM? Social media companies? Silly me, of course not, it’s AI.

AI is programmed to only accept what the likes of the NIH and WHO allow.

Unfortunately — as we show in a detailed piece on misinformation we wrote last May — there is little to suggest that “credible” academics, institutions or authorities have a greater capacity to interpret the crystal ball of scientific uncertainty than independent scientists.

By way of example, we have not had to change our own interpretation of a diverse range of scientific issues over which we expressed our concerns as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded.

Our own views, along with others, have been captured chronologically in our timeline of publications curated on the Covid Zone area of our website.

Unlike those upholding the mainstream narrative, we have not had to change our views to any significant extent or move goalposts.

This includes viewpoints on the importance of natural immunity, and concerns over matters such as lockdown effects, lack of transparency over vaccine development, COVID-19 vaccine risks, immune escape selection pressure caused by mass vaccination and many other issues.

It is a reminder that scientific discourse dialogue is likely to be much more in the public interest than censorship. But who are we to suggest that the public interest should be a priority?

The censorship-industrial complex

The two U.S. journalists, Michael Shellenberger and Matt Taibbi, who exposed the “Twitter Files,” have identified a wide range of key players in this global censorship movement, referring to it as the “censorship-industrial complex.”

This complex, one that should be seen alongside the medical-industrial complex, involves governments, Big Tech, global foundations and non-profits, high-profile academic institutions, fact-checkers and think tanks.

As we reported in relation to the Nobel Prize Summit showcase of this global censorship firepower, the system will be driven by AI.

No doubt in response to this initiative, YouTube (owned by Google) revised its medical misinfo­­­rmation policy on Aug. 15, indicating that the world’s largest online video platform will not allow content that contradicts local or global health authority guidance relating to both the prevention of specific health conditions or treatments.

“Treatment misinformation” is deemed as any “content that promotes information that contradicts health authority guidance on treatments for specific health conditions, including promotion of specific harmful substances or practices that have not been approved by local health authorities or the World Health Organization as safe or effective.”

Online censorship can of course work in multiple ways and doesn’t just involve the simple removal of content or the de-platforming of content creators.

Widely used, surreptitious and non-transparent methods employed by Big Tech platforms include inserting warning labels or information panels on specific content, and downranking content in online searches, the latter technique often being referred to as “shadow banning.”

This is a very common technique by which almost all content creators in the alternative health space (like Dr. Eric Berg that you’ll see in the video below), ourselves included, face stealth actions by social media platforms to limit the visibility of posts, this process is increasingly guided by AI.

If the supposed experts can’t get it right, can AI do it better? Probably not at this stage, but AI can certainly do it much quicker and more comprehensively. And that seems to be the point.

On the scientific accuracy of its decisions, AI is only as good as the information and programs that underpin it — and these programs are based on the experts who are driving the mainstream narrative.

We’re not yet dealing with the kind of potentially dangerous “superintelligence” that Swedish, Oxford University-based, philosopher, Nick Bostrom, wrote about in 2014, a kind of advanced AI that greatly exceeds the capabilities of the human mind and brain.

Right now, like then, AI can’t make more certain of the uncertain science about how our unique genomes will interact with pathogens or our varying environments. But that’s not the point, of course. The point is to remove dissent and drive compliance.

Why free will must be eliminated

As neuroscience, psychology and other scientific disciplines continue to unravel the mysteries of the human mind, we can’t fail to recognize the profound implications of our thoughts and the way they impact every aspect of our biological selves, from their impact on gene expression to our neurochemical profile and even our electromagnetic output.

These thoughts, in turn, lead to feelings or emotions, and these then dictate our choices. That’s assuming we have the opportunity to exercise choice.

One of the biggest threats to our continued evolution and transcendence as individuals and as a species, as well as our ability to maintain and manage our health through natural means, is our ability to exercise free will and the capacity to choose our own course of action.

This is an issue, as hard as it is to define even today, that has engaged the minds of philosophers over thousands of years.

One widely held view that has stood the test of time is that free will should include moral responsibility, one that might be imposed on others by society. It’s one of the reasons that it’s not OK to decide to murder your neighbor.

What we’re now beginning to hear is that free will is a problem. Not for us, of course, because we’re fervent fans of it, but for those who are trying to impose control over us.

More to the point, the justification increasingly being made is that free will might not exist at all — and, more to the point, has never existed. It’s apparently an idea we made up to give ourselves the impression that we have some control over our destiny.

One of the highly influential and equally visible spokespeople for the new, increasingly globalized, world order is none other than Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Harari strongly advocates that there’s no such thing as free will. Or God for that matter. Both are just concepts we ostensibly made up for our convenience.

Harari’s perspectives are influenced by his understanding of life on Earth as a hybrid between deterministic and random processes. These are processes, he argues, over which we cannot exercise free will.

If we think we’re making a choice, it has either been predetermined, or it’s the result of random processes, or it’s some combination of the two.

Whichever way you cut it, you’re not actually in the driving seat. It might feel like we’re exercising free will, but Harari and those of his ilk tell us, really, we’re not.

Harari’s view is very important to understand because it is one that is upheld by many of those who currently control the destiny of our species. This view implies that if free will was never there, then it’s got to be OK to get rid of it entirely. How can we lose something we never had?

And can we accept that this notion of free should be stripped from us, while those who control it seem quite free to exercise theirs, in the process forcing us to do things we either don’t want to do or preventing us from doing things we want to do?

I urge you to listen to or read the following excerpt we’ve taken from a speech Harari made in 2017 at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Harari said:

“There is no such thing as free will. Science is just familiar with two kinds of processes in nature: you have deterministic processes, and you have random processes, and you have of course combinations of randomness and determinism, which result in a probabilistic outcome. But none of them is freedom.

