France: left or right? – Politics

France: left or right?  – Politics
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France: left or right?  – Politics

At a time when the Greens are extending the life of nuclear power plants and the far left and far right are coming perilously close to vindicating Putin, it is easy to lose one’s bearings. In France, an online tool that bears the name now wants to correct the situation “Is it on the left or is it on the right?”.

The idea is very simple. You type a word or name into the website’s search box, click “Go,” and it spits out the result: “Marine Le Pen” is on the right, “Jean-Luc Mélenchon” is on the left. So far it’s clear. But the tool also works for things whose political orientation you may not have thought much about before. For example, “beer” is on the left, according to the generator, “wine” is on the right. On the right are “tights”, on the left are “corduroys”. By using thumbs up or down, users can evaluate whether the result is correct and improve the artificial intelligence behind it.

You can ask five million expressions

The website and accompanying Twitter bot seem to have struck a chord. French politicians are testing the tool live on TV. The 23-year-old computer scientist Théo Delemazure, who invented the whole thing, is making the rounds in the media. “I was surprised by this success,” he says into the phone. “I would think only a few people on Twitter would be amused by this.” Delemazure came up with the idea for the site one evening with friends who were wondering which items were more left-wing and which were more right-wing, such as whether there was a difference between Heineken and Kronenbourg beer brands. Delemazure trained an AI with some names and words and brought the website online in early October. According to him, almost five million dates have now been entered.

It is only logical that the instrument comes from all over France. The political distinction between right and left has a long tradition here, in fact it has its origins. Because, a little digression into history: When the Constituent National Assembly met after the French Revolution, conservative royalists sat to the right of the president and revolutionary republicans to the left. Since then, many parliaments around the world have done the same.

And what is love?

“The right-to-left scheme is ingrained in our culture,” says developer Théo Delemazure. “In France, we constantly consider whether a person or what they said is more right-wing or left-wing.” Emmanuel Macron, who claims to be a bridge builder between right and left, has been able to change this only to a limited extent. Although it practically mowed down the traditional spectrum of parties, the political extremes – right and left – are gaining strength. By the way, Macron is classified as right-wing by the Delemazure tool. “The artificial intelligence calculated it this way,” says Théo Delemazure. “And the users confirmed it.”

The algorithm only pauses for a few terms and states that they are both left and right. This happens, for example, when you type “love” or “France”. Or: “legs”.

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