Thursday, 29 June 2017

A ring to rule us all?

“Switzerland may be the only country to stay democratic.”

These days, political scientist Parag Khanna doesn’t get tired to advertise “technocracy” as the best form of government.[1] He is not the only one. Internet pioneers in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere have often declared democracy as “outdated technology”.[2] Peter Thiel proclaims a “deadly race between politics and technology”.[3] And Google’s Larry Page complained that “[t]here’s many, many exciting and important things you could do you just can’t do because they are illegal”.[4] This shows a concerning disrespect of our laws.

Politics has promoted such thinking as well. In the wake of 9/11 and the Patriot Act, social engineers such as George W. Bush and Tony Blair have created a surveillance society, where a state of emergency was always around the corner, seemingly justifying the restriction of human rights and liberties step by step. Since then, democracies have undergone worrying transformations towards more autocratic regimes in Hungary, Poland, and Turkey. In the USA, UK and France, a transition is on the way as well. Last but not least, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Germany have also started to tumble. After one of my talks, someone with insider knowledge even told me: “Switzerland may be the only country to stay democratic.” He had concrete reasons to be concerned. And in Switzerland too, some have suggested the Chinese system would be more attractive…

Overloaded and tired by the flood of revelations, many people have not realized that we have ended up with technologies and laws, which parallel those described in George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. For example, just a few days ago, a new mass surveillance law (the large-scale use of “Staatstrojaner” federal hacking software) has passed the German Bundestag with a trick.[5] Little by little, we have ended up with the digital tools for a data-driven, AI-based so-called “benevolent dictatorship”.[6] This technocratic state will be totalitarian for sure, but will it also be “benevolent”? How may it look like, according to the evidence so far?

Big Brother: Since the Snowden revelations,[7] we know that there is mass surveillance of billions of people around the world, but most of us still have no idea, how pervasive it is. For example, all of our clicks in the Internet are reported by cookies, and there are a lot more digital traces of our everyday activities, which are also recorded. In Great Britain, more than 40 government institutions have access to the click history, even if it was regularly deleted.[8] Recently, Wikileaks “Vault 7” revealed that the CIA – just one of more than 15 secret services in the USA – had spent many billion dollars on mass surveillance tools to hack most kinds of computers, smartphones, smart TVs and smart cars – and that it had lost control over them, i.e. dual use of hacking tools by others was now a serious problem.[9]

Surveillance Capitalism:[10] It has become known that all citizens are being targeted to create personal profiles of them. This profiling covers thousands of specifiers per person (including name, birth day, age, income, address, religious denomination, sexual preferences and personal tastes, as well as health-related data, which is being sold to other companies). You have probably no idea of how much data has been secretly collected about you by corporations (so-called “Big Others”), and what is being done with it. The data give a much more detailed picture than the files that secret services used to run totalitarian systems in the past. You would be surprised to learn what companies such as Google, Facebook, Recorded Future, Acxiom, Palantir, and others know about you – or may infer about you from your personal data. Just have a look at your Crystal Knows profile to get a first idea.[11]

Big Nudging:[12] In today’s “attention economy”,[13] our personal data is being used to personalize information such that it will influence our attention, emotions, opinions, decisions, and behaviors – often in a subconscious way. This ranges from steering our consumption behavior with so-called “Neuro-Marketing” methods[14] up to manipulating our voting behavior during elections, as it happened during the Brexit vote and US election in 2016.[15] When combined with Social Bots – armies of robotic bloggers – very effective propaganda tools result. As the debate about Fake News and the post-fact society shows, many people are falling prey to these new technologies, some of which can even edit Web contents[16] (i.e. manipulate history). Populism, polarization, and fragmentation of societies have spread and threaten social peace. However, the censorship laws and “ministries of truth” to fight the problem are probably even a greater danger to democracies.

