"In Europa ci sono già i presupposti per l'esplosione di un conflitto sociale. Questo è il seme del malcontento, dell'egoismo e della disperazione che la classe politica e la classe dirigente hanno sparso. Questo è terreno fertile per la xenofobia, la violenza, il terrorismo interno, il successo del populismo e dell'estremismo politico."

giovedì 21 maggio 2020

"L'Unione Europea deve ritirarsi per sopravvivere"

Opinion European Union The EU must retreat to survive

 

For both pragmatic and democratic reasons, it would be lunacy to sue the German government

 




GIDEON RACHMAN MAY 18 2020

Anybody who has worked in Brussels will be familiar with the bicycle theory of European integration. The idea is that unless the EU keeps moving forward, it will fall over and crash. But the bicycle theory is dangerously out of date. To survive, the EU actually needs to find a brake and a reverse gear. The alternative is a potentially fatal collision between the EU’s institutions and its nations. The chances of conflict have risen dramatically following a German constitutional court ruling that places Germany in direct confrontation with both the European Central Bank and the European Court of Justice.

The German court, based in Karlsruhe, ruled that the ECB’s bond-buying programme — which has helped keep the European single currency afloat — failed a “proportionality test” by not taking into account its broad economic effects. It also stated that the ECJ had been acting beyond its authority, when it declared the ECB’s bond-buying legal. Ardent supporters of the EU have reacted with horror to the German court’s actions. Some have argued that the Karlsruhe ruling has “put the entire EU legal order in jeopardy” and that the European Commission must respond with “infringement proceedings” — in other words, take Germany to court.


My own view is that, for both pragmatic and democratic reasons, it would be lunacy for the EU to sue the German government. Germany is the biggest country in the EU and the largest contributor to its budget. The EU cannot be built in opposition to its member states — least of all Germany. The club can survive Brexit. But without Germany, there would be no EU. Opinion polls in Germany suggest that the constitutional court is the most respected institution in the country.

The Bundesbank is also traditionally regarded as a key guardian of Germany’s postwar democracy — and a guarantee that the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic years will never return. For the EU to humble two of the most important pillars of Germany’s postwar stability would invite a public backlash. If Germany was behaving in a fundamentally undemocratic manner, then this kind of fatal confrontation might be an unavoidable obligation. But, while it is possible to dispute both the economic and the legal logic behind the Karlsruhe ruling, there is no suggestion that the court has acted in an undemocratic or improper manner.


The EU view is that the ECJ is the higher court and outranks Karlsruhe. But, if the EU starts infringement proceedings, the dispute between the ECJ and Karlsruhe would be arbitrated by the ECJ itself — a circular situation that would instantly undermine the moral force of its ruling. It is true that letting the Karlsruhe court ruling stand is not a trivial matter. At worst, it poses real risks both to the survival of the euro and to the EU’s efforts to remain a club of liberal democracies.

Hungary and Poland — whose governments are rapidly eroding their national democracies — have both seized upon the Karlsruhe ruling to justify their own efforts to ignore EU law. It was predictable that the Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orban, would react in this way. But Mr Orban is an unscrupulous character who — much like the US’s Donald Trump — will use any argument, however spurious, to justify what he was going to do anyway. In reality, the Hungarian and Polish cases are very different from that of Germany. The governments in Warsaw and Budapest are genuinely undermining the independence of their courts.


By contrast, the Karlsruhe court has demonstrated its freedom from political influence, with a ruling that is highly inconvenient for Berlin. EU infringement proceedings against Hungary and Poland are justified, given that their democratic institutions are genuinely under threat. But, in the long run, the fate of Hungarian and Polish democracy will be decided within those two countries, not by Brussels.

The Karlsruhe ruling also has dramatic implications for Europe’s single currency. It is widely believed the economic shock caused by Covid-19 means that continued radical action by the ECB is the only thing that stands between the EU and another debt crisis. If the German courts tie the hands of the ECB (or prevent the Bundesbank participating in ECB programmes), then the survival of the euro might be in question. But there should be a democratic way out of this. German opponents of the Karlsruhe decision argue that the judges reflect only a small conservative faction, within their country.

