Like the circle-bound symmetry of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the meat and bones of the human race are the same in 2018 as they were in 1490. And yet, we are different.
Michael Patrick Lynch, writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut. “The digital revolution is more like the revolution brought on by the written word. Just as the written word allowed us to time-travel — to record our thoughts for others, including ourselves, to read in the future — so the internet has allowed for a kind of tele-transportation , breaking down barriers of space and physical limitation and connecting us across the globe in ways we now take for granted, as we do the written word.”
In the book Self-Tracking, authors Gina Neff, a sociology professor at Oxford University, and Dawn Nafus, a research scientist at Intel, describe this phenomenon as a shuffling between physical signs and observed recordings: “The data becomes a ‘prosthetic of feeling,’Advocates of this “prosthetic of feeling” argue that self-tracking can train people to recognize their own body signals, tuning the senses to allow for a greater grasp of biological rhythms.but what if the body-as-data is exploited by the state, or by an insurance company that can predict when you’ll get diabetes, or a data analytics firm that can use it to help sway elections? The Chinese government is going so far as to plan a social credit score for its citizens by 2020, giving each of the country’s 1.3 billion residents a reputation number based on economic and social status. What is particularly subtle about all this is that, like a scientific épistémè, our way of thinking is perhaps unconsciously guided by the configurations of knowledge these new technologies allow. We don’t question it.
Facebook goads us to remember past moments on a daily basis, the stacked boxes of tape in Beckett’s play replaced with stacks of servers in remote data centers in northern Sweden.“There is reasonable evidence that [the internet] has reduced our internal memory ability,” says Phil Reed, a professor of psychology at Swansea University.
Moderate tech use correlated with positive mental health, according to a paper published in Psychological Science by Andrew Przybylski of Oxford and Netta Weinstein at Cardiff University, who surveyed 120,000 British 15-year-olds.Again, the crucial question is one of control. If our way of thinking is changed by our intimacy with these technologies, then is this process being directed by individuals, or the ledgers of private companies, or governments keen on surveilling their citizens? If we conceive of these systems as extensions of our own brains, what happens if they collapse?
Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) are coming in leaps and bounds, with companies like Neuralink and CTRL-Labs in the United States exploring both surgical and noninvasive processes that allow computers to be controlled directly by signals from the brain. It’s a field that involves fundamentally changing the relationship between our minds, bodies, and machines.Kevin Warwick, emeritus professor at Coventry University and a pioneer in implant technology
In a recent article for The Verge titled “The Trauma Floor: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America,” a dozen current and former employees of one of the company’s contractors, Cognizant, talked to Newton about the mental health costs of spending hour after hour monitoring graphic content.
Perhaps the most surprising find from his investigation, the reporter said, was how the majority of the employees he talked to started to believe some of the conspiracy theories they reviewed.
Facebook has consistently shown that it puts what it thinks users want and its own interests above those of partners. It cut off game developers from viral channels, inadequately warned Page owners their reach would drop over time, decimated referral traffic to news publishers and, most recently, banished video makers from the feed. If Facebook wants to win creators’ trust and the engagement of their biggest fans, it may need a more competitive offering with larger limits on its power.
Social media is the best friend disinformation ever had, and the cure is far from obvious.
Anya Schiffrin is an adjunct faculty member at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She worked in Hanoi from 1997 to 1999 as the bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires.
Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics By Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, & Hal Roberts
Oxford University Press
A Harvard law professor who is a well-known theorist of the digital age, Benkler and colleagues have produced an authoritative tome that includes multiple taxonomies and literature reviews as well as visualizations of the flow of disinformation.
white supremacist and alt-right trolls
a history of the scholarship on propaganda, reminding the reader that much of the discussion began in the 1930s.
Benkler’s optimistic 2007 book, The Wealth of Networks, predicted that the Internet would bring people together and transform the way information is created and spread. Today, Benkler is far less sanguine and has become one of the foremost researchers of disinformation networks.
Fox News, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, InfoWars, and Zero Hedge
As a result, mainstream journalists repeat and amplify the falsehoods even as they debunk them.