World (or War) Simulator: The personal data collected about each of us is being fed into a machine learning algorithm that learns how we behave. It produces a “digital double” – something like a personal avatar. These digital doubles are then used, on the one hand, for global “war games” – massive computer simulations such as Sentient World,[17] which try to predict our future. On the other hand, these digital doubles can also be used to test how we would respond to certain information stimuli. This is of interest for the next generation of “predictive policing”,[18] which would work pretty much like “Minority Report”. For example, it would be possible to find out beforehand, who is likely to protest against a shutdown of the freedom of press, or of democracy altogether.

Citizen Score: All the data collected about you are boiled down to a single number, the Citizen Score, representing your value from the point of view of those in power. This system will be a future governance tool in China, where it is currently being tested.[19] However, there is a similar system called “Karma Police” in Great Britain,[20] and most likely everywhere else. The system gives plus or minus points for everything you do, for the friends you have, the links you click on the Internet, the movies you watch, and the music you hear. The overall score will then decide about interest rates for loans, the job you may get, travel visa to other countries, and (conditions of) access to products and services.

Cashless society:[21] Once people would have a unique identity chip,[22] the Citizen Score could also be used as basis of a cashless society. In particular during future resource shortages, the Citizen Score could decide about the access to resources such as long-distance travel, medicine or meat. While all of this will be claimed to comply with principles of fairness and justice, in the future the Citizen Score might decide about life or death. But even if resources were sufficient for everyone – the competition for high Citizen Scores and good services would turn many creative individuals into submissive subjects.

“Benevolent dictatorship”: This comprises all of the above elements. The World Simulator would be used to come up with a grand plan for the world, which would imply specific roles for every individual. These would then be suggested to us through our smartphones or similar devices by means of personalized information (“Big Nudging”). If we would execute the suggested actions, this would earn us plus points, otherwise we would be punished by minus points. The ideological justification for such a system is that a “superintelligent” AI system would know better what is good for us, and therefore impose it on us (this is sometimes called the “Big Mother” society). In other words, people – currently free decision-makers – would eventually become something like an “output device” of a digital command economy. Freedom and self-determination, human rights and democracy would be gone.

Technological and Legal Assessment

Some technology gurus have said that our current system has created “wealth, health and happiness for billions of people … but now we want to try something new”.[23] Unfortunately, this new solution has not been properly tested. One would think that it would be the right approach to start with the reorganization of a company, then with that of a city (e.g. San Francisco), then with the reorganization of a state (such as California), subsequently of a country (e.g. USA), and then of a continent (e.g. America), before one rolls out the system in the entire world. So far, however, no “smart city” has made it into the top 10 hit parade of most livable cities, and it has recently been concluded that the technocratic Smart Cities approaches have largely failed.[24] In other words, there is no proof that anyone has managed yet to invent anything that comes close to a digital paradise on Earth. On the contrary, we have recently seen problems such as hate speech, fake news, and cybercrime abound, producing much harm to our societies.

Moreover, the most fundamental problem is unsolved, namely how to determine the right goal function.[25] Should it be the gross domestic product or sustainability, power or peace, happiness or life expectancy, or something else? If we chose power, for example, the AI system would learn to make us addicted to information and dependent on it.[26] On the one hand, therefore, Apple boss Tim Cook distanced himself from manipulating people with personalized information.[27] Elon Musk warned of superintelligent systems as “our greatest existential threat”, potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons.[28] Consequently, he spent a billion dollars to launch the OpenAI project to ensure AI will be “an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as possible.”[29]

On the other hand, the algorithmic personalization approaches by Google and others were blamed to discriminate women[30] and people of color.[31] Facebook came under pressure, as its platform seemed to contribute to the spread of extremism,[32] and Microsoft had to take down their chatbot “Tay” from the Web, as it started to produce Nazi propaganda.[33] Big Nudging has been heavily criticized in connection with the Brexit and US election campaigns.[34] The Citizen Score was condemned by The Economist and other newspapers for its totalitarian nature.[35] An ethics committee established by the German government decided that AI systems such as autonomous cars were not allowed to take life-and-death decisions, which would advantage one kind of people over another one.[36] Moreover, the US Supreme Court has declared that hate speech does not justify censorship.[37] And the United Nations Human Rights Convention demands that our protect our privacy be protected.[38] Last but not least, the European Court of Justice decided that mass data retention (Vorratsdatenspeicherung) without sufficient reasons is illegal.[39] So, the situation is clear: all of the above developments should not happen – and there is no evidence that they would create a better society. So, why is it still happening then?

