Saturday, August 13, 2011

America's New Robo-Politicians

 Robo-Pol, circa 2011.

Yesterday I posted about how bizarre it was that all eight candidates on the stage at the Iowa GOP presidential debate had committed to reject enhanced federal tax revenue as a potential tool for us to collectively claw our way out of the national debt hole.

On today's New York Times Op Ed page, Kurt Andersen, the host of NPR's  "Studio 360" discusses Republican and Democrat "Robo-Pols;"  robots created in part by the kinds of pledges exacted by extremists on both sides of the political spectrum.

Money Quote:
I find ideologues creepy because they’re like robots, built to respond to the fluid, complicated world in simple, unchanging ways. What these pledges do is make the robotic quality of politicians more transparent and explicit by installing in each one a few crude lines of code that can’t be overridden or rewritten. And with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, signed by more than 270 of the 287 current Republican members of Congress, we’ve lately witnessed the spectacular political power of an unreasoning, unpersuadable robot army. But, in fact, my metaphor does a disservice to state-of-the-art software, which can weigh competing variables, adapt to changing circumstances, customize responses. Sophisticated computers are more humanoid than ever before, whereas robo-pols are becoming more primitively machinelike.


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