Hysteria proclaiming Jan. 6, 2021, as a MAGA-fueled “insurrection” against “democracy” is strong as ever one year later. Government agencies, a university and nonprofits are all coming together to develop supposed “political violence”-predicting algorithms in response. That plan could prove seriously damaging to free speech online.
Now “nonprofit” groups and government agencies, and a Florida university, are looking to use artificial intelligence (AI), or algorithms, to track and predict “insurrection[s]” online, according to The Washington Post. In the hands of those eager to censor political opponents or alternative voices, such algorithms could severely cripple free speech online.
Among those reportedly involved in the AI push is nonprofit Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), which “monitors and predicts” world crises, according to The Post. D.C.-based nonprofit PeaceTech Lab, applying tech to conflict resolution, is also involved. PeaceTech Lab will launch Ground Truth, “an initiative that uses AI to predict violence associated with elections and other democratic events,” in 2022, said the article.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) reportedly has the CoupCast program that allegedly “predicts the likelihood of coups and electoral violence.” CoupCast was given to UCF by Colorado-based “peacebuilding” nonprofit One Earth Future, whose apparently disillusioned executive director Jonathan Bellish reportedly said, “It just seemed to be a lot like trying to predict whether the Astros would win tomorrow night.”
Bellish’s point is valid, but there is another aspect to this predictive AI, and that is free speech. Government agencies, including the State Department, Pentagon, and CIA are increasingly using predictive AI, according to The Post, which also mentioned the FBI. Interestingly, FBI operatives were implicated in the events of Jan. 6, as reported both by Revolver News and The New York Times. While nothing has been conclusively proved, and The Post’s assessment ranks FBI enthusiasm for predictive AI fairly low, such evidence suggests government agencies cannot be trusted to use AI objectively.
Furthermore, the Biden administration has pressured Facebook to censor more on its platform, indicating that the government agencies under Biden may seek to squelch free speech under pretext of stopping “insurrections.”
In fact, Joe Biden’s verified account on Twitter called the Jan. 6 events a “deadly assault” (strange, considering the only people killed were protestors). There are multiple calls for Biden to help with tech reform, even though Biden and his administration have consistently been pro-censorship. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) tweeted yesterday that today was the anniversary of “a violent mob” staging “an insurrection.” Klobuchar has repeatedly and aggressively called for far more restrictive censorship of what she deems “misinformation” online.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that they hold Big Tech to account: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech embodied in the First Amendment. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.