The Sustainability Agenda – A Totalitarian Agenda Wrapped in Nice Words?

In the year 2015, some important decisions were taken about the future of the world. Opened by Pope Francis on September 25, the United Nations decided to pursue very ambitious Global Sustainability Goals with its Agenda 2030.[40] Strong institutions would be built to make the world sustainable by 2030, within just 15 years! On September 25, there were also a number of other notable events: Switzerland decided about a new surveillance law (Nachrichtendienstgesetz).[41] The Intercept reported about the Karma Police program,[42] and Kai Schlieter’s book “Die Herrschaftsformel” [The formula to rule the world] appeared with a delay.[43]

The Paris Climate Deal[44] followed up the Agenda 2030 and the Agenda 21. It decided concrete actions. Carbon dioxide emissions, for example, will have to be reduced by 40 percent at least. This shall be achieved by carbon trading,[45] which will create a one trillion dollar market, to be paid by the consumers. The aim to charge everyone in a fair way, may serve as an excuse for mass surveillance. One could say this requires detailed data about who is travelling how much and in what ways. Who is consuming how much, and what are the Carbon Dioxide emissions generated by these products? Moreover, carbon trading will probably compensate oil and gas companies for their expected losses, even though they have driven the planet to the edge and also suppressed alternative energy technologies. All of this is obviously neither moral nor legitimate – and that is probably the reason why the public has not be informed about the detailed plans in a transparent way, as it should be.

The Paris Climate Deal was made under the impression of the terror attack on Friday, November 13, 2015,[46] which initiated martial law and restricted constitutional rights – until today. For example, public demonstrations can now be forbidden, and private homes can be searched by police without any evidence of wrongdoing. Such measures undermining democracy have been seen also in many other countries such as Great Britain or Germany.

All of these developments become understandable if you read the “Limit to Growth” study commissioned by the Club of Rome[47] or the Global 2000 report[48] commissioned by US President Jimmy Carter, their updates, and follow-up studies. These reports try to project the future of the Earth by means of computer simulations. The shocking result of these studies was that, given the resource constraints of our planet, an economic and population collapse would be unavoidable (if we do not change our financial and socio-economic system[49] in a way that promotes a circular and sharing economy[50] – this would be the right solution!).

Source: How Many Earths? (September 27, 2015)

Today’s conventional view is that the world is overpopulated and overusing its renewable resources by at least 40 percent (see graphic above). As a consequence, about one third of the world’s population would die of an unnatural death in this century (see graphic below). This would be more people than currently live in the USA, Europe, Russia and China together.

Source: Chart Sources: Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. and Behrens III, W.W. (1972) (Linda Eckstein)

From this perspective, it appears logical that governments would prepare to ration scarce resources and distribute them fairly, according to personal merit, as reflected by the Citizen Score. It also becomes understandable that preparations were taken to suppress civil unrest, ranging from mass surveillance to armed police forces. Of course, there would also be preparations for times, when resources would not suffice anymore for everyone. Therefore, the question was raised: could AI systems be used to take decisions over life and death[51] – something one could probably call digital “judgment day”.[52] Now, you probably start to understand Elon Musk’s concerns about superintelligent systems. I also think that our societies need to take a completely different path to sustainability – based on a new financial, money and economic system. I will describe this in forth-coming contributions. Here, I will focus on the technocratic system that has been put in place so far.

What is Going On at CERN – Besides Elementary Particle Physics?

