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writing for godot

Bots, Fake News, Gerrymandering, Voter suppression, Citizen’s United, the End of Truth - is dismantling our society - with Trump as the head cheerleader

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Written by Levine Bruce   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 08:01

Perhaps the reason the White House and the Republican Congress isn't up in arms about the Russian Cyber War against the United States is because, not only does it look like they colluded with our sworn enemy; it seems they have been participating in similar activities.

According to the NY Daily News, Robert Mercer, a billionaire and main donor of Trump who has access to IBM’s ‘Watson’s’ software, the structure of artificial intelligence, has influenced the American electorate with millions of social media bots pretending to be real people, spreading fake news for his then candidate and now president, Trump.

From the NY Daily News -

Mercer, a former computer scientist who, decades ago, helped build the technology at IBM that the computer giant would later use to create its Watson super-computer. He also helped other companies like Apple form the basis for its Siri platform.

Trump, meanwhile, has accrued among his 30 million Twitter followers — 15 million of which are actually bots that experts have told the Daily News could be “weaponized” to spread fake and misleading news stories that favor the White House or distract from the scandals it now faces.

But with the subtle introduction of advanced technology, by individuals familiar with artificial intelligence, their effectiveness as it pertains to targeting users and interacting with them could escalate rapidly.

“Fooling humans into doing things in the electronic realm turned out to be really easy,” said Simon Crosby, the chief technology officer at a firm called Bromium.

Mercer, who helped get Breitbart News off the ground years ago with millions of dollars in donations, also invested at least $5 million in a firm called Cambridge Analytica, a small tech operation “that mines online data to reach and influence potential voters” and “uses secret psychological methods to pinpoint which messages are the most persuasive to individual online viewers.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/billionaire-gop-patron-behind-trump-social-media-bot-army-article-1.3236933?cid=bitly

This highlights the fact that the Republican party been hijacked, and often willingly, by scurrilous influence peddlers, who are using the first manifestations of artificial intelligence to fool an entire electorate into electing a lying, vindictive, racist, childish, incompetent, and most likely mentally ill president; and render our democracy’s most sacred institution, our election system, impotent.

Many Republicans in Congress, who, as politicians, have to keep their eye on re-election, have bought into this immoral activity, and will surely be using this technology to get themselves re-elected. The processes that have been outlined by our Constitution are under attack by this Administration, Republicans in Congress who continue to support this criminal president, and Mega donors like Koch, Mercer, Adelson, et al. who disingenuously distort our electoral process.

The Supreme Court opened the door to unlimited campaign donations via Citizens United, thereby shifting politicians’ sacred oath to work for the good of their constituents, - to working for the interests of their major donors, without which many would lose their seat in Congress.

The Republican party has also been gerrymandering districts to unfairly make specific districts so unbalanced in Republican’s favor; creating a climate where Congresspeople are not responsible anymore to the people whom they represent.They can freely be loyal to their major donor, regardless of the immorality of their policies, and through the weaponized use of fake news, count on their constituents to vote against their own interest.

Add voter suppression laws by the 100’s that have been put on States books to this toxic stew, and we have a recipe that obliterates the peoples trust in our government, our leaders, our neighbors, and as a whole, our society.

What will our society look like with a majority disenfranchised, mistrustful, sick and angry  electorate, where no one knows the truth, where objective observation and rationality are no longer primary to ‘knowing the truth’? This reminds me of a time in history when the majority of citizens could not read; where Monarchs and the ruling class were all too happy to keep knowledge from the people, lest they lose their hold on power.

With Liberal Ideology and institutions of all modern Western Society under attack, what will Democrats and Liberals around the world do to combat these dirty tricks? Will they adopt the same tactics? While some may, and it will only makes things worse, I doubt the majority will adopt the dark, dirty tricks of the Right; and so, will lose more and more ‘elections’.

I find it fascinating and worrisome that the less educated, ill informed, coupled with a small cabal of rich and powerful, can co-opt the majority of better educated, better informed, more affluent, more empathetic populace. The inclusive and divers tenants of liberal ideology make more difficult work for our Democratic leaders who seem incapable of organizing to walk in lock-step and fight these policies and illicit activities effectively. And our Constitution doesn't seem to provide good recourse to the, at best - disingenuous, fear and anger motivated actions of the right wing.

Coupling the imperfections of democracy with the survival based, greedy inclinations of humans living on an overpopulated, overheating planet is troublesome indeed. I fear for my children and grandchildren. The crazy thing is that we have the technology to address our challenges. And I know there are wonderful examples of cooperative problem solving, and new paradigms emerging for living in the 21st century. But, it seems, humans can not cooperate enough to put these solutions to good use on a large enough scale to move the needle. Will we evolve quickly enough to learn to cooperate, before we destroy each other and our planet? How do we mitigate the greed and fear in our species, enough, and in time, to save the habitability of our planet. How do we reduce the rising massive suffering, that so often comes at the hands of greedy men who profit without remorse from the pain and suffering of others?

 


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