Applying the Alexa “syndrome” of artificial intelligence to historical memories? What a wonderful application of Alexa-type applications to the remembrance of those who suffered in the Holocaust. To view questions asked of people now deceased and having the video presentation of a person now deceased answering the question is really what makes technology a blessing, even if it is often a curse on us.
Related to this was the story about a project to record story-telling of Americans. Mentioning the animation of stories makes me wonder whether these are the short snippets viewers of PBS programs view between various episodes of programs? They are wonderful experiences, listening to such stories of Americans.
Between these two reports (virtual human memories and story telling), it makes me wish my dad could have joined the project for artificial intelligence in recorded historical memories. He passed away in 2018 so could not be a part of such a project. But in his last months, I listened to him describe his service during World War II in the Philippines and Japan, under General Douglas MacArthur. It was quite an interesting experience. He described the Army convoys driving to northern Japan, out of Tokyo. He never mentioned it, but in understanding the history of that time, I have a vague knowledge about how the USA, with Supreme Commander MacArthur over Japan, wanted to guard the northern frontier of Japan from the possibility of invasion by Soviet troops into that area. Was this what my father described with the convoy in which he was involved? I won’t know for certain, but imagine if he had been questioned about such things and the video recorded, as the examples provided on the wonderful Sixty Minutes report last night. I do, however, have a short audio of my dad describing how he got from the Philippines to Japan with his fellow Army soldiers.
I also never got an answer as to whether or not my father and mother named me after General MacArthur, as I was born just after Truman fired MacArthur in Korea, during the time when General Eisenhower was president.
With all of this being said, I do have a bone to pick with Sixty Minutes. What is hoped to be accomplished with the “First step Forward” program? Perhaps it was just coincidence that the story mentioned an attempt to stop the polarization of America due to Americans calling each other “stupid and idiotic.” OK. I confess. I call many Americans “stupid and idiotic.” I wrote to Sixty Minutes and perhaps this is the only focus on what I wrote about? After all, my name is Douglas and Douglas MacArthur made some errors, one of which got him fired by Truman. The jury still remains out on the Truman firing and whether or not it was a good thing to do, as we face, today, Chinese intervention in our American economy. Yes. MacArthur was in error in attempting to stop the dropping of the atomic bombs, even if it was a lousy thing to have happen to human beings in Japan. I don’t support human destruction to such a degree. But, the fact that Supreme Japanese Commander Douglas MacArthur later had troops heading to northern Japan addresses the true reason why the bombs were used. In other words, to gain quicker control of Japan by forcing them out of the war, and holding the upper hand when it came to dealing with the Soviets and a possible incursion into Japan. Truman’s decision to drop the bombs did work in our favor, in the end, as bad as atomic bombs are.
I might add a side note. In a speech given by a Jewish man whose relatives and parents were impacted by Hitler’s Holocaust, he reminded us that the number of Jews killed by Hitler was surpassed by the numbers killed in the Soviet Union by Stalin. He presented the facts and statistics in this regard, so I trust they are correct. How many survivors of the persecutions and deaths of Jews by Stalin in the former Soviet state when KGB agent, Putin, was present in that nation? A nation directed by dictators like Stalin and others. How many Jewish survivors of the genocide there have been recorded in the project identified by Sixty Minutes?
Taking this a step further, based on the “One step forward” project and the attempts to turn around the polarization between those calling each other “stupid and idiotic,” I have more comments. Does this project really hope to accomplish a reduction of such polarization by recording discussions between “conservative” and “liberal?” ‘Splain it to me, Lucy! For I am not convinced this will be as effective as it could be should there be other considerations. In this case, it is not about polarization between citizens as much as it is the polarization caused by a media which places emphasis on “conservative and liberal?” Political ideology? Politics is the problem? When the media presents “politics as the problem” and that it matters not whether it is Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, or other aspects of politics, I believe this is the wrong approach. Politics = democracy. It takes longer to get results in a democracy than in a dictatorship. It’s the reason Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “democracy is a very bad form of government, but all the others are so much worse.” Thus, Americans being “stupid and idiotic” is the result of a stupid and idiotic media which has shelved any common sense involving democracy.
