Volume 79, no. 7 July 2023
The fear of annihilation by machine has a long history. Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film Metropolis was an early example. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey was based on Arthur C. Clark’s 1951 story “The Sentinel.” In Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner, a former police officer, who is tasked with “retiring” illegal humanoids, learns about his own humanity from a cold and calculating robot (https://tinyurl.com/yvdjsjmc).
Now, industry leaders including Elon Musk warn that artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to human extinction and should be a “global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war” (Nature 6/29/23).
There is an actual arms race to produce AI-powered military technology. Facial-recognition technology is already being abused by autocratic systems to track and oppress people. Biased AI systems could be used to deny people welfare benefits, medical care, or asylum. One of the biggest concerns about generative AI is its potential to boost misinformation by producing fake text, photos, and videos. This could undermine people’s trust in any information and potentially destabilize societies (ibid.).
At a meeting of labor and civil rights leaders, the “AI czar” in charge of protecting us from the dangers of runaway AI, Vice President Kamala Harris, explained that AI is about machine learning. Embedded in the word salad (tinyurl.com/38b32bmu) is the key point that what information is going into the machine will predictably determine what will be produced in terms of decisions and opinions (tinyurl.com/bde7c75x).
Advances in AI
In the past 10 years, machine learning capabilities have exploded, writes Joe Allen. “Artificial neural networks simulate the brain’s interconnected neurons, yielding nondeterministic algorithms that are not programmed so much as trained. The best systems learn on their own” (https://tinyurl.com/2f7mcxk8).
AI has mastered genome sequencing, 3D protein modeling, radiology and brain wave analysis, data mining, facial recognition, natural language processing, social network mapping, stock valuation, gaming, autonomous driving, robotic maneuvers, surveillance triggers, crime prediction, combat simulation, battlefield reconnaissance, target acquisition, and weapon system control, he writes. In every case, AI exceeds human performance.
These applications represent “narrow intelligence,” being restricted to a single domain. Top tech companies plan to fuse these cognitive modules into an artificial general intelligence (AGI) that can reason and act across multiple domains. The possibility that AGI could rise above humans to become a digital deity has “lured techies into metaphysical madness” (ibid.).
In 2015, computer scientist Pedro Domingos wrote that AGI’s “Master Algorithm is the last thing we’ll ever have to invent because, once we let it loose, it will go on to invent everything
else that can be invented” (ibid.).
ChatGPT: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Last November, OpenAI released ChatGPT, an advanced language chatbot, which was trained on almost every piece of information that exists on the internet, including books, up through September 2021. In response to user queries, it can write up reports in seconds that might take a human hours to generate. It can summarize a patient’s records and research health information. It predicts the most relevant next word in a sentence, based on what humans have said before.
In a series of essays on critically thinking about AI, John Droz observes that AI periodically contradicts itself; acknowledges that its answers are based on consensus and deference to authority; gives answers that are neither objective nor comprehensive but contain undeclared political biases; is most useful when you already know the answer and is most dangerous when you have little knowledge (https://tinyurl.com/ykbvh8fm).
Chatbots have been called “stochastic parrots, randomly echoing back what they have seen before.” The user needs to be able to tell the difference between what is correct and what is effectively nonsense” (Nature 6/8/23).
Chatbots “hallucinate” and tell lies. In 2022, Facebook had to pull its science-focused chatbot Galactica after a mere three days because it generated authoritative-sounding but wholly fabricated results, including pasting real authors’ names onto research papers that don’t exist. A prosecuting attorney used ChatGPT to do his legal research. None of the cited case law was real, as discovered by the defense attorney and the judge. And at least one person has committed suicide based on a chatbot’s suggestion (https://tinyurl.com/rjyjnwju).
What Is Intelligence?
Wikipedia states that intelligence includes “the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.” This implies consciousness, and experts speculate on whether a machine could become self-aware and what the ethical implications would be (see p 2).
Could consciousness spontaneously emerge when a network develops quadrillions of internal connections? James Gruhl, Ph.D., observes that connections are physical phenomena. Information is not. Is there nonphysical realm?
AAPS Position Statement on Forced Organ Harvesting
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a national organization of physicians and surgeons in all specialties, founded in 1943, issues the following statement (https://tinyurl.com/ybmhx7hv):
There is overwhelming evidence that by the authority of the Chinese Communist Party, which holds absolute power in China, members of the Chinese Communist Party have arrested Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Christians, and others in China, incarcerated them, done medical testing without consent for the purpose of matching their organs with transplant recipients, and removed their organs for transplantation, killing them in the process of doing so, engaging in “transplant tourism” for money.
