Automation Fallacy – FT#140

Automation Fallacy – FT#140

Show Notes

The Automation Fallacy occurs when people are over reliant on technology for decision making.


This episode was a body-swap, Face/Off, Vice Versa, upside-down, topsy-turvy episode in which Mark and Jim switched places, so on this occasion Mark started out by discussing this clip of Trump talking about the importance of technology in the immigration debate:

And then we looked at this clip of Trump talking about wheels and walls being better than technology:

Jim’s British Politics Corner

Jim talked about the A-Level algorithm scandal and Boris Johnson’s defense of the solution:

And he followed that up by talking about this clip of Chris Philp extolling the virtues of facial recognition technology:

He finished by talking about the visa processing algorithm which the UK abandoned after it was shown to be racist.

Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this trailer for Mr Bates Vs The Post Office:

We followed that clips (coming soon!) from I, Robot; Little Britain; and Friends


Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game in which Jim had to figure out which of these Boris Johnson quotes Mark had made up:

Jim got it wrong this week and is currently on 0%


Trump’s election year courtroom tour (t-shirt available soon) is not a  logical fallacy

We talked about Trump’s packed 2024 court schedule.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • To mark the 3rd anniversary of the Jan 6th insurrection Trump was his usual contrite self at Sioux Centre Iowa where he told the gathered throng “There was antifa and there was FBI, there were a lot of other people there, too, leading the charge.” Despite contrary evidence from congressional reviews and more than 700 completed prosecutions, a Washington Post poll found that a quarter of Americans believe the FBI “probably” or “definitely” instigated the Capitol attack. This of course is Trump’s plan all along – keep spinning the lie and divert attention from his upcoming trials and potential removal from 30-odd ballots and counting cos insurrection. With phrases like “They ought to release the J6 hostages. They’ve suffered enough. I call them hostages. Some people call them prisoners. I call them hostages.” Jennifer McCoy, a political science professor at Georgia State University who studies the issue says Trump’s language  “is very common in polarized countries where a leader is autocratizing or eroding democracy using this terminology. They claim to be democracy’s biggest supporters.” and Michael K. Miller, a political science professor at George Washington University added “He’s now directly saying that violence and criminality is okay if it’s in service of my power. Once you endorse violence in rejecting electoral outcomes, you’ve turned away from democracy, it’s really that simple.” When Hannity asked if he’d be a dictator last month if he got back in, he quipped “well just for one day” – he quipped it again at the rally on the 6th “I’m going to be a dictator for one day.” to the amused cheering of the throng. I hope the ATF has some flammable tear gas left from Waco – they might just need it again soon!
  • Nikki Haley, a top contender in the race to lose to Trump in the Republican Primary in states where he’s on the ballot, had a rough time at a recent campaign event when a voter asked her “What was the cause of the US Civil War?” Keen to delve into the real history rather than trot out simple answers, she made up some bullshit about the government not getting in the way of freedom and didn’t mention slavery once – a fact that the questioner noted, as did literally everyone else. She was even taken to task by famous defender of Black American history Ronald De-fucking-Santis, who took a break from insisting that Black people benefited from slavery and that white privilege doesn’t exist, to point out that it’s “Not that difficult to identify and acknowledge the role slavery played in the Civil War.” Nikki later claimed that the question asker was definitely a Democrat plant, because if you can’t blame your inability to answer a simple question on the Democrats then what are you even doing in the Republican party in 2024. I don’t think he was a plant. Maybe he was just a Fallacious Trump listener, who heard Nikki being asked almost the exact same question in episode 118, False Balance, and was amused by her car crash of an answer where she tried to claim it was about people fighting for change versus people fighting for tradition. Of course, in that instance she was talking to someone from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, so it was pretty clear what kind of answer they were looking for. She probably had a slightly tougher time at this campaign event in New Hampshire, but after doing the calculus in her head she still came down on the side of “these people are Republicans, so they probably don’t give a shit about enslaved people, I’ll tell them it was about the pesky government meddling in their lives”. I can’t really blame her logic.