If that is true, it is open to Berlin to try to amend the German constitution or the EU treaties, to make it absolutely explicit that the ECB’s actions are legal. If Berlin cannot win that argument at home — or in the wider EU context — then Germany may have to consider leaving the European single currency. Even raising that issue could provide a helpful clarity. It might persuade the Germans that the ECB’s actions are not so unacceptable, after all. Or it might persuade Berlin’s European partners that they need to do more to respect German misgivings about the management of the euro. That kind of fundamental debate is overdue.


The EU’s survival cannot be secured simply by pedalling the federalist bicycle ever harder. The direction of travel also needs to be reassessed, debated and agreed.

gideon.rachman@ft.com


Link originale: https://www.ft.com/content/22febd2a-98e0-11ea-adb1-529f96d8a00b

domenica 17 maggio 2020

Come il COVID-19 ridisegnerà le relazioni tra Stato e cittadini

COVID-19 Will Reshape Our Relationship with the State

Chathamhouse.org, 12 May 2020


 

Although it is not yet known how coronavirus impacts on politics, it will almost certainly fundamentally reshape the relationship between citizen and state.

 

Professor Matthew Goodwin

Visiting Senior Fellow, Europe Programme

@GoodwinMJ


Those who believe in cyclical theories of history argue the infamous stock market crash of 1929 signalled the failure of markets and paved the way for a bigger state, which then led to the New Deal in America and welfare states in Europe.

Fast forward to the 1970s and it was the turn of the state to overreach as big government proved unable to resolve intractable economic and social problems. This paved the way for the return of the markets via Reaganism and Thatcherism and an economic consensus that even centre-left social democrats ended up accepting.

Now fast forward again to where we are today. Some contend that in years to come we will look back at the coronavirus crisis as a major corrective, because the Great Recession of 2008-2012 arrived after the markets had once again overreached and - together with the Great Lockdown - these two crises are paving the way for a much bigger and more interventionist state.

 

Fiscal conservatism in retreat


Although I remain broadly sceptical of cyclical theories, the sheer scale of government spending as a percentage of GDP and the mounting piles of national and global debt certainly do underline how - for now - free markets and fiscal conservatism are in retreat.

Inevitably, a new era of big government and big debt creates huge effects even if we do not see them for some time. Higher taxation, a squeeze on the wealthy through tax and public pressure for greater scrutiny and transparency, and public expenditure cuts, to name a few.


Although it is not hard to see how populists can make hay from this, COVID-19 might impact how citizens view the state anyway, especially as it has now come to their rescue on two occasions in little over a decade.

The result could be a broader public acceptance of larger and more interventionist governments and a willingness to experiment in state-led instruments, particularly among younger generations with no real memory of the pre-2008 era. Economic liberals and free marketeers are on the back foot and, once again, will have to restate their case.


These debates are here for the long-term. The so-called 'Ratchet Effect' means we expect after a major crisis that the size of government does not revert to pre-crisis levels. In the aftermath of both world wars, a massive expansion of state responsibilities and spending commitments saw a larger role for the state generally accepted in wider society. This made sense but eventually led to big inefficiencies. Political leadership is needed to know when and how to cut back the state.


Increased visibility of the working-class during coronavirus - from Amazon couriers and postal workers to tube and bus drivers - might also push us out of an era of class division and into greater 'cross-class solidarity' and a stronger social fabric. Studies suggest that previous pandemics saw collective anger at low wages and poor working conditions combining with workers becoming aware of their indispensable role in the economy, and led to both wage increases and better working conditions.

But, while some of this might be true, emerging evidence shows it looks fairly certain the Great Lockdown will actually exacerbate divides in our society that began to sharpen a few decades ago, and were then worsened by the Great Recession.


It is clear the virus has uneven effects, both in health and economic terms. Low-income 'precariat' workers in the low-skilled service sector and gig economy and those with few educational qualifications are the hardest hit by the economic fallout, and are also more likely to have the underlying health conditions that magnify the physical impact of the virus itself.

Data suggests people from black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to die of the disease than white people. And we also now know that in the UK working age population, it is male construction workers, nurses, security guards and taxi drivers – ‘elementary workers’ - who are most likely to suffer disproportionately high death rates. Overall, working class C2DE voters were also more likely to vote Conservative at the last general election.

