On Tuesday I wrote about how the White House pressured Amazon to censor its book selections based on the argument that the company was spreading misinformation.
Amazon, after some grumbling, complied with many of the demands made upon them.
This tidbit was released by Jim Jordan and the House Weaponization of Government Committee.
What I haven’t written about yet, because I have only two hands, 10 fingers, and a growing case of arthritis and carpal tunnel brought on by the typing of thousands of (brilliantly strung together) words a day, was the other big issue the committee dealt with on Wednesday: the expanding use of Artificial Intelligence to quickly and more efficiently censor people online.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 6, 2024
Censorship is getting to be big business, and that is because using Big Data to sort through people’s words is a lot more efficient than having nonprofits, White House interns and even the FBI cull through the billions of exchanges that take place online.
Why use human beings when the whole point is to strip people’s individuality and ability to think for themselves?
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) February 7, 2024
As the Washington Times reported, the National Science Foundation (ah, the politicization of science continues apace…) has spent tens of millions of dollars developing tools to shut you up.
The National Science Foundation spent millions of taxpayer dollars developing censorship tools powered by artificial intelligence that Big Tech could use “to counter misinformation online” and “advance state-of-the-art misinformation research.”
House investigators on the Judiciary Committee and Select Committee on the Weaponization of Government said the NSF awarded nearly $40 million, including $13 million to three universities and a software company, to develop AI tools that could censor information far faster and at a much greater scale than human beings.
The University of Michigan, for instance, was awarded $750,000 from NSF to develop its WiseDex artificial intelligence tool to help Big Tech outsource the “responsibility of censorship” on social media. University researchers promoted the tool as a way to “get people off our backs for how we act on misinfo and … do things we know work without backlash.”
That last quote is a doozy, isn’t it? It encapsulates the project perfectly: we will find a way to shut people up and prevent backlash against our evil deeds.
Suppress, suppress, suppress. Hide the ball. Divert attention.
The idea is to give the body politic a lobotomy–to literally make people incapable of thinking for themselves.
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) February 6, 2024
There is more than a little irony in the fact that the most enthusiastic censors over the past few years have been academics, scientists, and the MSM.
Each of these institutions is supposed to serve as a bulwark for free speech and free thought, pushing back against the inevitable desire of powerful people to suppress ideas they don’t like. The reason the Founders wrote the First Amendment is that they understood that powerful people would do their best to suppress free speech and free thought–so they explicitly forbade the government from doing so.
Freedom of the press is supposed to be the strongest bulwark against tyranny–and the “press” doesn’t mean only newsmen, but the ability of all people to publish their thoughts. It is the printing press to which we are all supposed to have access, not just a chosen few.
NEW – https://t.co/FVuJ5rRyJR, a British AI firm that “is poised to shape the 2024 election”, boasts they can “automatically suppress and label any content they deem as misinformation” on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/dqbZB3R4LP
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) February 6, 2024
This is why independent media is vitally important today. We stand with you against the tyrannical impulses of the powerful who want to censor thought.
The freedom to vote means little without the freedom to speak and to think. To question, to challenge, to shout Hell No! when we are told to do something we know is wrong.
I know that Hot Air and Townhall aren’t the only independent media outlets you visit–we shouldn’t be. I read a ton, and subscribe to more than a few because I know how important it is to keep independent journalism alive. I’ve even gifted subscriptions to friends and family members because it is that important to me that they get more than the drivel that CNN, The New York Times, and MSNBC spew out.
I hope you can join me in supporting independent media, and especially hope that you can join us at Hot Air and Townhall by subscribing to our content. Ed likes to point out all the benefits we provide our VIP members–and they are considerable–but I have a simpler pitch: supporting our independent journalism is an important thing you can do to preserve the soul of our country.
By that, I don’t mean that any of us is that exalted. Rather, I mean that the soul of our country is the flourishing of independence in thought and action. We are a vital part of the real debate in America–not the fake talking points you read in newspapers or see spewed by talking heads.
I’ll end my pitch by stealing from Ed’s. Note that right now you can get a 50% discount!
Many of our readers have joined the fight as part of our VIP and VIP Gold membership, and they have been crucial to our operations as an independent platform and the ability to debate all of the issues honestly. We also produce some great exclusive content for our members:
- The Amiable Skeptics featuring Adam Baldwin
- Off the Beaten Path — Our Look at the Culture with Christian Toto
- The Week in Review with Duane Patterson
- Exclusive columns from Tom Jackson, Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson, and Matt Vespa
- Members-only content from our HotAir team – Ed, Jazz Shaw, and myself
- Live chats and interactive engagement on all platforms with VIP Gold
- Exclusive access to the comments sections on each post, so that you can join the conversation at HotAir
- And more yet to come!
We talk about this more often now because we see the coming crisis in media more clearly than ever. We hope we can gather as many allies as possible to keep all of these issues in the public square – and indeed to preserve the public square at all.