I saw this headline on Drudge this morning: Algorithms now 'writing' articles for newspapers and websites... and I thought: “Wow - Global Warming must really be over if Al Gore is back to working as a hack.” Then I read the story and realized that algorithms involved math, which automatically eliminated Al Gore from the equation.
The Drudge story is actually about how media companies are outsourcing their news writing to computer programs - comprised of a series of algorithms - to process masses of raw data and spit out a story:
While computers cannot parse the subtleties of each story, they can take vast amounts of raw data and turn it into what passes for news, analysts say.
"This can work for anything that is basic and formulaic,"
Wow! This is HUGE! Journalists everywhere writing what “passes for news” could be endangered. That means that all of the human reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Slate, The Nation, Harpers…along with every Blog in the Democratic Underground blogroll, can be replaced with an algorithm.They’re about to be “off-shored!” How can this happen on Big Guy’s watch!? How is this going to help the unemployment numbers?
Worse yet, this could hit even closer to home. What could be more “basic” than one of Lady M’s campaign speeches? Or more “formulaic” than one of Big Guy’s? Do you realize what this means!? We could soon be replacing our loyal human political cyphers…
with real ciphers!
Encryption machines that move faster than a politician’s lips!! I cannot over-emphasize how huge this is! Can you imagine: you just speak into a microphone and the algorithms encrypt your words into political-Newspeak. Say, for example, we need to transmogrify this:
“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,” (Big Guy, Sept. 12, 2008)
…into something more like “I’m going to have to raise everybody’s taxes on everything by 150% or more to pay for this healthcare monstrosity” without getting the people who will actually be paying for it upset.That’s where we currently employ our human cyphers; they translate this “irrefutable fact” into something a little…uh, “softer” – starting with Big Guy himself:
“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” (Feb. 24, 2009)
Did you see how he did that? How he parsed it into “Not one single “dime” – hee! That’s why we call him the Won!
Our go-to cypher used to be Gibbsy: first, and still the best!
Human cypher #1’s attempt - dissimulate: “The statement didn’t come with caveats.” (Robert Gibbs April 15, 2009, when asked if the pledge applies to healthcare)
Cypher #2 is no slouch either:
Human cypher #2’s attempt - obfuscate: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it” (Nancy Pelosi March 9, 2010)
Human cypher #1’s second attempt - impersonate: “individual responsibility portion in the law” (Robert Gibbs December 2010 – explaining that the “individual mandate” is now an individual “responsibility”)
Human cypher #2’s second attempt: – free-associate “It’s a ta—; it’s a penalty for free riders.” (Nancy Pelosi July 1, 2012, nearly uttering the dreaded T-word before cutting herself off. An algorithm never would have done that.)
Human cypher #3 weighs in by confounding and equivocating:
Look, it's a penalty. It affects 1 percent, and perhaps less, of the population. It is a -- I don't know about you, but you don't get to choose whether you pay your income taxes -- most people don't. I certainly don't. This is not a tax in that sense at all. It is a penalty you pay if you fail to buy health insurance but can afford it. - (Jay Carney July 7, 2012 – and for the record Jay, I’d check my contract if I were you: some of Big Guy’s cyphers, like Toxic Timmy, don’t have to pay their income taxes; or at least they get to choose whether they do or not.)
So you can see where a ciphering machine might come in pretty handy around here, especially if you could program it to obfuscate, dissimulate, impersonate and triangulate all at once. Hey wait! We’ve already got one of those ciphers!
Butt we’re going to have to make sure we classify all of our documents, emails, phone calls and text messages relating to the existence of these super-secret cipher machines. We don’t want this falling in the wrong hands. As it is, it looks like some of our most valued foreign allies are catching on to our cyber antics:
H/T Ellen K