Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out." …
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Image of the Day: Americans' Shrinking Earnings Under Joe Biden

Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out."  But the numbers don't lie, and the ugly reality is that he's only dragging us all toward the bottom.  Throughout his presidency, wage gains (green) have been consistently exceeded by inflation (blue), meaning loss in real earnings (red):

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="455"] Bidenomics Means Lost Earnings[/caption]…[more]

May 19, 2024 • 11:05 PM

Liberty Update

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Unrestrained AI Threatens Americans’ News Access Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, April 18 2024
Although AI possesses the potential to transform the manner in which consumers access and consume news, fairness and law dictate that it cannot be allowed to drive the very news sources on which AI relies into extinction.

Amid its other accumulating dysfunctions, artificial intelligence (AI) poses a new extinction-level threat to journalism and news sources, which should alarm every American.  

Whatever the flaws of some news media, and whatever one’s particular preference in news sources, a representative democracy like ours requires reliable news sources to keep the electorate informed.  Without them, we risk becoming a dystopian AI swamp of synthetic misinformation and disinformation.  

And if AI continues to scrape news organizations’ content without consent or compensation, it will rapidly drive those same news organizations on which it relies into extinction, leaving Americans with few if any reliable news sources at all.  

Case in point, recent weeks have brought a flurry of headlines relating to Google’s AI malfunctions creating a “reputational headache.”  Those follow years of lawsuits over the company’s practice of appropriating others’ intellectual property (IP) via its book-scanning practice, and complaints of scraping content from other sites for its own competing products. 

Moreover, mounting revelations of Google AI platform Gemini’s habitual left-leaning bias make the AI threat to quality news even more disturbing.  Google itself acknowledges that Gemini is “unreliable.”  

To be clear, this is not to suggest that AI serves no beneficial purpose or must be suffocated out of existence entirely.  It can revolutionize numerous industries in a positive manner, particularly in its ability to execute routine tasks and massive undertakings that otherwise demand tedious human scrutiny.  

Nor is it to ignore or dismiss the narrow “fair use” exception for copyrighted content, which permits the limited use of attributed material without requiring permission from the copyright owner.  

As it relates to news organizations, however, AI flagrantly exceeds any reasonable limited “fair use” boundaries.  

Instead, AI developers engage in massive outright copying of news content to the detriment of the materials’ sources.  According to a recent white paper, AI developers use news content 5 to 100 times more than other sources of internet content:  

GAI developers create curated sets of training data to build Large Language Models (LLMs), which then power GAI products. …  In fact, our analysis of a representative sample of news, magazine, and digital media publications shows that the popular created datasets underlying some of the most widely used LLMs significantly overweight publisher content by a factor ranging from over 5 to almost 100 as compared to the generic collection of content that the well-known entity Common Crawl has scraped from the web.  

Exacerbating the violation, as the white paper emphasizes, those AI models don’t simply scrape the news organizations’ material.  Rather, they blatantly steer readers to remain with them rather than migrate to the original sources:  

The outputs of GAI models also directly compete with the protected content that was copied and used to train them.  The use of these models to provide complete narrative answers to prompts and search queries goes far beyond the purpose of helping users to navigate original sources (i.e., search), that has been found in the past to justify the wholesale copying of online content to build search engines.  Indeed, GAI developers boast that users no longer need to access or review such sources.  (Emphasis added.)  

Allowing AI to freely scrape and distribute content in that manner without compensation violates news organizations’ IP rights, which lie at the heart of American innovation and prosperity compared to the rest of the world.  News organizations invest massive resources in creating and curating content, and employ skilled journalists, editors and other professionals to maintain accuracy and reliability.  

Are news organizations perfect?  Of course not.  But current AI practices of massively scraping and exploiting others’ content violates all principles of fairness and IP protections.  

That’s particularly true in this era in which news organizations already face stiff economic headwinds due to evolving consumer and market behaviors, which in turn lead to declining advertising revenues.  By scraping and distributing news content, AI undermines the financial sustainability of news organizations, jeopardizing their ability to maintain quality journalism as a result.  It also ensures less diversity in news sources.  

That is something that no American should welcome.  

So what is the optimal response to this looming threat?  

First and foremost, AI developers cannot be allowed to freely scrape news content without consent or compensation.  Instead, they must engage in fair negotiation to reach mutual agreement with content creators to use their product.  That can lead to mutually beneficial collaborative partnerships and innovations that benefit both sides of the equation, and result in better and more trustworthy AI output.  

Although AI possesses the potential to transform the manner in which consumers access and consume news, fairness and law dictate that it cannot be allowed to drive the very news sources on which AI relies into extinction.  An alternative model built on voluntary negotiation and fair compensation can preserve the IP rights of news organizations, maintain the quality of journalism essential to representative democracy, promote the economic viability of the news industry, promote diversity in news sources and encourage innovation.  

Striking that more balanced approach will better serve the interests of all parties.

Notable Quote   
 
"The progressive journalist Thomas Frank wrote a much-discussed book in 2004 titled, 'What's the Matter with Kansas?'Right now some other like-minded journalist might be thinking of writing a book called, 'What's the Matter with People of Color?'For Democrats, the polling among Latinos and African-Americans in the presidential race ranges from concerning to extremely disturbing, as President Biden…[more]
 
 
— Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe televised debates between President Biden and former President Trump will actually happen or will fall apart for many potential reasons?