Sunday, February 25, 2024

No post this week - Taking an EXTENDED break

A crush of consulting work has prevented me from finding time to reflect and write, and it will remain that way for the next month. Therefore, I'm taking an extended break and expect to post again on Sunday, March 24.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Owning your own information revisited

In 2020 I suggested an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would declare that each individual owns his or her own image and information. Anyone wanting to use that image or information would need to get permission and perhaps even pay for it. I pointed out that it's not such a radical idea since celebrities already do own their own identities and people who use them without permission and/or payment are subject to lawsuit.

Fast forward to today. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now proposed a regulation that would hold accountable those using technology to impersonate others. The FTC said in a news release:

The Commission is also seeking comment on whether the revised rule should declare it unlawful for a firm, such as an AI [artificial intelligence] platform that creates images, video, or text, to provide goods or services that they know or have reason to know is being used to harm consumers through impersonation.

The FTC just approved a rule that would protect businesses and government from similar harms. This would extend these protections to individuals.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Taking a short break - no post this week

I'm taking a short break this week and expect to post again on Sunday, February 18.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Surprise! Saudi Arabia is no longer wholly-owned gas station of the United States

In 1943 President Franklin Roosevelt declared that "the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States." The reason: Ten years earlier the desert kingdom had granted a concession to Standard Oil of California to explore for oil. It turned out there was some, in fact, a lot.

Roosevelt visited with the kingdom's monarch, King Ibn Saud, early in 1945 to further cement relations between the two countries, paving the way for a mutual defense treaty in 1951. The idea was to provide protection for Saudi Arabia in exchange for access to the country's oil.

Fast forward to last week. The Saudi Ministry of Energy ordered the government-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, not to exceed its current so-called Maximum Sustainable Capacity of 12 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil production. In other words, stop any expansion plans.

Petroleum geologist and consultant Art Berman cut through all the speculation about the reason behind this move by pointing out that the energy ministry was only directing Aramco to comply with the law.