Facebook Users: You Could Lose Your Guns

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Unintended consequences. So many people who want to do good simply do not think beyond the immediate need to what the consequences of their actions will be. It’s true of all kinds of government programs, and it’s true in many corporate initiatives.

A recent initiative by Facebook has some people concerned about how this will impact all of us in the real (non-digital) world. The initiative is Facebook’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) to try to recognize posts and images by people who are suicidal and to get first responders to that person in the real world before that person can injure themselves.

I won’t argue that the intention is not a good intention. Reducing the number of suicides is certainly a good thing. The problem is what happens when this type of AI mis-“diagnoses” someone as suicidal and, now that mental health professionals are at that person’s house, what are the further ramifications? A writer calling themselves Sebastian expressed these concerns:

In many states, even an observational trip to the loony bin will land you a state and federal prohibition. Pennsylvania is one of them. If you ever find yourself in a situation where first-responders show up concerned that the Facebook AI has determined you’re going off the deep end, make sure you go voluntarily. Make sure you tell everyone you deal with you’re there voluntarily. Because if they take you against your will, now you have much bigger issues if you own guns. Even if they let you go, if you haven’t made arrangements, if you arrive home to a safe full of guns, congratulations, you’ve just made yourself a felon in addition to having to endure contact with the state mental health system.

Think about that. You could lose your gun rights because an AI thinks you’re suicidal and sends someone out to check on you. Even you aren’t suicidal and will never be suicidal, any mistake this AI makes could put your rights in jeopardy.

To make it worse, Facebook says that users cannot opt out of scanning by this AI. So, how is Facebook going to prevent this scanning from being abused? Josh Constine tells us Facebook’s unsettling answer:

The idea of Facebook proactively scanning the content of people’s posts could trigger some dystopian fears about how else the technology could be applied. Facebook didn’t have answers about how it would avoid scanning for political dissent or petty crime, with Rosen merely saying “we have an opportunity to help here so we’re going to invest in that.”

I don’t blame Facebook for wanting to save lives. That is a good thing. The problem, though, is that the potential for abuse is massive here. How many people have been locked up in totalitarian regimes for “mental health issues” when the only issue is that the person disagreed with a government policy? How many anti-gunners already think that gun rights supporters are literally insane?

This use of technology is something to keep an eye on and to be concerned about because, as Sebastian noted, if they even think you may have at one time been (slightly) crazy, they can take your guns from you forever.

17 COMMENTS

  1. And who is going to pay for the responses? First responders don’t come cheap. Some places actually charge for every response, especially if the run was made for nothing. And what of the expenses for any loses the person identified ends having to shell out to defend themselves?

    This smacks of H. G. Wells “1984” and Big Brother. Cameras everywhere (just like in England, etc) watching our every move.

    • To all who read this post.
      Ask every junior high and above student these questions.
      Do you know how to read cursive writing? Do you know how to write in cursive?
      Have you ever read “1984” , “Animal Farm” , “Anthem” , “The Fountainhead” , “Atlas Shrugged” , “The Tyranny of The Minority” , “The Constitution of the United States”. The list goes on, but you catch my drift.

    • Exactly…It is all about “CONTROL” of the people. Wise up America and stop putting your whole live and the lives of your family and friends “out there” for the “government” to “SPY” on, and use against you.
      Like I posted myself, NEVER been “on” it…Never will be.

  2. Never been on it, never will be. I also heard that you better stay away from google and google chrome also.
    These are ‘backdoor” monitored ‘government’ entities.

  3. And by the way, who will be legally and financially liable for the inevitable screw-ups that THEIR SYSTEMS FACEBOOK’S SYSTEMS that is, are an integral part of, matter of fact, were the impetus to? I wonder, for as has been noted, The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions.

  4. The computer was first designed to decrypt the WWII German Enigma code. But after it was miniaturized by gates and job, the sole purpose of computers was to invade your space and privacy. Life as free Americans has ended until FB and computers are destroyed. Oh but they are so useful. Argue for them all you want. I dislike this invention not due to its usefulness but how through electronic surveillance our privacy is violated.

    • I’m not a fan of government , the Democratic Party or Facebook abusing information gleaned through internet snooping to track anything’s no other than foreign espionage and major domestic crime. The early computers were not just designed to track people.

      Back in the 1950’s CDC had two supermarket sized buildings in Santa Monica filled with matching vacuum tube computers Their task. To keep track of the location of USAF aircraft so as to help manage a Russian nuclear attack using bombers .

      While serving as Obama’s White House director of technology and communications actually proposed that the government monitor and edit all private communications such as Facebook twitter comments to articles . The government would destroy, delay or edit the communications as they saw fit. His name was cas sunstein (husband of Samantha powers – Obama’s ambassador to the un as a reward for throng to sell the false narrative on Benghazi . Faced with a firestorm of ridicule and opposition the left decided to rebrand the concept as curating the internet ……… the same censorship and misinformation campaign proposed by obama through sunstein .

  5. Tt is right. I always say I don’t trust facebook for the very reason Zuckerberg is buddie buddie with Obama for one thing and it is a tool of the socialists for the other. This is the kind of thing that goes on in socialist countries. I don’t believe for a moment they are concerned with suicidal people.

  6. I can remember when the NRA was just about the sport and safety, if it didn’t evolve into a political group our second amendment would have been gone years ago !!!! THey can’t gain total control of an armed public !!!!

  7. I have some questions:

    Who will be programming the algorithms into the AI? Do they have the education, knowledge and inclination to do so without bias?

    How can a determination by an AI be allowed to lead to a warrantless search and seizure (Fourth Amendment) absent any judicial input/intervention? What about the ‘rule of law’? The left is very fond of that phrase when it suits their purposes, not so much when it doesn’t…..

    If the determination is incorrect, will the person be able to get the AI’s determination reversed/vacated and have their improperly seized property returned and their rights fully restored without legal obstruction? I bet not……

    Will the person who was erroneously determined to be suicidal be able to recover financial damages which they would incur from the party (FB) which caused those financial damages? Again, I bet not…..

    Suicide prevention is a praiseworthy aim, but the one-size-fits-all/”shotgun” approach which FB is advocating lends itself to misapplication, and politically-motivated misuse. As FB proposes it, this is a total abrogation, and a ‘trashing’ of the ‘rule of law’.

  8. So let me get all this straight, FB can call authorities to come and check you out and even take you away against your will all because they might feel that you could possibly harm yourself.
    And they use some sort of computer program to make that determination.
    When did anyone sign a release for them to preform and do medical treatment and procedures?
    To place yourself into someone’s life in any way medically you must have written consent.
    I feel that although they have good intensions they are breaking the law and overstepping their bounds on this and will probably be sued for quit a few millions should they actually do this.

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