Recent news that books by Road Dahl and Agatha Christie have been re-written to conform to modern political conceits, is just the tip of the iceberg of what is likely to come.
And expect AI to be a primary tool for rewriting the whole canon of recorded history.
Systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT have shown themselves capable of comprehensively digesting human knowledge, via their self-learning “deep neural networks” modeled on the way human brains learn, fed with huge data sets.
There is no technical barrier to using these systems to modify and change novels, nonfiction works of history and journalism, and even images and video, to alter and/or expunge words, passages, and visuals deemed offensive by modern political censors.
By altering the works of history, which represents much of the accumulated, residual record of history itself, those who censor can achieve political influence and objectives.
They can change perceptions, narratives and come as close to controlling history as possible, without inventing a time machine.
AI Will Not Only Police What Is Written, But What Was Written
The Trends Journal outlined the pernicious dangers of rewriting the works of authors, when news first broke concerning revisions being made to the books of Roald Dahl. (See “WOKE CENSORS FIND THE GOLDEN TICKET,” 21 Feb 2023.)
Though Dahl’s English publisher partially succumbed to an outcry against its plans, saying they would issue original and revised versions of Dahl’s books, it was only a matter of time before another author was targeted.
This time, it was Agatha Christie, an author whose books were not even geared to children.
London’s Telegraph news outlet reported in March that Harper Collins, which has publishing rights to Christie’s novels, was embarking on systematic revisions to purge “offensive” language and descriptions from her canon.
References to ethnicity, including descriptions of characters as black, Jewish or Oriental, are being changed.
Of course, the N-word is verboten in new editions (look out Mark Twain).
But the rewrites go much further, as they did with Dahl, altering passages which delineate points of view and thoughts of characters, to suit the political concerns of the publishing censors.
For instance, as The New York Post pointed out, a passage in Christie’s 1937 novel Death on the Nile, in which the character Mrs. Allerton complains about a group of children who “come back and stare, and stare, and their eyes are simply disgusting, and so are their noses, and I don’t believe I really like children,” is given a re-write.
In the new editions, Mrs. Allerton says instead: “They come back and stare, and stare. And I don’t believe I really like children.” (“Agatha Christie novels latest to cut ‘offensive’ language in woke purge,” 27 Mar 2023.)
The idea of comprehensively rewriting history, as envisioned by George Orwell in 1984, was largely seen as sci-fi, though his vision was based on actions of totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.
But the power of AI is rapidly making thought control and censorship that totalitarians could formerly only dream of, a practical reality.
Since the generative written content AI program ChatGPT went public in November 2022 with a free “preview,” many people have pointed out ways in which the program exhibits politics biases and limits the kinds of the content that can be created.
The Trends Journal alerted our readers to these dangers before most others realized what was in the works. (See “YOU WILL OWN NO SOFTWARE AND BE HAPPY—PART ONE” 18 Oct 2022 and “YOU WILL OWN NO SOFTWARE AND BE HAPPY—PART TWO” 1 Nov 2022.)
Now we are predicting AI will be the tool of choice for revising and rewriting an ever expanding list of works deemed to be offensive.
It will be couched as necessary to ensure “safety” and combat “misinformation.”
In actuality, it will hopelessly distort truth and facts, and give the corporate-government technocracy unprecedented propaganda control over history and thought.
In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury envisioned a future where people would exist in a sort of metaverse of wall screens in their living rooms, diverted by entertainment as verboten books were hunted down by authorities and burned in bonfires (451 being the degree of temperature at which paper burns.)
There may indeed be efforts to find and destroy physical books that can’t be subjected to AI rewrites, as cadres of underground groups try to preserve unaltered evidences of history and knowledge.
But there will be no need to destroy works in the digital sphere. Not when powerful AI can simply monitor and modify history as needed.
TRENDPOST: Just as statues have been torn down, and names of places and military bases have been changed to accommodate the purging fires of political correctness, a much wider range of content will become subject to the cultural revolution.
This will go on throughout the world as “infowar,” presciently termed by Alex Jones, is further waged by governments via AI technology.
In 2020, when a BLM frenzy was busy tearing down and defacing monuments, and Critical Race Theory via the 1619 Project was gaining vogue, The Guardian tried to assure the world that rewriting history was perfectly normal:
“People are suddenly very concerned about the perils of rewriting history. We must be vigilant, apparently, to the possibility that great swaths of the past will be forgotten or, worse, ‘erased’. We must remain alert to the risk that our history will be ‘whitewashed’ – as if there were enough whitewash in the world – with the difficult, complex bits disappeared. Meanwhile, unaware of all the controversy he has caused, Edward Colston’s statue lies peacefully at the bottom of Bristol harbour.
“Historians are not too worried at the threat posed by ‘rewriting history’. This is because rewriting history is our occupation, our professional endeavour. We are constantly engaged in a process of re-evaluating the past and reinterpreting stories that we thought we knew.”
(“Don’t worry about ‘rewriting history’: it’s literally what we historians do,” 10 Jun 2020.)
People including historians are entitled to write their own works, or erect their own monuments.
But they’re not entitled to re-write the works of others, or destroy artifacts they find offensive or politically inconvenient.
So no. Re-writing history as it’s being done by extreme ideologues is not normal or constructive. It is highly corrosive, as Orwell, Bradbury and many others have well observed.
In America, expect government proxy tech companies to roll out programs designed to facilitate rewriting and revisualizing works of authors, artists, non-fiction writers, journalism and more.
And look for governments to set guidelines and regulations mandating and encouraging politically correct revisions, including increasingly real-time monitoring, revising and censoring content deemed to be otherwise “dangerous” to national security or citizen safety.
There are decentralized web3 and crypto technologies which can combat this technological dystopia, and those who want to preserve the record of history may increasingly look to this kind of technology to resist and counter thought control.