The election of 2016 saw a new creation in the ongoing screaming match between liberals and conservatives, the emergence of bots being blamed for all woes. A bot, in the simplest terms, is a bit of programming which performs generic, simple, and repetitive actions. These aren’t a new idea either, it’s just the execution that has changed over the last few decades. My generation, by virtue of being born in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, have quite literally grown up using computers. In the 1908’s I created batch files, most of them just to prove I could, as they would grab a MIDI and play it, or ask a question and stop. In the 1990’s, Microsoft launched Windows Operating system, which eventually included a StartUp folder. Any software placed there would be opened as soon as the machine was powered on, another use of this idea, a simple task happening automatically. In the years after I graduated High School, working for a one hour photo lab, I had my computer set to launch the various programs I needed to use to balance my chemistry, check exposure of negatives and prints to balance, before opening, so I produced good quality photos.
In a sense, batch files, and later, bots, were the beginning of A.I., as once programmed, they perform their jobs every time until stopped or changed. The election of 2016 however, saw a major expanse of their use, on all sides of every issue. Blogs would use them to spider the internet for articles with certain topics and repost them, or tweet them, or share on Facebook. Other accounts would watch for social media posts about specific topics, then reply to them or share or re-tweet them with either supporting or opposing verbiage added. The mainstream media likely uses this idea in some ways too, as it makes sense for the tickers and such playing at the bottom of their channel. Why have a person manually type in headlines when a batch file or bot can simply gather headlines and put them into another file, then send it on to be used. This is, simply put, the penultimate bias free writer. There is no consideration of the message or real desire involved, it’s simply “if I find this, do that,” lather, rinse, repeat.
I personally stopped at the Start Up idea, as I only learned HTML in the 90’s, and no other languages, but I’ve taken advantage of these on some websites where I could choose topics to have stories e-mailed to me, so I don’t need to scroll through multiple websites to find the stories I want to read, but today, the issue has become one that is leading us to a dangerous end. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’ve gone live several times, that alone making it pretty easy to see I’m not A.I. of any sort, yet I’m regularly called a bot when I oppose the liberal/socialist end game, as if that instantly removes my right to speak out on any topic. In actuality, that is the new goal of the “you’re just a bot” movement, silencing all opposition.
The methods may be new, as certainly computing and such are very new in the span of history, but the premise is much older, going back almost to the dawn of man on this planet, dehumanization. If your opponent isn’t human, you can do far more to them and not feel bad. Roman slaves were not considered human, allowing them to be killed for any infraction. Jews were called rats or cockroaches by the nazi regime, making it almost easy for the soldiers to carry out their orders, as they were conditioned to see their targets as not human. Even today this continues, South Africa is working to dehumanize white residents, so they can be killed and their land stolen, and Planned Parenthood spends millions each year to advance their message that the fetus is “just a clump of cells” so removing it isn’t murder, despite numerous medical professionals, experts in their field, have weighed in on this stating that the baby feels pain as early as 12 to 20 weeks. One woman even stated the baby doesn’t scream because she transects the vocal chords first, ensuring no screams, as she apparently learned the baby screams in pain when being dismembered.
The danger comes in now, though, as the movement is not stopping online, but slowly encroaching on real life. People are being doxxed, that is having their personal information published against their will, and used to make their lives a living hell, have them or their family fired, and so much more. SWATTING is a common practice among younger people where they will report a crime, normally a hostage situation or suicidal person at someone’s home to get the Police to respond, sometimes just to get someone out of a video game. How long, then, will it be before we see a court case where someone is on trial for murder, defend themselves with the “they were just a bot, so it wasn’t murder” idea?
Dehumanization is dangerous, when it comes to the military, those training the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, are very careful to not go to far, as of course they must train these men and women to fight, and if necessary, kill their enemies, but if not done properly, once home from service, the new civilian may have severe issues adjusting, which is why they are so careful, and why there are organizations set up solely to help those coming home adjust successfully.
In just the short time since the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, we’ve seen people assaulted over inviting a speaker to a private event at U.C. Berkeley, Charlottesville saw people run over for not supporting the removal of a monument because it was a reminder of the Civil War, and while a dark time in our past, it should be remembered, taught about, and more, to ensure we do not repeat it.
How long until we go from fist fights to shootings over a small group not liking that they can’t order a government around? When will the first person be murdered because they don’t join in and obey a mob demanding an entire segment of the citizenry be forcibly silenced? When will the first politician declare all votes against them were “cast by bots, and obviously are invalid” and be allowed to claim a victory by simply demanding it?
Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury, and more have warned us about the move toward tyranny, and how it will be made to look so wonderful we will gladly hand over all of our rights. Will the next century see “Flyover America” visited by the coastal elites who want to see a “savage reservation” before returning for a Soma Vacation? Will we see a second American Civil War over the “right to be right?” We have people now who are convinced you cannot even walk away from them when insulted, the “Oh, we are having this conversation” types. I’ve personally had to put one into a submission hold until a Police Officer got to me to avoid being assaulted for the “crime of walking away.” When will the first murder happen because someone “walked away and denied someone their right to be listened to?”
We’re in a jet propelled handcart headed for hell, and may be past the point of no return, but people are waking up, realizing that no one has rights others don’t, I just hope enough people do, and maybe we can stave off disaster for a few more years, or decades even.