Debates, Democracy, Hackers: Trust Crisis and Debt Doom

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A recent study published in the Cureus journal has sparked debate over the efficacy and safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The study, which analyzed initial phase 3 trials of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, suggests that the vaccines’ efficacy rates were lower than claimed by the manufacturers. The researchers also raised concerns about the high number of serious adverse events among the vaccinated group and the potential for DNA contamination in the vaccines. They called for a global moratorium on these vaccines and their removal from childhood immunization schedules, citing the low risk for children. The study also criticized the CDC and FDA for their handling of vaccine safety.

In the realm of artificial intelligence, OpenAI, a nonprofit tech platform, is exploring ways to align their AI systems with human values. They have initiated a grant program called “Democratic Inputs to AI” to develop proof-of-concepts for a democratic process to determine AI system rules. Despite facing challenges, including the firing of their CEO, OpenAI has proceeded with the program, inviting 10 teams to present their work. The teams are exploring ways to consult the public and gather input on AI behavior, but the question of whether the public’s input would be binding or advisory remains unanswered.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos has been focusing on the theme of rebuilding trust. Critics have questioned the idea of rebuilding trust, pointing out the disconnect between the elites at the forum and the general public, who have low levels of trust in institutions. The forum’s focus on misinformation and disinformation as the biggest global risk has also been criticized, with some suggesting that the focus on trust is a way to shift blame onto the public and regulate online speech.

In cybersecurity news, FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned that Chinese hackers linked to the government are targeting critical infrastructure in the United States. The targets include water treatment plants, the electric grid, oil and gas pipelines, and transportation hubs. The hearing took place amid heightened tensions between the US and China over various issues, including espionage campaigns, intellectual property theft, and cyberattacks.

In a related development, the U.S. Treasury is potentially becoming a major surveillance player, according to a letter from Ohio congressman Jim Jordan’s office. The letter raised concerns about the use of algorithmic analysis in financial surveillance, which could lead to the generation of Suspicious Activity Reports and the debanking of customers. This raises concerns about the invasion of privacy and the creation of a political credit score.

On a more personal note, two separate reports have detailed the harrowing journey of migrants crossing the Darien Gap, a deadly jungle that separates Colombia from Panama. Despite the risks of disease, robbery, and injury, these migrants endure this dangerous journey in search of a better future.

In economic news, concerns are being raised about the potential risks and issues surrounding commercial real estate in the United States. Analysts have highlighted the government’s role in fueling a speculative bubble in the sector and the potential consequences for taxpayers. Meanwhile, the United States is facing a debt crisis as its government debt has exceeded $34 trillion for the first time ever. This level of debt is unsustainable and raises concerns about the future, with some predicting a potential debt doom loop, where higher deficits lead to higher interest rates and even higher debt.


US Debt Crisis Looms as Government Debt Tops $34 Trillion

The United States is headed straight for a debt crisis. The US government’s debt has topped $34 trillion for the first time ever. That is totally unsustainable. We’re headed towards a fiscal crisis, but the question becomes, how does this end? What’s the end game? I’m going to reveal the answer to you in three simple, fast steps.

Source | Submitted by rhollenb

Commercial Real Estate Bubble Raises Concerns for Regional Banks and Taxpayers

The government fueled a massive speculative bubble in 2021 and 2022, and now somebody’s got to pay for it. And you and I both know what that means - eventually, the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for a good chunk of it.

Source | Submitted by rhollenb

The Darien Gap: The World’s Most Deadly Jungle Becomes the Most Lethal Migrant Route

The Darien Gap is considered the world’s most deadly jungle, an inhospitable piece of land that, due to the many dangers it contains, has been off-limits to outsiders since forever. But that is now slowly changing with migrants needing a cheap way to get from South America to the United States. The Darien jungle has become the world’s most lethal migrant route.

Source | Submitted by ecraft23

Surviving the World’s Deadliest Jungle: A Journey Through the Darien Gap

To this very day, it has no roads, no towns, no laws - nothing but venomous snakes, tropical diseases, and narco gangs.

Source | Submitted by AaronMcKeon

U.S. Treasury Expanding Surveillance with Financial Transaction Monitoring

If Facebook, Twitter, and Google have already shown a tendency toward wide-scale monitoring of speech and the use of subtle levers to apply pressure on attitudes, financial companies can use records of transactions to penetrate individual behaviors far more deeply.

Source | Submitted by bcoop

Chinese Hackers Targeting Critical US Infrastructure, Warns FBI Director

Hackers linked to the Chinese government are targeting critical U.S. infrastructure, preparing to cause ‘real-world harm’ to Americans, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a congressional committee on Wednesday.

Source | Submitted by 0007

World Economic Forum’s “Rebuilding Trust” Theme Met with Skepticism and Criticism

We must rebuild trust, and that’s actually the theme of our meeting. We have to rebuild trust. Can you rebuild what just isn’t there and never was?

Source | Submitted by Slin

OpenAI Explores Democratic Inputs to AI, Seeking Public Consensus on AI System Rules

“There is, actually, power in the very existence of the document. It takes away the ability of those in power to say, ‘This is what my people want’ if it is indeed not what they want. And it takes away their ability to say, ‘There is no common ground, so we’re going to rely on our internal team to make this decision.’ And although that is not hard power, the very existence of those documents subtly redistributes some of the power back to the people.”

Source | Submitted by Barbara

Study Calls for Global Moratorium on mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines, Citing Lower Efficacy Rates and More Deaths

With considerably lower efficacy rates, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cause more deaths than save lives, according to a new study whose researchers called for a “global moratorium” on the shots and “immediate removal” from childhood immunization schedule.

Source | Submitted by AaronMcKeon

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