Chinese nationals who are physicians and students, coerced or indoctrinated, approved by the Chinese Communist Party to leave the country, have been admitted to U.S. colleges, universities and medical schools and internship/residency programs, where they are taught science, absorb medical knowledge, and learn to perform procedures.
AAPS condemns imprisonment for religious practices, dissent, and ethnic background.
AAPS condemns any and all forms of forced organ harvesting.
The U.S. government and American physicians should refuse to condone, enable, facilitate, or participate in forced organ harvesting, as by: educating or training personnel from a totalitarian country like communist China, or any other country, in skills that might be used for forced organ harvesting, or referring patients to programs that use forced organ harvesting, or participating in their care.
Nominating Committee Report
The slate to be presented at the Fort Worth meeting is:
President-elect: Erika LeBaron, D.O., Manassas, VA
Secretary: Lawrence Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., Lake Eden, NY
Treasurer: Tamzin Rosenwasser, M.D., Venice, FL
Board of Directors: Michael Ciampi, M.D., South Portland, ME; Peter Curka, D.O., Houston, TX; Jenny Powell, M.D., Stoutland, MO; Gil Robinson, M.D., San Antonio, TX; and Craig Wax, D.O., Mullica Hill, NJ.
Charles W. McDowell, M.D., R.I.P.
AAPS mourns the loss of “Mac,” who was present at almost every Board of Directors meeting for decades. He served as president in 1994, during our lawsuit against the Clinton Health Care Task Force. Under his stalwart leadership, AAPS played a key role in defeating the Clinton Health Security Act, which would have criminalized medical treatment outside the government system. Dr. McDowell practiced ophthalmology in Georgia for 60 years, retiring in 2021 at age 86.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was made flesh. And the flesh learned to code. Then the code learned to code.”
Joe Allen, https://tinyurl.com/2f7mcxk8
Resolutions need to be submitted to [email protected] by Aug 28 to be considered at the annual meeting.
Is There a Geist in the Machine?
After a certain level of complexity is reached, does AI become an “I,” a self-aware entity with free will, a sense of mortality, and an instinct for self-preservation? Does it know it needs “food” (electricity), and can it learn how to get it?
Some researchers think the locus of consciousness is the sensory area at the back of the brain; some, the “executive” area of the prefrontal cortex. Researchers look for evidence of activity in a certain part of the brain when the subject perceives an image (Nature 6/30/23). But what is consciousness?
Phenomenal consciousness, the perceived experience, is different from access consciousness, the global availability of information to the entity, writes Elisabeth Hildt. How can one know whether the machine is conscious? This can only be examined from a third-person (access) perspective.
The question is especially pertinent with social robots that interact with humans, who tend to attribute human characteristics to them and develop unidirectional emotional bonds. Might such entities be assigned “robothood” rights? The humanoid Sophia, created by Hanson Robotics, was actually granted Saudi-Arabian citizenship in 2017 (https://tinyurl.com/2xfxkk2v).
Could an android like Data in Star Trek: the Next Generation experience a desire to have a human emotional experience?
The “hard question” is “how subjectivity can arise from matter” (ibid.). Is intelligence solely computational? Suppose one could completely map the connectome, the exact synaptic wiring of the entire nervous system, at the ultrastructural level. If one could simulate the brain on some advanced computer, maybe a quantum machine, after its owner died, this simulation will wake up and behave like a digital simulacrum of the deceased person—with the same memories, cravings, fears and other traits, according to the global neuronal workspace (GNW) theory. But integrated information theory (IIT) holds that consciousness requires the “intrinsic causal powers of the brain,” which cannot be simulated—just as it never gets wet inside a weather simulation of a rainstorm (https://tinyurl.com/mu8fcpyj).
The “big-C” view from quantum theory holds that consciousness is “a thing that exists by itself—although it requires brains to become real.” The interaction between consciousness and matter leads to unresolved paradoxes. “Little-c” holds that processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain (tinyurl.com/mpt75djk). So, what is it? Is there a Turing test to recognize it? Does it create legal rights?
Aug 24: Webinar on Forensic Psychiatry
Oct 26-28. 80th Annual Meeting, Fort Worth, TX.
Updates on Genital Mutilation
· U.S. District Judge James Moody, Jr., handed down a permanent injunction against an Arkansas law that banned all “gender-affirming” treatments for persons under age 18 and also prohibited physicians from referring patients to other providers for such treatment. The law had been passed over then-Gov. Asa Hutchison’s veto. Attorney General Tim Griffin said they would appeal to the Eighth Circuit. Alabama, Florida, and Indiana have similar laws on the books, all of which are temporarily on hold (https://tinyurl.com/5n78tjku).
