One of the reasons I’ve become increasingly concerned about our technology culture is because I am learning more and more about how people are being manipulated by it.
I have not been paying as much attention to this as I should have, in large part because I am a software engineer and developer. Involved in the “good” side of technology. My career at Riley Hospital for Children has been to write the software systems, and build the hardware, to perform respiratory function tests on babies for our research studies related to infant lung development and disease. As one example, because of the combined work of the people in our lab, and three entire years of work to get the system to work, we are now the only place in the world that is able to measure lung diffusion capacity in babies. https://jeffkisling.com/2016/11/30/infant-lung-diffusion/
It’s bad enough that so many people voluntarily give so much of their attention to their cells phones. Although I’m beginning to wonder just how “voluntary” that might be, with increasing evidence of the employment of psychological warfare against the populace.
Investigations into Russian manipulation of our recent elections have uncovered the deeply disturbing extent to which software “bots” were used to create so much “fake news” that actually is “fake”.
In the disturbing article, “The Rise of Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine”, by Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath:
“This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go,” said professor Jonathan Albright in the article The #Election2016 Micro-Propaganda Machine. ““They have created a web that is bleeding through on to our web. This isn’t a conspiracy. There isn’t one person who’s created this. It’s a vast system of hundreds of different sites that are using all the same tricks that all websites use. They’re sending out thousands of links to other sites and together this has created a vast satellite system of rightwing news and propaganda that has completely surrounded the mainstream media system.”
“By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion.”
“Most recently, Analytica helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, secured a win for the Brexit Leave campaign, and led Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign surge, shepherding him from the back of the GOP primary pack to the front.
The company is owned and controlled by conservative and alt-right interests that are also deeply entwined in the Trump administration.”
” Understanding Cambridge Analytica and the bigger AI Propaganda Machine is essential for anyone who wants to understand modern political power, build a movement, or keep from being manipulated.”
This is strange new territory that is calling for a new type of anti-war movement: an anti-AI propaganda machine movement.