During my studies, I have encountered various companies and people that are behind the agenda to establish a “World Simulator” and a data-driven AI-based “benevolent dictatorship”. I don’t want to name them, but I can confirm with absolute certainty: “This is real!” I was told, in particular, that global problems would be solved by “superintelligent” systems by 2036 (apart from two: climate change and cyber security). The world would be run by an AI system, organized on 10 levels – from individuals all the way up to the entire planet (see photo below). Evidence pointing in this direction can be also found in various publications. One just needs to know how to put the puzzle pieces together. For example, CIA Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt said that we were already “a walking sensor platform”, and it was now almost possible to connect all data dots.[53] Moreover, Google was reported to work on reprogramming the state,[54] IBM’s Watson computer was proposed for US president,[55] and Mark Zuckerberg was said to have imperial ambitions.[56]

After my TEDx talk “Creating a Planetary Nervous System Together”, I was made aware of the existence of a Skynet-like system. Moreover, I was also hinted at an article entitled “Can the military make a prediction machine?”[57] It was therefore clear that huge volumes of data about the world and our lives would be processed by powerful AI systems in an attempt to predict the future. Steven Wolfram claimed that “People are more predictable than particles”,[58] and companies such as Palantir or Recorded Future suggested that human behavior was about 90% predictable.

How is this possible, given that most people believe human behavior is unpredictable, or at times even random? The answer is clear: One would have to steer human behavior and “end randomness”.[59] A few years after I had seen a weird talk in Brussels suggesting a project called “Matrix Reloaded”, I realized that the proposal had apparently been implemented!

Scientific events about Steering Behaviors and Societies were held. A publication reported of a Facebook study, which demonstrated large-scale emotional manipulation.[60] Another scientific study showed that, by manipulating the order of search engine results, it was possible to change election outcomes by up to 20 percent.[61] A further publication revealed that a huge number of people had been influenced in their voting behavior in the US election 2012.[62] After this, opinion polls failed to predict election outcomes in a number of countries, which indicates that similar methods to manipulate elections had been used in other democratic countries, too.[63]

I have warned of manipulation attempts based on Big Data since years. The Digital Manifesto, published in the Spektrum der Wissenschaft and Scientific American, finally alerted the public that people were conditioned and manipulated by means of a method called “Big Nudging”, based on personalized Filter Bubbles.[64] Elon Musk as well hinted at the possibility that we were living in a Matrix,[65] and demanded to develop methods to break it up. Barack Obama indicated that there were technologies beyond the reach of democratic control, when he said:[66]

" ... this is also a time around the world when some of the fundamental ideals of liberal democracies are under attack and when notions of objectively and of a free press and of facts and of evidence are trying to be undermined or in some cases ignored entirely. And in such a climate it’s not enough just to give people a megaphone. And that’s why your power and your responsibility to dig and to question and to counter distortions and untruths is more important than ... ever. "
However, the scandal erupted only after the Brexit vote and the US election in 2016, when Cambridge Analytica claimed it had created psychological profiles of hundreds of millions of voters, and influenced them with personalized information.[67] Only then, the wider public started to realize that Big Data, combined with Social Bots, were used by a number of billionaires to “hijack democracies”.[68]

However, as mentioned before, the method was already used several years before Cambridge Analytica “turned the world upside down”.[69] So, where was that other data center located, which had been used to manipulate peoples’ opinions and decisions before? The World Simulator, the “Big Mechanism”, the “Big Nudge” – and the masses of personal data needed for them – had to be located somewhere.

Was it possibly located at CERN? After the UN General Assembly and the Paris Agreement, a couple of newspaper articles came out, all around the same time. They stated that CERN now also worked on societal issues and a number of business cases, using Artificial Intelligence.[70] Something like a Crystal Ball (“Orakel”) had been built, based on Big Data. Predictive analytics is being used as well. These are exactly the technologies needed for “Big Nudging”! And, of course, computers and electrical power are abundant at CERN.

The announcement of CERN’s sudden interest in societal issues was made, after the elementary particle accelerator had been “upgraded” over a two year time period between 2013 and 2015. This happened after it was announced in July 2012 that the Higgs particle – also euphemistically called the God’s particle (as it is believed to produce mass) – had been discovered, or a particle consistent with its properties.[71] Physicists had searched for it in vain for 40 years. It was then stressed that “the biggest discovery in 20 years” had confirmed the standard model of elementary particle physics. To “find new physics”, it was now necessary to upgrade the accelerator and replace the detector, newspapers said. So, the CERN was “upgraded”, and at the same time a backup data center was newly created in Budapest.[72] The high-bandwidth Internet connections (100 GigaBits per second!) make interesting detours.

