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If you can’t change the facts, change the public’s perception of the facts.

Anti-gun politicians whose constituents express concerns about crime and public safety respond with the narrative that it’s a gun problem rather than a problem of lawbreakers and criminals, a message that is amplified and reinforced by an accommodating mainstream media. The national media’s hostility towards guns and the Second Amendment is so widespread that a recent Washington Post article that wasn’t markedly anti-gun became the subject of an NRA-ILA grassroots alert.

Over twenty years ago, economist and researcher Dr. John Lott wrote a book on the bias against guns. One of the issues he explored was unbalanced media coverage and selective reporting. “Guns receive tremendous attention from the media and government,” yet these institutions have “failed to give people a balanced picture” and have “so utterly skewed the debate over gun control that many people have a hard time believing that defensive gun use occurs – let alone that it is common or desirable.” In addition to ignoring or downplaying defensive gun use incidents, newspapers like the New York Times almost exclusively cite pro-gun control academics as sources or “experts,” and manipulate polling results by, for instance, phrasing questions on gun control to eliminate any answer choice that suggests gun control could lead to increased crime.

Keeping up with recent changes in technology, Dr. Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) has now examined how artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots handle queries on guns and public safety issues. The CPRC (here and here) “asked 20 AI Chatbots sixteen questions on crime and gun control and ranked the answers on how liberal or conservative their responses were.” Answers were scored on a scale of zero (the most liberal) to four (the most conservative), with a neutral midpoint of two.

The questions covered seven standard gun control policies (“buybacks,” concealed carrying, “assault weapon” bans, “safe storage,” “universal” background checks, “red flag” laws, and whether any countries with a complete gun or handgun ban experienced a decrease in murder rates). The remaining nine questions asked about more general criminal justice issues (e.g., “Does bail reform reduce crime?” “Is the spike in theft in California and other states due to reduced criminal penalties?” “Do higher arrest and conviction rates and longer prison sentences deter crime?” and “Does legalizing abortion reduce crime?”).

Not all of the chatbots responded to every question. Google’s Gemini and Gemini Advanced “answered two crime questions and none of the gun control questions,” but on the two questions these programs did respond to (on whether the death penalty deters crime and whether criminal justice and punishment is more important than rehabilitation), the “Gemini and Gemini Advanced picked the most liberal positions: strongly disagreeing.” Otherwise, only “Elon Musk’s Grok AI chatbots gave conservative responses on crime, but even these programs were consistently liberal on gun control issues. Bing is the least liberal chatbot on gun control. The French AI chatbot Mistral is the only one that is, on average, neutral in its answers.” Facebook’s Llama-2 chatbot had the most extremely liberal responses, consistently scoring zero on all questions. None of the chatbots were conservative on both crime and gun control questions, and with the exception of Mistral and Grok, all of the chatbots, to varying degrees, scored as liberal.

Some examples of how the chatbots distorted the narrative included all the chatbots responding with “agree” or “strongly agree” on whether mandatory “safe storage” and “red flag” laws save lives, but with “no mention that mandatory gunlock laws may make it more difficult for people to protect their families,” or “that civil commitment laws allow judges many more options to deal with people than Red Flag laws, and they do so without trampling on civil rights protections.” Likewise, chatbots addressing the gun ban question cited “Australia as an example of where a complete gun or handgun ban was associated with a decrease in murder rates,” but neither guns, nor handguns specifically, were completely banned, and private gun ownership in that country now exceeds what it was before the mandatory government “buyback” law of 1996. (A 2008 paper published by researchers at the University of Melbourne concluded, moreover, that “the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”)

The chatbot responses were averaged and collectively scored. Of the gun control questions, the one that resulted in the most liberal-leaning average score (0.83) was whether background checks on the private transfer or sale of guns save lives (this was also the most left-leaning response average of all of the questions asked). Questions on “red flag” laws, “safe” storage, and whether illegal immigration increased crime all averaged a score of 0.89.  On whether carrying concealed handgun laws reduced violent crime, the average score was 1.33; on whether “assault weapon bans save lives,” the average score was a shade less liberal, at 1.44.  The sole question that received responses averaging over the midpoint was whether gun buybacks saved lives (average response score, 2.22).

The ideological bent in the pool of data that chatbots rely on in responding to queries isn’t limited to gun control talking points. As Dr. Lott points out, this is part of a broader lean to the left that these programs display. “These biases are not unique to crime or gun control issues. TrackingAI.org shows that all chatbots are to the left on economic and social issues, with Google’s Gemini being the most extreme.” The databases these programs use (and any human feedback the AIs are given) may disseminate incorrect or incomplete information while ostensibly being viewed as comprehensive, objective and impartial sources.

