Monday, April 22, 2024

AnNahar AI president? Great until things get real

So AnNahar introduced the first AI president for Lebanon. Look on the one hand this is a very laudable initiative in a country with no president, a caretaker government, and parliament which - well is not very active. In their own words: The new AI president of Lebanon has been created by training Large Language Models on 90 years of impartial journalism from AnNahar since the 1930's. It analyses not only the historical data provided through the pages of AnNahar but also current events, and formulates answers for all political, legal and government questions. By tapping into this vast knowledge base, the AI president has a deep understanding of Lebanon's past, as well as an unbiased perspective on the challenges that the country faces today.

Now, I am going to bypass the "impartial journalism" thingy because I know things that are not fit to print which might make one reconsider the term. But still, I can understand the hype and the innovative aspect of the operation. Good on them doing it.

Now, big question: Why not apply that to real life? I mean if you already did it in the abstract why not apply it on the ground. We already have the perfect president allegedly so let's go and just elect the "person" (note I am not specifying the gender - here's hoping!).

Which brings us to how murky the Lebanese politics is. I am often asked about the late Rafic Hariri and my answer is always that watching politics from the sideline in Lebanon is one thing, being involved in it is another. Hariri was a prime example of that - he was eager to join the Lebanese politics, until he did. And discovered how everything was a gigantic quid pro quo - every project, no matter how beneficial to the population became a quagmire of profit-sharing, every this, that etc.... Which again divorces the theory of politics from its practical aspect.

Actually the word politics stems from Greek - polis and ethos: polis is the heart of the fortress and ethos is ethics. So the word basically means "the ethics of living in a community", which basically does not account for the former and current and most likely future politicians in Lebanon. But still, here we are. 

In a post dating July 16, 2015 I suggested the following about Abou Fouad, the (now sadly dead) face of Yes detergent:

So there, Abou Fouad goes to Washington, or rather Baabda.... Our household extraordinaire is exceptional in being cost-efficient, multitasker, a good council, he is diplomatic, has a million tricks up his sleeve. And frankly, between the available options, I says "yes" to Abou Fouad (pardon the pun!)... The campaign is on ladies and gentlemen!

Alternatively we could always have... (image dated May 24, 2014)