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It is been argued that the only real solution to prevent and resist indoctrination on an individual, community, or national level - is to have excellent teachers. Excellent teachers (which include parents, mentors, and other knowledgeable adults) train students in observation skills, listening, logos, methods of argument and analysis while supplying substantive subjects for consideration, action and reflection. They teach a human being to evaluate, to discern and determine what is true and what is false, to make judgement calls and to find solutions to problems on their own, with their own faculties. The best teachers, importantly, don’t succumb to promoting one ideology over another because they trust their student to reason through to "the right" (the ethical/moral/noble position)'way' and choose the course of action they have selected after thinking the problem through - then making an informed decision. Considering the consequences of their decision and the follow on effects are also part of logical thinking skills...an integral component of an actual "education". (see blog post of February 19, 2019 linked here for more details)
Tragically, (and it is a tragedy what has happened to what was once a quality public education system for the USA compared to other countries) there has been an agenda to "dumb down" the entire public education system for many decades. This is/was a deliberate campaign to push back the advances made in teacher education, curriculum and school facilities in the late 1950's through the 1960's, promoted with enthusiasm under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. The United States encouraged and produced innovation in all realms, especially the scientific, engineering, design, aviation, communications and medical fields. This was part of a national endeavor which for a short time included substantial funding and expansive opportunities for a greater number of children and adults from all economic, social, cultural and racial backgrounds in America. In part, this was sparked by the "Space Race" and competition with the then, Soviet Union.
However focus and standards in education slipped during the "Great Society" programs ushered in by President Lyndon B Johnson and his administration, which diverted funds from equal opportunity and educational projects to the Vietnam war effort. The Department of Education was formed and institutionalized by 1980, and President Reagan's administration battled a recession that siphoned off funds from social programs yet again. President Clinton proposed a plan very similar to President George Bush's "No Child Left Behind" (called by many educators/teachers..."Every Child Left Behind") passed in 2002, which was by most accounts a dismal failure for children, students and teachers. Standardized testing and the pressures attached to "scoring" pushed the whole system down the slippery slope in America. The "Educational Testing Services", materials, preparation and tutoring industries thrived.
Then "Common Core" and "Race to the Top" (nicknamed by many in the schools as "Race to the Bottom") was initially drafted by a corporate consortium funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "That program foisted a set of national academic standards upon the states. Unfortunately, those standards suffer from severe academic deficiencies and their implementation diminishes parenthood, imposes a fiscal burden on the states, and establishes a governance precedent that is irreconcilable with our Founding. It is a federal takeover affecting public school, private school, and home school children." As one school board administrator pointed out, "Common Core seemed much more like a marketing campaign than a coherent educational plan." truthinamericaneducation.com/race-to-the-top/
After a few years of implementation here is what one Math teacher (representing the majority of skilled Math teachers) wrote: "I predict that if we continue implementing Common Core, average students will drop out of math as early as they are allowed. Even math-bright students will hate math. Tutoring companies will proliferate to serve wealthy families. The educational gap between rich and poor will widen. If we want to destroy math and science education in this country, keep Common Core." www.educationviews.org/engineer-explains-common-core-math-disaster/ Unfortunately this prediction has proved true.
The pivot from an education system promoting original thought, inquiry, expression, and debate while diligently requiring teachers and students to be competent in a well rounded curriculum in order to graduate, and proudly espousing a "value system" based on honor, integrity, family, selfless service and belief in God; to a more self-centered, completely secular, socialistic, globally oriented and bureaucratically monitored education system with fewer standards or requirements - started in the 1980's in earnest.
The resulting plunge in all rankings and measurements of basic literacy competencies for American children-particularly in public schools from the late 1970's-can be documented up until 2019. The USA is barely in the top 20 (except in spending) for all indicators. This is a fall from the times the USA was consistently in the top ten. Take a look at the countries ahead of the USA now-Russia (for example) listed as number five. Finland is consistently number one for the last decade. These governments put a very high value on "education" and revised their entire system beginning with teacher preparation and training, to curriculum, smaller classes, no multiple guess testing, student incentives and higher pay for teachers and administrators: worldtop20.org/2017-world-best-education-systems-1st-quarter-report These countries provided financial support and incentives for professional development and novel approaches within their respective school and higher education programs.