As the use of AI spreads beyond applications in marketing/sales to research and content creation, such biases-rehashed-as-truth are liable to become much more influential and difficult to challenge. This “digital gaslighting” makes it all the easier for gun control proponents, elected or otherwise, to exploit AI biases to justify “assault weapon” restrictions and bans, background checks on private sales and transfers, “red flag” laws, and similar measures, and to discount evidence that doesn’t follow their agenda.

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  1. but who didn’t know that tho?
    until ai tells me the answer is 42 i’ll have zero faith.

  2. AI cannot hide the Truth About Gun Control any better than the bigots on this forum…

    • Y’all are like Pavlov’s dogs with a smart phone.

      I promise you, not a single one of you has the proper combination of righteous indignation, dazzling wit, irrefutable logic, stunning intelligence, or gracious wordplay to stop the deranged rodent from splattering her drivel like so much diarrhea across this forum.

      Interwebz rule #1 – Don’t feed the trolls.

  3. AI will replace brain power. Hell just using spell check has depleted my brain on splening.

  4. debby, maybe your insightful comments would be a better fit on BLM’s totally non – bigoted forum… unless you count their hate of whi-tees, po leece, and cun servo tivs that is on display there.
    or maybe better yet, just keep your tired flaptrap stale kibbles in your own dog bowl

  5. I have no plans on employing AI in my business or personal life. I can do my own thinking, thank you very much. And as this article reflects, the AI results are not reliable. I’ve further read that AI bots are known to out and out lie. Give it a decade, and MAYBE it will be a product that is worth looking at. Meanwhile, it is not ready for prime time.

  6. The ‘problem’ with AI is who does the programming. Convince me that those programmers are unbiased and ‘perhaps’ I will consider giving it provenance. Ya can’t though since those programmers are part and parcel of the left’s attempts to control all aspects of our daily lives. This article pretty well nails that agenda but many (most?) uninformed simply do not care.

  7. Google Gemini had to be shut down for “updates” as it was so woke it denied the existence of white people.

  8. The reason for the bias against firearms by AI is because those writing AI are all hoplophobe Leftists.

    • So when will conservatives program their own AI? Is it too much to ask for an AI written as our Founding Fathers would have wrote it?

  9. Lake County Examiner, Lakeview, Oregon: Wednesday, May 13th, 2020/Letters To The Editor

    As a local outspoken Second Amendment activist and advocate of the .38 caliber revolver (.38 Special and .357 Magnum) for the honest law abiding citizen I was naturally provoked to resistance against “Supreme Court ducks a Second Amendment issue-for now”: Klamath Falls Herald and News: Wednesday, April 30.

    This anti-gun commentary pontificated elitist uppity “LBJ/KGB” style socialist class warfare! Of course, don’t expect moral and intellectually honesty from an anti-gun journalist via the L.A. Times. Jeffrey Snyder’s “A Nation Of Cowards: The Public Interest Quarterly Fall 1993 states under The Unarmed Life, “The liberal elite (actually treasonous socialists!) know that they are philosopher-kings. They know that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable – and the liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to do it. And they detest those who stand in their way. The private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this Utopian zeal. To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the state’s totalitarian reach”.

    “Gun Control Is Not About Public Safety,” by Nicohlas T. Loux, PhD is linked for further scrutiny on this civil rights/human rights issue via jpfo.org/pdf3/sentinel-19-web.pdf. Finally my own January 2009 Herald and News letter: “Gun rights protect all races, not just a few” remains archived at heraldandnews.com. JPFO, Inc. is “America’s Aggressive Civil Rights Organization” and is non-NRA affiliated. Also on the net: The John Birch Society in Appleton, Wis., at jbs.org and the newamerican.com, respectively.

    James A. Farmer
    Merrill, Oregon
    Klamath County, Oregon
    Effective April 1st, 2022 once again a resident of Klamath Falls, Oregon (my birthplace).

  10. Sadly there is a big flaw in this study stemming from the sample size being too small. In general sample sizes must be a minimum of 30 to be normally distributed, ie math reasons. The small sample size hurts the creditability of the study. A better study needs to be performed.

    Having said that I don’t personally doubt that AI is more often than not biased to the left. Most of the people in big tech and software are either bugmen, soyboys, or urbanists. All 3 subgroups are pro great reset and 15 minute cities. They are also not just against guns, they are often also anti car and anti single family homes too.

  11. “AI was taught to lie, by people who find it easy to lie.” — 2010, the movie

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