Artificial Intelligence

Outside the Box: Do Presidents Need Functioning Brains?

In “Outside the Box,” I toss impertinent questions at ChatGPT to better understand how AI “reasons.” Today’s dialogue turns around the interpretation of the decision of numerous nations to cut off funding for the Gaza aid organization, UNWRA.

Generated with Stable Diffusion XL.

February 12, 2024 04:49 EDT

“Caitlin Johnstone used the following colorful language to describe the role of US President Joe Biden in the unfolding Gaza drama: ‘Biden is a spent piece of Beltway flotsam with a swiss cheese brain being used as a ventriloquist dummy by DC swamp monsters to commit genocide, expand the US war machine, and play nuclear chicken with Russia. This is the face of the US empire, folks.’

Though Johnstone’s rhetoric is exaggerated for satirical purposes, it never deviates from real events and facts. How reliable do you consider her commentary?”

Caitlin Johnstone, a controversial and outspoken commentator, has indeed made strong statements regarding Israel’s treatment of Gaza. Let’s examine her commentary in light of available information:

1. **Genocide Allegations**:

   – Johnstone has accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. She highlights the ongoing conflict and the impact on Palestinian lives.

   – However, it’s essential to recognize that the term “genocide” carries specific legal and historical weight. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected Israel’s request to dismiss a genocide case brought against it by South Africa, ruling that the case shall proceed and instructing Israel to refrain from harming Palestinians ².

   – While Johnstone’s use of the term may be provocative, it reflects the severity of the situation.

2. **Biden and Geopolitics**:

   – Johnstone criticizes President Joe Biden, portraying him as a puppet manipulated by powerful interests. Her language is hyperbolic, emphasizing Biden’s cognitive limitations.

   – It’s essential to recognize that political leaders often face complex challenges, and their decisions impact global affairs. Johnstone’s characterization is subjective and lacks nuance.

3. **Authenticity and Reality**:

   – Johnstone’s commentary aims to provoke thought and challenge mainstream narratives. Her writing style combines satire, criticism, and genuine concern.

   – While her rhetoric may be exaggerated for effect, it does reflect real-world events and the power dynamics at play.

4. **Reliability**:

   – Johnstone’s reliability depends on individual perspectives. Some view her as a valuable alternative voice, while others dismiss her as overly biased.

   – As with any commentator, it’s crucial to verify her claims independently, consider multiple sources, and form an informed opinion.

In summary, Caitlin Johnstone’s commentary provides a perspective outside the mainstream, but readers should approach it critically and seek additional context to form a well-rounded understanding of the situation. Her language may be provocative, but it contributes to broader discussions about geopolitics and human rights.

ChatGPT’s mobilizes “the objectivity defense”

“You complain that Johnstone’s take is ‘subjective and lacks nuance.’ But of course, this style of satirical reformulation requires reducing nuance to make its point. It doesn’t deny nuance. Many commentators, even many Democratic party operatives who support Biden, are concerned about the growing number of lapses and egregious factual errors that appear in his speech. This is hard evidence Where do you draw the line between subjective interpretation and objective truth?”

You raise an important point, and I appreciate your thoughtful analysis. Let’s delve deeper into the assessment of Joe Biden’s cognitive faculties and the distinction between subjectivity and objective truth:

1. **Subjectivity vs. Objectivity**:

   – Subjectivity refers to personal opinions, feelings, and interpretations. It is inherently influenced by individual perspectives and biases.

   – Objective truth, on the other hand, aims to be independent of personal viewpoints. It relies on verifiable evidence, facts, and empirical data.

2. **Biden’s Cognitive Abilities**:

   – Concerns about Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities are not limited to Caitlin Johnstone. Many commentators, including those within his own party, have expressed similar worries.

   – These concerns stem from instances of verbal slips, factual errors, and moments where Biden appears to struggle with coherence.

   – However, assessing cognitive decline is complex. It requires considering various factors, including age, stress, workload, and the demands of the presidency.

3. **Collective Subjective Impressions**:

  – When multiple people share a similar subjective impression, it does not automatically translate into objective truth.

 – Collective observations can highlight patterns, but they do not inherently validate or invalidate a claim.

   – Objective truth emerges when supported by rigorous analysis, scientific methods, and empirical evidence.

4. **Objective Assessment**:

   – To determine objective truth regarding Biden’s cognitive state, we need comprehensive evaluations by medical professionals, cognitive assessments, and transparency.

   – Such assessments should consider cognitive tests, medical history, and expert opinions.