· The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision and upheld a Tennessee law that prohibits “surgically removing, modifying, altering, or entering into tissues, cavities, or organs” of any person under the age of 18. It also bans “prescribing, administering, or dispensing any puberty blocker or hormone” to minor children. Many judges and law schools have, however, embraced transgender ideology; e.g., the Supreme Court denied cert in a WV case seeking to reinstate its law keeping boys out of girls’ sports (https://tinyurl.com/26tr2xvb).
SCOTUS Rules against Racial Discrimination
By a vote of 6–3, U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that the admissions programs used by the University of North Carolina and Harvard College violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which bars racial discrimination by government entities. This severely limits or effectively ends “affirmative action” in college admissions (https://tinyurl.com/mrxwbvh9).
While the ruling is limited to higher education and won’t directly impact most private employers, implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs may be affected.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas writes: “The solution to our Nation’s racial problems thus cannot come from policies grounded in affirmative action or some other conception of equity…. Racialism simply cannot be undone by different or more racialism.”
“In fact, all racial categories are little more than stereotypes, suggesting that immutable characteristics somehow conclusively determine a person’s ideology, beliefs, and abilities. Of course, that is false.” He states that university policies are based on “the same naked racism upon which segregation itself was built…. Small wonder, then, that these policies are leading to increasing racial polarization and friction” (tinyurl.com/ymzpbxeh).
Tip of the Month: Those who answer questions by a federal agent risk being indicted. While local prosecutors rarely indict someone for supposedly lying during an investigation, the Department of Justice increasingly resorts to this bogus charge. The latest injustice is its indictment of Walt Nauta, an honorable Navy veteran who became Trump’s personal aide after serving in his White House. He voluntarily agreed to be interviewed by the FBI in May 2022, and reportedly said he did not know how many boxes of documents were loaded onto a truck for the National Archives and Records Administration. For that and similar apparently innocent answers, he was indicted a year later for allegedly lying to the FBI. If asked for an interview by a federal agent, consider responding by requesting that all questions be submitted only in writing, or decline entirely.
Challenging the Censorship Industry
Prior government censorship cases typically involved a state actor unconstitutionally meddling with one publisher, one author, one or a few books or articles. But in the past several years, the federal government has censored hundreds of thousands of Americans, violating the law on tens of millions of occasions, explains Aaron Kheriaty, a plaintiff in Missouri v. Biden, along with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff. These plaintiffs were censored for content related to COVID and public health policy that the government disfavored. Documents obtained on discovery demonstrate that government censorship was far more wide-ranging than previously known, from election integrity and the Hunter Biden laptop story to gender ideology, abortion, monetary policy, the U.S. banking system, the war in Ukraine, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more. There is hardly a topic of recent public discussion and debate that the U.S. government has not targeted for censorship.
This unprecedented reach was enabled by the new digital social media landscape. The censorship industry is complete with career-training institutions and full-time job opportunities. The central clearinghouse of government-run information control is Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), created in the Obama administration, supposedly to protect our digital infrastructure from cyberattacks, which now views itself as the protector of our “cognitive infrastructure” (tinyurl.com/5f69wsym).
A Louisiana federal judge issued a preliminary injunction (tinyurl.com/283vv9bv) barring many federal government officials from asking (threatening) social media companies to remove content that the government thinks is dangerous. He writes: “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” The Fifth Circuit stayed the injunction. The case will likely reach the Supreme Court soon (tinyurl.com/22ezkw43).
International COVID Litigation
Germany: The first case targeting BioNTech with a claim of serious injury from the mRNA COVID-19 product has been filed by Rogert & Ulbrich. Hundreds of other cases are anticipated. The company declares the product is safe and is confident of defeating “baseless” claims. Taiwan and Singapore governments have compensated injured persons (tinyurl.com/38u2mydk).
Japan: Dr. Masanori Fukushima and his research team announced legal action because the Japanese Health Ministry is failing to disclose real-world data on the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 jab and refuses to acknowledge the causal link with deaths. Also, Dr. Fukushima said, “the number of new infections or positive cases per 100,000 people is four times higher for people who have been vaccinated twice, compared to unvaccinated people” (https://tinyurl.com/2yp3zd8r).
