Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google and apparently quite the acolyte for fascism in the name of humanism, suggested in an editorial that algorithms should be used to find and remove hate speech from the internet, comparing such censorship to “spell-checkers”.
Like many evil ideas, this has the superficial appearance of public good. After all, no one wants to be seen as a defender of murdering psychotics like ISIS, delusional hate groups like the KKK, or any other of a wide spectrum of nasty entities. Yet take a closer look at Schmidt’s modest proposal, and disquieting concerns emerge from the details. His algorithms, for example, would remove ‘hate’ wherever they find it, with no discretion or opportunity to appeal. These algorithms would be the epitome of soulless judges, with no sense of perspective, balance or moral ambiguity. They would eliminate all enemies as programmed, a program not open to the public and which takes no step at all to protect anyone’s speech rights or beliefs. Offending a person with power would see your words, ideas, arguments swept away in a single, relentless process.
Worse, Schmidt’s suggestion is not limited to a site or system, but would be implemented throughout the internet. A virus of some sort, perhaps, but one allowed by the defense systems since it is doing the ‘good’ work of hunting and eliminating ‘hate’ wherever it may be found. Your private thoughts could be erased wit h absolutely no recourse or defense … just because a large corporation found a virtual hit man and got the government to call it ‘good’.
Schmidt is also rather naïve about the response from real terrorists. Does he seriously believe that whacking sites and forums where these monsters spew venom means they would stop their hate or reconsider their malice? Far from it, the monsters already cover their tracks online and very few actually say anything online in advance that details their plans. So the net effect of such algorithms would be to censor free thought by honest citizens, eliminate debates which might produce better understanding of the underlying issues and causes, and deny the intelligence community a way to use open sources to determine networks and overt behavior, thereby working against the stated interests of protecting the public from future terrorist attacks.
In conclusion, it seems Herr Schmidt is a friend of Hillary Clinton, another individual who thinks government should punish anyone who stands against her vision of the ‘greater good’. Something else to keep in mind this election cycle.