“Freedom has absolutely no meaning. From a physical or biological perspective, it’s just another myth — another empty term — that humans have invented. Humans have invented God, humans have invented Heaven and Hell, and humans have invented free will. But there is no more truth to free will than there is to Heaven and Hell.

“And as for feelings, they are definitely real, they are not a figment of our imagination, but feelings are really just biochemical algorithms, and there is nothing metaphysical or supernatural about them, there is no obvious reason to consider them as the highest authority in the world.

“And most importantly what scientists and engineers are telling us more and more, if we only have enough data and enough computing power we can create algorithms that understand our feelings much better than humans can understand themselves.

“And once you have an algorithm that understands you, and understands your feelings — better than you understand yourself — this is really the point where authority shifts away from humans to algorithms.”

Martin Heisenberg, at the University of Würzburg in Germany, writing in the journal Nature in 2009, toyed with the notion of free will and actions being illusory.

But he concluded that it’s a normal biological property, not a gift or a mystery because freedom of action has been demonstrated in all other organisms, from fruit flies through to bacteria.

His views gel with the profound work of English philosopher and physician, John Locke, in “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Part II” (1689), where he proposed that free will is key to our independence and success. Locke argued that even if our will itself isn’t free, the man must be.

Sadly, Heisenberg doesn’t have Harari’s audience, and John Locke’s perspectives from over 300 years ago are not favored by the Biden administration.

Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution

A quick history lesson. Three industrial revolutions have been and gone, to date. The first was about using water and steam power to industrialize manufacturing. The second upgraded the energy source for manufacturing and technological development to electricity.

The third, the digital revolution, saw the arrival of electronics and information technology post WWII, and as we crossed into the new millennium, we entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, one that’s only now really getting into gear.

According to Klaus Schwab, the founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as he writes in his book of the same name, is characterized by a fusion of “breakthrough technologies” such as “artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the internet of things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, material science, energy storage and quantum computing, to name a few. … that build on and amplify each other in a fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds.”

The World Economic Forum website recognizes that the fundamental shift associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution will “create both huge promise and potential peril,” while Schwab’s Fourth Industrial Revolution book warns that “unpredictable dynamics [will] inherently surface, challenging existing legal and ethical frameworks.”

No S**t, Sherlock!

Given the preference for runaway AI by our masters, we’re being asked not to worry our pretty little heads over what might go wrong.

Instead, we’re being asked to simply give over to these AI algorithms, because we should trust them more than we trust ourselves, and trust in those who created them because they have an understanding of the complexities of the world that are beyond us mere mortals.

It seems we should also ignore the warnings of physicists and AI specialists like Max Tegmark from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His book, “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” (2017), explains that the AI era provides the first opportunity in the history of the evolution of life that both our hardware (our bodies) and our software (our capacity to generate behavior) will be able to be controlled by AI.

In March this year, Tegmark published an open letter that now has nearly 34,000 signatories, mine included, that requests that all AI labs immediately pause, for six months at least, the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 (generative pretrained transformer), as used in ChatGPT.

The pause was justified by deadly serious concerns over the accuracy, safety, interpretability, transparency, robustness, alignment, trustworthiness and loyalty of runaway AI.

Anyone who is concerned about how AI might negatively impact our progress and development as a species should sign this too.

Nothing happened, obviously. Even Harari, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak of Apple have signed the letter. The show, it seems, must go on. We’re just not quite sure who’s directing it?

From algorithms to simulations

Sadly, the story of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the takeover of AI doesn’t stop here. It has another chapter, one closely linked to concepts like AI and superintelligence.

It’s also a chapter so big, that I cannot properly do it justice without it drowning out the critically important arguments I’ve tried to outline above.

I’m talking about Bostrom’s simulation argument, one that’s become very popular among global leaders and influencers. I was about to paraphrase it, then thought better of it. How could I possibly trust myself to interpret Bostrom’s wisdom?

So I decided to do the right thing, and ask ChatGPT: “What is the basis of Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument?”

Excerpts from the summary answer given by ChatGPT are as follows:

“It is highly probable that we are living in a computer simulation created by a more advanced civilization. … Given the assumption that there would be many more simulated conscious beings than real conscious beings in the totality of existence, it becomes statistically more likely that any given conscious being, like us, is more likely to be one of the simulated beings rather than a real one.”

In case you wondered, Musk, who has justified his takeover of Twitter, now X, by his passion for free speech, buys into the simulation argument.

He thinks our lives are in all probability already virtual, and we’re playing out a game on a computer of some advanced civilization. Cool, eh?

Perhaps not. My concern over the unspoken game plan for humanity is as follows: If we give AI free rein, we accept that there’s no such thing as free will, and we feel no need to worry about what happens to our species, or our planet because we can just reboot our virtual reality if things go awry — why on Earth should we worry about our future?

Why we need you on ANH’s journey

At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I won’t be alone in thinking that Bostrom, Musk and others are mistaken.

I’d also argue, based on intuition as much as by the available evidence, that life and reality are much more complex than we’ve been led to believe through the reductionist, linear, Newtonian-Cartesian scientific paradigm that’s taken science and technology to this point.

Quantum mechanics and biophysics are just two emerging disciplines that open a whole new set of doors and dimensions, and an infinite set of possibilities and opportunities.

More another time, but from this broader perspective, defending our right to a planet that respects free will, promotes free speech and protects our interdependence with nature, seems like desperately important things to do as the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the censorship-industrial complex gather pace.

Originally published by Alliance for Natural Health International.

Rob Verkerk, Ph.D., is the founder, executive and scientific director of Alliance for Natural Health International.

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