For instance. The other day, in reaching out to fellow Democrats to obtain signatures to put Democratic Party candidates on the ballots, I ran into several situations where one spouse was Democrat and the other one I was not aware of the party affiliation and I did not care. I was on a mission to speak with Democrats, not debate the other side. You wish to debate with the other side and i say, let’s sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss matters. But you see, the “stupid and idiotic” nature in America today and no one wishes to do such a thing. So, this putting together people of “opposing viewpoints,” whether that be Republican v. Democrat or liberal v. conservative is supposed to correct this situation of polarization? I don’t see how it can when most Americans do not even know what it means to be Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative.
Why do I say this? Because as a kid, I read columnists in newspapers and had no regard as to whether or not the columnists were Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. It was of no concern to me. I would read conservative columnists like William F. Buckley, Jr., or George Will. At the same time, I would read something from more liberal Gore Vidal or others in that category. I could care less. All I wanted was NOT to dig in my heels as to what is the best opinion I might have, learn from what was being said, and discover the facts about matters, solutions, and ideas being presented. This approach gave me peace and justice in my life. But who cares about how it impacted me, right? Who gives one damn to consider what I say? Right? All I know is that when I shared with others, no one asked whether it was Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, socialist, or what not. No one gave one damn about those things. Thus, today, I say that Americans are stupid and idiotic because they are being led by people defining hatred for any one side when discussing issues. How does this project expect to overturn such lack of knowledge regarding conservative or liberal, when it puts people in a room on each side of these issues? I cannot see how this can be accomplished, so enlighten me, especially with regard to the issues I bring up.
I want to go even further and discuss the matter of local newspapers and local broadcasting and how the decimation of local coverage with local politics, replaced by national politics, has done more to polarize America than what is considered in this project discussed on Sixty Minutes last night?
Sit back and read what I am about to write (say?).
I have a Masters in Library Science. The school where I earned my degree had to differentiate from “Information Science,” unless one worked to incorporate more information technology (additional credit-hours) and could earn a Masters of Library & Information Science. My course completion was on information content and included how methods of distributing information content in a digital-based world. The overall vision was about print books and periodicals, plus database management and media distribution. But it also included electives from the “information content” people of the journalism school. We used a textbook authored by a Cornell University information science practice in which “natural language” searching was being developed. We also used textbooks about providing information content by way of cable television and the media. Don’t I know a thing or two about these issues?
During my career, I worked with librarians who were hired by newspapers and the media to validate facts. These were librarians working for newspapers like the St. Petersburg Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post, etc., etc., etc. These were the quality newspapers which avoided sensationalist approaches to journalism. Quality, not quantitative.
At the same time, a sensationalist newspaper had also hired a librarian. Only due to the money (and a love of money – quantitative), did this person work for such a newspaper in order to attempt to validate one thing: “dirt” dug up against people. In the education field, we consider that information about issues and events far surpass issues regarding people. Sad to say, but today, we are in an environment in which conservative is linked to digging up “dirt” on people, whether true OR false (the librarians are gone – our jobs lost to lawyers and number crunchers who can support the lined pockets of the wealthy supply siders). The entire media has become sensationalist journalism, concentrating on dirt about people and never taking the time to really examine, in depth, the issues. Republicans and conservatives alike (such as Tucker Carlson) love this approach because it helps them win elections over Democrats for whom they cast false aspersions about.
You don’t believe me, do you? You are now digging in your heels and standing firm like stubborn dolts, idiots, and stupid ones, regarding the prevalence of sensationalist journalism which rejects “politicians” of any kind; thus they help destroy democracy.