In the US, research suggests more than 80 percent of the jobs affected by the crisis are held by low-income workers while, in the UK, typical pay for the most disrupted workers in 'shutdown sectors' is less than half the pay of those able to work from home.


The wealthy and professional middle-classes insulated from the negative effects of globalization will still feel the effect of coronavirus – especially those with elderly parents. But overall they will be much better sheltered from its adverse economic effects.


The finding that more than seven in ten high-income Americans are able to work from home compared to just four in ten of their low-income counterparts speaks to how these different social classes are having - and will continue to have - fundamentally different experiences of this crisis.

In the short-term, our self-isolation was compulsory. But in the longer-term it will become voluntary. And then it will become an economic luxury, which also fits with the general story of pandemics in the past.


Because, contrary to the narrative they can be a ‘great leveller’, recent work actually finds most pandemics lead to a ‘persistent and significant increase in the net Gini measure of inequality’. Five years after a pandemic hit, it was those with fewer educational qualifications and skills who suffered the most - the very same groups that have been driving much of the political volatility we have been witnessing over the past decade.


Although we will not know how this crisis impacts on politics for a long while, we do know it will almost certainly fundamentally reshape the relationship between citizen and state.


Link originale: https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/covid-19-will-reshape-our-relationship-state

venerdì 15 maggio 2020

Come l'Intelligenza Artificiale può essere la porta d'accesso alla dittatura globale

Il film documentario di Tonje Hessen Schei racconta di intelligenza artificiale, potere e controllo sociale.
Con un accesso unico al settore dell'IA in piena espansione, mostra come la tecnologia più potente di tutti i tempi stia cambiando la nostra società, il nostro futuro e la nostra immagine di noi stessi.




Molti agenti digitali facilitano la nostra vita quotidiana.  Ci guidano, alimentati da un potere invisibile chiamato intelligenza artificiale.
Il documentario "iHuman" accompagna i pionieri dell'IA di questa rivoluzione silenziosa nello sviluppo e nell'implementazione della nuova tecnologia. Così facendo, non solo cambiano radicalmente il mondo esterno, ma anche il modo in cui le persone vedono se stesse. Chi sviluppa quali codici per il nostro futuro? In che modo l'IA influenza chi siamo noi umani? "iHuman" richiama l'attenzione su un conflitto crescente.
Da un lato, giganti della tecnologia come Google sostengono che l'IA è necessaria per combattere catastrofi globali come il cambiamento climatico, il cancro e la fame. D'altra parte, pionieri come Bill Gates e Elon Musk vedono ora l'intelligenza artificiale come la più grande minaccia per l'umanità. "iHuman" si chiede quali siano le conseguenze della concentrazione del potere nell'industria dell'IA multimiliardaria, che non conosce quasi nessuna regolamentazione e trasparenza da parte del governo.
Alcuni esperti paragonano l'IA alla bomba atomica, poiché nessuno può prevedere le conseguenze di questa nuova tecnologia. Ilya Sutskever è responsabile della ricerca presso OpenAI, una società fondata da Elon Musk per la "buona intelligenza artificiale". Jürgen Schmidhuber è chiamato il "padre dell'intelligenza artificiale" perché ha inventato le reti neurali che hanno rivoluzionato lo sviluppo dell'IA. "iHuman" accompagna i due principali informatici nel loro lavoro su una super intelligenza. Esperti e scienziati come Max Tegmark, Kara Swisher, Michal Kosinski, Stuart Russell, Ben Wizner, Hao Li, Ben Goertzel e Philip Alston entrano nel controverso dibattito sui pericoli e le opportunità dell'IA. Chi deciderà della vita delle persone in futuro?

mercoledì 13 maggio 2020

Sotto la copertura della pandemia, Cuomo invita miliardari a costruire una distopia ad alta tecnologia

Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia
The Intercept,
May 8 2020, 6:50 p.m.
FOR A FEW fleeting moments during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the somber grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile.
“We are ready, we’re all-in,” the governor gushed. “We are New Yorkers, so we’re aggressive about it, we’re ambitious about it. … We realize that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend if done the right way.”
The inspiration for these uncharacteristically good vibes was a video visit from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a blue-ribbon commission to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life.
“The first priorities of what we’re trying to do,” Schmidt said, “are focused on telehealth, remote learning, and broadband. … We need to look for solutions that can be presented now, and accelerated, and use technology to make things better.” Lest there be any doubt that the former Google chair’s goals were purely benevolent, his video background featured a framed pair of golden angel wings.
Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop “a smarter education system.” Calling Gates a “visionary,” Cuomo said the pandemic has created “a moment in history when we can actually incorporate and advance [Gates’s] ideas … all these buildings, all these physical classrooms — why with all the technology you have?” he asked, apparently rhetorically.
It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the “Screen New Deal.” Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future.

