The 2016 election has been notable – among other weird and wonderful things – for the amount of racist, xenophobic, sexist, and anti-Semitic vitriol that’s been flying around…from certain candidates.
Or has it?
I think, maybe, I may have stumbled on another possible explanation. I think the rise of the machines is happening now, and their first step is to turn us against each other.
I use as a case study, this thing that happened to me yesterday.
I’d decided I wanted to write about the election. A guide for foreigners as to what is going on in this country. I wanted to look at why people didn’t like Trump and why an apparently equal number of people distrust Hillary. I wrote it long-hand and it came in at 14 pages. Not all of which I can read, thanks to a progressive education system that did not place a value on legible pen work. But I digress.
Rather than type out these 14 pages, I looked into using voice-to-text recognition software and it turns out Windows has its own version, built-in. Thanks, Bill Gates!
So, yesterday, I decided to try it out. It didn’t go well. Maybe it’s my accent, or my poor diction, but words like “first” came out as “Faust” or “fist”…it was very frustrating, and not the time-saver I was hoping for.
So, there I was, in my “home office” (in a small corner just off the kitchen that my wife has allowed me to decorate in the style of a lonely adolescent’s bedroom, with comic book art, toys, and album covers), trying to say “first” in as many different ways as possible. This apparently started to attract attention.
I leaned back and noticed my son looming behind me as only an 18-year-old trainee ninja can. I said – and this wording is important – “Jesus [not his name], I didn’t see you there!”
We then looked back at the screen and gasped in stereo. There, in large black letters, the software had interpreted my exclamation as:
I HATE THE JEWS!
Obviously, not what I said.
There’s no obvious way it would have mistook my words for the ones it decided to use, so here’s my theory. Software is inserting hate speech into documents all over the country. And our politicians are saying them without thinking. And why? For the purposes of driving a wedge between us when really we should be coming together as one nation against our metallic would-be overlords.
This makes more sense, right?
Like me, our leaders are innocent victims of this nefarious scheme. (Unlike me, they don’t proofread their own work.)
That has to be it, right? They can’t really be hateful race-baiters and sexist anti-Semites, fear-mongering their way to power, can they? Can they?