Sabotage Big Tech’s fiber-optic cables that fuel AI development?

Ordinary civil disobedience, as recommended by Gandhi and Gene Sharp, is without doubt the morally best option. It presupposes however that millions of civilians decide to boycott and not use or buy anything from Big Tech. That will probably never happen, unfortunately. The second best option is to physically sabotage the infrastructure owned by MTFAANG (the seven largest or most influential digital companies in America).

AI needs an endless stream of data to learn new things, and that’s one of the main reasons why Big Tech collect private data from common people who are online. Data is the new oil, as they say. A main reason why China is good at improving the power of AI is that surveillance is already without limits in that country.

Kai-Fu Lee, the founding director of Microsoft Research Asia and former president of Google China, writes in AI Superpowers – China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order:

“All of this is amplified by China’s enormous market size, which generates the treasure trove of data that fuels AI (AI is usually more improved by more data than better AI engineers). China’s data edge is three times the US based on mobile user ratio, 10 times the US in food delivery, 50 times in mobile payment, and 300 times in shared bicycle rides. All this rich data is used to make Chinese companies’ AI work better.”

Why China Can Do AI More Quickly and Effectively Than the US

Shoshana Zuboff, a leftwing Harvard professor and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, writes in The New York Times:

“The [AI] algorithms that recommend, microtarget and manipulate, and the millions of behavioral predictions pushed out by the second cannot exist without the trillions of data points fed to them each day.”

The Coup We Are Not Talking About

One of the most effective ways of stopping/reducing the flow of private data – a stream of info which Big Tech needs to build its surveillance dictatorship – is simply to cut all fiber-optic cables owned by MTFAANG.

But will not China win the AI race if the West refuses to participate in this insane tech race that will just destroy real democracies in any case no matter who “wins”?

Firstly, who gave China the ability to develop AI? The Big Tech elite in America. If this elite really believes that Western states need AI to stop Chinese AI, why do Big Tech have so many factories in China?

To justify surveillance you need internal and external enemies. It’s now very convenient that the elites in China can say to their own people that AI must be developed to stop America. Western elites can say to average citizens in the US/EU that we need AI to stop China. While the fact is that both elites often cooperate in developing 4IR tech (fourth industrial revolution technologies).

Sure, if the West says no to AI, then China and Russia will dominate 4IR. But the West can rely on 3IR tech instead and develop better and more nuclear weapons. This should be the new MAD doctrine in a free West liberated from the tyranny of 4IR surveilance: at first sign of any hostile drone or bot breaching our borders, nuke China and Russia back to the Stone Age.

We are 7.8 billion people today. If WW3 kills 90 percent of humanity we are back to having the same population we had in pre-modern times.

Optimists may even say that if the West unilaterally dismantles Big Tech it’s possible that China and Russia will calm down and not be in such a hurry to reach AI supremacy.

I’m not a naive optimist. When dealing with bullies I say: talk softly and carry a big stick.

Better dead than red.

If the above is read by an average citizen who just wants to be left alone, who just wants to have a good time and not think about dangers on the political horizon, he or she will feel that all this talk about WW3 and killer bots and “turnkey tyranny” (Snowden) is just too much, too “extreme”. Unfortunately, it’s the facts that are extreme in this case. The MAD doctrine has been an extreme fact since the early 1960s.

Reflect upon this: we risked nuclear holocaust during the first Cold War because we didn’t want to live in surveillance societies. But today we have more surveillance in the West than Nazi and Stasi Germany. If you could have stopped the surveillance in a regime like the Soviet Union by cutting all fiber-optic cables and nonviolently sabotaging other monitoring tech would you not have done it?

But surveillance states in the West are not yet totalitarian, you might say.

Germany was a democracy in 1920.

New authoritarian regimes can slowly get power when citizens assume that tyrannies in the future will look like dictatorships in the past. Machiavellians however take people by surprise.

But through history you can still find aspects that somewhat repeat themselves today.

The Roman Empire was multicultural, polytheistic. It’s a myth that all fascistoid regimes must be monotonously uniform.

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