   – Until then, discussions remain in the realm of subjective impressions.

5. **Media and Public Perception**:

   – Media narratives and public perception play a significant role. Biases, political affiliations, and sensationalism can cloud objectivity.

   – Fact-checking, critical analysis, and cross-referencing are essential to discern truth from opinion.

In summary, while many share concerns about Biden’s cognitive abilities, arriving at an objective truth requires thorough examination beyond subjective impressions. As informed citizens, we should seek evidence-based assessments and engage in open dialogue to understand complex issues fully.

Is objectivity a feasible goal in a democracy?

“Would you admit that democracy is never about ‘objective truth?’ Democracy relies on the subjectivity of voters. Political parties play on voters’ subjectivity. You claim that the very real evidence of Biden’s cognitive decline must not be taken seriously in the absence of a thorough examination. In that case, wouldn’t it be reasonable to amend the US constitution to require presidential candidates to undergo a thorough mental examination?

“**Certainly**, your observation about democracy is astute. Democracy indeed operates within the realm of subjectivity, shaped by voters’ perspectives, political narratives, and party influence. Let’s explore the nuances further:

1. **Democracy and Subjectivity**:

   – **Democracy** thrives on the diversity of opinions and the right of citizens to express their subjective views through voting.

   – **Objective truth** may be elusive in politics due to varying interpretations, biases, and competing narratives.

2. **Biden’s Cognitive Decline**:

   – The evidence of Biden’s cognitive decline is a legitimate concern. His verbal slips, factual errors, and moments of confusion are observable.

   – However, assessing cognitive health requires a comprehensive approach. A thorough examination by medical professionals is essential.

   – Balancing transparency with privacy is crucial for any candidate.

3. **Amending the Constitution**:

   – **Mental fitness** is an important aspect of leadership. Considering a candidate’s cognitive abilities is reasonable.

   – **Amending the US Constitution** to include a mental examination requirement could enhance transparency.

   – However, implementation would require careful consideration:

  – **Who conducts the examination?**

  – **What criteria define mental fitness?**

  – **How to avoid bias or misuse?**

4. **Balancing Objectivity and Subjectivity**:

   – Striking a balance between objective assessments (medical evaluations) and subjective impressions (public perception) is vital.

   – **Collective observations** can inform public discourse, but they should not replace rigorous evaluation.

In summary, while democracy thrives on subjectivity, ensuring leaders’ fitness involves both subjective awareness and objective scrutiny. Amending the Constitution warrants thoughtful debate, considering practical implications and safeguarding democratic principles.

To summarize this discussion, ChatGPT recommends that people read Caitlin Johnstone’s commentaries. The only implicit criticism it makes is that some people find her controversial. That criticism is purely subjective. We learn that Johnstone “provides a perspective outside the mainstream.” That is an objective fact. ChatGPT finds no contradiction with facts in Johnstone’s commentary.

In contrast, Biden’s State Department still insists that the accusation of Israel’s genocide is “without merit.” This flies in the face of the International Court of Justice’s ruling. That appears to go beyond subjectivity. It is clearly misrepresentation, another word for lying.

A close reading of Johnstone’s prose

Let’s weigh Johnstone’s assertions against observable fact. “Biden is a spent piece of Beltway flotsam with a Swiss cheese brain.” There is every reason to see him as “spent,” 50 years after his initial election to the Senate. Time has taken its toll, cutting visible holes in his memory, justifying the Swiss cheese trope.

Johnstone characterizes Biden as merely a spokesperson for the military-industrial complex, a sprawling institution that thrives on war. This correlates with the somber analysis of President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961. Over six decades, the problem has only grown worse. As for playing “nuclear chicken with Russia,” no one can deny that the two wars currently backed by the US have led the world to the brink. The nuclear doomsday clock has been reset to 90 seconds to midnight.

Johnstone’s forceful imagery points to objective facts. That is why everyone should read her newsletter. She highlights things that are uncomfortably true. This may sound startling, but it is neither fantasy nor conspiracy theory. The president is not literally a ventriloquist’s dummy. But the widely held contrary assumption – that a US president is a free spirit – is worse than naive.

Next week we shall continue this discussion with ChatGPT, and more particularly examine its reaction to the State Department’s assessment of the same issues.

*[Artificial Intelligence is rapidly becoming a feature of everyone’s daily life. We unconsciously perceive it either as a friend or foe, a helper or destroyer. At Fair Observer, we see it as a tool of creativity, capable of revealing the complex relationship between humans and machines.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.


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