Donald Trump

Donald Trump Revealed To Be Most-Successful Troll-Bot Ever Created

At last night's town hall on CNN, the billionaire developer sounded less like a living, breathing human being & more like a genius chatbot.

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CNN

If the world's recent experience with "Tay," Microsoft's AI-enabled chatbot that was turned into a Holocaust-denying racist within hours of her release on Twitter, should have taught us anything, it's that Donald Trump is the world's most-successful AI experiment at trolling the entire American political system.

How you feel about this revelation depends on whether you find Trump's increasingly bizarre antics comic or menacing (if you take them cereal…well…). But there's no question that conversation, debate, or discussion with Trump is in fundamental ways pointless. From his perspective at least, the only goal is to keep the conversation going as long as it possibly can, and in directions he prefers.

Consider this Tweet from Trump that came out yesterday, coupled with his performance at last night's CNN Townhall.

The not-at-all mysterious or sinister object in the hand of former Breitbart.com staffer Michelle Fields is pretty obviously a pen (as Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown has pointed out).

When asked last night about whether he should can Corey Lewandowski, his thuggish campaign manager who has also been filmed apparently pulling the collar of a protester at a different event, here was Trump's response:

"It would be so easy for me to terminate this man, ruin his life, ruin his family…and say you are fired. I have fired many people, especially on 'The Apprentice,'" Trump told moderator Anderson Cooper. "The problem is everybody dumps people when there is a sign of political incorrectness."

After CNN showed the 21st-century equivalent of the Zapruder film in super-slow motion for the thousandth time, Trump also polled the audience, at one point even asking only the women to respond. Come on, did anything happen?" he said, starting to sound Seinfeld's Jack Klompus pushing "an astronaut pen" on Jerry in an early episode. She said she was yanked down hard! She didn't fall! She's changing her story. Needless to say, the crowd was with him.

One of the reasons Trump draws the attention of critics and fans alike is not simply what he says but how he says it. In the exchange with CNN's Anderson Cooper quoted above, Trump neither fully engages nor deflects the question in the ways we're accustomed to see in politicians. He doesn't blow it off, the way pols always do when they don't want to answer something specifically, and he never launches into pre-scripted, pre-rehearsed lines the way Marco Rubio did so notoriously in one of the debates and the way that Ted Cruz seems to every time he opens his mouth (whether it's scripted or not).

Instead, like an AI bot, Trump ingests the question and spews out something semantically related but not quite on topic—suddenly, we've gone from talking about a potential assault by his campaign manager to a discussion of Trump's signature line from a canceled reality show and a humblebrag about how he's actually taking the hard road by not firing Lewandowski. While we're still processing all that, Trump has started the terms of the next exchange, which is now about political correctness and how most politicians (and others) dump their loyal staff at the first hint of trouble.

This isn't conversation or even debate. It's AI chatter, where a bot's main goal isn't to actually have a meaningful discussion about anything or even dispense information. It's to see whether humans can be fooled by computer-generated talk and to see how long it can be kept going until we get bored or the back-and-forth falters due to lack of a next topic of conversation. On these scores, at least, Trump is the greatest triumph yet of AI.

This dynamic is related to but distinct from what Dilbert creator Scott Adams identified as Trump's ability to fire off "linguistic kill shots," or words and phrases that end or change a debate decisively. Back in October, Adams told Reason that he sees in Trump's rhetoric and delivery evidence of "a lot of deep technique that I recognized from the fields of hypnosis and persuasion." What do you think?

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  1. I really believe Trump is mentally unbalanced. He is the idiot rich man’s son. If by some chance,he should be elected,H&R will be 4 years of all Trump,all the time.

      1. There’s not enough beer in the world to way through that shit,

        1. wade

        2. If Clinton or Trump wins in 2016, I’m buying a copper still and I’ll see you all in 2020, probably with cirrhosis.

          1. It doesn’t matter who wins. I’ll do the same thing I do now: go to my shitty office job and pine for the heat death of the universe.

            1. Doppelganger…. *narrows gaze*

            2. I sincerely wish there was a like option for comments like this.

        3. Time to switch to whiskey, my friend.

  2. So what are you going to do if he trolls his way to winning?

    I’ll bet you’d celebrate.

    1. I am on record here of wanting to see it all burn,seeing the choice on the other side is Hillabeast and Grey Che’.Beer and nachos.

  3. This isn’t conversation or even debate. It’s AI chatter, where a bot’s main goal isn’t to actually have a meaningful discussion about anything or even dispense information. It’s to see whether humans can be fooled by computer-generated talk and to see how long it can be kept going until we get bored or the back-and-forth falters due to lack of a next topic of conversation. On these scores, at least, Trump is the greatest triumph yet of AI.

    It’s called a Turing Test, Nick.

    1. They are different creatures. Trump would never pass a Turing Test, any more than Eliza.

      1. Trump would never pass a Turing Test, any more than Eliza.

        What do you mean by that?

        1. Maybe I got the name wrong. The programming editor Emacs used to, and may still, come with a funny program called Eliza which repeats back everything entered, mangled just enough that it sounds human in a funny stupid computer way. It was especially impressive when it first came out, 20-30 years ago.

          1. Wikipedia says early 1960s, and ported to Emacs in the 1970s or possibly early 1980s. I know I saw it by then.

          2. Maybe I got the name wrong.

            What makes you think you got the name wrong?

            1. Damn. Damn Damn Damn!

              1. I have to admit that the fine way I was caught mitigates the embarrassment somewhat.

            2. Is it because of your mother that only you can solve?

      2. They should remake Ex Machina, except it’s Trump that invites poor Caleb to do the Turing Test. I just want to see Trump do the dance scene.