The books shown below (in the uploaded images) are ones which provide an in- depth analysis with numerous examples of how and why the United States education system has been "dumbed down", engineered socially to handicap thinkers- create more of an "idiocracy" in the USA. I suggest you start with John Taylor Gatto's books or search him on youtube, for his compelling and instructive talks on this subject. All three authors are subject matter experts in pedagogy and served in a number of capacities in the public education system and US government positions, over decades. These authors reveal the mechanisms of increased "indoctrination" and bureaucratization by various political forces over time and the disastrous consequences to our generations of children and to our unique society founded on principles of a Republic, and the ideological commitment to freedom, liberty and justice for all. Here is an excerpt from John Taylor Gatto's interview. I highly recommended it. More of his talks are available for free on youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ogCc8ObiwQ
While it may be sensibly argued that "indoctrination" is part of life no matter what family, society, culture or country you grow up in...there are degrees of indoctrination as well as different methods of coercing or imparting indoctrination on a people. Emphasizing patriotism and the "special" characteristics of your family, culture, community, country or religion-for example: 'Our way is the best, strongest, truest,' etc. - is one way to drill/instill beliefs into a people and succeed with a program of indoctrination.
Indoctrination relies upon the "passive" and cumulative actions by those in authority and those who have access to social control: the media, internet, education, law enforcement, public figures - to inculcate (put into) children and adults a constant, repetitive ideology whereby the individual is encouraged not to think but to absorb and accept certain beliefs and to shut out or mentally barricade themselves against other competing beliefs and/or narratives. There is a negative aspect built in to denigrate "nerds", "eggheads", those who "think too much", "read too much" and those who question "too much", "swim against the stream", try to be "tall poppies" and so on. Indoctrination includes shaming those who resist and provokes others to quash viewpoints which counter the narrative they are promoting.
Let's look at a few current examples of indoctrination successfully woven into the very fabric of a country's education system as well as media, politics, law enforcement and focus for all societal behavior. I will include countries I have had first hand experience with, working in their education system. I shall begin with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or KSA.
"Saudi Arabia has one of the most comprehensive government school systems in the Arab world, consuming roughly 30 percent of the kingdom’s budget. A third of the school day is taken up by instruction in Wahhabism. Private schools exist but must follow the same Wahhabi religious curriculum as the government schools. All books entering or leaving the kingdom are subject to scrutiny. All textbooks are commissioned or selected by the central government. Consider some examples from recent or still-current textbooks: A text titled “Pictures from the Lives of the [Mohammed’s] Companions” describes how Jews and Christians were cursed by Allah for accepting polytheism and were turned into apes and pigs. An eighth grade textbook explains that the most important duties for a Muslim are jihad for the sake of Allah and the spread of Allah’s religion on earth. Fifth graders are put on notice that “the whole world should convert to Islam and leave its false religions lest their fate will be hell.” object.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa511.pdf Excerpted from the report: "Education and Indoctrination in the Muslim World: Is There a Problem? What Can We Do about It?"
The "role" and position of females in the KSA has been discussed at length, but the basic freedoms we enjoy in the West and in many countries such as: access to education, freedom to move at will, the possibility of obtaining a driving license, owning property, having a voice in decision making from the family to representation in government, or a choice in religious beliefs and personal expression-including what you are permitted to wear...is repressed in the KSA. Indoctrination is reinforced by restriction and punitive consequences, most of which are based on fear, monitoring, religious text interpretations and physical punishment/violence.
The current situation in China is known and reported by many but is escalating on a weekly basis. This government uses sophisticated surveillance to "shame and name" those who don't conform and comply to what they consider to be "acceptable behavior" of a citizen-this includes posting names of "debtors" online. It also "resists" any ideology which does not put "the State" first. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6620879/China-launches-app-tells-500-yards-debt.html
The recent government edict against any decorations and/or celebrations or greetings about Christmas showed their hand against Christians and Christianity. The Chinese government and their President have escalated tactics by promoting atheism openly, especially in all schools and training centers. No children are allowed to attend or even visit any church. All teachers must sign an "Atheist Manifesto" and are not permitted to attend church services. (see link below)
The forced relocation of Muslim Uighurs, detention camps and "ideological education, psychological rehabilitation and behavior correction" started in 2017. "Islam must change to be compatible with Chinese socialism". To these ends Uighur children can be separated from their families based on religion. www.dw.com/en/chinas-xinjiang-region-legalizes-muslim-internment-camps/a-45837413 Children can be put in camps and orphanages. They must attend compulsory "Loving Heart" schools to be "re-educated" away from their families and communities. The Chinese government has taken cues from the policies used in the past by England, the USA, Australia, Canada and Cambodia.
