by Myers Mermel
Like many of you, I have been reading about the newly developed, extraordinary capabilities of artificial intelligence. Several tech companies have developed their own individual natural language applications. Among these, the best known is ChatGPT which is a chatbot utilizing advanced reasoning to simulate human conversations.
In celebration of our 30th anniversary, the Ethan Allen Institute is hosting the scholar and public intellectual George F. Will on the evening of May 31st at a dinner in South Burlington. What if we asked ChatGPT to give its version of what it thinks George Will might say? Can the bot write a convincing speech using words and concepts George Will might use and give us a preview of his speech?
George Will has agreed to speak on the topic: “Why the conservative movement is important in a place like Vermont.” As long-time followers of George Will, we expect that he will shape his answer from a number of different philosophical and moral perspectives, informed by his deep knowledge of American history, traditions, and culture.
ChatGPT draws on the same multitude of sources, and it was able to draft a George Will speech in less than one minute. Below is ChatGPT’s rendering of how George Will might respond to the speech topic:
The conservative movement is crucial in Vermont because it provides a necessary counterbalance to the prevailing progressive ideology that dominates the state. Vermont, known for its progressive policies and liberal leanings, needs the conservative movement to ensure a robust and healthy political discourse, promote fiscal responsibility, and safeguard individual liberties.
First and foremost, Vermont, like any other state, benefits from a balanced political discourse. The conservative movement provides an alternative perspective that challenges the status quo and offers different policy solutions. This diversity of thought is essential to prevent groupthink and ensure that all ideas are thoroughly debated and considered. Without the conservative movement, Vermont could become an echo chamber of progressive ideas, which may lead to policy decisions that lack critical analysis and unintended consequences.
Second, the conservative movement advocates for fiscal responsibility, which is essential for Vermont’s long-term economic well-being. Conservative principles, such as limited government, lower taxes, and free market policies, promote economic growth, entrepreneurship, and job creation. Vermont, with its relatively high taxes and government spending, can benefit from the conservative movement’s emphasis on responsible fiscal management to prevent excessive government intervention in the economy and promote sustainable economic development.
Lastly, the conservative movement safeguards individual liberties that are fundamental to Vermont’s values of independence and personal freedom. Conservative principles prioritize individual rights, such as free speech, gun rights, and property rights, which are critical to protecting the autonomy of Vermonters. The conservative movement helps ensure that the government does not infringe upon these liberties and that the individual remains the focal point of policy decisions.
In conclusion, the conservative movement is vital in a place like Vermont because it promotes a healthy political discourse, advocates for fiscal responsibility, and safeguards individual liberties. It serves as a necessary check and balance to the prevailing progressive ideology, ensuring that all perspectives are considered, and Vermont remains a vibrant and dynamic state that respects diverse opinions and values.
It is a little repetitive, but ChatGPT’s speech does address a few major points. And while it is short on cultural references, especially baseball metaphors favored by George Will, it does identify the importance of balanced political discourse, fiscal responsibility, and individual rights.
Will George Will say something more profound, perhaps looking instead to other conservative reference points like values, self-reliance, and faith? Will George Will’s intellect outstrip that of a chatbot? Come to dinner and judge for yourself. If this initial commentary from ChatGPT is any indication, it doesn’t appear that artificial intelligence can outperform the native intelligence of George Will. On behalf of our Board, I am pleased to invite you to attend. Tickets can be purchased on our website, www.ethanallen.org
Myers Mermel is President of the Ethan Allen Institute.
Artifical Intelligence is a dangerous road for humans to go down. This may be about conservative values now but what happens when it falls into the wrong hands? There could be a complete devastation to our values and life, know one is going to regulate the world, just as they have not done for computers!
The speech doesn’t mention the fact New England was essentially the birthplace of American conservatism, was consistently and staunchly a conservative region that prevented the US from going down bad paths. It’s vermonts obligation to the country that we preserve our own strand of conservatism that is all but dead outside of northern New England. My prediction is he will mention something about the peculiar, special, and historic nature of northeastern conservatism and yankee thrift, among other strong New England qualities. We’ll see in a few hours if I’m smarter than the Beast