        1. Twould be a grand ol’ sight…

  4. If there’s such a thing as artificial intelligence, then there must be artificial stupidity.
    Thus, the candidates are explained.

  5. See they are sneaking this in right before the AM links.. Staff must be getting embarrassed by all the trump articles too and just want the social media clickbait.

  6. I think it’s more like a Turing Taunt.
    Not sure any of the current [okay, or past] candidates count as intelligent lifeforms.

  7. I am glad we finally have a Presidential Candidate who is willing to speak out on the widespread violence inflicted on the public by roving media gangs.

  8. I, for one, welcome our troll bot overlords! And look forward to toiling on my laptop at home for a few hours a day so I can buy a “new” Citro?n 2cv.

  9. He is a level four alpha chessmaster. It’s so simple!

    -Scott Adams

    1. 5 D chessmaster.

  10. I’ve been saying this from the start. He is the world’s greatest troll. Everything he does is calculated to get a specific reaction from specific people.

    1. I figger he got into it this far by chance. He was goofing around, trolling the media, poking them in the chest, laughing at them, baiting them, and they took him seriously because news is news, the crazier the merrier, and the so-called journos couldn’t think their way out of a politically correct safe space, so they kept on taking the bait, and Trump kept on feeding it to them, until it turned into a real campaign. I reckon he’s as surprised as the journos, but he’s having fun while they’re having fits.

  11. Trump evinces no evidence of actual thought. He cannot pass the Turing test because he is easily distinguishable from a human being. I believe that Trump was an unsuccessful AI experiment that escaped from the lab, a Frankentrump. He should be forced to produce his birth certificate.

  12. We’ll soon need a Voight-Kampff machine.

  13. Key quote from Trump: “The problem is everybody dumps people when there is a sign of political incorrectness.”

    Vox Day has a great book called SJWs Always Lie. Reading that and Trump’s book The Art of the Deal explains a lot about his tactics. It’s easy to dismiss Trump as an idiot or an “authoritarian” if you’re not aware of the broader battle around us.

    1. Look, a rabid puppy.

  14. Aren’t we all glad to have media serious about presenting the issues and the way the candidates address them rather than continually focus on clowns and side issues?
    I mean, imagine how bad it would be if the media fell for Trump’s BS and offered, oh, 5 to 10 stories each day about him; wouldn’t you think that outlet would be a bit embarrassed?

    1. If only they could get back to stories about triggered, pot-smoking, trans dogs shot by cops. That would remove the taint.

  15. Trump and Tay are so jay. Cray cray.

  16. I would love a Trump presidency, for no other reason than to show how, for all you democracy lovers, your entire world view is predicated on the assumption that shit like what just happened, never happens.

  17. I hate Trump as much as any libertarian, but what you appear to be complaining about is that Trump is actually a good debater.

    Changing the subject, deflecting the question, those things are well understood debate tactics. This isn’t some arcane mystery Nick, you can learn these things in school. Rhetoric was taught by the sophists in ancient Greece. People didn’t just invent it for television.

    1. Precisely.

      If you’re really not interested in an argument or a discussion as a means to discover the truth, but to make a certain point, then all questions and statements by others should only be used and responded to as excuses to say whatever it is you want to say, regardless of what’s being said or asked of you.

      It’s like Troll 101.

    2. Those are terrible debate tactics. As in, you would be off the Debate Team. They are good debating tactics for the elementary school playground, though.

      1. They are good debating tactics if you’re concerned about *winning* in a democracy.

        Dumb people vote too.

  18. “(if you take them cereal…well…)”

    Is Nick claiming that Trump’s antics are the result of too much sugar in the morning?

    1. No – just that they are sort of flakey and soggy.

  19. Just to piss off HyR bloggers, I want Trump to get elected & turn out to be the most libertarian president ever, & see what excuses they make up here to decry him.

  20. When all the bitching about big-money influence in politics produces two candidates refusing big money, we keep bitching. I’m running out of popcorn…

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  22. Donald Trump is gonna make AI great again.

  23. You say “Trump ingests the question and spews out something semantically related”. I’d say it’s closer to “syntactically related”. This kind of exchange reminds me of someone I once knew who was experiencing steadily worsening mental problems. It got to the point where he was picking words out of sentences spoken to him and constructing a whole new sentence around those words, with the sense of what was said to him completely ignored. Trump’s not quite that bad, but he’s getting there.

    1. I’ve met women like that. 🙂

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  25. Trump : formal debate :: mixed martial arts : Marquess of Queensberry rules boxing

    1. Trump isn’t playing to win a game, he’s playing to win. Any means necessary.

  26. As much as I dislike Trump (there, I satisfied the Reason requirement), he would be a particularly entertaining President. Can you imagine him hosting foreign dignitaries? At the UN? His SOTU speeches? Visiting China?

    And very likely he would be less damaging than Cruz, and certainly less damaging than Hillary.

    I’m old enough I don’t have to worry about the long term damage any of these a-holes is likely to do, so I am considering voting for entertainment value.

    Trump 2016!

    1. I really don’t see what’s funny about war crimes. Or censoring the internet. Or killing off the 1st amendment.

      People who think Trump is comical apparently don’t believe he’s going to do all the fascist things he’s promised to do, but given his history of bullying people, I don’t understand why.

  27. No, this is actually meaningfully connected. It’s about determining whether there was a transgression, what kind and what degree, and what the appropriate response is (including conflicting goods). Then this is connected to a broader problem, the global matter of PC (moral outrage), with this being a likely instance.

    Find Trump pathetic, or whatever (he certainly is no statesman, nor a gentleman), but this is not random. Of course he takes his audience into account. But that’s a valid concern for any speaker, and certainly for a (representative) politician.

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