Since 2013, there has been a significant government propelled crackdown on "western laden values infecting Chinese traditional culture and values". Document 9, was created and leaked which is an internal communiqué́: "to stop universities and media from discussing seven taboo topics: Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism, the Western concept of press freedom, historical nihilism, and questioning whether China’s system is truly socialist." www.chinafile.com/features/whys-beijing-so-worried-about-western-values-infecting-chinas-youth
This new policy of forced atheism and propaganda against religion may soon affect Shaolin training centers and Buddhist temples, even though they are the holders of ancient traditional culture from China. See this article for more details. Very concerning: www.breitbart.com/asia/2019/02/22/chinese-kindergartners-forced-to-sign-atheist-manifesto/
The Chinese government's justification for the Uighur's internment camps and "re-education" is the threat of terrorism by Muslims and they have had serious incidents and cases of Islamic radicalization in their own citizenry. foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/01/the-islamic-state-pledged-to-attack-china-next-heres-why/
However, Christians have not perpetrated any "terrorist" crimes against the Chinese. They have not resisted the government, killed or injured people in the name of "Jesus Christ". The churches have paid for the properties and permits needed to build churches and conduct services but under new guidelines, they may be in danger of forfeiture or their locations may be on an unwritten "no go list" for Chinese citizens who want to maintain a positive "social credit/social score". Their churches and communities are being 'squeezed' by the current Chinese in authority.
In order to present a more balanced view of why a number of countries in the Middle East and East Asia have determined the influences from the west, most particularly from the United States and the United Kingdom, are to be prevented from entering their countries in any form-we do need to re-examine what they might be referring to and how they see our "education, entertainment, news and social mores" as "corrupt and evil indoctrination" and as "western propaganda endangering their children and citizens".
Consider the words of one Christian scholar, historian and writer Dr. E Michael Jones, from the United States, commenting on it's society and it's own corruption:
"The steady normalization of degeneracy and corruption occurring in the mainstream USA, the political and social control and indoctrination are achieved through the manipulation of people’s desires. Further, we consider the manifestation of socialist central planning that drives cultures away from their true identities, and this capitalist form of warfare feeds on exploiting illicit passions."
Or for a more secular point of view-read this text excerpted from a longer article referenced below:
“Crimes of the Educators” by Alex Newman reveals how the architects of America’s public school disaster implemented a plan to socialize the United States by knowingly and willingly dumbing down the population. In the author’s estimation, it all adds up to indoctrination. www.wnd.com/2015/07/public-schools-ruining-u-s-kids-with-indoctrination/
“We need to draw a clear, defining line between education, which enables people to know how to think, versus what the government is doing today, which is indoctrination, training people what to think rather than how to think and how to process information and how to have critical thinking ability,” Newman explained.
The public education system is too far gone to be saved, Newman argues, largely because progressive educators such as John Dewey designed it specifically to dumb down and indoctrinate children. Therefore, he says modern education reformers need to start over if they wish to save the system." The previous reform movements and programs have not worked well for America...mostly because they were not founded on the principles of "educare", but on the agendas of social engineers.
There is an antithetical relationship between true education and indoctrination. On both an individual basis, and as educators, parents, policy analysts, concerned citizens - we need to know what our focus is and what we are aiming for in our education system, in our children, our society and the next generations. This should be a priority and a rally to action.
As a closing this week, please watch a "pop culture" icon's music video entitled: "Work B**ch". This is a famous singer/performer from the USA who started off as a child actor/singer/dancer when she was only three years old and became known after her roles in Disney's 'Mickey Mouse Club'. Look closely at the costumes, sets, ways women are presented (as slaves) the violence, decadence dripping from every angle. Ask yourself honestly, is this what you wish for yourself or your daughters, your grandchildren-any children to aspire to? What kind of values are drummed into you (do you recall) after these few minutes of images, music and lyrics? What if these violent, erotic, images were pounded over and over every day year after year to children? Well they are and this is a very tame music video and lyrics compared to many in the "West".
