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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Let’s unleash Microsoft’s “Tay” on the presidential campaign

“Artificial Intelligence” is kind of an oxymoron.

The word “artificial” means man-made, and “intelligence” is, well, intelligence. But can man — the so evidently fallible ape with amazing capacities for violence, racism and terror — actually create intelligence? Or can the byproduct of ignorance only be more ignorance?

Well, Microsoft’s “Tay” certainly settles on one side of that debate.

Recently, the AI Twitter bot created to interact with and learn from other social media users went on a bit of a rampage.

The bot was designed to adapt its behavior as more and more users communicated with it, but that inevitably took a turn for the worst when a bunch of online trolls fed Tay some heinous comments. This resulted in Tay tweeting that feminism is cancer and claiming the Holocaust was made up, even going so far as to add an evil clapping emoji.

One columnist suggested that this episode proves that the Internet “teems with hate,” and that antisemitism still runs through the veins of social media.

While I do not disagree, let’s not forget that Twitter trolls are people too. And let’s also not forget that many of social media’s finest — like your ultra-religious, racist Uncle Jerry on Facebook — not only share similar views, but have political candidates in modern times that actually pander to their fears. 

Therefore, I think Microsoft should pick up the pieces of this project, and unleash a renewed Tay 2.0 on the political environment, not on the Internet. Let the new and improved Tay listen in on a certain political party so she can “learn from” the candidates that our nation has chosen.

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to learn about the natural animalistic tendencies that all men must have when she reads Donald Trump’s tweet about sexual assault in the military that read, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to learn about incurable mental illnesses when she listens to Trump saying that child molesters can’t be cured.

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to learn about atrocities worse than slavery, like, according to brainless brain surgeon Ben Carson, Obamacare.

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to learn about the beautiful humanistic doctrines of modern Christianity by listening to Ted Cruz say that our president is “undermining our values” and that Cruz would “uphold the sacrament of marriage.”

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to learn about the correct way of handling innocent civilians in an armed conflict by learning the correct definition of “carpet bombing” from Cruz and the proper handling of terrorists’ family members from Trump.

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to wear a Union Jack and attend a Trump rally and see which group, the supporters or the protesters, are the ones inciting violence. Are they the ones punching or manhandling black people and spitting on immigration activists, or those who show up to protest the businessman stoking these fires?     

Let’s allow Tay 2.0 to expose the underlying fear, ignorance and hate that many of our candidates may not possess themselves, but certainly reflect.

Obviously one party does not have a monopoly on stupid statements, but Tay 2.0 can certainly learn a lot from the rhetoric of Republicans in this campaign. The Internet is a dangerous hiding place for many of the world’s worst humans, but it’s the public light that is also receiving some hate-filled, militaristic, suggestive and ignorant statements from those who represent them.

Microsoft created something that is meant to learn. But we as humans are in a curious position of being required to be a responsible role model for this creation, because it is influenced by us. Humanity has shown time and again that we can use technology to create cures to diseases, shoot people out of our atmosphere and build artificial networks that bring people together instead of breaking them apart. Tay 2.0, by learning from us, can show us whether we meet our own standards.

Let’s allow an artificial intelligence to prove whether we are, in fact, intelligent. Let’s see what an innocent Twitter bot can turn into when it’s turned onto the political scene of our country.  

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    Gary SmithApr 8, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Super-PACs MUST be banned! They give a few wealthy exploiters the ability to shape our entire political system; they allow for absurdly unequal representation! The people and corporations funding these PACs have acquired their wealth from selling out America through political favors, endless wars, unfair trade deals, exploiting foreign labor, exploiting illegal labor within our borders, creating insurmountable debt for our children, and maintaining a rigged election process that ensures nothing will change. Super-PACs are a direct conflict of interest and an absolute corrupting force!

    In my opinion, any candidate who doesn’t demand their super-PACs disband in the name of democracy and the people is a flat out TRAITOR to America! Exploiter puppets Clinton and Cruz will never do this like Trump and Sanders have; instead, they will continue feigning powerlessness and ignorance regarding super-PACs. Anyone who votes for these conniving two-faced lawyers is voting to continue selling out America!

    If someone with Trump’s resources can’t run without being shredded by exploiter-funded super-PACs and media pundits, how does someone like me or you have a chance? The answer is that, unless we are lackeys like Clinton and Cruz, whom those same exploiters also fund, we don’t! The process is rigged; you can watch a great example of how the media takes things out of context and falsely demonizes non-controlled candidates like Trump by searching for and viewing “The Untruth about Donald Trump” video.

  • G

    Gary SmithApr 8, 2016 at 5:24 am

    The following message is brought to you by Puppets for the Establishment Parasites (PEP), who want to encourage you to let them finish off America so they can move on to their next host…

    “You let us get this far…throw the red pill in the trash; stop trying to struggle against the hypnosis now and let us just take the last few drops of blood…it will all be over soon”

    “And please remember that free trade helps America; illegal immigration helps America; policing the world is America’s responsibility; super PACs are free speech to help poor unwitting candidates; there are no paid protesters; the news media we fund is unbiased; lobbyists are good; politicians and bureaucrats cannot be bought; those idiotic concerns about the debt and bubbles are unfounded; our education system is the best; your privacy is always protected; the war in Iraq was necessary; Russia is evil; your government listens to you…anyone who disagrees with this reality is a xenophobic, isolationist, ignorant, racist, nutjob!”