Republic Reborn

Fight For The Future of Liberty

Our killer robot future

The terminator has been dethroned as sci-fi’s most terrifying killer robot.  That honor now, and probably forever, belongs to the headless, robotic, murder dogs from Black Mirror’s episode ‘Metalhead’.  Set sometime in the future, with pretty much no details given on how the world ended up in such a state, except for the fact that a pack of almost invincible, quadrupedal drones stalk the land, murdering as if on auto-pilot, forever carrying out some outmoded directive of a long-ago ended war.

But seriously, watching one of these headless robot dogs break out into full, high-speed lope as it chases a fleeing van is unsettling on some primal level.  Maybe it’s the lack of a face, or the fact that it clearly has only one goal in mind: murder anyone it comes into contact with, as quickly and efficiently as possible.  I won’t spoil the rest, but it’s the best episode of the new season.

It’s unsettling in a different way as well, in that this future is entirely within the realm of possibility.  It’s not that far-fetched a notion that the military would create an army of almost invincible dog drones, equipped with weapons and one task.  Imagine if Google’s Go-mastering AI were uploaded to each drone as well?  How would any military stop a drone army that could learn and adapt in order to carry out its assigned task?

The robot apocalypse doesn’t require a fully self-aware AI, but maybe just a military drone that we built a little too well.

01/03/17 Midday links

01/03/2018 Overnight links

01/02/18 Morning links

Techdirt: DHS documents show harassment and intrusive device searches are a common occurrence at US borders

National Herald India: Will 2018 be the year of Aadhaar-linked deaths?

Planet Biometrics: Ukraine starts collecting biometric data at the border

The Register: UK security chief: how about a tax for tech firms that are ‘uncooperative’ on terror content?

WESA: Pittsburg readies expansion of camera, gunshot surveillance city-wide.  Coming to your city, unless you stop it

IB Times UK: NSA leaker Edward Snowden speaks out as Iran silences dissent on the internet

Silicon UK: China’s WeChat denies storing users’ data after spying claims

STAT: The statistics can’t capture the opioid epidemic’s impact on children

Gizmodo: In 2018, we will CRISPR human beings

RT: Bitcoin billionaires and privacy crusaders: Tech leaders to watch in 2018

Coindesk: Aim, fire: bulletproofs is a breakthrough for privacy on the blockchain

InterAksyon: Silicon Valley keeps trends as artificial intelligence goes mainstream Iranian protesters raise stakes, attack police stations

Huffington Post: The ‘Merchants of Death’ survive and prosper.  First-World global weapons dealers to Third World tyrants now call themselves ‘defense contractors’.

The Hill: A year later, an investigation in search of a crime

Well this hits close to home: New York Post: Why poop toys for kids are flying off the shelf.  Ed: Parents know why their kids love this stuff, and why we buy them: they’re hilarious, and watching a kid’s raw, feral delight at these toys is too good not to buy.  Basically, no other toy elicits a reaction anywhere near the level that these do.

More from New York Post: The 5 craziest things we learned about the universe in 2017

I now support GMOs FirstPost: No more chocolate by 2050? Scientists say fragile cocoa plant likely to be victim of global warming

LA Times: Trump’s border wall through the eyes of an architecture critic

Counterpunch: Guantanamo remains a global symbol of injustice

Bigger government means more cops, which means more killings, beats, kidnappings, etc.