Are other countries policies designed to "protect" their children and/or all their citizens from being corrupted by western culture so unreasonable? Does freedom mean to be completely free from accountability in what is created, displayed and sold? Have a look at the photos below and remember-this is in place now and our children are subjected to this brainwashing, indoctrination, propaganda in our public schools, through media, conversations and curriculum. Are you Ok with this?! How will you work to change this social engineering 'movement' or find a balance?
There are no easy answers.
Goodnight from the hills of Henan until next week,
John Taylor Gatto talk:
"As we’ve shifted to a knowledge-based economy, the clear lines between the worlds of training and education are blurring, and both educators and employers need to recognize the shift. Education and training historically come from very different places. Education was meant to teach the upper classes to be well-rounded leaders, whereas training was learned through apprenticeships to guilds. Until recently, education was focused on imparting knowledge; training was focused on teaching specific skills. But in today’s economy, the skills that workers need to be trained in are of a higher order than ever before, therefore requiring more time to teach. Education must be more practical and training must be more advanced. Employers and educators need to come together to meet the needs created by this convergence of education and training." collegeforamerica.org/difference-between-training-education/
The first written record of the word education is found in the 1530s. It comes from the Latin educare - translated as: to educate, to train, to rear, to nourish, to bring up. The word for education in Middle French is éducation. Educare is a combination of the words e (out) and ducare-meaning to lead or drawing out. Most contemporary etymologists agree that this implied meaning is the true meaning of educare-to draw out, to elicit, to lead a student to knowledge and understanding. This is quite different than filling a student's mind or controlling the direction of a student's thoughts or subjecting a student to repetition for the sake of repetition. While instructor directed repetition is necessary in training and as one step in the education process, the simple act of repetition is not education itself, according to the gatekeepers of education...academics. However, it could be reasoned that even repetition in regards to physical movement, language acquisition, memorizing formulas, anatomical terms, repeating prayers or lyrics-ultimately does "educate" the body and mind and even the "spirit". The photos below are taken from different types of education and training in different countries. Are you able to tell which are labeled "education" and which "training"?
(You can hover over each image for the caption with more details)
There is a tendency to label any "classroom" experience after high school or college as "training". Adults "train" for specific jobs, for physical fitness, for operating machinery or handling new tools, for the military, and for training others..."teacher training". It is presumed "training" will be of shorter duration than "education". There is also a different credentialing system used for training. In the education sector, (which I have been a part of for many decades in a number of different countries and with diverse curriculum), there is often a bias against those with only training credentials even if the individual is highly skilled. Fields and professions such as music, mechanics, coding, sports, art and design, public relations, IT-web development, agriculture, animal management, trades technicians, law enforcement, equipment operators, paramedical positions, maintenance and repair, facilities management, secretarial, entrepreneurial and administrative, child care, construction, dance and even politics do not require university degrees but do require competency based skills often gained by credentialed training courses or acknowledged practical experience over time.
Yet ideally, even most academic "educators" and "professional PhDs in the Ed sector" would at least pay lip service to the idea of "life long learning" and except for a semantic argument, would consider "life long education" to include "training". It seems the lines are starting to merge in a number of areas, yet lagging behind are the social constructs of "status" regarding each label. Do you consider yourself educated? Are you trained? Are you both trained and educated?! How do you differentiate. Does your experience with either of both of these processes require more full spectrum thinking skills in one "versus" the other? Let's look at some popularly accepted constructs defining these activities.
The practice of "drilling" words, moves, assembly of machinery, procedures, grid points, bona fides, etc. is repetition for specific outcomes that become habitual and have a greater probability of being remembered even in high stress situations and diverse environments. These drills are often adaptable and are included in "training" and even segments of "education" (ex: languages, music, physical education) but they are usually designed and delivered/taught by someone in authority. While learning initially may not require much thinking at the time they are imparted, more often than not-repeating these skills will require thought in use outside the schoolrooms or training centers. Quick response adaptations require both training/drilling and fast thinking skills.
