Ordered to remove unsuitable books from their libraries, school administrators in Iowa outsourced the job to AI. So long, The Color Purple, Beloved, The Handmaid’s Tale …

What do you get when you combine artificial intelligence with human stupidity? There are, unfortunately, numerous responses to that question. But in this particular case the answer can be found in Iowa’s Mason City Community School District, where school administrators are using ChatGPT to help them ban books.

Ahead of the new school year, school staff have been busy trying to comply with a new state law, Senate File 496, the Parental Rights and Transparency Act, requiring every book in Iowa public school libraries to be “age appropriate” and devoid of “descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act”. Of course, nobody wants hardcore porn in school libraries, but this sweeping bill, which also restricts education about gender identity and sexual orientation, isn’t trying to prevent that nonexistent problem: it’s about indoctrination. Republicans don’t want kids learning anything that goes against their narrow worldview so, over the past couple of years, they’ve gone on a censorship orgy, trying to ban everything from gender studies to psychology to African American studies.

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