Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. So said Mark Zuckerberg, and so far almost nobody seems to have noticed his source.
"I am optimistic that over a five-to-10-year period, we will have AI tools that can get into some of the linguistic nuances of different types of content to be more accurate in flagging content for our systems..."
or, as paraphrased in this tweet, Zuckerberg testified he’s “optimistic” that in 5-10 years, Facebook will have AI tools to automatically censor “hate speech”. But he couldn’t define “hate speech”, beyond whatever makes some people feel “unsafe”.
As far as I am concerned, what really scares me of those quotes is how much they are identical, in essence, to these others:
We're getting the language into its final shape -- the shape it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone.
Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that.
Those statements from Zuckerberg, together with his inability to define “hate speech” (*) are nothing less than an official announcement that NewSpeak is coming. The paragraphs above are straight from Orwell’s novell “1984”. Do go and read that whole chapter, while you can still understand it. It contains the only constraints that could actually reduce discourse inside Facebook to something manageable without false flags by “artificial intelligence”. That is what Zuckerberg was talking about, whether he realizes or not.
And the only solution is…
… to get rid once and for good not of Facebook, but of any need for any global platform like Facebook. Anything that big and centralized will always have the same problems, no matter who owns it, or how much it is “regulated”. I have already discussed this at length in my many short posts about Facebook and Mastodon. Please have a look at them, and then start to demand realistic, but truly decentralized alternatives. Any centralized Artificial Intelligence for “controlling hate speech” is doubleplusungood.
(*) to be honest, had he given without hesitation any precise definition of “hate speech enforceable in 5-10 years” I would likely be even more uncomfortable right now… What is more terrifying in purity is haste, as William of Baskerville says in “The Name of the rose”