- The James Webb Space Telescope made a startling discovery
- Amazon’s big bet on subscription-based healthcare
- JPMorgan bans ChatGPT
The thought police are back.
Known as Thinkpol in George Orwell’s 1984, thought police are a secretive unit that search out and ultimately punish any thoughtcrimes, that being thoughts deemed counter to a desired status quo.
It was meant to be fiction, but as we learned last year, it was very much real life.
Last April, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a newly established and poorly named Disinformation Governance Board. In the weeks that followed, it was largely revealed to be a governmental organization that would be empowered to coordinate and decide what information was acceptable for public consumption, and what information should be censored, banned, and removed from the internet.
The outrage of the existence of such an entity was palpable.
The swift response by so many concerned about the danger to constitutional rights was widespread. So much so that three weeks after the announcement of this new “Ministry of Truth”, the Disinformation Governance Board was “paused.”
And by August, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was terminating the Disinformation Governance Board. Crisis averted. Or was it?
Quietly, very quietly, the Foreign Malign Influence Center (FMIC) launched just one month later with nearly the same mission as the Disinformation Governance Board.
It was originally conceived of in 2019. The main catalyst for the establishment of the FMIC was around a hot topic at the time – election interference and Russian misinformation (or was it disinformation? Ha!).
At the time, it never went anywhere. There was way too much disagreement about the proposed size of the organization and its mission. The gaps in disagreement were so wide that it didn’t appear that it would move forward.
And then, in September last year, it launched. It was so quiet, I didn’t even learn about it until last month. And it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.
The government simply dropped the “hot potato” (Disinformation Governance Board) by shutting it down, appearing to give a win to those who believe in freedom and constitutional rights. And the next month, it reinstituted the planned thought police with a new name in a different governmental agency. And almost no one noticed.
Perhaps providing even more cover for the FMIC’s operations, was the release of the Twitter Files, revealing the widespread and systematic influence/control that various U.S. governmental agencies had/have over the information at internet giants like Twitter, Alphabet (Google, YouTube), Meta (Facebook, Instagram), Microsoft (Bing, LinkedIn), and so many others.
This wild collusion and tyrannical control of big tech and information continues to this day. The reality is that the ThinkPol haven’t gone away, “they” simply changed their name.
The James Webb Space Telescope just overturned conventional cosmology…
Turning to a more optimistic topic…
We just had an unbelievable development on the space front. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) just made a discovery that turned conventional cosmology on its head.
As a reminder, the JWST is the most complex telescope ever constructed. It operates entirely in the infrared spectrum, which allows it to capture some stunning images of objects in space.
And the telescope operates from a very strategic location called LaGrange Point 2 (L2).
L2 is about one million miles away from Earth. And it’s on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. This provides an advantageous location for capturing images of space.
And from this vantage point, the JWST just sent back some incredible images. Here they are:
Images from the JWST
I know the resolution isn’t great. That’s because this is looking back to a time in the Universe when it was only 600 million years old. For context, the Universe is believed to be about 14.6 billion years old today.
And the big revelation is this: the objects we see here are massive galaxies. And I mean massive. They each contain billions of times more mass than our own Sun.
What’s remarkable here is that the world of cosmology has believed that massive galaxies could not have formed that early in the Universe’s development. It was thought that giant galaxies like this needed significantly more time to form.
But here they are. This proves that the consensus “science” was wrong.
To me, this is a perfect example of why the scientific method is so important. It requires that we form educated theories based on research and data… but then we must be open to the fact that our theories may one day be proven incorrect.
So this single discovery alone has justified the deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope. It is requiring us to reassess what we thought we knew about the early formation of the Universe.
What’s more, the fact that these galaxies are so large and developed suggests the very real likelihood that life developed so early in the Universe’s formation. And if that is the case, it would mean that life has potentially been present in our Universe for more than 10 billion years now. That’s mind-blowing to think about.
And here’s the best part – this breakthrough is only going to spur more research in cosmology and the evolution of our Universe. And there are still some very big unanswered questions out there.
For instance, where is all the dark matter? It is believed that dark matter makes up about 85% of all matter in the Universe, and yet because it can’t absorb, reflect, or shine from any light, we can’t see it.
Yet, because of the significance of its mass, it has an immense gravitational influence on the Universe and therefore the fabric of space and time.
We know so little about the Universe and even the galaxy that we call home. The latest stream of breakthrough discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope will hopefully raise awareness and stimulate interest into cosmological research.
In time, it could help answer some of these very big unknowns that directly impact the world in which we all live.
