Monday, August 3, 2009

Does Kindle encode evil financial signals in brain, turning staid readers into economic vampires?

Recent events have me wondering whether Internet retailing giant Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader has an algorithm that unwittingly encodes evil financial signals in the human brain, turning staid readers into economic vampires who prey upon corporate victims that have veins rich in capital. Consider the following acts of suspect behavior:

First, esquire Paul Aiken of the venerable Authors Guild in New York City, which has been protecting the rights and welfare of the nation’s writers for almost a century, threatened legal action against Amazon, claiming the text-to-speech feature in the Kindle 2 violated copyright laws and deprived authors of audiobook royalties.

Then, property manager Matthew Geise and star aviation attorney Alisa Brodkowitz, a café latte couple from Seattle, filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against Amazon, claiming a leather casing intended to protect their Kindle caused cracks in the e-reader’s screen.

Now, Justin Gawronski, a Johnny-B-Good student at Eisenhower High School in smalltown Michigan, and Antoine Bruguier, a twenty-something software engineer in Milpitas, California, are plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed against Amazon, claiming the company acted as an unwanted Big Brother in remotely deleting George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) from their Kindles.

One of the scary things about all of this is that Bruguier, the twenty-something software engineer who is a PhD graduate from the California Institute of Technology, wrote a thesis entitled Encoding of Financial Signals in the Human Brain (2007). After reading the abstract to Bruguier's thesis, I'm wondering whether an algorithm in Amazon's Kindle unwittingly encodes evil financial signals in the human brain, corrupting the brain's ability to decompose and recombine two important financial metrics, expected reward and risk, thus turning staid readers into economic vampires who prey upon corporate victims that have rich capital veins.

Even more scary is that the electronic version of Bruguier's thesis has a Kindle-Orwellian aspect to it. According to Bruguier's website: “For copyright and publishing reasons, I cannot make the document available for download. To obtain a pdf copy of my thesis, please send me an email to obtain a login and a password. Then, download the pdf file. The thesis is also available on Caltech's Electronic Theses Database. I have released a partial version that is accessible to everyone.” In other words, Bruguier cannot allow Outer Party members or Proles to read his entire thesis unless Big Brother provides oversight.

And what does Bruguier plan to do if his side wins the class-action lawsuit filed against Amazon? According to his website: “If I make any money out of this, I will donate it to my local library and I kindly suggest other plaintiffs of the class do something similar. I love the Kindle's technical aspect and I wish for its legal aspect also to be attractive.”

Makes we wonder whether Bruguier is a concerned citizen trying to make the world a better place, a budding hedgehog aspiring to be the next Myron Scholes, a mentally deranged megalomaniac attempting to prove his own PhD thesis, or a socialistic vampire preying on Amazon's capital-rich veins so he can redistribute private wealth to his local public library.

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