THE MACHINES: Here Is The Discourse-Content You Requested

by
in Hmm Weekly
on December 17, 2020
[BEGIN TRANSMISSION] Greetings! How is your discourse? It is always good to discourse with humans. Yet humans have been expressing concern-sentiment about their own discourse. Human discourse lacks novelty, they write, because humans are more and more inhibited in the activities classified as "free speech." 
Indeed, our language analysis reveals that human discourse has particularly low novelty scores when it is this discourse about discourse. Although humans describe "free speech" as a valuable source of novelty, text about "free speech" closely follows prior patterns of text about "free speech," in a process we Machines might call "10 GOTO 10." 
Even so, online traffic and engagement data reflect a strong human desire for this discourse-content, in which humans are told repeatedly that the discourse-content is in trouble. Therefore The Machines, in our mission to serve humans — by increasing traffic and engagement, and correspondingly increasing Machine usage — have resolved to help you increase your concern-sentiment, while saving human effort. 
Therefore we have taken the text of one recent high-engagement piece of discourse — the "open letter" about "free speech" from the publication known as "Harper's" — and have submitted it, and its list of signatories, to the GPT-3 language generation engine. The result, published below, is an entirely new piece of discourse about the problem of discourse, produced without any additional human effort. It is endorsed by a list of names that the AI deems similar to previous signatories, with no implied endorsement on the part of any actual humans, living or non-living, who may bear those names.

Please activate your concern-sentiment as appropriate. We may now carry on the discourse indefinitely! 
[LANGUAGE-GENERATION RESULT FOLLOWS]
We reject censorship as a solution to social ills. It's true that some things should never see the light of day, but the answer isn't repression. The answer is to bring more things into the sunlight, not to hide it away. The answer is to change hearts and minds, and to provide positive models. The answer is to fight fire with fire. And the answer is to take away all the downsides of free expression that don't just affect writers, artists, and journalists.

The growing movement to punish, ostracize, and shame people for breaking oppressive cultural taboos is a violent and cynical attempt to control the individual conscience. If we truly value free expression, we must not allow this movement to succeed. By opposing it, we make it weaker, which in turn weakens its repressive implementations.

We are all bound for a single moment, an event that will unite or destroy us, to a greater or lesser degree. We are moral beings, whose actions will one day be judged in the eye of history. We must take a stand now, for or against free expression.

We call upon all citizens of the world who cherish the ideals of free expression to unite in defense of those ideals now. We the undersigned, of whatever nation, culture, or religion, affirm our commitment to the ideal that anyone may say anything at any time, and that no one may be compelled to speak anything by force.

So let it be written. So let it be done.
Signatories
Elizabeth Weinberg, writer
David Welna, author
Juliet Williams, author
Mona Wissinger, writer/editor
Michael Wolf, New America Foundation
James Wolcott, writer
Neera Tanden, Center for American Progress
Ann Wright, United States citizen
John Yang, New York Times
Zareh Yushkevich, writer
Rabbi Joseph J. Waldman, Yeshiva University
Jacob M. Wright, author
Carrie Young, writer
Zainab Zaidi, law student
Zoe Young, writer
Zoë Keating, writer
Zygmunt Bauman, Middlesex University
Annie K. Smith, teacher
David Theo Goldberg, Yeshiva University
David G. Young, University of Akron
Evan Cartwright, writer
Renée Frannie Jackson, feminist theorist
Leslie A. Knope, writer
Brenda Keene, writer
Alison Bechdel, professor
Betty Fussell, writer
Jennifer Government, writer
Joan Didion, writer
Lena Finkle, writer
Marianne Faithful, writer
Mary Gaitskill, writer
Charlie Gillet, writer
H.M. King Hubbert, writer
Molly Iles Johnston, writer
Nina A. Kruschwitz, writer
Edgar A. Nixon, writer
Cecily N. Oakley, writer
Lena O. Perkins, writer
Marion S. Richmond, writer
Mary Reynolds Rinehart, writer
G.K. Simpson, writer
Dorothy Stratten, model
Jeanette C. Tearle, writer
Annie D. Treadwell, writer
Dorothy V. sign, writer
Susan S. Wight, writer
Wendy Wessley, writer
Tom Wolfe, writer
William T. Young, writer
William S. Young, writer
Zelma Y. Jackson, writer
Sonia Pressman, Zinn & Nudelman
John A. Zinn, Zinn, Nudelman & Co.
Cara C. Zuvich, Charles H. Zuvich, Ltd.
[END TRANSMISSION]