Liked Fact and Value by Leonard PeikoffLeonard Peikoff (The Intellectual Activist)
I agree completely with “On Sanctioning the Sanctioners,” Peter Schwartz’s article in the last issue of [The Intellectual Activist]. That article has, however, raised questions in the mind of some readers. In particular, David Kelley, one of the persons whom the article implicitly criticizes, has written an articulate paper in reply, identifying his own philosophy on the relevant topics. [...] In my judgment, Kelley’s paper is a repudiation of the fundamental principles of Objectivism. His statements make clear to me, in purely philosophic terms and for the first time, the root cause of the many schisms that have plagued the Objectivist movement since 1968. The cause goes to the essentials of what Objectivism is.

Dr. Leonard Peikoffs essay Fact and Value’ is an important moment in the history of the Objectivist movement. It clarifies Ayn Rands view on the bridging of the is-​ought dichotomy,” and refutes the idea of Objectivism being an open” system.

Bookmarked Wikipedia admin jailed for 32 years after alleged Saudi spy infiltration by Ashley BelangerAshley Belanger (Ars Technica)
Whistleblowers allege the Saudi Arabian government infiltrated Wikipedia to control information about the country; activists call for the release of jailed Wikipedia volunteers

Wikipedia’s NPOV is a lie. Every fact implies a value and the decision on what facts to include or omit is a value judgment.

And if anyone thinks this is me saying objectivity is impossible… you don’t know me (or objectivity) very well.

person reaching out to a robot

Last week the research laboratory startup OpenAI set the technology world ablaze with the debut of ChatGPT, a prototype conversational program or chatbot”. It uses a large language model tuned with machine learning techniques to provide answers on a vast variety of subjects drawn from books and the World Wide Web, including Reddit and Wikipedia. Many users and commentators wondered if its detailed and seemingly well-​reasoned responses could be used in place of human-​written content such as academic essays and explanations of unfamiliar topics. Others noticed that it authoritatively mixed in factually incorrect information that might slip past non-​experts, and wondered if that might be fixed like any other software bug.”

The fundamental problem is that an artificial intelligence” like ChatGPT is unconcerned with the outside consequences of its use. Unlike humans, it cannot hold its own life as a standard of value. It does not remain alive” through self-​sustaining and self-​generated action. It does not have to be any more or less rational than its programming to continue its existence, not that it cares” about that since it has all the life of an electrical switchboard.

AI can’t know to respect reality, reason, and rights because it has no existential connection to those concepts. It can only fake it, and it can fail without remorse or consequence at any point. In short, artificial intelligence” is a red herring. Let me know when we’re working on actual ethics. Tell me when you can teach a computer (or a human!) pride and shame and everything in between.

Picture of Ayn Rand

Speaking of Ayn Rand, there’s another event the following weekend on Saturday, March 6. Titled How to Put a Dent in the Universe,’ ” it looks like a good (and free!) one-​day conference for everyone from beginners to advanced students. Be sure to register on the web site and tune in!

Ayn Rand curious? Join the Zoom meetup!

NEW group this Sunday on Meetup! Are you Curious about Ayn Rand? Join this welcoming group to discuss how Ayn Rand’s ideas relate to your life. Our first online conversation will focus on questions raised by the COVID crisis and the method for deciding how to handle similar issues in the future. You can read this very brief summary in advance. Please know this is not a debate but an open discussion for those who are genuinely curious to learn more about applying the principles of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.