  • In the UK over the Christmas period the BBC usually runs a series of lectures broadcast from the Royal Institution in London. These are the equivalent of the Robert Mayer concerts that used to be run to introduce children to classical music. The RI lectures feature popular TV science presenters demonstrating how things work and how stuff is amazing with interactive experiments featuring televisually-friendly bangs and flashes. In complete contrast, and as part of our ongoing thesis of Trump and his complete distrust of technology, (that’s a little bit too kind perhaps – let’s just say – complete fucking ignorance of anything whatsoever to do with anything ever made by mankind) – he’s been re-running his greatest hits of steam and hydraulics and magnets from way back when at the rally in Iowa. This time he bemoaned the waste of money spent on making elevators that run on magnets – apropos of what one can only take a guess – it went down well in North Carolina in 2020? So why not now? Of course the problem with magnets is, as he explained: “Think of it. Magnets. Now, all I know about magnets is this: give me a glass of water, let me drop it on the magnets. That’s the end of the magnets.“______ Yep just let that land there for a moment! Okay that’s all you know, nothing about opposites attract or generating electricity or just those things your carers put on your fridge door to hold your sharpied meteorological charts in place? Yes at this point in the lecture the director would cut away, and Professor Brian Cox or Bill Nye Science Guy would step in smartly to thwack the stupid orange kid as the programme went to an ad-break. Social media handily did the equivalent for us with Vanity Fair columnist Molly Jong-Fast, who simply stated, with the brilliant clarity of  Archimedes’ “Eureka” moment, “Cognitive decline.”
  • James Comer has been trying for over a year now to prove that Biden has been illegally receiving money from China and other foreign countries, potentially calling into question official acts which benefited government entities and companies within those countries. It’s been a rough road with lots of missteps, ultimately culminating in an official impeachment inquiry being launched last month. Now, finally, a bombshell report from House Democrats has provided detailed comprehensive evidence that the President repeatedly violated the emoluments clause of the constitution, with financial documents showing he benefited directly from millions of dollars spent at businesses owned by the President while in office by state-controlled entities in China and multiple other countries. This would definitely be grounds for impeachment if the President featured in the report hadn’t lost the 2020 election like a whiny toddler who never really understood the game anyway. Yes, of course, this is about Trump, who refused to sanction China’s state-owned ICBC Bank despite advice from the DOJ and the House Foreign Affairs Committee to do so, while the country spent over $5.5 million at Trump owned properties just in 2017 and 2018. Saudi Arabia spent over $600,000, much of that by renting the entire 45th floor of Trump World Tower in Manhattan. During this period, Trump signed a massive arms deal with the country and disputed US intelligence reports about the state sanctioned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Of course, Gary Busey jr, Eric Trump, leapt to Donald’s defense, tweeting “What a joke! All foreign government profits, for stays at our hotels and other properties while my father was in office, were voluntaraly (spelt wrong) donated to the United States Treasury” if according to the Trumps, they donated $450,000 to the Treasury from 2017 to 2021 which, assuming they’re not lying, amounts to a little under 6% of the money they took in during just the first two years of Trump’s presidency. In 2021 the Supreme Court already dismissed several cases brought against Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause, because they became moot when he stopped being President, so there’ll be no lawsuits even if they could find a slot in his 2024 schedule. But I wonder if they’re still moot if he gets elected again…  
  • It is getting increasingly difficult to find something funny to say about Rudy Guiliani and his continuing attempts to prove that he has the proof that it was all rigged and that he will be exonerated for telling the truth about the Georgia voting scandal, but to be honest at this stage I think we’re just really enjoying that gloaty feeling of watching his once buoyant beachball of bluster simultaneously bounce in ever smaller arcs and give out a slow wet fart of deflation. The deadline for filing the motions he says he’s got to file which will prove all this stuff is this Monday, still this Monday after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee rejected Giuliani’s extensions request made on Friday. The reason – well it appears the sagging punctured rubber pink alien blow-up doll in a suit Guiliani “does not articulate exactly what discovery must still be reviewed, or why the review has not been completed in the approximately four months that have passed since arraignment.” He added that while Giuliani “claims to have filed ‘many’ motions concerning discovery, none appear on the docket.” Guiliani’s lawyers remain tight-lipped when previously they had told the court they were “still processing voluminous discovery” in the case and asked for a deadline extension. Though since many of them remained unpaid to the tune of $1.4 Million I suspect these days they just can’t be arsed! Never mind Rudy soon you’ll be penniless enough to be eligible for legal aid and you’ll probably get better advice!
