Hi-tech Muzzle: Woke Bot for Classrooms Sounds Offensive Alarm When Detecting Offensive Speech
It’s a new product being rolled out just in time for Christmas, I guess, but the question is: Do you get it when you’re naughty or nice?
The gift is an electronic thought-police bot going by the name “Themis.” Intended for classrooms and social settings, the device is designed to detect and interrupt “offensive” remarks.
No, you didn’t accidentally log on to the Babylon Bee. This is not satire, though it is often hard to tell in today’s world. Themis, named after the Greek goddess of justice and social order, is an actual product invented by an actual person who, it appears, markets it with an actual straight face.
“The thought police have arrived,” writes the Telegraph, reporting on the behavior bot, though, thankfully, Themis doesn’t vaporize misbehaving humans with a disintegrator ray (at least not yet) like the robot Gort in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Instead, it relies on “extremely bothersome alarms” that last “approximately two minutes,” as the Telegraph also relates, that are intended to warn the transgressor and provoke discussion.
As the paper wrote Saturday:
Trigger warnings have been built into a new device developed for classrooms and social gatherings that sounds an alarm when it detects offensive language and jokes.
The lamp-sized gadget is an attempt to “manifest political correctness as an ideology into a product”, developers have said, and it is being trialled for potential use as a tool to moderate debate in settings like UK schools and universities.
Branded the “Themis”, the device is intended to be placed amid a debate setting and to emit a warning when it is triggered by the sound of banned language, racial terms and comments about body image.
Dinner parties and family gatherings could be also policed by the product, its designer has said, as the device could speak up for those at the table offended by certain topics of conversation and encourage “self-critique” in others.
Zinah Issa, who unveiled the product at Dubai Design Week, told The Telegraph: “Through the use of speech recognition and sound sensors, we were able to program Themis to detect offensive terms and sentences — racial slurs, offensive jokes — through the microphone.”
She added that “extremely bothersome” alarms triggered by such language “last approximately two minutes, after which Themis turns off, allowing then an open understanding discussion among people on the possible trigger matter and the potential reasons behind Themis’s activation.”
“Potential reasons”? Here’s a wild guess: Leftist social engineers want to quash any argument that could possibly refute their agenda. Apparently, there aren’t quite enough easily-triggered soy boys and clipped-haired girls with nanometer-thin skin and shoulders that could fit through a shirt’s neck hole to play speech busybody.
As ridiculous as the Themis sounds, it’s not just being “trialled,” but there’s also “a view to a wider roll-out soon,” reported the Daily Mail on Sunday.
The paper also tells us, “The design were [sic] unveiled at the Global Grad Show where students from across the Middle East and North Africa were invited to share their work.”
(Given the grammar exhibited above, wouldn’t a bot that detected lousy writing in journalism be more useful?)
Obviously, you’re not going to have to be Archie Bunker to trigger Themis. In fact, I can envision a future debate (right before gulags become the wokesters’ tongue-stifling prescription) policed by the device. Its alarm will sound every time I open my mouth — for two minutes.
Of course, the moderator will have informed all the participants, “You have two minutes per answer….”
Joking aside, there is a serious issue here: “Offensiveness” is the poorest of guides for behavior (in fact, it can be an “Offensiveness Ploy”) because it’s completely subjective. Most everyone is offended by something and most everything offends someone.
But Themis won’t go off at “most everything” any more than hate-speech laws punish “most everything.” It will instead be triggered by politically incorrect things.
So you can bet the bot won’t sound the alarm over using the Lord’s name in vain (now a staple of Hollywood movies) or bloviating on about “white rage” or “white male tears.” Just don’t say Bruce Jenner isn’t really a woman.
In other words, Themis will allow what’s popular and further stigmatize what’s unpopular, at least according to the pseudo-elites. Sometimes the stigmatizing of the unpopular has a certain name: bullying. For stigmatization to be just, its object must be more than just unpopular — it must be wrong (a.k.a. immoral).
As to this, the Greeks had a goddess of “justice” and “social order,” but not one of social justice. It’s doubtful the Greeks conceived of justice and social order in subjective, relative terms; rather, they were objective things, concerning matters such as not allowing miscreants to riot with impunity or punishing good people for defending themselves from the miscreants.
There was one ancient Greek who perhaps disagreed, however. Protagoras said, “Man is the measure of all things.” But while he was an outlier in his time, today this is the default perspective: Not believing in Truth and formulating laws and social codes reflecting it, we instead do so based on consensus preference (usually emotion-driven), either that of the masses or, increasingly, of the pseudo-elites. The result is injustice and social disorder.
But I do have a solution, a Nordic one, for dealing with this troublesome perversion of a Greek goddess:
Themis, meet Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor — and thou shalt buzz no more.
Published at Fri, 19 Nov 2021 16:13:51 +0000