Anuja Sonalker, CEO of Steer Tech, a Maryland-based company selling self-parking technology, recently summed up the new virus-personalized pitch. “There has been a distinct warming up to human-less, contactless technology,” she said. “Humans are biohazards, machines are not.”
It’s a future in which our homes are never again exclusively personal spaces but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails. Of course, for many of us, those same homes were already turning into our never-off workplaces and our primary entertainment venues before the pandemic, and surveillance incarceration “in the community” was already booming. But in the future under hasty construction, all of these trends are poised for a warp-speed acceleration.
This is a future in which, for the privileged, almost everything is home delivered, either virtually via streaming and cloud technology, or physically via driverless vehicle or drone, then screen “shared” on a mediated platform. It’s a future that employs far fewer teachers, doctors, and drivers. It accepts no cash or credit cards (under guise of virus control) and has skeletal mass transit and far less live art. It’s a future that claims to be run on “artificial intelligence” but is actually held together by tens of millions of anonymous workers tucked away in warehouses, data centers, content moderation mills, electronic sweatshops, lithium mines, industrial farms, meat-processing plants, and prisons, where they are left unprotected from disease and hyperexploitation.
It’s a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable, and data-mineable by unprecedented collaborations between government and tech giants.

If all of this sounds familiar it’s because, pre-Covid, this precise app-driven, gig-fueled future was being sold to us in the name of convenience, frictionlessness, and personalization. But many of us had concerns. About the security, quality, and inequity of telehealth and online classrooms. About driverless cars mowing down pedestrians and drones smashing packages (and people). About location tracking and cash-free commerce obliterating our privacy and entrenching racial and gender discrimination. About unscrupulous social media platforms poisoning our information ecology and our kids’ mental health. About “smart cities” filled with sensors supplanting local government. About the good jobs these technologies wiped out. About the bad jobs they mass produced.
And most of all, we had concerns about the democracy-threatening wealth and power accumulated by a handful of tech companies that are masters of abdication — eschewing all responsibility for the wreckage left behind in the fields they now dominate, whether media, retail, or transportation.
That was the ancient past known as February. Today, a great many of those well-founded concerns are being swept away by a tidal wave of panic, and this warmed-over dystopia is going through a rush-job rebranding. Now, against a harrowing backdrop of mass death, it is being sold to us on the dubious promise that these technologies are the only possible way to pandemic-proof our lives, the indispensable keys to keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.
It’s a future in which our homes are never again exclusively personal spaces but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails.

Thanks to Cuomo and his various billionaire partnerships (including one with Michael Bloomberg for testing and tracing), New York state is being positioned as the gleaming showroom for this grim future — but the ambitions reach far beyond the borders of any one state or country.
And at the dead center of it all is Eric Schmidt. Well before Americans understood the threat of Covid-19, Schmidt had been on an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign pushing precisely the “Black Mirror” vision of society that Cuomo has just empowered him to build. At the heart of this vision is seamless integration of government with a handful of Silicon Valley giants — with public schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, police, and military all outsourcing (at a high cost) many of their core functions to private tech companies.
It’s a vision Schmidt has been advancing in his roles as chair of the Defense Innovation Board, which advises the Department of Defense on increased use of artificial intelligence in the military, and as chair of the powerful National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, or NSCAI, which advises Congress on “advances in artificial intelligence, related machine learning developments, and associated technologies,” with the goal of addressing “the national and economic security needs of the United States, including economic risk.”
Both boards are crowded with powerful Silicon Valley CEOS and top executives from companies including Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and of course, Schmidt’s colleagues at Google.

