Afternoon Ethics Romp, 4/10/2019: A Swirl Of Emotions…

Ah, I feel wefweshed!

Just took a post-seminar nap—one of the bennies of a hime business– counted philosophers jumping over a fence, and now I’m awake and ready to rumble…

1. Wow. The quality of posts on this morning’s Open Forum is off the charts. Now my self-esteem is crushed , since it’s obvious that I’m keep the group back with my mundane commentary. If you haven’t dropped in on the colloquy yet, I recommend it highly.

2. This is why we can’t  have nice things, and will have fewer and fewer of them as time goes on…Related to a thread in the Open Forum, about a controversy over the way artificial intelligence screens job applicants is this news from a week ago. Google announced that it was dissolving a newly established panel. called the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC). which was founded to guide “responsible development of AI” at the tech giant (colossus/ behemoth/monster). The group was to have eight members and meet four times over the course of 2019 to consider issues and recommendation regarding Google’s AI program. The idea was to have an intellectually and ideologically diverse group to avoid “group think” and narrow perspectives.

I know something about such enterprises. I once had the job of running independent scholarly research within the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on contentious policy matters. My methodology was to invite experts from all sides of the issue, the political divide, and spectrum of professions and occupations. The method worked. Oh, we had arguments, minority reports, everything you might expect, but the committee meeting were civil, stimulating and often surprising. This, of course, requires an open mind and mutual respect from all involved.

In this case, however, thousands of Google employees signed a petition calling for the removal of one board member, Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James, because they objected to her statements regarding matters having little or nothing to do with Artificial Intelligence, but that indicated that she was Evil, as in “conservative.”   Drone company CEO Dyan Gibbens, another announced committee member, also became metaphorically radioactive because many Googlies object to the  use of the company’s AI in the military. After all, all they are saying is “give peace a chance”…

One woke board member, Alessandro Acquisti, resigned. Other members found themselves under siege with demands  that they justify participating in a group containing violators of GoodThink.  Now, a bold, ethical, responsible organization not committed to letting the chickens run the coop would have issued a clear  statement about the critical nature of wide-ranging inquiry and different perspectives and modes of analysis when tackling any problem, particularly one as difficult as Artificial Intelligence, and state that they would not be forced into poor management by political activists, no matter how woke they were.

Not a chance.

Google  dissolved the panel, saying:

It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics.

The “current atmosphere” is the rigid ideological autocracy of the Left, which seeks to achieve power by denying the legitimacy of all opposing views, and muzzling dissenting opinions through bullying, demonizing, and ” all means necessary.” If companies keep caving, this will keep happening.

3.  And over at Microsoft…Microsoft has a $479-million-plus contract with the U.S. Army to develop and build an Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). The problem is that the military described the equipment,  a modified HoloLens 2, as  increasing “lethality” to transform ” warfare into a simulated ‘video game,’ further distancing soldiers from the grim stakes of war and the reality of bloodshed.”

Ew. Killing  wrong. Army bad. “All we are saying is give peace a chance!” (Second verse.) Microsoft employees are now protesting that the  IVAS contract “crosses the line into weapons development” and that “Intent to harm is not an acceptable use of our technology.”  [Sources: Engineering.com; Gizmodo]

See #2 above. Fortunately, it’s easier to cave to progressive cant when it just involves cancelling a committee. Not wanting to forfeit nearly half a billion dollars  will steel even the most timid capitalist’s spine, however.

Good.

4. There’s a theme in here somewhere…Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s name appears on a list that a groups of immigration and civil rights groups recently sent to the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, telling them them not to hire Trump officials who were involved in dealing with the wave of illegal immigrants using children a props to skirt borders and consequences of their law-breaking. aka., “Putting children in cages.” (I guess I’m going to have to make a list of the resistance’s Big Lies, like the ongoing list of impeachment plans.) The letter targets other current and former Trump administration officials such as John Kelly and Sarah Sanders, the current White House press secretary. Threats, petitions, warnings, boycotts, social media mobs, harassing and assaulting those who wear a cap that suggests support for the President of the United States…does anyone detect a pattern, or is it just me?

5.  Oh, NO! Now I have to say nice things about PolitiFact…The ethics news here is not that the mainstream news media and various Democratic demagogues intentionally misrepresented the Presidents typically ham-handed rhetoric to  contrive a gotcha furthering one of the Left’s Big Lies (The President is a racist, did you know that?), because they have been doing this more or less daily since 2015. No, the news is that even PolitiFact, the most reliably biased and untrustworthy of the fact-checking features the news media uses to push opinion as fact has its limits, and actually defended President Trump!

Headlined,Democrats push misleading tweet on Donald Trump, asylum seekers,” PolitiFact correctly noted,

Democratic presidential candidates, liberal pundits and other critics of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies amplified a misleading tweet claiming that Trump said asylum seekers are “animals” and not people.

Here’s what they left out in the process: the fact that Trump wasn’t clearly talking about asylum seekers. His “animals” comment came nearly a year ago during a White House discussion on MS-13 gang members. [I assume they meant to write, “clearly wasn’t,” but it’s PolitiFact, Jake, so who knows]?] Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who is running for president in the 2020 election, shared the video on her Twitter account the next day, adding, “Racist language like this has led to violence throughout the world’s history. No human being is an animal. We have to be better than this.” [Gillibrand is such a nakedly opportunistic hack, and I assume even Democrats won’t be able to stomach her hypocrisy and grandstanding sufficiently to let her get nominated, unless the only alternative is a white male. Can’t have that…] South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, also bidding for the White House,… on April 6 tweeted, “You do not refer to human beings as animals. You just don’t.” [ Oooh, show me that rule, Pete! I need to know what metaphors are allowed in the Brave New U.S. So referring to sexual harassers and misogynists as “pigs” is out? Calling men who can’t control their nether regions “dogs”is a violation? How about calling a baseball pitcher you can always count on a “horse”? An informer a “rat”? A spy like the guy the FBI planted in the Trump campaign a “mole”? ]

Verdict: A viral Twitter post said Trump said asylum seekers “aren’t people. These are animals.” The tweet left out important context. Trump did refer to some people as “animals,” but that was during an exchange about MS-13 gang members. His comment wasn’t directly about asylum seekers.

We rate the tweet False.

9 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Romp, 4/10/2019: A Swirl Of Emotions…

    • Also note the little last-minute bit of spin at the end: “His comment wasn’t directly about asylum seekers.” This comment wasn’t directly about asylum seekers, you see, but if you read between the lines, wink, wink…

  1. What I can say is my neighbor Pete, mayor turned candidate for president, can’t quite keep our neighbors basements from becoming sewage holding tanks when the rains come and the river is high. Good luck running the country. He is very bright and well spoken, but frequently tone deaf on basic issues of municipal budgets and services.

    • AIJ, you live in South Bend? Good for EA to have mole in St. Joe County to give us the low down on the next Dem superstar. Tell us more when the opportunity presents itself. And give my regards to Michiana.

  2. Regarding #2 and #3, the correct response to employees presenting a petition stating that they are unhappy that some action that the company is taking isn’t “woke” enough, is a gentle reminder that unemployment is at a historically low level, so if they’re truly upset, they’re welcome to try their luck on the labor market.

  3. I had a discussion with a group of people lately who were upset that our military is so advanced. They felt that if we had more human soldiers in foreign combat zones, and those soldiers didn’t have such advanced weaponry and training, that people in foreign countries would like the US better. They got mad when I asked if they were suggesting that we hold our military back so that more of our soldiers will die overseas to improve our image with people in brutal, third world countries.

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