Humans Favored Over Robots

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Humans Favored Over Robots

Postby hocus2009 » 06/11/13 at 06:15:04

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/10/opinion/r ... wden-hero/

When the whistle-blower finally stood trial for espionage, my parents weren't quite sure how to feel. But when Richard Nixon's crew was revealed to have been conducting illegal wiretaps in an effort to discredit the former intelligence contractor, well, they were outraged and decided Ellsberg was a hero. So did the judge and most of America.

Snowden has not uncovered a human conspiracy here but the workings of the machine itself. And it's a machine that really does require some human intervention.
In the coming months, I expect a campaign to be waged against this young man that will make the one against Ellsberg look like child's play. His enemies have the full force of the machine -- every e-mail he's written and every phone call he's made -- to use against him. This won't be pretty. But before we decide that Snowden was smiling too much in his videotaped interview with The Guardian, earned too much money or somehow betrayed his lovely girlfriend in Hawaii in a personal vendetta against his former bosses at the intelligence agencies, let's take just a moment to consider his particularly human act of heroism.

As a digital technology writer, I have had more than one former student and colleague tell me about digital switchers they have serviced through which calls and data are diverted to government servers or the big data algorithms they've written to be used on our e-mails by intelligence agencies. I always begged them to write about it or to let me do so while protecting their identities. They refused to come forward and believed my efforts to shield them would be futile. "I don't want to lose my security clearance. Or my freedom," one told me.

Snowden is a hero because he realized that our very humanity was being compromised by the blind implementation of machines in the name of making us safe. Unlike those around him, who were too absorbed in their task to reflect on their actions and pause in their pursuit of digital omniscience, Snowden allowed himself to be "disturbed" by what he was doing.

Thank heavens our intelligence agencies are staffed by people like Snowden, not robots. People can still think. That's why they call it intelligence.


Uh/Oh.

Rob the Robot Slayer
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hocus2009
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