There is no clear line, they argue, between Russian propaganda, Breitbart lies, and the Trump victory. They add that Fox News is probably more influential than Facebook.
after George Soros gave a speech in January 2018 calling for regulation of the social media platforms, Facebook hired a Republican opposition research firm to shovel dirt at George Soros.
The European Union has not yet tried to regulate disinformation (although they do have codes of practice for the platforms), instead focusing on taxation, competition regulation, and protection of privacy. But Germany has strengthened its regulations regarding online hate speech, including the liability of the social media platforms.
disclosure of the sources of online political advertising.It’s a bit toothless because, just as with offshore bank accounts, it may be possible to register which U.S. entity is paying for online political advertising, but it’s impossible to know whether that entity is getting its funds from overseas. Even the Honest Ads bill was too much for Facebook to take.
For abstainers, breaking up with Facebook freed up about an hour a day, on average, and more than twice that for the heaviest users.
research led by Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has found that high levels of passive browsing on social media predict lowered moods, compared to more active engagement.
Whether the NYC police angle is true or not (it’s being hotly disputed), Facebook and Google are thinking along lines that follow the whims of the Chinese Government.
SenseTime and Megvii won’t just be worth $5 Billion, they will be worth many times that in the future. This is because a facial recognition data-harvesting of everything is the future of consumerism and capitalism, and in some places, the central tenet of social order (think Asia).
China has already ‘won’ the trade-war, because its winning the race to innovation. America doesn’t regulate Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Facebook properly, that stunts innovation and ethics in technology where the West is now forced to copy China just to keep up.
Facebook Inc.’s Instagram played a much bigger role in Russia’s manipulation of U.S. voters than the company has previously discussed, and will be a key Russian tool in the 2020 elections, according to a report commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Russian Internet Research Agency, the troll farm that has sought to divide Americans with misinformation and meme content around the 2016 election, received more engagement on Instagram than it did on any other social media platform, including Facebook, according to a joint report by three groups of researchers.
THERE’S A MEME on Instagram, circulated by a group called “Born Liberal.” “Born Liberal” was a creation of the Internet Research Agency, the Russian propaganda wing
Conversations around the IRA’s operations traditionally have focused on Facebook and Twitter, but like any hip millennial, the IRA was actually most obsessive about Instagram.
the IRA deployed 3,841 accounts, including several personas that “regularly played hashtag games.” That approach paid off; 1.4 million people engaged with the tweets, leading to nearly 73 million engagements. Most of this work was focused on news, while on Facebook and Instagram, the Russians prioritized “deeper relationships,” according to the researchers. On Facebook, the IRA notched a total of 3.3 million page followers, who engaged with their politically divisive content 76.5 million times. Russia’s most popular pages targeted the right wing and the black community. The trolls also knew their audiences; they deployed Pepe memes at pages intended for right-leaning millennials, but kept them away from posts directed at older conservative Facebook users. Not every attempt was a hit; while 33 of the 81 IRA Facebook pages had over 1,000 followers, dozens had none at all.
The report also points out new links between the IRA’s pages and Wikileaks, which helped disseminate hacked emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta
“While many people think of memes as “cat pictures with words,” the Defense Department and DARPA have studied them for years as a powerful tool of cultural influence, capable of reinforcing or even changing values and behavior.
“over the past five years, disinformation has evolved from a nuisance into high-stakes information war.” And yet, rather than fighting back effectively, Americans are battling each other over what to do about it.
A year after the Meme Warfare Center proposal was published, DARPA, the Pentagon agency that develops new military technology, commissioned a four-year study of memetics. The research was led by Dr. Robert Finkelstein, founder of the Robotic Technology Institute, and an academic with a background in physics and cybernetics.
Finkelstein’s study of “Military Memetics” centered on a basic problem in the field, determining “whether memetics can be established as a science with the ability to explain and predict phenomena.” It still had to be proved, in other words, that memes were actual components of reality and not just a nifty concept with great marketing.