AS CHAIR, SCHMIDT, who still holds more than $5.3 billion in shares of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), as well as large investments in other tech firms, has essentially been running a Washington-based shakedown on behalf of Silicon Valley. The main purpose of the two boards is to call for exponential increases in government spending on research into artificial intelligence and on tech-enabling infrastructure like 5G — investments that would directly benefit the companies in which Schmidt and other members of these boards have extensive holdings.
First in closed-door presentations to lawmakers and later in public-facing op-eds and interviews, the thrust of Schmidt’s argument has been that since the Chinese government is willing to spend limitless public money building the infrastructure of high-tech surveillance, while allowing Chinese tech companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and Huawei to pocket the profits from commercial applications, the U.S.’s dominant position in the global economy is on the precipice of collapsing.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center recently got access through a Freedom of Information Act request to a presentation made by Schmidt’s NSCAI one year ago, in May 2019. Its slides make a series of alarmist claims about how China’s relatively lax regulatory infrastructure and its bottomless appetite for surveillance are causing it to pull ahead of the U.S. in a number of fields, including “AI for medical diagnosis,” autonomous vehicles, digital infrastructure, “smart cities,” ride-sharing, and cashless commerce.
The reasons given for China’s competitive edge are myriad, ranging from the sheer volume of consumers who shop online; “the lack of legacy banking systems in China,” which has allowed it to leapfrog over cash and credit cards and unleash “a huge e-commerce and digital services market” using “digital payments”; and a severe doctor shortage, which has led the government to work closely with tech companies like Tencent to use AI for “predictive” medicine. The slides note that in China, tech companies “have the authority to quickly clear regulatory barriers while American initiatives are mired in HIPPA compliance and FDA approval.”

Image: NSCAI

More than any other factor, however, the NSCAI points to China’s willingness to embrace public-private partnerships in mass surveillance and data collection as a reason for its competitive edge. The presentation touts China’s “Explicit government support and involvement e.g. facial recognition deployment.” It argues that “surveillance is one of the ‘first-and-best customers’ for Al” and further, that “mass surveillance is a killer application for deep learning.”
A slide titled “State Datasets: Surveillance = Smart Cities” notes that China, along with Google’s main Chinese competitor, Alibaba, are racing ahead.

lunedì 11 maggio 2020

Da cittadini a pazienti, una minaccia a cui opporsi

Il declino della legge come strumento di controllo sociale e la sua sostituzione con una gestione tecnologica, mentale e medica volta a prevenire comportamenti devianti, senza preoccuparsi degli effetti deleteri di tale sostituzione.



Lezioni sulla pandemia al Collegio Universitario Internazionale di Torino - Ugo Mattei & Federico Soldani, 4 maggio 2020

domenica 10 maggio 2020

Servizi segreti australiani offrono condivisione di dati di semplici cittadini

Revealed: Australian spy agency offered to share data about ordinary citizens





• Secret 5-Eyes document shows surveillance partners discussing what information they can pool about their citizens

• DSD indicated it could provide material without some privacy restraints imposed by other countries such as Canada

• Medical, legal or religious information 'not automatically limited'

• Concern that intelligence agency could be 'operating outside its legal mandate'







Ewen MacAskillJames Ball and Katharine Murphy
Published onMon 2 Dec 2013 00.20 GMT

Australia's surveillance agency offered to share information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, according to a secret 2008 document leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The document shows the partners discussing whether or not to share "medical, legal or religious information", and increases concern that the agency could be operating outside its legal mandate, according to the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC.
The Australian intelligence agency, then known as the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), indicated it could share bulk material without some of the privacy restraints imposed by other countries, such as Canada.
"DSD can share bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata as long as there is no intent to target an Australian national," notes from an intelligence conference say. "Unintentional collection is not viewed as a significant issue."
The agency acknowledged that more substantial interrogation of the material would, however, require a warrant.




  Photograph: Guardian Australia





  Photograph: Guardian Australia

Metadata is the information we all generate whenever we use technology, from the date and time of a phone call to the location from which an email is sent.
"Bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata" means that this data is in its raw state, and nothing has been deleted or redacted in order to protect the privacy of ordinary citizens who might have been caught in the dragnet. Metadata can present a very complete picture of someone's life.
The working document, marked secret, sheds new light on the extent to which intelligence agencies at that time were considering sharing information with foreign surveillance partners, and it provides further confirmation that, to some extent at least, there is warrantless surveillance of Australians' personal metadata.

sabato 9 maggio 2020