I can provide examples of Democrats who have done some really wonderful things and you dig in your heels, proclaiming that “all politicians” are bad, not even listening to me. What does this “One step…” program hope to do to overturn such stuff, while projecting Republican against Democrat or liberal v. conservative? I believe there needs to be a better approach to this problem of polarization in America.
My attitude about Americans being “stupid and ignorant” derives from the fact that I hear Republicans and supposed conservatives discuss the “stupidity” of doing research. Library research instruction was a main part of my career. If I was doing this in a corporate training program, I was also teaching in research in the evenings at a local community college. Later, I had a full time job as a professor teaching. What does it matter to insult me, by Republicans who support number-crunching, lawyer, and information technology jobs as being more important than a job teaching with the Hegel triad concept of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis? In other words, I am insulted by Republicans and some conservatives who don’t want to synthesize through the process of research and learning. The media is stupid and ignorant in upholding this idea about “all politicians are bad” and leads to the destruction of synthesizing. There is only thesis and antithesis, so no one really wants to sincerely consider “synthesizing.”
Thus, the lack of sincerity demonstrated by hearing that the destruction of library and information science jobs is very acceptable, whether it is the newspaper librarians who investigate and research or any other job with library research instruction involved. Number crunchers and lawyers who make far more than educators and librarians are so much better for society, don’t you know? Quantitative s***, rather than quality.
Recently, when I was looking for a Democratic Party member in a household, so as to have candidate petitions signed, a Republican answered the door. He said the wife, a Democrat, was not home. Rather than say, “come back later,” he began spouting off about how lousy Joe Biden and the Democrats are. Once again. The lowest level of intelligence in not addressing any issues, but addressing people with unsubstantiated dirt. I immediately figured this “dirt” was coming from Putin-Russian-loving Fox propagandist, Tucker Carlson – or some other source.
Rather than address the man’s disgusting diatribe against Biden and the Democrats, I simply began to walk away. When he said, “I’m a Republican,” my reply was this: “that’s wonderful! So glad to hear that because I was once a Republican, too. But I did not come here to discuss politics, but just to offer a Democrat an opportunity to place people on the ballot, in this nation with a democratic form of government.” To which, the Republican did not stop. And I finally said, “I don’t think we should discuss your opinions about Joe Biden because I am in total opposition, so let us end it there.” He did not seem to want to stop, as I walked back to the car where another person was waiting for me. Once again. How does the “first step …” program expect to deal with this situation in which the “stupid and idiotic” ones reveal their low intelligence by falsely trashing people, based on a lack of knowledge and information about what liberal, conservative, socialist, Republican, Democrat TRULY mean?
Funny thing. Because I ran into the same thing in 2018, while going door-to-door with pamphlets and information about Democratic Party candidates and delivered ONLY to doors with Democrats. In fact, in that urban area of Florida, there was a gang of Trump-DeSantis goons who stalked us on the street, telling us that “we should not be here.” The reason we were not supposed to be there? Because our pamphlets included information about a black man named Jeff Gillum who was running against Ron DeSantis.
Bigotry, whether against black folks or gay folks, Jews, or any other folks, is unacceptable in America. That is the issue to which the “First step…” program is NOT addressing, as it just portrays “conservative and liberal.” That is bulls***. So, the example given on Sixty Minutes last night was about a black CONSERVATIVE pastor and a white LIBERAL pastor. This is supposed to be good?
I hate to say this, but I have run into “conservative” black folks who embrace “black lives matter” to such a degree that they can be considered racists. “I am against legal abortion because it limits the number of black children born.” Not about a consideration of ALL LIVES MATTER and the HUMAN RACE, but only about black lives. I knew one pastor who raised some 60+ black foster children. I have yet to hear a so-called conservative, whether white or black, give accolades to honor such a person. Imagine the children this pastor had, taught them to play music. In one instance, the teacher-pastor turned the budding black musician over to a same-sex couple which was NOT black? That same-sex couple raised a HETEROSEXUAL kid who became a promising performer. Damnation to the DeSantis-Trump (and others) ideas about “it’s not about nature, but about nurture.” Go ahead. Think a bit, not about the issue and synthesizing the information here, but to dig in heels and shoot holes in my antithesis.
