Sunday, September 07, 2008

David Skillicom: Republicans Least, Most Deceptive

Queen's U prof finds John McCain to be a straight talker

As human history progresses, computers are doing more and more incredible things.

One day, some fear, computers may destroy us all. But until Judgement Day arrives, computers will remain our faithful servants, bound to do all kinds of nifty things for us.

Like analyze political speeches. Queen's University computer science professor David Skillicom has announced that, using a computer, he's analyzed the speeches from the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention, and essentially discovered that, essentially, Republicans are among the most and least deceptive of the speakers.

By analyzing the language of each speech, Skillicom has produced a list of the speakers, and ranked them from the least deceptive -- those that employed the least "spin" in their speech -- to the most. He ranked the speakers as follows:

1 (least). John McCain - Republican
2. Mike Huckabee - Republican
3. Joe Biden - Democrat
4. Joe Lieberman - Independent
5. Sarah Palin - Republican
6. Michelle Obama - Democrat
7. Barack Obama - Democrat
8. George W Bush - Republican
9. Bill Clinton - Democrat
10. Hillary Clinton - Democrat
11. Fred Thompson - Republican
12. Rudolph Giuliani - Republican
13 (most). Mitt Romney - Republican

As one can see from this list, four of the five least deceptive speakers at the conventions were either Republicans, or independents supporting Republicans (Joe Lieberman, who is supporting John McCain).

Meanwhile, three of the most deceptive speakers were Republicans. The other two were Bill and Hillary Clinton.

If one can put any significant amount of stock into Skillicom's new tool, this could revolutionize political analysis. In fact, politics will probably never be quite the same again.

Of course, there remain significant limits to what a computer can do. And until the day that they grow to the point where they can wipe us off the face of the Earth, the necessity for human intuition and judgement will always remain.

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