One thing I’ve never understood about the Left is the fairly obvious cognitive dissonance between their desire for greater, or even total, government intervention into the economy on the one hand, and their desire to end police brutality on the other.  As 2017 comes to an end, initial numbers of “officer-involved shootings” for the year come out at 976, according WaPo’s database. This is slightly more than the 963 killed in 2016, which means that pretty much all the activism from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as other civil liberties organizations focused on the subject, has had pretty much no effect whatsoever on policy.  This number doesn’t include the number of arrests, beatings, taserings, and general day-to-day harassment of American citizens by cops. Which probably runs into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of such negative interactions.  What policy is responsible for these interactions even existing? Simply, the War on Drugs.  Now, the War on Drugs is an intrusive, tyrannical government program of prohibition, which criminalizes voluntary behavior, creating an entire class of “criminals”.  Strangely, every single person who considers themselves a part of the ‘Left’ opposes the Drug War, and wishes to see it abolished.  I wonder what they think they’re silently supporting by opposing drug prohibition?  Freedom to choose what we ingest.  Yet they are still in favor of government control of the economy, of a top-down redistribution of “wealth”, a strict control of economic activity, ostensibly to eliminate “inequality”.  But they see the Drug War.  They see how just one single policy can employ hundreds of thousands of cops, how it can provide the justification for a militarization of said cops, and how it directly leads to the incarceration of hundreds of thousands, the ruination of the lives and livelihoods of families, of entire generations.

Just one single policy in the United States is almost solely responsible for the rise of the Police State here.  The prohibition of just a few substances has lead to this.  Now, the Left essentially desires prohibition to extend to as many areas of life as possible.  And, to jump straight to the point, there is no other way to accomplish this than to employ an army of cops to enforce it.  Restriction of voluntary activity requires police states of varying scale, depending on how much activity you wish to restrict.  And ponder a moment the types of people who will be filling the occupation of “police officer” in an environment of prohibition.  As the list of prohibited activities increases, it will be necessary to enforce it.  Hiring more cops as quickly as possible means lowering the standards for applicants.  (Just look at the Border Patrol, or the TSA, both of which routinely hires thugs of every stripe.  Airline passengers are kept any safer, but their belongings are stolen by agents at a rate of 200 thefts per day.  From 2010 to 2014, TSA agents stole $2.5 million worth of belongings from checked luggage.  The Border Patrol, on the other hand, appear to hire on personalities that delight in dragging the innocent out of their car, giving them a body cavity search on the roadside

Thugs, criminals, physically violent, and really anyone not burdened with an overabundance of brains gets to be a cop in a Police State.  But a Police State is only necessary when a government needs to enforce the prohibition of previously legal voluntary behavior.

I write this because I’ve recently had extended conversations with several people who openly desire an implementation of socialist policy of one stripe or another.  Their reasoning rests on the very real inequalities that arise from a free market.  Some people make far more money than others, people stratified by income do treat each other differently, and it generates resentment.  But these genuine socialists oppose the Drug War because of the very consequences listed earlier.  I don’t press them too much on their beliefs, I prefer to listen to their reasoning.  What they don’t appear to do too much is compare socialist economies in reality to the predominantly market-based economy of the United States.  All socialist experiments have descended into police states that systematically starved and murdered their citizens.  While countries that have allowed even a slight amount of market activity has at least not starved.  What is wrong with market economies are the vestiges of prohibition and regulation that haven’t yet been swept away, not the market itself.

What I don’t really get is the obsessive focus on “inequality” in a market economy to the exclusion of everything else.  Should everything be sacrificed at the hands of a totalitarian government for the off chance that we’ll become more equal?  The ability to shop for fresh groceries in the dead of winter, or sitting in a cafe drinking hot tea while using Wi Fi on a $200 laptop that holds a charge for 11 hours, is a miracle that no one else in the history of the human race has experienced.

To conclude, the argument for liberty is far more broad than just an absence of a Police State.  But the point here is that support for a government that can prohibit every activity will create a massive police force to do just that.  Socialism will be enforced by the low-IQ thug who previously could not find employment elsewhere.  He, along with a legion of his now-deputized ilk, will be beat, kill, kidnap and harass because that is what’s required to enforce the socialist ideal.  The people will wait in breadlines, eat their pets, eat the local zoo wildlife, and eventually starve.  Society will rip itself apart, in the same way that Venezuela is today.

This concludes an extended rant on something I’ve noticed about supporters of socialism recently.  To counter, offer comments, heckle me, etc., you can contact this writer at, until I can get the comments’ section set up.

01/02/18 Overnight links


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