If “nurture” is such a damn problem to stupid and idiotic people like DeSantis and Trump (and others), then ‘splain it to me, Lucy, how a gay couple did not NURTURE a black kid into being gay? Because they could have. And the gay grandfathers who raised young kids together when they were of a very young age. Did they “nurture” gay children? Oh, yes. We have to be careful because if one does DISCOVER being gay, then it’s all the fault of the gay grandpas, right? lease explain how the number of HETEROSEXUAL parents have produced many GAY children? ‘Splain it to me, Lucy.
Damnation to such stupidity and idiocy in America, with its stupid and ignorant media which does not address this issue at all. But fools don’t take my word for it, do they?
Have I said enough yet, or do I need to go further? Because I can go further. I can discuss the issue of falsely accusing Biden and the Democrats with regard to inflation and gasoline prices. I can talk about this issue. Plus more issues.
I really wish I did NOT have to make such information available. I really do. I would NOT like to face off with others, especially if it’s to be divided by the stupidity of political or ideological divisiveness. Perhaps if I could speak, face-to-face with a Trump, Putin, DeSantis, or Rick Scott, and concentrate on one thing, human equality, justice, and peace. But when you face someone like a Trump who got it off with words such as, “you’re fired,” how can I expect the person to repent against such a lousy attitude?
The person in which Johnson City, NY, is named, and the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company was created and became a very successful company, George F. Johnson, was very benevolent to his employees and understood how a company could be successful with such an attitude. He explained that his ideas for benevolence were based on ideas about holding fast to a “sense of morality to community and employees.” Those who followed him were not successful in running the company under such a vision, so the company failed. They blamed the failure on the ideas about leading a company with the sense of morality which Johnson promoted.
Johnson also spoke about a vision for “industrial democracy,” based on his model. It can be achieved, but not by thinking inside the box of number crunching only. Johnson never used the words, when providing healthcare for his employees, that it was “socialism.” He used wordage which one can learn from the original theorist of capitalism, Adam Smith. But you see. Americans have no knowledge about Smith and the ideas of capitalism, nor “industrial democracy.” That is the reason I include words like, “how stupid and idiotic…” I should say, “ignorant” because those who are ignorant, like a human baby learning to walk, can overcome such ignorance. The stupid ones are the idiotic ones who dig in their heels and refuse to listen, consider, think, and learn. Why? Out of fear that someone somewhere is telling them something which works and is good and it goes against their own thinking.
Professor Douglas Willet Cornwell (Retired)
Newark Valley, NY
———————————“Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “The problems of the world are not that some people love in a different way. The problems are that so many people don’t know how to love at all (CGA, 1970).” A Puritan is someone in fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time. “Liberty and justice for all [not priorities on individual and selfish rights].” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union [and overall wealth of American society]…” My path forward is not to re-live the past, but use learning from the past history in order to make life better in the future. My path forward is based not on politics, but to seek, consider, discuss, think about best practices for human justice, equality, rights, peace, and overall humanity.
”I don’t search for the meaning of life, but I attempt to learn the mysteries of life” because I seek wisdom, not certainty; I seek practice, not purity (and expectation to be perfect); I seek traditions, but not traditionalism.”
Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected.” Stacey Abrams: “Compromise about actions, but not about values.” Oscar Wilde: “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Whoopi Goldberg: “To handle this COVID-19 pandemic effectively, we all need to get on the same page.” Note: To be clear, I do not like being patronized. I do not express my disdain over what happens to my fellow humans just for my own sake and to pursue favors and handouts. I do it in order to gain R – E – S – P – E – C – T for me and for millions of other Americans of any race, ethnicity, religious belief, or sex and sexual identity who try to walk in integrity as they attempt to achieve, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. PERIOD. One nation under God [our Creator] with liberty and justice for all.