Skynet: Trump campaigned like a crappy AI, and now he's governing like one, too

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
[Cathy O'Neil/Bloomberg]

(Image: Sholim)