A familiar story. Every so often I do random web searches for some of my favorite songs/moves/etc. When I used Yahoo! to look for info on Queensryche’s classic track “NM 156,” I decided to use the opening line “machines have no conscience.” The very first result was this page; A bit of science fiction verse. Not exactly what I was looking for, but as I read it I had the feeling that I was reading some cyberpunk poetry… and what could very well be a story from the Terminator universe set in the future.
It Could Be An “Album.” The poem is divided into seven parts that tell a story of one person’s fight against the “Metal Gods,” the machines of the future:
1. Machines Have No Conscience
2. Metal Gods
4. Terminate 156
5. My Mission
6. Next Action
7. Stand Proud
As you read, you might get the feeling of deja vu. Not because of the storyline itself, but some of the lines come straight from Queensryche (Sadistical lists them as one of his favorite bands).
I have to give him cred, Sadistical has put together a short but sweet verse that could very well become a concept album given the right music and musicians.
Information longs to be free. Setting it free, that’s the tough part.
March Madness. When WikiLeaks first started as a “whistle-blowing” site not long ago, they knew they would be in for some major fights in their quest to to get the truth out in the form of leaked documents. Somehow, despite lawsuit-happy suits, government thugs, and technical glitches, they managed to survive and even thrive to get privileged insider information out. But March 2009 is becoming a major test for the sunshine site because of lists of “banned” sites that they posted.
Things actually started last December when they published Denmark’s secret censorship site list, which includes some 3863 sites as of February 2009, with some legitimate sites being caught in the anti-child porn hysteria.
The list is generated without judicial or public oversight and is kept secret by the ISPs using it. Unaccountability is intrinsic to such a secret censorship system.
The list has been leaked because cases such as Thailand and Finland demonstrate that once a secret censorship system is established for pornographic content the same system can rapidly expand to cover other material, including political material, at the worst possible moment — when government needs reform.
On March 18, they published Norway’s blacklist for the same reason. Then Australia chimed in, and things started getting nasty…
Things started to get personal Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Steven Conroy, threaten to go after WikiLeaks and their source. WikiLeaks’ response:
“Under the Swedish Constitution’s Press Freedom Act, the right of a confidential press source to anonymity is protected, and criminal penalties apply to anyone acting to breach that right.
Wikileaks source documents are received in Sweden and published from Sweden so as to derive maximum benefit from this legal protection. Should the Senator or anyone else attempt to discover our source we will refer the matter to the Constitutional Police for prosecution, and, if necessary, ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights.”
Senator Conroy may wish to consider the position of the South African Competition Commission, which decided to cancel its own high profile leak investigation in January after being advised of the legal ramifications of interfering with Sunshine Press sources.
This may only be the beginning of a war against WikiLeaks. We’ll keep you advised of any major developments to come… assuming Cyberpunk Review hasn’t been added to some super-secret NSAT&T/RIAA/MPAA/UN blacklist…
You may want to get Right Said Fred, a mag-pulse rifle, and/or your best robo-babe pickup lines ready.
The latest sex-bot struts her stuff. Only Japan can come up with a bot beauty ready to walk the catwalk. While America wastes robot-tech on wars for world domination, Japan puts the tech to better use with helpful robots. Judging by the latest, the HRP-4C fashion robot, they’re doing it right.
From Straits Times:
The girlie-faced humanoid with slightly oversized eyes, a tiny nose and a shoulder length hair-do boasts 42 motion motors programmed to mimic the movements of flesh-and-blood fashion models.
‘Hello everybody, I am cybernetic human HRP-4C,’ said the futuristic fashionista, opening her media premiere at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology outside Tokyo.
The fashion-bot is 158 centimetres tall, the average height of Japanese women aged 19 to 29, but weighs in at a waif-like 43 kilograms - including batteries. She has a manga-inspired human face but a silver metallic body.
Her official fashion show debut will be on March 23 in Tokyo. Afterward, she’s expected to go on the market for $200K US each, primarily for the entertainment industries.
A case of first-time jitters? HRP’s debut wasn’t the smoothest, as she kept looking surprised and stunned as the cameras clicked away, confusing her sound sensors. On the plus side, she wasn’t an ED-209. This problem should be fixed by her debut.
The BBC News’ program CLICK built a botnet to show what damage they can do.