All of this is very interesting, to say the least. Then, someone sent me a link to a Scientific American article saying that CERN would use Artificial Intelligence to expose cyberattacks.[74] This article explains that CERN hosts a powerful cybersecurity center, which aims to protect not only its own computers, but also its entire Data Grid. (This Grid may also play a significant role in the organization of the information flows of the Internet. After all, the World Wide Web and Grid Computing were invented at CERN…)


So, the question is, what kind of data is being used by leading cyber security applications using Artificial Intelligence? As the above picture shows, this includes 10 billion data elements per hour such as trusted partner feeds, threat feeds, and open source data as well as information from blogs. The X-Force component also involves so-called DNS forensics (see picture below), geo-tagged user info, full URL search lists, ports, etc., probably even including individual movement patterns of the computer mice and click streams of all Internet users. In other words, this is very detailed personal data about each and every one of us. These are exactly the kinds of data used by the various digital instruments for the so-called “benevolent dictatorship” discussed above – from Big Nudging over War Simulation to the Citizen Score. Therefore, we should be very concerned. According to Murphy’s law, “Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” In particular, if there is a possibility for misuse, it will sooner or later happen.


This is extremely concerning, as there are almost no legal obstacles for dual use, since the CERN is extraterritorial. In other words, most national and European laws do not apply, including the European General Data Protection Regulation. This situation makes CERN politically uncontrollable – and that’s why it is a danger for all of us. Finally, if you thought that CERN was now providing us at least the cyber security we deserve, the following email from a high-level expert, who knows exactly what AI can do and what are its limits, will certainly make you sleep badly.[75]

Even worse, one day, the personal data stored and processed at CERN could fall into the hands of people who do not act in our interest. Then, we would be in trouble – in real big trouble! This scenario is exactly what – according to my information – is currently under way, and that’s why I decided that I had to alert the public. Please circulate this warning to everyone! Thank you! Let’s hope we can get this fixed!

For more on the threat to society by the present day cybersecurity approaches see:

TODAY'S CYBERSECURITY APPROACHES - A threat for society? here

TOWARDS DEMOCRATIC SUSTAINABILITY Click here for more information

[1] Die beste Regierungsform ist die direkte Technokratie, Tagesanzeiger (Jun 9, 2017), see,

[2] „Sie [die Demokratie] hat Reichtum, Gesundheit und Glück für Milliarden Menschen auf der ganzen Welt gebracht. Aber jetzt wollen wir etwas Neues ausprobieren und dazu haben wir hier keine Chance.“ See,

[3] Peter Thiel is trying to save the world: The apocalyptic theory behind his actions, Business Insider (December 8, 2016), see

[4] Google CEO Larry Page Wants A Totally Separate World Where Tech Companies Can Conduct Experiments On People, Business Insider (May 16, 2013), see

[5] Überwachung: Koalition macht Staatstrojaner zum polizeilichen Alltagswerkzeug (Heise Online, June 20, 2017)

[6] D. Helbing, Dictatorship 4.0: How the digital revolution threatens our freedom - and what our alternatives are, see; The Dream to Control the World – and Why It Is Failing, see

[7] for an overview see

[8] Revealed: The 48 organisations that can see your entire online browsing history, even if you delete it, Mail Online (Nov 25, 2016). Retrieved from ; Browsers nix add-on after Web of Trust is caught selling users’ browsing histories, The Register (Nov 7, 2016). Retrieved from ; Apple iCloud Hoards 'Deleted' Browser History Going Back More Than A Year, Forbes (Feb 9, 2017). Retrieved from

[9] see and for details

[10] S. Zuboff, Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization, Journal of Information Technology 30, 75-89 (2015).

[11] see

[12] see the corresponding information box in

[13] T.H. Davenport and J.C. Beck, Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business (Harvard Business Review, 2002).

[14] H.M. Sola and M. Econ. Neuromarketing Armoury (Createspace, 2017), see; L. Zurawicki, Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer (Springer, 2016).

