“And that’s the way it is.”
Theme from Spartacus


John Fraim

I long for the times when Walter Cronkite used to tell America each night “And that’s the way it is.” I was a young kid in those days of the 50s living in LA and watching Walter on the small black television console with my parents. Life was simple in those years. There was the elementary school that consumed most of my day. And there was the life beyond school full of social and family activities.

Yet, I listened to Walter with my parents and was amazed at his ability to sum up another day on our spinning globe. Somehow, able to bring the various battling narratives together in a creative alchemy. A definition of a particular day in America for the history books of American culture at the time. 

I only wish Walter was around today to provide his stamp on a day in modern life, during the insanity of the Covid-hysteria. It would have to use various methods of gathering information today. It would be based on AI and its learning abilities. All narratives of the current world would be incorporated into it. It would be based around open-source programming, allowing all to contribute to it and not just members of a corporation. It might also use genetic programming. 

* * *

It might be a lot like a current computer system in operation called Geneva. We wrote about Geneva in our post to Midnight Oil titled “Geneva.” It is run from a lab associated with the University of Maryland under the direction of professor and computer scientist Dave Levin. Currently, Geneva has focused all its brilliant intelligence in bypassing global state player walls like China, Iran and Norther Korea. Using AI, open source, and genetic ideas. It has had tremendous success in opening the world to a global marketplace of ideas.

Might the technology of Geneva be applied to a new type of news filter using Geneva technology to create a version of the news. Not from any perspective but rather from the perspective of many competing news sources from the left to the right of the political spectrum. The point is that Geneva would input all the various sources of news of the world today and place these into her database where they would be analyzed by algorithms exploring types of words and patterns of words as well as images and sounds. The leading events from current reporting from sites, leading Google search words, other leading things of popular culture. Creating, in the AI mind of the Walter System, a particular content of words, images and music for defining this day in our life. All the events of one day of life, boxed and defined like an insect stuck to a pin inside bug collection.  

* * *

The need for using AI to create a version of each day is one of the most valuable uses we can put AI to use for. So much more valuable using it in large social projects like this than getting caught up in one segment of the market: the entertainment sector of consumer culture. Video games and filmmaking. Yet there was such a more valuable goal for AI in the creation of a new and different world view.

It is a world view not made from the propaganda of the two sides in the growing division in America today. One of the great problems of America today (and a problem of the Internet) is that a current life is defined by news feeds over media. As a buyer (over media) of a particular product, the person put into a political category and all the news (or propaganda) associated with this view of the world. Actions of anyone on the Internet equal data into a database. The database learns and programs more of this content to anyone linked to media.

The result is that there are types of “nests” of media all over the landscape today. And media locked in a back-and-forth battle between the official (government) narrative of the world and alternative views of the world. These are the two grand narrative areas locked in perpetual battle each day. The Government narrative. And, the alternative narrative. 

* * *

What if a system based much on Geneva above might consolidate the content of government and alternative narrative each day and present a view of the day?

If Walter might come back to America when she needed him most. As a creation of AI, open source and other leading computer technologies bundled all together. To create a new media delivery system based on AI programming.

“And that’s the way it is.”

Imagine the reduction of anxiety in our culture today if there might simply be a new reincarnation of Walter Cronkite, using the latest in computer programming, to create a version of news based on both sides of the political spectrum.

It gave one a certain foundation in the present. Walter, the icon of the top years of the influence of mass media in America.

“And that’s the way it is.”

One thought on “Walter

  1. Very interesting, and intentionally thought provoking. But the concept of AI blending between dueling narratives, government and alternative, it’s not comforting to me. I’ve seen many movie fictionalizations, including “1984” and the “Matrix” series, where “thought police’ were about, telling human beings what their appropriate thoughts should be. Frightening.

    One of the greatest attributes of man, is independent thought. The problem has become that too many of us, perhaps the majority, use so little, the brain God gifted us with. We are content to let the thoughts of others become out thoughts, i.e. ‘whatever Hannity believes, that’s what I believe. It seems right.’ We also confuse feelings with our thoughts, no longer interested in the discomfort often required to think through or talk through the often opposing sides of a matter. Consider that there are few things that are pure without both good and bad elements.

    Today, when we arrive at a Hannity belief or what feels good, we typically find its compatibility in our bunker, right or left. We’ve lost sight of the necessary dualism of both, right and left, central to argumentative and reflective thoughts. Healthy to continued examination, and debate if necessary, in our search for what is true. Truth itself has lost its attribute as being dynamic (but one, for me). There’s another whole discussion, noting that more human being today feel comfortable in ignoring scientific facts, preferring their own “truths.” What is true intellectually and factually today, very well may not be true tomorrow, i.e. ‘men will never permit AI to do their thinking. There will always be a human being behind the machine.’

    I enjoyed the piece, mindful of the impact, the assurance given by Walter Cronkite, “that’s the way it is.” I remember Walter, but was influenced more by his successor, Dan Rather. Remember, that behind that ending observation was the consistency of it being repeated, so that it became nearly a promise. Before it, was a man, whose public integrity was just as consistent and untouched, even unto death. It was what he said, yes. But more what he did, stood for as a man. Having shared his life with us, not as a machine.

    Michael G. Whitfield

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