Censorship plan draws criticism

Updated 09 December 2013

Censorship plan draws criticism

The Saudi Audiovisual Commission has recently announced that they will be monitoring and censoring visual content on YouTube. The commission will require subscribers to obtain a permit that clarifies certain regulations and conditions.
Many Saudi youth have expressed their discontent and rejection of the idea, arguing that it will limit the content that is available for them on the Website.
Dr. Riyadh Najm, chairman of the Saudi Audiovisual commission, explained in a phone interview that was aired in YaHala show on Rotana Khalijiah that the aim of the permit is to find suitable opportunities for talented Saudi youth who produce their own shows on social media and to educate them about the rules and regulations that are suitable for the Saudi society. “Of course there are certain companies who are using the social media site, but they are not our priority for the time being, we are focusing on enhancing and improving the regulars and individual users and will begin monitoring their content,” he said. “The commission does not care bout subscribers; our concern is about content and that’s the only thing we want to monitor, to ensure it abides by our cultural and religious rules,” he added.
“I am sometimes shocked that some music videos are blocked and we are denied access to them, even though there is no reason for them to be blocked,” said twitter subscriber Sarah Kunaji. “I wish they would concede to the fact that most Internet users are educated people who know right from wrong, so there is no need for over protection,” she added.
The decision to censor content will limit the freedom of Saudi YouTubers, according to Hassan Mesaed, another twitter subscriber. “We use social media to share our opinions about different subject including social and political ones.
“Print media has limited freedom of speech and we can never know the whole truth from these traditional outlets,” he said, adding, “This will definitely suffocate us because we got a taste of how to speak and hear other people through the YouTube shows without worrying about facing censorship.”
Meanwhile, Ahmed Al-Zahrani, YouTube subscriber, said, “Things are not clear to YouTube subscribers. The statement from the chairman is not clear to many of us, as we still need to know who will need the permit. Is the permit for new subscribers or all Saudi subscribers? How are they going to monitor this? What are the new rules that we need to follow?” he wondered.


Elon Musk wants YOU to build a brain-computer interface

Updated 29 August 2020

Elon Musk wants YOU to build a brain-computer interface

  • Musk fears artificial intelligence might one day pose dangers to the human race
  • His proposed solution: Link computers to human brains so we can keep up

Elon Musk isn't content with electric cars, shooting people into orbit, populating Mars and building underground tunnels to solve traffic problems. He also wants to get inside your brain.
His startup, Neuralink, wants to one day implant computer chips inside the human brain. The goal is to develop implants that can treat neural disorders — and that may one day be powerful enough to put humanity on a more even footing with possible future superintelligent computers.
Not that it's anywhere close to that yet.
In a video demonstration Friday explicitly aimed at recruiting new employees, Musk showed off a prototype of the device. About the size of a large coin, it's designed to be implanted in a person's skull. Ultra-thin wires hanging from the device would go directly into the brain. An earlier version of the device would have been placed behind an ear like a hearing aid.
But the startup is far from a having commercial product, which would involve complex human trials and FDA approval among many other things. Friday's demonstration featured three pigs. One, named Gertrude, had a Neuralink implant.

This video grab made from the online Neuralink livestream shows the Neuralink disk implant held by Elon Musk during the presentation on August 28, 2020. (AFP PHOTO / NEURALINK)

Musk, a founder of both the electric car company Tesla Motors and the private space-exploration firm SpaceX, has become an outspoken doomsayer about the threat artificial intelligence might one day pose to the human race. Continued growth in AI cognitive capabilities, he and like-minded critics suggest, could lead to machines that can outthink and outmaneuver humans with whom they might have little in common. The proposed solution? Link computers to our brains so we can keep up.
Musk urged coders, engineers and especially people with experience having “shipped” (that is, actually created) a product to apply. “You don't need to have brain experience," he said, adding that this is something that can be learned on the job.
Hooking a brain up directly to electronics is not new. Doctors implant electrodes in brains to deliver stimulation for treating such conditions as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and chronic pain. In experiments, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In 2016, researchers reported that a man regained some movement in his own hand with a brain implant.
But Musk’s proposal goes beyond this. Neuralink wants to build on those existing medical treatments as well as one day work on surgeries that could improve cognitive functioning, according to a Wall Street Journal article on the company's launch.
While there are endless, outlandish applications to brain-computer interfaces — gaming, or as someone on Twitter asked Musk, summoning your Tesla — Neuralink wants to first use the device with people who have severe spinal cord injury to help them talk, type and move using their brain waves.
“I am confident that long term it would be possible to restore someone's full-body motion," said Musk, who's also famously said that he wants to “die on Mars, just not on impact."
Neuralink is not the only company working on artificial intelligence for the brain. Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, who sold his previous payments startup Braintree to PayPal for $800 million, started Kernel, a company working on “advanced neural interfaces” to treat disease and extend cognition, in 2016. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also interested in the space. Facebook bought CTRL-labs, a startup developing non-invasive neural interfaces, in 2019 and folded it into Facebook's Reality Labs, whose goal is to “fundamentally transform the way we interact with devices."
That might be an easier sell than the Neuralink device, which would require recipients to agree to have the device implanted in their brain, possibly by a robot surgeon. Neuralink did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.