I hate to tell you!

Is Hate Speech Still Free Speech?

What is hate speech? Can you describe it clearly? Can you recognize it when you see or hear it? Is hate speech permissable if you agree with whomever is writing or speaking it? A host of online entities, such as social media companies, publishers and newspapers are looking to AI to monitor hate speech and to intervene by teaching posters the appropriate way to express their opinions.

In an ideal world, an individual’s good sense of decency and propriety would stop them from posting hate speech. In other words, a deep and profound respect of the human person, regardless of differences in opinion, race, or gender, would foster the sensitivity to preclude any harmful speech. However, we don’t live in an ideal world. As such, hate speech abounds, and the relatively free space social media offers has given it a platform that’s equally destructive — perhaps even more so.

Social networking sites have attempted to control the problem, but to little or no avail. While you can report hate speech, it’s just physically impossible to monitor every single offender and every stream of derogatory utterances posted in private conversations or public forums. But nonhumans might be the solution—AI may enable companies to crack down on the problem of hate speech.

Indeed, while AI may become better at catching online hate, it might not be able to do it alone. “Ultimately, hate speech is a subjective phenomenon that requires human judgment to identify,” said Thomas Davidson from Cornell University. “Human decency may be something no AI can replace.”

Here are the basic types of AI in its current state, as described by futurism.com.

Ultimately, it is clear that the amount of data that needs to be screened for hateful speech will be impossible to scan without AI–paired with human oversight. Changing of meanings of certain words on social media will require the combination AI, various algorithms and finally a human editor to clarify meanings that may have shifted. The current generation may have entirely new definitions for common terms differing from the previous generation. Human ingenuity will require human understanding to make the system work.