Dan Rattiner's Stories

Internet: Facebook, Counter Speech and China’s Unhackable Passwords

Two weeks ago I wrote an article declaring the media an enemy of the civilized world. It’s not the media per se, and it’s not that they are doing this consciously. But with the internet, the news is bandied around every minute of every hour of every day. And with our cellphones and iPads, it’s just too much to think that the media can get it right or that human beings can read it right.

Fake news abounds. Hate news abounds. Real news abounds. It’s all around us, invisible in the air, and it cannot be told apart or stopped. Or can it?

Last week, Facebook announced that it is expanding its “counter speech” program. When a hate posting is identified on Facebook, users are allowed to post anti-hate messages against it, and Facebook will pay them, not with money but with up to $1,000 in ad credits.

A new part of this is that hate postings are now to be located by roving robots programmed to look for keywords and phrases without oversight from humans. Humans and our inability to control our emotions have gotten ourselves into this mess. It’s going to take robots to get us out.

And back to normal. One recalls, in a quieter time in history, spies sent letters to one another in a well worked-out code.

“The bread is behind the dish drying rack and it’s raining outside,” might be an example of this.

Perhaps we will soon all be posting like that for just normal correspondence with friends and family, in order to keep ourselves from being bounced off the internet. The above post might get by, where “We’re off to Six Flags to try their new ‘bomber’ rollercoaster. Hope we don’t get killed” might not.

Now, dammit, my having written those words might get the Dan’s Papers website shut down by a robot. Oops.

I suspect that all of this, as it gears up, will lead to the rebirth of civilized discourse. Good manners will reappear. We’ll write well-reasoned and carefully crafted pieces that reek of the truth.

The bad stuff we will keep inside. Where it belongs, apparently. Finally, we might conclude that humans are just animals—good ones, to be sure—and have that dark hate inside their brains that, by training and discipline, needs to stay where it is, as it has for all human history, and not be blabbed about as it was prior to the invention of the internet.

CHINA

Meanwhile, last week in China, scientists announced they have discovered a way to prevent hacking of the internet. This discovery is as important to humanity as was the atomic bomb, in my opinion.

Unlike the atomic bomb, its development will not be kept secret. It’s been accomplished by businesses and will likely be sold to others for profit, soon to be disseminated everywhere.

Since the era of Einstein, it’s been known that quantum particles created simultaneously can be “paired” across distances. The first particle acts in a certain way and gets the other doing it too, and this can happen, astonishingly, as far away as across the universe.

This pairing, fantastic and unexplained, is at the heart of quantum physics. And now, the Chinese have launched a satellite to harness it. Miscius circles the earth every few minutes. A computer onboard flashes information from a particle down to a twinned particle in a station in one location in China, which then responds by matching the twin above. Moments later, the satellite passes over another part of China a thousand miles away and flashes different information down to another twinned particle. These two pieces of information each become half a password, which when joined up as the satellite flies over a second time, creates the unhackable password up in the sky. And that password, locked away up there, controls access to internet sites.

Scientists around the world have praised this accomplishment. The Chinese intend to set up a station in Vienna, Austria, and have it twin with a molecule there. The BBC says that this technology creating unhackable passwords could be usable around the world.

When it is, this assault by renegade hate mongers will come to an end. And we will return to a time when there’s such a thing as privacy. And people crying fire in a crowded theater will get arrested and not praised for “free speech.”

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