Canada: Hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) signed onto a $500 million class-action lawsuit against military leaders over the imposition of COVID jab mandates in violation of established law and constitutional rights. CAF allegedly allowed “the physical and/or psychological torture of unvaccinated members.” Resistors were allegedly punished with the loss of income, benefits, and outside employment opportunities. Hundreds were discharged (https://tinyurl.com/f8ts4r5m).
Behavioral Vaccines. The initiative to develop vaccines to control behavior was started by former NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. These will be offered as “the solution” to the opioid problem. The vaccines will produce antibodies which bind to opioids, preventing them from passing the blood brain barrier(and likely eliminating their pain-relieving effect). Another type of vaccine, designed to produce antibodies that bind to receptors in the brain, is even more frightening. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute for Drug Addiction (NIDA), believes that all addictions can be eliminated if the brain’s receptors can be controlled (tinyurl.com/4sfntmed). What about an mRNA vaccine that binds to pleasure receptors, inducing permanent anhedonia? Or to testosterone to curb the “violence crisis”? This is obviously a dangerous area of research. Who knew the government was already working on it?
Lawrence R. Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., Lake View, NY
Words and Definitions: Apostate. It started being used in the 14th century to refer to those who failed to follow religious orthodoxy. In the ancient Greek context, the term sometimes referred to runaway slaves. With this broader historical definition, apostate goes from being one of the worst things that one can be called (someone rejecting the true faith) to being a badge of honor (a naturally free person rejecting the shackles of human-imposed slavery). I’m also struck by the fact that apostate shares the same root, apó, with the word “apostle.” People in the medical freedom movement are considered apostates by mainstream society. Vaccines are a secular religion, and so anyone who questions their safety and efficacy has thus renounced the religious faith of the bougiecrats [bourgeois + technocrat]. But apostasy can also mean rebellion, revolt, standing apart from a society that is corrupt, violent, and dying. Should we should embrace this rebellious energy that goes back thousands of years—“yes, I have renounced the junk science Molochian religion that is destroying America and the entire developed world.” Only by standing apart from mainstream society can we become apostles for transcendent truths. In a society gone mad, the apostates are doing something right.
Toby Rogers, https://tinyurl.com/3nysate2
Censorship and Propaganda. In addition to censorship, the U.S. government’s information warfare includes covert propaganda, controlled opposition, chaos agents, divide & conquer operations, false flags, disinformation campaigns, bad jacketing, advertising, and more. These are being combined with neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), subliminal messaging, and nudge technology. The tools of the marketeers, big tech, social media and behavioral therapists, along with the tools of the intelligence community, are being used to control our feelings, emotions, thoughts, and beliefs, to keep us compliant and happy. Advertising companies involved in COVID-19 messaging include IQ Solutions, FORS Marsh, Atlas Research, Lamar Media, Palladian Partners, The Scientific Consulting Group, Silver Fir Media, and “various foreign awardees.” We need to examine and question, using many sources.
Robert W. Malone, M.D., https://tinyurl.com/2hhue6m7
Informed Consent. Today in medicine, a signed informed consent is the norm for every procedure—except vaccination. The COVID “vaccines”—better referred to as COVID genetic modifiers—have many significant adverse effects. For the first time in history, hundreds of millions of people are in a vast study, with incomplete data, poor documentation, short follow-up periods, and inadequate tracking of side effects, morbidity, and mortality. Patients are not properly informed of these issues. How many would refuse jabs if they first read a proper informed consent? This may be why the CDC does not require one. It is time for the medical profession to take the lead and demand it.
Michael J. Dodd, M.D.; Maureen M. Dodd, Esq., Edgewater, MD
Pronouns. Confronted with a “pronoun dilemma” decades ago, I would have called a man “she,” out of respect and compassion. It would have been exceedingly rare, and extending the courtesy would not impact others, so why not? But now we face a juggernaut that seeks to demolish male and female, and its success hinges on control of language. Thus, calling a man “she” is not a kindness, but a concession—to a scheme to control our beliefs and advance an agenda one pronoun at a time.
Miriam Grossman, M.D., New Hampton, NY
Required Reading. The 155-page decision on Missouri v. Biden (see p 3) not only exposes how the federal government and the White House in particular pressured social media to restrict free speech, but is also a masterful treatise on the true meaning and importance of the First Amendment. The introduction alone is worthwhile if you don’t have time for all (tinyurl.com/283vv9bv).
Craig Cantoni, Tucson, AZ
“Pandemic Preparedness.” The EU Global Health Strategy (https://tinyurl.com/ve8d4pj5) envisions endless vaccines for every imaginable threat to health. Just say NO.
Bose Ravenel, M.D., Winston-Salem, NC