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.