Cathy "Weapons of Math Destruction" O'Neil nailed Trump's tactics when she compared him to a busted machine-learning algorithm, throwing a ton of random ideas out, listening for his base to cheer the ones that excited their worst instincts, and then doubling down on them.
Now, in office, Trump has doubled down on that tactic, but while his feedback mechanism during the campaign was the crowds of angry racists who came to his rallies, today, he mostly plays for a single racist, Steve Bannon, who serves as surrogate for all the xenophobes and frightened people whose adulation steered Trump during the campaign.
Seen this way, his executive orders are not campaign promises kept, but rather consistent promptings from Bannon, with assistance from his big data company Cambridge Analytica and of course the messaging machine Fox, which reflects and informs him in an endless loop.
His training data is missing some crucial elements, of course, including an understanding of the Constitution, informed legal advice and a moral compass, just to name a few. But importantly, he doesn’t mind being hated. He just hates being ignored.
We have the equivalent of a dynamic neural network running our government. It’s ethics free and fed by biased alt-right ideology. And, like most opaque AI, it’s largely unaccountable and creates feedback loops and horrendous externalities. The only way to intervene would be to disrupt the training data itself, which seems unlikely, or hope that his strategy is simply ineffective. If neither of those works, someone will have to build a time machine.
Donald Trump Is the Singularity
Under Missouri House Bill 2044 -- the "Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act" -- each town will elect a committee of five local people (librarians are not permitted to serve) who will take local submission for books to ban. If they choose to ban a book, any librarian who allows a minor to check out […]
Vernon Unsworth is one of the rescue divers who helped free the children who'd been stuck in a cave in Thailand; Unsworth made some pointed remarks about the disutility of Elon Musk's proposal to bring the children out in a miniature sub, to which Musk replied by publicly calling Unsworth "pedo guy" and "child rapist" […]
Alan Lowe was Executive Director of the Lincoln Presidential Library, and as he struggled to help the debt-saddled institution survive, he hit on the idea of renting out Lincoln's original, handwritten text of the Gettysburg Address to noted colossal asshole Glenn Beck.
From OneDrive to Slack, there are numerous ways to store files online. Because many platforms offer a certain amount of free storage, it makes sense to mix and match. However, spreading your files across multiple apps can make things very confusing. Rethink Files offers a simple solution. By connecting to all your other cloud storage […]
Winter can be a difficult time of year for golfers. Between the freezing temperatures and frequent snow showers, maintaining your handicap can seem almost impossible. When the fairways are frozen solid, the PhiGolf simulator lets you practice at home. This device captures every nuance of your swing to provide virtual coaching. Better still, you can […]
Photoshop is one of the most widely used photo editing tools out there, to the point that it’s the default program designers think of whenever they need work done. Small wonder, too: The flagship software in Adobe’s creative suite is very powerful — if you know how to use it. There is a lot to […]