During Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Q&A with Congress, there was one thing he had said that really caught my ear, and it worried me.
Zuck began talking about AI catching hate speech, noting that at this time we’re not at a point where the AI is smart enough to detect nuance that could accurately identify hate speech and eliminate it before it’s even posted
“So, that’s a success in terms of rolling out AI tools that can proactively police and enforce safety across the community. Hate speech, I’m optimistic that over a five to ten-year period we will have AI tools that can get into some of the nuances, the linguistic nuances of different types of content to be more accurate in flagging things for our systems, but today we’re just not there on that.”
“So, a lot of this is still reactive, people flag it to us,” Zuckerberg stated. “We have people look at it. We have policies to try to make it as not subjective as possible, but until we get it more automated, there is a higher error rate than I’m happy with.”
An immediate question comes to mind about an AI’s ability to detect and censor hate speech before it’s posted. Artificial intelligence is an amoral being. In order to combat hate speech, the AI has to have a sense of right and wrong given to it by its creator.
So who’s telling it what’s right and what’s wrong?
Zuck already told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that Silicone Valley is filthy with leftists, and that the right’s concerns that we’re being targeted by these leftists is completely valid. As Cruz highlighted to Zuck, they’re all but confirmed.
It didn’t help that Zuck couldn’t even tell Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) whether or not anti-abortion arguments were for sure not hate speech. Instead, he stuttered about how he doesn’t think it fits, and moved on into how it’s a conversation we need to have as a country. The answer should have been “No, disagreements on abortion are not hate speech.”
It’s a legitimate fear that the programmers behind the AI will give Censorbot 5000 the wrong kind of idea about what is and isn’t wrong to say. Violence is, of course, wrong to post and social media platforms have every right and reason to ban that kind of language from their platform. However, I’ve seen a friend of mine get banned for bringing up a hypothetical situation where an abortion activist was aborted, and a man who photoshopped NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch killing herself with a gun receive no punishment at all.
I’ve watched conservatives get shadowbanned for their views, while I consistently see anti-male hashtags pop up and spread like wildfire.
This AI isn’t going to be an impersonal entity. It will define hate speech based on what those leftists in Silicone Valley tell it to define it by. An AI capable of silencing censorship at the speed of thought is in no way going to help this ideological stranglehold being put on conservatives; it’s only going to make it worse.
Zuckerberg has every right to do what he wants with his company, but it doesn’t make the silencing of conservatives any more correct. The ideological bigotry has gone too far already, and there need to be more than just leftists calling the shots.