The Biden administration is apparently pouring millions of tax dollars into the development of AI tools to censor online information on the premise that “broad swaths of the public” — which specifically includes those who read the Bible or Constitution — cannot discern for themselves what is true and what is false.
The program, called “Trust & Authenticity in Communication Systems,” is conducted through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has channeled funds to elite research universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Madison-Wisconsin, and the University of Michigan. A report published this week by the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government revealed the alleged existence of the program.
Its apparent goal is to develop new technologies that would automate censorship of so-called “misinformation” online.
The committee’s report included documents from MIT in which its researchers, in a bid to attract more NSF funding, said that their research had found that Americans who hold “the Bible or the Constitution” to be “sacred” were particularly misinformed. Such “everyday people,” MIT researchers explained, reject the assumption that “truth is only curated at the top.”
This distrust of those at the top — identified by MIT as “journalists and academics” — leads these groups — identified as “conservative” — to believe they can “act as subject matter experts” and “fact check how media outlets reported the news,” the documents claim.
MIT researchers derided the reasoning abilities of “broad swaths of the public” who they concluded “cannot effectively sort truth from fiction online.” In particular, those most lost included “rural and indigenous communities” and “military veterans, older adults, and military families.”
According to the report, in September of 2021, NSF awarded MIT $750,000 to develop “effective interventions,” including a proposal for “a
proactive suite of human technologies” of content moderation aimed towards supporting the government’s message on COVID-19 and the disputed 2020 election.
Not to be outdone, the University of Michigan’s pitch to earn the funding included an explicit offer to accept “responsibility for difficult judgments” and the “difficult responsibility of censorship.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s “CourseCorrect” project reportedly received $5 million of taxpayer money to “identify, test, and correct real-world instances” of online expressions of views that differed from the government’s determined narrative.
Furthermore, the Committee report alleges that NSF sought to conceal this funding program from both the “media and political scrutiny.” NSF apparently did so by tracking “conservative journalists” and legal scholars that it considered a threat, including Jonathan Turley, a professor at Georgetown University School of Law, and adding them to a blacklist.
The report’s revelations led some commentators and journalists to wonder if they were personally being tracked by NSF.
“Given that the National Science Foundation was internally tracking media critics to its censorship program, & the fact that I broke the entire scandal open top to bottom, before anyone ever heard of it thru the thick of it, there’s a 0% chance the NSF wasn’t tracking me. So just [‘Say My Name’],” journalist Mike Benz posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, along with a video featuring the music and lyrics of the hit song by Destiny’s Child.
However, defenders of the NSF say the program is altruistic in its intent and is meant to allow for the efficient sharing of accurate information, reported The Washington Post. The publication also suggested that a reduction in content moderation on social media platforms could make way for growing Russian and Chinese covert influence operations.