Former President Obama recently sat down with his old friend David Axelrod to discuss the dangers associated with the rise in Artificial Intelligence. Top of the list for the former President is the inevitable rise of disinformation and misinformation – two terms he likes to opine about but provides little to no actual definition.

Obama did have an idea of how the government could combat this lurking danger to democracy, in the form of ‘digital fingerprints.’ His remarks on the subject beg some serious questions.

For instance, is the government really the best arbiter of truth? The answer is pretty clear on that one; still, let’s look at what Mr. Obama had to say and the implications of his idea.

I’m Obama, so I know better

Not one to shy away from touting his own greatness, Obama reminded listeners of Mr. Axelrod’s CNN Audio podcast “The Axe Files” how awesome he is:

“Because I was the first digital president, when I left office, I was probably the most recorded, filmed, photographed human in history, which is kind of a weird thing.”

No need to worry about this man’s sense of self-importance. I’m sure he also has many leather-bound books in his house, and in case you weren’t aware, he’s a big deal.

Obama continued:

“As a consequence, there’s a lot of raw material there. So usually all the deepfakes start with like some version of Obama doing something, dancing, saying dirty limericks, or whatever.”

Honestly, I need more deepfakes of Obama dancing while singing dirty limericks in my life.

Next, Obama begins to land the plane on his idea that someone somewhere (meaning the government) needs to do something about this ability:

“That technology’s here now. So most immediately we’re going to have all the problems we had with misinformation before – this next election cycle will be worse.”

There it is, the usual tee-up from the left before a major election to make sure we all know that anything we hear negatively about their candidate of choice is a lie, and anything we hear optimistic about literally anyone else is also a lie. 

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One can hope

Obama’s answer to what he dubs misinformation is for the government to regulate what news and information we consume, in an incredibly invasive way that violates several Amendments in the Bill of Rights:

“The need for us, the general public, I think, to be more discriminating consumers of news and information, the need for us to, over time, develop technologies to create watermarks or digital fingerprints so we know what is true and what is not true.”

I agree with his first statement about the public being more ‘discriminating consumers of news.’ It’s never a good idea to get your news or information on any topic from just one source.

I enjoy a few folks from Fox News; I also have subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone Magazine. And suppose you really want to get some fantastic real-time news and analysis.

In that case, the public should start following citizen journalists on Twitter – and naturally, read anything and everything yours truly writes. But digital fingerprints? That’s a bridge too far. 

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Luckily, we aren’t at the point where the government can enact something like a “this truth approved by your federal government” stamp. Obama even laments this fact, stating:

“There’s a whole bunch of work that’s going to have to be done there, but in the short term, it’s really going to be up to the American people to kind of say.”

Funny, last I checked, the point of being a ‘free people’ is having an ultimate say in what you decide to trust and believe.

Time for a flashback

All of Obama’s push to have the government take a more significant role in countering what he deems to be misinformation and disinformation is all ironic when you think about it. After all, it was his Department of Justice in 2013 that seized personal phone records of Associated Press reporters without warning or justification.

His administration’s actions prompted a rare unified front from 50 news organizations that signed a letter of protest against the unprecedented action. Let’s also remember that it was thanks to his Executive Order signed in 2016 that the ‘Global Engagement Center’ or GEC was birthed.

This sub-organization of the State Department had a $74 billion budget whose job it was to allegedly combat misinformation from foreign entities. Thanks to the actual reporting by journalist Matt Taibbi and the Twitter Files, we all learned that this government organization sanctioned by President Obama provided lists of Twitter accounts they determined engaged in “state-backed coordinate manipulation.”

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In reality, the bulk of the over 5,000 accounts were those of regular American citizens, three of which were actual employees of CNN. Barack Obama doesn’t care about truth or countering disinformation or misinformation.

Like all men consumed by power and their hubris, he cares about controlling what you see, read, and hear. He wants to make sure that you believe what he tells you to believe, like a good little ward of the state.

A coordinated attack

It’s hard to be a free-thinking citizen, trusted to make your own decisions, choose your own path, believe in what you choose to believe in, and build your own legacy. The powers from the left in this world want you to think that life would be easier if you trusted a faceless government to make those decisions for you.

Think about how much safer you would be, how much calmer your life would become. No more having to use your reason and good judgment, no more having to rely on your wits to make it through life, and so much more time for other activities – all approved and sanctioned by your friendly neighborhood government overlords.

Think I’m exaggerating, or perhaps I have watched and read too many dystopian tales involving Big Government? Think again. Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum hosted at Davos a panel titled ‘Clear & Danger of Disinformation’ led by none other than ex-CNN alum Brian Stelter. 

Panelists waxed poetic about how soon America will adopt the concepts of ‘illegal hate speech,’ making American lives much easier. Earlier this month, Obama said on World Press Freedom Day that journalists must endeavor to create an:

“…information environment that reinforces rather than erodes our democracy, one in which truth matters, one in which we are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.”

Journalists must constantly question what their government claims, pull the strings on seemingly too-good-to-be-true narratives, and push citizens to ask critical questions of themselves and their governments. Truth does matter, but what Obama and his ilk care about has nothing to do with truth. 

Be wary of what you read, hear, and see, dear reader.

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