- The Washington Times
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As if college administrators could be trusted to determine what constitutes hate speech versus what does not — now comes the university-created artificial intelligence aimed at doing the same.

And that’s “hate speech” in quotation marks.


Let’s not overlook the basic premise here — that in America, there is really no such thing as “hate” speech, at least as far as the criminal justice system goes. There’s the First Amendment — and then there’s rhetoric that’s unacceptable, intolerable, insensitive, ugly, downright disgusting and, finally, hateful. And the like.

But hate speech as a criminal offense?

Nope. That’s a dream of the left, a goal of the socialists to curb all talk by conservatives. But constitutional? That it ain’t.

So: When a new Cornell University study shows that some colleges have in fact created technology to sift through students’ online speech and label what’s prejudicial, what’s not, what’s hate speech, what’s not, Americans’ eyebrows should be a’ raisin’. Because the colleges are filled with leftists, dontcha know.

Worse, though, is this: The technology used to rate this speech could itself be (hatefully?) discriminatory. Do tell.

Campus Reform wrote: “A new study out of Cornell reveals that the machine learning practices behind AI, which are designed to flag offensive online content, may actually ‘discriminate against the groups who are often the targets of the abuse we are trying to detect.’”

For instance, the A.I. at Cornell did some serious oversampling, it seems, of tweets determined to be “black-aligned” — the computer’s catchy code phrase for describing posts supposedly penned by black people — and then flagged their messages as “hate speech” with far greater frequency than it did for those Twitter posters deemed “white-aligned,” written by white people.

Professors with the University of Buffalo and with Arizona State University have created similar technology that flags so-called “prejudice” in social media postings. Professors at the University of California-Santa Barbara have implemented A.I. to discern “fake news.” But one has to ask: Who appointed college administrators to be the arbiters of proper speech? Of genuine news?

America’s colleges and universities have become little more than breeding grounds for far left activists. Professors regularly shut down conservative talk; administrators regularly cave to far left agitators at the expense of conservative-leaning interests; students regularly protest conservative speakers, to the point even of lighting fires and staging violent uprisings. Remember Berkeley’s shutdown of Milo Yiannopoulos? How about University of Oregon students’ drowning of their own campus president’s speech — a speech that called for them to “stand against fascism,” no less?

College campuses in America are hardly places where the free go to roam.

And if it’s these anti-conservative, politically correct, overly sensitive snowflakey types who are programming the technology that determines the appropriateness of student speech, well then, America should worry.

The rising generation, the graduating youth, the emerging leaders of America, may get their college degrees. But when it comes to notions of free speech, the First Amendment and American freedom, they won’t know a lick of truth.

It’ll be P.C. by Machine Learning, all the way.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter @ckchumley.


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