You got spammed! We’ve had to deal with it, spam in our emails, and while filtering has gotten better at removing the crap, the spammers have devised even more powerful ways of insuring that your inbox chokes. The most sinister of them all is the botnet, innocent home computers that have been infected to make remote use possible.
This week, the BBC’s tech news program Click built their own botnet of 22,000 computers to perform two tasks. First, they had the net spam a couple of email addresses they set up for the test. Next, they use the net to launch a DDoS attach on a security site owned by Prevx.
The results: The inboxes choked while the site ground to a halt.
Is this even LEGAL? To build the botnet, the BBC posed as “customers” to purchase the software that infects computers to make the botnet. That would seem to be no different than an undercover agent looking to gather evidence of hacking, only the BBC didn’t need a warrant. The attack on the Prevx was done with the company’s approval on a backup site. This would like a “test” for a tiger-team to see if they are able to do a bigger hack. Companies hire hackers (”white hats”) to regularly test their security, or ethical hackers will do so while leaving messages of possible weaknesses.
What the BBC did may border on journalism and legality, but they do had a good reason for doing this:
A lot of the debate has been about whether we did the right thing digging into the murky world of hackers and organised cybercrime. In seeking to demonstrate the threat, had we put ourselves in the position of those we wanted to expose?
That’s always a good question. After all, we could have simply described what we believe happens and given some warning advice, couldn’t we? We’ve done this in the past. So have many others…
But hacking has gone professional. Today, your PC can be doing bad things to other people without you even knowing. It’s a major growth area for organised crime: it’s global, and very local to all of us who work, communicate and play on the world wide web.
So we felt that there was the strongest public interest in not just describing what malware can do, but actually showing it in action. A real demonstration of the power of today’s botnets - to infect, disrupt and damage our digital lives - is the most powerful way to alert our audiences to the dangers that they face. It’s a wake-up call to switch on that firewall and improve our security on the internet.
We think that what we did was a first for broadcast journalism. We were amazed by the ease of use of the botnet, and the power of its disruptive capacity.
They have since disabled the botnet.
Was this power trip really necessary? People will question whether the BBC’s use of a botnet was required, but there’s no question that there will always be security holes in the system. Linux and Windows users have known this, and OS X users will soon learn this lesson the hard way.
Remember: No amount of software patching will ever close the security hole between the keyboard and the chair.
Beware if Jerry Jalava give you the finger. He may be trying to upload a virus into you!
… so it begins. Jerry Jalava was a hacker until a motorcycle accident last May caused him to lose a finger. He could have settled for a standard prosthetic replacement, or a “new” digit off a fresh corpse. He chose the prosthetic, but not a standard prosthetic. He wanted something more… 2GB more…
A 2GB drive is embedded in a silicone “fingertip” and features a USB interface, and has a Billix Linux distribution… and the move Freddy Got Fingered… on it. He’s a hacker… that should be enough explanation.
If only they knew…
Not quite cyborg. Jerry’s new finger-drive isn’t permanently attached to him, which is good for when he needs to replace or upgrade the drive, so the reports of a cyborg being born are still premature. There are even doubters already calling shenanigans on the photos (they must be looking at the “visualization” pics from Yanko Design). Still, this has to be the most cyberpunk idea to come over the fiber in some time. But it also leaves an important question still unanswered: Why?
One day, you will give birth to a freak of your own design.
‘Build-A-Bear’ but with babies. A fertility clinic in Los Angeles is giving prospective parents a chance to mod their babies via genetic manipulation. The technique, called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), allows parents and doctors to screen out potential gene-borne diseases and other “defects,” but soon could be used to increase the chance of a baby to have certain “choice” attributes like height, hair color, and even IQ.
Such genetic screening has been around forever, but in a much more natural form (discovered by Charles Darwin). It was even discovered that you could “choose” the gender/sex of your offspring with a timing method. But with the mapping of the human genome and genetic screening, it is now possible to fine-tune the looks and abilities of your children.
Master race, anyone?
Gattica, here we come! Maybe. The idea of spawning a Frankenstein-baby may be scary or exciting, but it may not catch on due to some major problems to be worked out. First off, the PGD process does not guarantee success; It only increases the odds that a child will have selected traits. Secondly, they have to use in vitro fertilization which doesn’t always work. And at $18K US per attempt, you can only afford one attempt.
Then, you have to deal with all the “eugenics” issues that will inevitably arise. An assembly-line master race may not be possible just yet.
Of course, that can all change when the machines take over…