From a NYT op-ed commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001:A Space Odyssey:
Indeed, with its prehistoric “Dawn of Man” opening and a grand finale in which Dave is reborn as an eerily weightless Star Child, “2001” overtly references Nietzsche’s concept that we are but an intermediate stage between our apelike ancestors and the Übermensch, or “Beyond Man.” (Decades after Nietzsche’s death, the Nazis deployed a highly selective reading of his ideas, while ignoring Nietzsche’s antipathy to both anti-Semitism and pan-German nationalism.)
There could be a story about new salmon recipes, and the JYT would find a way to reference The Holocaust™.
And, of course, the writer has to shoehorn in a ‘Trump-Russia’ angle into the story:
In Mr. Clarke’s novel, HAL’s aberrant behavior was attributable to contradictory programming. In today’s hyperpartisan context, a mix of machine learning, networks of malicious bots and related A.I. technologies based on simulating human thought processes are being used to manipulate the human mind’s comparatively sluggish “wetware.” Recent revelations about stolen Facebook user data being weaponized by Cambridge Analytica and deployed to exploit voters’ hopes and fears underlines that disinformation has become a critical issue of our time.
We should consider just whose mission it is that’s too important to jeopardize these days. Does anybody doubt that the clumsy language and inept cultural references of the Russian trolls who seeded divisive pro-Trump messages during the 2016 election will improve as A.I. gains sophistication? Of course, algorithm-driven mass manipulation is only one weapon in propagandists’ arsenals, alongside television and ideologically slanted talk radio. But its reach is growing, and it’s a back door by which viral falsehoods infiltrate our increasingly acrimonious collective conversation.
Traditional media — “one transmitter, millions of receivers” — contain an inherently totalitarian structure. Add machine learning, and a feedback loop of toxic audiovisual content can reverberate in the echo chamber of social media as well, linking friends with an ersatz intimacy that leaves them particularly susceptible to manipulation. Further amplified and retransmitted by Fox News and right-wing radio, it’s ready to beam into the mind of the spectator in chief during his “executive time.”…
Even as some devise new medicines and streamline agriculture with them, others use them as powerful forces in opposition to Enlightenment values — liberty, tolerance and constitutional governance.
Democracy depends on a shared consensual reality — something that’s being willfully undermined.
Yes, not only democracy but reality itself is at stake! And FNC is the perfect representation (not the outlier) for said “traditional media”.