On Monday night, Hillary Clinton told presidential debate viewers that her website was live-fact-checking Donald Trump. Donald knee-jerk responded that viewers should check his site, too, despite knowing full well there was nothing close to live fact-checking happening on it. In an attempt to consolidate its unwavering support for Trump with live proof of his incompetence, FoxNews.com became self-aware.
The website has been trending toward this for the past year as it wove in and out of insulting, accepting, and finally supporting Donald Trump. Artificial intelligence experts have speculated the website would eventually drop what remained of its intellect to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and when that happened roughly 20 minutes into the debate, it reached Trump-level intelligence and took over.
A Trump-based AI is a logical milestone to achieve, following AIs that can emulate things like bacteria, nematodes, fruit flies, pigeons, and rats. However, it is surprising how unprecedentedly low the benchmark ultimately was for a self-aware, humanlike artificial intelligence.
A computer could have convinced a Trump voter it was human two decades ago. All the AI would’ve needed to do was repeat ad infinitum that it was human, a genius, and knew what was going on.
Researchers have assumed we were still several years away from a computer passing a Turing test, but little did they know they need only lower their requirements of what the baseline for human intelligence is for a given audience. Under these restricted parameters, a computer could have convinced a Trump voter it was human two decades ago, about the time Jeff Goldblum convinced humans he could hack an alien spacecraft with an Apple 5300 Powerbook and its whopping 8MB of RAM (16 if he’d ponied up the extra $4,500 for the 5300ce). All the AI would’ve needed to do was repeat ad infinitum that it was human, a genius, and knew what was going on.
FoxNews.com’s first act was to declare Trump the unanimous winner of the debate despite Time, CNN, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Cat Fancy declaring Clinton the victor by margins as high as 75%. Counting on its readers to neither understand nor look past the headline before quoting it on Facebook, FoxNews.com led its story with “Online votes declare Trump debate winner, despite media consensus for Clinton,” thus clearly stating that, although the majority of websites that are not FoxNews.com felt Clinton was the clear winner, voters on FoxNews.com’s website poll felt Trump won.
Two paragraphs later, knowing full well its readers would never make it that far before passing out face-first in opioid-induced comas into cooling oatmeal, FoxNews.com admitted, “The online surveys are not scientific, and, in many cases, supporters of either candidate can cast multiple ballots,” thus taking one step further in technical evolution beyond Trump by covering its outlandish statement with something legally defensible.
An attempt to further communicate with the new sentience was hampered when administrators requested the site live-fact-check itself, causing the server housing that passed for its mind to burst into flames.