It is crucial to take into account the fact that there is no guarantee that any particular education or training template or course(s) will reach everyone or even most of those who are the students/trainees. What may motivate, resonate and be easily comprehended or copied by one human being - may not be by another. Even with apparently the same standard measurements of physical ability, IQ, Emotional intelligence, experience, etc. applied to a group of people who have been screened for education and/or training - the outcomes will be different. The "mental/emotional" attitudes will vary since each individual has a unique neuro-network based on their unique background, childhood, culture, experiences, environments, thoughts, spiritual or lack of spiritual teachings, conditioning, pressures, fears/phobias, traumas and dream life. The conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind informs the response to education and training as they do to all significant life events and endeavors. newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/mind-over-matter-study-shows-how-177580
Research has indicated that the "barriers" to progress in most learning are often self-generated. The reverse is also true-overcoming any obstacle to learning is also possible given a self-generated will, discipline and focus even without support, stress or threat of punitive consequences from an outside authority. trainingmag.com/4-stages-motivation-demotivation/
Three pressing questions for all of the above categories of learning: training, drilling, education, are: 1) How effective was the course? 2) What is/was the retention time? 3) How do you accurately measure each of these ?
Depending of the field of endeavor and skills required, addressing these questions constructively and accurately before someone starts working in their respective field can actually mean the difference for the doctor/patient or the equipment operator, the train engineer, fire jumper, navigator, combat military, safety rigger, communications lead, police officer, mother/child carer, martial artist, and many other professions -...between life and injury, property damage and...death.
As always, an excellent master trainer/teacher for either children and/or adults - reflects on the questions posed above. They go beyond the minimum to impart their knowledge, skills and experience and imbue each class/lesson/course with the appropriate weave of history, rationale, clarity, patience, persistence, rigor and sometimes, humor. I am fortunate to experience this every day up in the Henan hills with the Shifus (master teachers) of Shaolin, who carry on a tradition of martial arts education that covers over two thousand years of trial, error, success for their candidates. Yet they are also refining, re-working and evaluating as well as discussing and comparing with other Shaolin schools and training centers. The Henan mountain Shaolin are unique in the world, though there are tamer, more anemic versions in other parts of the planet, and even other parts of China.
Shaolin stick to standards and demand commitment and "love". For some, it will be a life long journey of training, learning and passing knowledge on through direct human interaction. They are also required to vow never to use their "knowledge and training/education" to kill. They may defend themselves and those vulnerable. They may protect and that may include having to incapacitate and restrain those attacking them. They also vow to help those who are defenseless and in need.
There is no substitute for the real "Shaolin way" though they, too, are starting to permit some collaboration with technology as evidenced by this video shot and uploaded to youtube. (click on the link below) Most of the students in this video have already trained for at least five years and still have at least as many years to go before being "tested" to pass on to performance and/or the next stage and another test later if they wish to be trained as a monk. You may have seen a commercialized demonstration of some of these Kung fu moves by thousands of Henan province Kung Fu students, during the Chinese national broadcast celebrating the 2019 Chinese/Lunar New Year. Click on this link for the more authentic practice in Henan. One note*-the music is an add on for the video. In reality, there is no sound but nature and the Shifu's commands or comments: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ_xD_sFLJY
For those of you who are passionate about learning-whether it is in the fields of design, history, sports, nutrition, gardening, languages, music, cultures or martial arts-I encourage you to determine how you think you learn best and then try another way. I pass this strategy on to you all because it is working for me even at an "advanced age" for learning martial arts full time. Shifu pushes me, encourages me "not to listen" to those who do not support me or societal narratives that repeat "you are too old to do this, et al". My previous injuries are finally healing after being told that some were not possible to "restore".
My mental barriers to my own progress are being dismantled. We must perform physical training on both right and left sides and most exercises are also done going forward and backward, very slow then very fast. This expands the neuron connections as well as works the muscles, tendons, joints and bones. The meditation and chi gathering exercises lift my mind and spirit as well as lighten the burden I carry of a cobalt chromium right arm glenoid process and humerus bone, and the constant companion of profound grief.
Until next week
From Yun Tai Mountain in Henan,
Since you are reading this online-you have not yet been locked out of the grid. How much of your day involves clicking online for one site and/or another? Do you know how much time you spend online? Have you ever added up the hours you spend on screens with some form of electronic device? The average adult US citizen is estimated to spend over 11 hours a day online-the most comprehensive study to date was done in 2015, by the Nielsen company.
"The media-stats company found that the average American adult over the age of 18 spends more than 11 hours per day on electronic gadgets."