Amazon closes its acquisition of 1Life Healthcare…
Despite an ongoing Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation of Amazon’s previously announced acquisition of 1Life Healthcare, the parent company of One Medical, the deal has gone through.
For the sake of new readers, Amazon announced the acquisition of innovative health care provider One Medical last August. The price tag was $3.9 billion.
One Medical’s stroke of genius is that it developed a technology-enabled, subscription-based model for private healthcare. It’s almost like a concierge experience for patients. And it’s all accessible through the convenience of a smartphone.
Starting in the Bay Area, the company opened small clinics, each staffed by a handful of physicians. To access these clinics, customers are required to pay a subscription fee. It’s basically like a Sam’s Club membership for the doctor’s office.
And I can say that the experience is fantastic. The clinics are clean and quiet. Drinks are available to patients right when they walk in. The sitting areas are nice, as are the staff at One Medical clinics.
Best of all – everything is handled from One Medical’s software app. Patients can handle scheduling and access their medical history right from that app.
This is what healthcare should look like. And that’s why Amazon made a big move for One Medical.
At first, there were concerns that the deal wouldn’t get regulatory approval. There were questions around antitrust and unfair advantages if the deal went through.
But the FTC has now said that it will not sue to try and block the deal, which paved the way for Amazon to complete the transaction.
Amazon is now the owner of One Medical clinics in twenty states. We can think of these as direct competitors to the small clinics that CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart have set up.
So on one hand, this is another angle on what has become the head-to-head competition between Amazon and Walmart. The two have battled it out for e-commerce supremacy and pharmacy services for years. Now they will battle in the healthcare space as well.
The other interesting angle here is regarding Amazon’s advertising business.
If we go back to 2018, Amazon had nearly zero advertising revenue. Today, advertising accounts for 7% of the company’s overall revenue. Last year, that equated to $37 billion in ad revenue.
Amazon doesn’t sell consumer data the way Facebook and Google do. But the company does use this data to target advertising for its own e-commerce products.
Of course, the more Amazon understands each consumer, the better it can target these ads. Theoretically that will lead to improved margins within the e-commerce business.
Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical will suddenly give it access to consumer’s medical history. And that will give Amazon even greater insight into each individual customer.
So as much as I love One Medical’s approach to healthcare… and as much as I love that Amazon will be able to greatly scale its model… there is a drawback here.
Amazon seeks to further entrench itself into our lives by getting up to speed on our medical history.
Data privacy now in play with generative AI…
We’ll wrap up today with an interesting development on the generative artificial intelligence (AI) front. This has been the hottest topic in tech since December last year.
As a reminder, generative AI is an incredible technology capable of producing content and even writing software code upon command. It can also have intelligent conversations with us humans.
Of course, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is the generative AI that’s set the industry buzzing since its release back in December. And many companies have rushed to adopt the technology.
Financial services giant JP Morgan did the same, and the use of the technology was very popular at the bank, but it has suddenly announced a pivot in the opposite direction. The firm just prohibited its global workforce of about 250,000 people from using ChatGPT.
Talk about a contrarian move in light of all the recent hype. But there’s a very sound reason why JP Morgan is going in this direction.
ChatGPT is hosted in the cloud. That means when we interact with the AI, our input is processed in the cloud. That data leaves our local servers and goes to Microsoft Azure’s servers, which is where ChatGPT is hosted.
And of course, that means we cannot be sure that our data is secure when we use ChatGPT. If JP Morgan is sharing sensitive data and making specific inquiries from which intelligence can be derived, that could post a significant risk. That’s what JP Morgan is worried about.
After all, JP Morgan is dealing with very sensitive customer and client data. If anything got out, JP Morgan could be liable.
And think about this – ChatGPT has the ability to learn from every single interaction. It’s possible that the AI can learn from individual interactions, and that becomes part of its own knowledge base. That means that, theoretically, that information could become the output of future responses.
So if we’re sharing data and information that’s specific to our business, the AI could use that data in its response to other people. That’s not something a banking giant can risk.
The good news is that there’s a solution. It’s something I talked about with Glenn Beck on his video podcast last month.
And that solution is for companies like OpenAI to provide enterprises with a core generative AI that comes pre-trained.
Then, the enterprise can train the AI on additional data in-house to make it as application-specific as possible. But that training would not be shared with OpenAI.
We can think about this as starting with a “generic” generative AI, and then training it so that it is company specific and can reside only on a company’s intranet.
That’s how enterprises could address the data privacy issue while still using powerful generative AI’s like ChatGPT.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge