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Fanaticism bad, religions misunderstood and misinterpreted: Gyalwang Drukpa

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Nangchen (China): Speaking out against fanaticism, the spiritual head of the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism said religions are “misunderstood” and “misinterpreted” in a sectarian kind of way.

credit: www.static.talkvietnam.com
Gyalwang Drukpa credit: www.static.talkvietnam.com

“Fanaticism is a bad thing. Fanaticism that connects with the religion, be it Hindu, be it Muslim, be it Buddhist, it doesn’t matter,” Gyalwang Drukpa told a group of visiting Indian mediapersons in this town in the southernmost part of Qinghai province, neighbouring Tibet’s Chamdo district. He is here for the inauguration of a restored Ashoka stupa and a new Buddhist temple in the same complex.

Saying that he was not authorised to speak on Hindus and Muslims, the Ladakh-based Drukpa advised Buddhists to focus on the spirituality and not the religiosity of the religion.

He said when religion is “misinterpreted” in a sectarian way, Buddhism would also one day face problems and asked members of the community not to be fanatic in their beliefs.

“Luckily Buddhism still represents non-violence. But one day, who knows, Buddhism will also not really be representing non-violence. Buddhist people should not be fanatic about the religiosity. The Buddhists should really keep the spirituality of Buddhism, not the religiosity. If they don’t do that well, then one day they will also be a violent kind of group,” said Drukpa, whose associates claim he has over 27 million followers across the world.

Asked about the developments in Tibet, Gyalwang Drukpa said he himself felt confused on the issue.

“Some say (the progress made) is not good, some say it’s good. I am not in a position to say good or bad right now,” he replied.

“Obviously, some part of Tibet has a little bit of difficulty and some parts have good life. I don’t really have any kind of opinion to share with you,” he said.

Last year, the spiritual leader had complained that eight of his monasteries were snatched by “some people who were “misusing” the name of the Karmapa. He has also posted an open letter on the issue on his website.

Questioned on the issue, the revered monk reiterated his position.

“We are going through the process of modalities to be done. It is a historical kind of disasters happening. It’s like something that we cannot really be patient or tolerant (about).”

Speaking about the restored Ashoka Stupa and the new Buddhist temple in the same complex, Drukpa said he was proud and happy at his “little bit of contribution” to the project.

“Ashoka was the biggest and the most well known Buddhist king not only in India, but all over the world. We are very proud about what we have done. I myself am also proud about my little bit of contribution to the Ashokan remains,” he said.

Drukpa hoped the restoration of the Stupa would help better Sino-Indian relations as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoped would happen.

“Yes, this will be a very good contribution towards Modi’s wish and I hope that will also be beneficial (for bilateral ties between India and China).”

Answering a query, the senior monk said he had no immediate plans to restore any other Ashokan stupa in China or across Southeast Asia, but would give his assent if some symbolic remains were found in any corner of the world.

“I don’t really have a plan right now. But obviously, if there is a very significant kind of thing, symbolic kind of thing, that it is lying somewhere, in some corner of the world I will definitely go ahead and do something,” he added.

(Sirshendu Panth IANS)

(He is in China at the invitation of the Chinese government)

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This AI System Can Evade Censorship In India, China and Kazakhstan

Researchers develop an AI tool that evades censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan

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(AI)-based system automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan.

The tool, called Geneva (short for Genetic Evasion), found dozens of ways to circumvent censorship by exploiting gaps in censors’ logic and finding bugs that the researchers said would have been virtually impossible for humans to find manually.

The researchers are scheduled to introduce Geneva during a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday.

“With Geneva, we are, for the first time, at a major advantage in the censorship arms race,” said Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland in the US and senior author of the paper.

“Geneva represents the first step toward a whole new arms race in which artificial intelligence systems of censors and evaders compete with one another. Ultimately, winning this race means bringing free speech and open communication to millions of users around the world who currently don’t have them,” Levin said.\

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This AI system that evades censorship is called ‘Geneva’. Pixabay

To demonstrate that Geneva worked in the real world against undiscovered censorship strategies, the team ran Geneva on a computer in China with an unmodified Google Chrome browser installed.

By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user was able to browse free of keyword censorship.

The researchers also successfully evaded censorship in India, which blocks forbidden URLs, and Kazakhstan, which was eavesdropping on certain social media sites at the time, said a statement from the University of Maryland.

All information on the Internet is broken into data packets by the sender’s computer and reassembled by the receiving computer.

One prevalent form of Internet censorship works by monitoring the data packets sent during an Internet search.

The censor blocks requests that either contain flagged keywords (such as “Tiananmen Square” in China) or prohibited domain names (such as “Wikipedia” in many countries).

When Geneva is running on a computer that is sending out web requests through a censor, it modifies how data is broken up and sent, so that the censor does not recognise forbidden content or is unable to censor the connection.

Known as a genetic algorithm, Geneva is a biologically inspired type of AI that Levin and his team developed to work in the background as a user browses the web from a standard Internet browser.

Like biological systems, Geneva forms sets of instructions from genetic building blocks. But rather than using DNA as building blocks, Geneva uses small pieces of code.

Censorship
By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user is able to browse free of keyword censorship. Pixabay

Individually, the bits of code do very little, but when composed into instructions, they can perform sophisticated evasion strategies for breaking up, arranging or sending data packets.

The tool evolves its genetic code through successive attempts (or generations). With each generation, Geneva keeps the instructions that work best at evading censorship and kicks out the rest.

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Geneva mutates and cross breeds its strategies by randomly removing instructions, adding new instructions, or combining successful instructions and testing the strategy again.

Through this evolutionary process, Geneva is able to identify multiple evasion strategies very quickly, said the study. (IANS)