The statistics for teens in the USA is even more concerning: "Fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online 'almost constantly', according to the latest Pew Research Center poll, increasing concerns, about what many call the most crucial question of our age... "Have smartphones destroyed a generation?" www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-07/zombification-america-accelerates-45-teens-are-online-almost-constantly
My New Year's resolution (both western and Chinese New Year) is to spend less time on screens. I almost wasn't able to post this week due to a crackdown on VPNs combined with the electricity going off in the area probably because of extra usage in the snowy weather, celebrations and faulty wiring. I'm using this platform to issue a warning about always having Plan B and C for emergency light, water, communications and hygiene. There are a number of excellent resources for preparing and I will list a few in the references below.
Meanwhile, here in China the "citizen social scoring/social credit" system created by Google corporation is fully operational, no matter what you may read. (see my blog post of October 2, 2018 for details: www.jopatti.com/blog/echelons ) Even international students in provincial universities are scored. During this winter/Chinese New Year break we have more international students trying Kung Fu and Sandpa boxing for a month. Many of them are already studying at universities in China, yet hail from other countries such as Panama, Pakistan, Denmark, the USA, Israel, Holland, France and many from Germany since the martial arts website was translated into German and English. One of the trainees from Panama and one from Austria explained they already have a "score" after only being in China for less than a year. Their score was "moderate". Their behavior is measured against what Chinese government workers consider "social norms". Can you imagine what happens if a different political party gains control and changes the parameters of "social norms"?!
Now, these trainees told me, they are more careful about what they purchase by credit card, what they text, what they search online and where they go to shop but in large cities most stores have the biometric recognition installed so it is only in rural towns you are not under surveillance constantly. The areas not under surveillance are dwindling. Please watch this short video which reports on these programs and the implications for other societies in the very near future. It also explains the operations for the Data Industrial Complex (DIC) for the non-tech professionals, which should cause you to pause before buying the "latest" tech or "smart" (spy) devices-including in clothing ('smart wear'), books, shoes, appliances: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP-yweVg2q4
We have a glance at what some would want for the entire planet and every human being. Be aware, this creates self censorship as well as self masking very quickly in a population.
For those of you who remember the band, "The Police" their song "I'll be watching you..every breath you take, every move you make..." comes to mind. www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOGaugKpzs
Privacy is still not designated as a human right. Some establishments are advertising they do not have wifi or surveillance cameras as a draw to the more discerning customers. Just as companies and governments have monetized most every aspect of essential living from paying for water to paying a tax if you collect rain, the drive for making money off locations which are private and "off the grid" will increase. You can already imagine the market for clubs, recreation sites and business meetings which have premium offers of "no connection". Privacy may become an experience for only the elite, wealthy and criminal networks if we don't fight against this invasion and work for legislation recognizing privacy as a "right" to be protected. Ironically enforcing this right may in fact necessitate the use of "surveillance" and we have all become reliant on tools reliant on electricity.
Up in the mountains of Henan province the electricity goes off periodically and often at the most challenging times in terms of weather. It has been snowing but the time tested means of clearing snow is still hand held, hand made brooms which work remarkably well. They are light to hold and require physical movement which does warm you up performing this task. When the electricity is off, so are the surveillance cameras and the internet. They have gas for cooking, no need for refrigeration in the winter and their own water storage in tanks and food storage in underground cellars for emergencies. There are no elevators, lots of bicycles and scooters for transport, and solar panels. This is the way they have been living for centuries, only adding on modern conveniences carefully and not relying on them.
Hoping I will be able to post each Tuesday while I am still here in Henan. Please check on Tuesdays to see if my post is online. If not, thank you for your support and I shall have to find a work around while in China or wait until I depart. Your comments are always appreciated and please excuse any delay in responding.
Until next week-keep a low profile while you can,
While the capability to paste up, cut and create images of people and place them in locations they never were at, or with people they never knew or even associated with; is not new and has been celebrated in entertainment for decades-remember the many "mock up" scenes in the film, Forrest Gump for example-(see photo above); sophisticated tech tools morphing visual and audio are now readily available to create entirely new "mash ups" of people and situations and post these online. This capability is propelling fiction creation and psyops to a cloud and dark net nightmare. Some of these "deep fake" videos are very difficult to discern from the "real" people and the actual events and/or news.