[15] The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine,; also watch this video of Alexander Nix talking about Psychographics:

[16] Nothing is real: How German scientists control Putin's face,;; Adobe VoCo ‘Photoshop for voice’ causes concern,;

[17] Sentient World: War games on the grandest scale. The Register (June 23, 2007) see; see also and

[18] W.L. Perry et al., Predictive Policing: The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations (RAND Corporation, 2013); see also

[19] China’s Nightmarish Citizen Scores Are A Warning For Americans,

[20] Karma Police: GCHQ spooks spied on every web user ever, The Register (Sep. 25, 2015),

[21] Cashless society getting closer, survey finds, see

[22] Human Microchipping: An Unbiased Look at the Pros and Cons,

[23] R. Hencken, in: Mikrogesellschaften. Hat die Demokratie ausgedient? (Capriccio, 2014). Video, veröffentlicht am 15.5.2014. Autor: J. Gaertner. München: Bayerischer Rundfunk.

[24] Disrupting cities through technology, Wilton Park (March 17-19, 2016), see

[25] D. Helbing and E. Pournaras, Build Digital Democracy, Nature 527, 33-34 (2015).

[26] Smartphone Addiction, Psychology Today (Jul 25, 2013); see also and





[31]; see also for the more general problem

[32] Beihilfe zur Volksverhetzung bei Facebook: Staatsanwaltschaft München ermittelt gegen Mark Zuckerberg, Der Tagesspiegel (Nov. 4, 2016)

[33] Microsoft terminates its Tay AI chatbot after she turns into a Nazi. Ars Technica (March 24, 2016)


[35] Big Data, meet Big Brother: China invents the digital totalitarian state. The Economist (Dec 17, 2016) see

[36] Ethikkommission warnt vor Totalüberwachung des Menschen, Die ZEIT (June 20, 2017)

[37] Supreme Court unanimously reaffirms: There is no ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment,

[38] Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

[39] Europäischer Gerichtshof: It's the end of Vorratsdatenspeicherung as we know it, Die ZEIT (Dec. 21, 2016)




[43] K. Schlieter, Die Herrschaftsformel: Wie Künstliche Intelligenz uns berechnet, steuert, und unser Leben verändert (Westend, 2015).

[44] Paris Agreement,

[45] Carbon Trading: The World’s Next Biggest Market,; The EU Emissions Trading System,

[46] November 13 Paris attacks,

[47] The Limits to Growth,, see also the 30-year update,

[48] Editions of the Global 2000 Report to the [US] President, see

[49] D. Helbing, Why we need democracy 2.0 and capitalism 2.0 to survive, published in Jusletter IT,

[50] City Olympics, a decentralized, participatory, socio-ecological finance system (finance 4.0+), democratic capitalism and digital democracy would be solutions to make the world sustainable by 2030 in a democratic way, see and

[51] Een computermodel voor het ondersteunen van euthanasiebeslissingen,

[52] In this connection, it is interesting to have another look at the Terminator science fiction movies, which – among the existence of a Skynet AI system – seem to hint at a coming “judgment day”,, Note that Cyberdyne and Genisys actually exist. See also the news about the German TV movie “Terror”, after which a telephone vote was held to decide it was ok to kill people in order to save the lives of (more) others. It’s cynical that this might imply their own death sentence in the future.

[53] CIA’s Gut Hunt on Big Data: We ‘Try To Collect Everything and Hand On To It Forever’, Huffington Post (March 20, 2013)






[59] R. Klausnitzer, Das Ende des Zufalls,

[60] Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,

[61] The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and its possible impact on the outcomes of elections,

[62] A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization,

[63] Watch and and see the related Powerpoint slides

[64] and








[72] cern-neues-rechenzentrum-ungarn

[74] World’s most powerful particle collider taps AI to expose hack attacks, Scientific American (June 19, 2017)

[75] The WannaCry attack, which could only be contained by lucky coincidence, has shown us all how vulnerable we still are… In the past years, almost every company has been hacked, the US Military, the Pentagon, the White House, and everything from hospitals to nuclear power stations…

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