Tuesday, September 15, 2015

WTF Tuesday: Campaigns

Once again, it’s time for WTF Tuesday. As you know, readers can submit questions on any topic to wtf@techcurmudgeon.info, and we may eventually get around to offering some kind of response, probably not including an answer.

This week’s question is on the minds of many of our alert readers, and we’re sure one of them would have gotten around to asking us sooner or later.


Trump? Really?


Now that Election 2016 is officially underway, news media are making room amidst the sports, celebrities and automobile ads for reporting about campaign escapades. It breaks up the monotony. And some of the cheapest filler available are poll results.

These polls aggregate the opinions of prospective voters who have given as much serious thought to the candidates as they have to, say, Spongebob Squarepants. In fact, polls show that if the election were held today, Spongebob would win by a wide margin. Unless, of course, he were an actual person and a candidate.

So into this media void rides Donald Trump. His appearance and his manner are wacky enough to provide entertainment. And he has enough money to keep his campaign going.

In the 1960’s, there was a computer program called ELIZA that could mimic some basic human language. One flavor of it spoofed a psychiatrist by picking words and phrases out of comments entered by the user, and turning them into probing questions about that user’s psyche. If the user entered My mother hates me, ELIZA might respond Who else in your family hates you? It was essentially a parlor trick, but effective enough to give the impression that there was some intelligence there.

In essence, this is what Trump does with Republican themes.
  • Interviewer: John McCain was a POW.
  • Trump: I like people who didn’t get caught.
  • Interviewer: I know some Mexican immigrants.
  • Trump: Mexican immigrants are drug dealers.
  • Interviewer: Here’s a picture of Carly Fiorina.
  • Trump: Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?
  • Interviewer: Say ‘hello’ to Megyn Kelly.
  • Trump: You’re fired!
So, in short, no, not really. Enjoy the show while it lasts. President Squarepants will.

1 comment:

Bill Costa said...

Scott Adams (Dilbert) has had a lot to say about Trump's run, making the prediction that Trump will be elected because of his mad persuasion skills. Of course Adams often says in his posts to take what he says as just entertainment. But given some of the other weird ideas he has espoused in the past, I'm not so sure.