Some of you might say, "Why does this matter to me?" This week I write about a few scenarios which may nudge you to pause and reflect and possibly give you some strategies to identify the deep fakes, mash ups and AI clones online. I highlight a number of programs which you may not be aware of but which could involve you, your family members or friends and link you in "profiles" that could be detrimental to you now, or later - if you are ignorant of their agendas.
"Advances in machine-learning and A.I have now made it possible to swap someone else’s face and voice into a video, and make it look like they did or said something….anything you want. These videos and photos are called deepfakes, and they’re getting more sophisticated by the day. The technology harnesses machine-learning techniques – feeding a computer real data about images so it can create the fake". www.nbcnews.com/mach/video/deep-fakes-how-they-are-made-and-how-they-can-be-detected-1354417219989 and they’re getting more f
There is utility in deepfakes for countries and for companies. Consider these two possibilities:
"This is much more than a photo shopped meme or a fake news story. With deepfake videos, algorithms are used to recognize actual audio or visual aspects of a person and then, just as with a fake photo, an actual video of that person is doctored to replace what they really said or did with a false video clip that perfectly mimics them. It's nearly impossible to know that the video isn't real. The threat even led the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the Pentagon to embark upon a Media Forensics project to identify deepfakes and other deceptive images." www.techrepublic.com/article/why-deepfakes-are-a-real-threat-to-elections-and-society/
Along with this new use of technology are new words and jargon. "Morphporn" is sadly on the rise. Morphporn refers to a video or set of images which is manufactured by inserting one face/head and movements of one person onto a pornographic set of images or film, re-titling it and posting it online. Unfortunately the USA still does not have laws against this form of identity theft, stalking and slander. However, one victim bravely fought for legislation criminalizing this practice in Australia so now law enforcement can receive resources and funds to catch the perpetrators, charge them, expose them...and in some cases-send them to jail. Watch the video below for more information on these processes and the case of Noelle Martin of NSW, Australia. We need to criminalize these acts in the USA, and internationally. Net providers, search engine companies and social media platforms need to be included as part of the solution, in order to be most effective in law/IT/cyber crime investigation and penalties.
Deepfake Videos Are Getting Real and That’s a Problem | Moving Upstream
Up until 2017, it took an average of 2,000 images from different angles to construct a deepfake facial of someone. However as of 2019, it only takes about 300 images and soon it will be less. Most people who have some social media presence (especially on facebook and instagram) for over a year, will have at least 300 images of themselves easily accessible online. Anyone with a few minutes of themselves on youtube (especially full body with movements) will have provided all the material necessary for an amateur with the right apps and technical skills (they can find on youtube for free) to "morphporn" you and worse.
Consider completely deleting as many of the photos of you on social media/online as you can, and delete those of your loved ones. (see last week's post for simple instructions-www.jopatti.com/blog/go-aheadunhook ) There are some nasty people out there with too much time on their hands who can do this with impunity in the USA and most other countries. There are currently no laws against posting on the dark net - FYI.
If you want more information look up Generational Adversarial Networks (GANs) and go from there. This week I will add a music video of "The Sound of Music" as you have never seen it before and a "mashup" from the site called: "Derpfakes", which may bring a smile on your face from the last day in the Land of Smiles. Enjoy and remember...don't always believe your own eyes and ears...triangulate information sources, if at all possible.
Oh, Happy Chinese New Year! This is the Chinese Year of the Pig...or to be more specific...the Yin Earth Pig or Boar. Fireworks and firecrackers can be heard at all hours of the day and night here. Guess Islamic countries will not be advertising this news.
If you do not know your Chinese astrological sign there is a calculator by year, on the site linked below, to find your two signs: animal and element. I (for example) am a Water Snake. Each sign has specific characteristics and predictions. The "predictions and warnings" are taken quite seriously by many in China, and an in depth study (not just pop online sites) by monks and adepts is respected in the East and even used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for diagnosis, supporting observations about patients, and prognosis. I have found it and "Stems and Branches", quite useful at times and impressively accurate. Click on the link below for a cursory introduction to the Chinese astrological system. You might find some of the descriptions to be right on the mark...spot on.
May you and your loved ones experience good health, joy and unity in the year ahead and may you all remain vigilant and alert.
From the East to you,