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene has written a book! I know, I’m as surprised as you are that she was able to put words together in an order, and the uncharitable amongst you might be thinking she probably got a ghostwriter to do it, but given that some of the Amazon reviews describe it as Meandering, Hate Filled, and Reads Like a Child Wrote It and Difficult to read if you speak proper English, I’m thinking she actually had a go herself! To promote the book, the Republican Party of Osceola County arranged a small book signing at the Westgate Resorts in Kissimmee, FL, but then promoted the event to local Republicans as a special 3rd anniversary celebration of January 6th featuring MTG as a special guest. The Westgate Resorts promptly cancelled the event, leading Marjorie Targery to find a new venue, eventually tweeting “The Commies in Florida tried to cancel my book signings. They failed!” because if you can’t blame your inability to arrange something on the Communists then what are you even doing in the Republican party in 2024. The tweet also featured a photo of her next to a massive pile of her books, in front of a crate of Duplo bricks and a Barbie Dream House, proving conclusively that an elementary school somewhere in Florida had been convinced to allow MTG to borrow a table, but providing no evidence that a single person had bought one of her books. Incidentally, the books being signed by the founder of the America First caucus in the photo all say “printed in Canada” because what are principles if you can save 12 cents on printing costs. I think Marjorie missed a trick here. She could triple up on book signings on her book tour by getting Dog the Bounty Hunter and Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler to take her place at various events and just sign her name. Nobody would know the difference!
  • “Now is the time to unify Republicans and grow our voter base to win elections throughout our state in 2024 and beyond,” No for once not the usual dictator drivel double-spoken by Trump but a statement from acting state GOP chair in Michigan, Malinda Pego. The statement began “The Michigan Republican Party remains steadfast in its commitment to operate with the highest integrity and ethics. For me, this is not a happy day. It is a sombre day. However, the bylaws process and rules were followed.” And the sombre process was to remove election denier and state GOP Chairwoman Kristina Karamo. Nearly 89% of those present voted to oust Karamo following a year of leadership plagued by debt and infighting. Of course Kristina, true to her mentor and glorious leader Donald J who was denied victory in the last election, he was, it’s true, did not attend the meeting and has made it clear she will not recognize the vote if removed, claiming the meeting was not official and had been illegally organised. She may as well have added so ner! “She’s been voted out by the state committee,” Bethany Wheeler, a state committee member, told reporters. “If this was a corporation, that’s the board. They’ve now fired the CEO, basically. She can fight it. But the fact of the matter is she was removed by the state committee and now they are in charge.” Of course all the infighting helps the Republicans cause not at all as they look to rebound from 2022 midterms in which they suffered historic losses and divest themselves of far-right tarnish whilst trying to flip an open U.S. Senate seat and also helping the Republican presidential nominee win the battleground state. Well let’s hope it all calms down and goes well for them there then – Not!!!
  • Meanwhile, across the pond, it’s either been a quiet holiday period in the UK Parliament or I don’t know the best places to look for news about UK politics. The festive period kicked off with James Cleverly making a bid for most useless Home Secretary of the five we’ve had in the last 15 months (two of which were Suella Braverman to be fair) by joking about spiking his wife’s drink with Rohypnol at a Downing Street Christmas drinks reception for JOURNALISTS. The remarks, which included saying “It’s not really illegal if it’s only a little bit”, came just hours after his Home Office announced plans to crack down on drink spiking. Meanwhile, in a tradition that goes back to 1895, former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s resignation hours list was published, announcing which of the people who gave her money get to call themselves Sir or Dame, and which get to join the House of Lords and have a lifetime unelected seat where they weigh in on new laws in the UK. The difference is, all of the other Prime Ministers who released honours lists served between 7 and 86 times as long as Liz. Some say that spending a month and a half fucking up and already fucked up economy shouldn’t give you the right to install your former deputy chief of staff as a UK lawmaker, but others are wrong. Finally, We got some lovely new pictures of Little Rishi when he met Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. The fact that Rama happens to be 6ft 7 means the photos look like Gandalf meeting Frodo for the first time outside number 10 and it’s glorious.




Jim Cliff

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