It is important to note that bot accounts do not always clearly identify themselves as such in their profiles, and any bot classification system inevitably carries some risk of error. The Botometer system has been documented and validated in an array of academicpublications, and researchers from the Center conducted a number of independent validation measures of its results.8
Combine the superfast calculational capacities of Big Compute with the oceans of specific personal information comprising Big Data — and the fertile ground for computational propaganda emerges. That’s how the small AI programs called bots can be unleashed into cyberspace to target and deliver misinformation exactly to the people who will be most vulnerable to it. These messages can be refined over and over again based on how well they perform (again in terms of clicks, likes and so on). Worst of all, all this can be done semiautonomously, allowing the targeted propaganda (like fake news stories or faked images) to spread like viruses through communities most vulnerable to their misinformation.
According to Bolsover and Howard, viewing computational propaganda only from a technical perspective would be a grave mistake. As they explain, seeing it just in terms of variables and algorithms “plays into the hands of those who create it, the platforms that serve it, and the firms that profit from it.”
Computational propaganda is a new thing. People just invented it. And they did so by realizing possibilities emerging from the intersection of new technologies (Big Compute, Big Data) and new behaviors those technologies allowed (social media). But the emphasis on behavior can’t be lost.
People are not machines. We do things for a whole lot of reasons including emotions of loss, anger, fear and longing. To combat computational propaganda’s potentially dangerous effects on democracy in a digital age, we will need to focus on both its howand its why.
1: MAKE PEOPLE ROOT FOR YOU
2: HAVE A FEW GO-TO STORIES AT THE READY
3: STORIES ARE ABOUT HOW YOU FELT
4: THIS MAY SEEM OBVIOUS, BUT “Stories have a beginning, middle, and an end
5: GOOD STORIES ARE UNIVERSAL
6: DON’T BE BORING
The children of these adult refugees don’t struggle as much with technical skills as their parents do because they attend American schools with access to technology.
Access can be a barrier to inclusion
Lack of digital access can hamper refugees in many ways. An Australian study found that the lack of tech skills and access to technology affected refugees’ ability to integrate into their new communities.
Communication comes in many varieties
There are many slang terms, acronyms, idioms and confusing words like “mouse” rapidly thrown at these new arrivals.
We found a universal language using memes. Often dismissed as trivial and silly, memes can communicate across cultures. The image paired with a caption can immediately convey a message or feeling.
Creating global collaborators
Many refugees have lived in multiple countries, speak many languages and have family members living overseas. A hallmark of being a global collaborator, as outlined in the ISTE Standards for Students, is using digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
Resources for teaching refugees
If you have refugees in your classroom, here are some organizations that offer resources you can incorporate into classroom settings.
The Wonderment. This nonprofit connects students from all around the world in collaborative service projects.
UNICEF. This global organization has up-to-date reports on the refugee and migrant crisis as well as ways you can get involved.
the trending but undefined concepts of digital storytelling and immersive learning
Storytelling is a logical form of thought. It is an analytical process including perception, labeling, organizing, categorizing real and imaginary objects and their real and imaginary relations in speech.
Q: What do you think immersive documentation technologies such as 360 images and videos can bring to this process?
V: 360 degree media and virtual reality are cultural-historically developed tools that mediate our relationship to the world in a new way. They expand the possible fields of perception transcending space and time. Perception precedes other psychological functions.
Immersive storytelling can be understood as an activity through which students use language to visualize relations and meaning in 360 degree digital environments. Naming or describing relations between objects in our field of perception using verbal or visual language awakens intellectual processes fundamental to learning.
Q: Would you say immersive storytelling is a form of creative play?
V: That is a possible interpretation. Play is a psychological process through which we create an imaginary situation or place, reflecting or separating objects and their actual meaning, or creating new meanings. The ability to digitally create and modify situations and environments can be understood as a form of play, opening a realm of spontaneity and freedom, connected with pleasure.
Q: Can robots help us learn? Is AI already the More Knowledgeable Other?
V: The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) refers to anyone or anything who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. If a robot with artificial intelligence can function as an MKO and support our problem solving, it can expand our Zone of Proximal Development.
Kiwi enhances learning experiences by encouraging active participation with AR and social media. A student can use their smartphone or tablet to scan physical textbooks and unlock learning assistance tools, like highlighting, note creation and sharing, videos and AR guides—all features that encourage peer-to-peer learning. (my note, as reported at the discussion at the QQLM conference in Crete about Zois Koukopoulos, Dimitrios Koukopoulos Augmented Reality Dissemination and Exploitation Services for Libraries: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/05/21/measuring-learning-outcomes-of-new-library-initiatives/
Street Smarts VR is a startup that is working to provide solutions for a major issue facing America’s communities: conflicts between police officers and citizens.
NYC Media Lab recently collaborated with Bloomberg and the augmented reality startup Lampix on a fellowship program to envision the future of learning in the workplace. Lampix technology looks like it sounds: a lamp-like hardware that projects AR capabilities, turning any flat surface into one that can visualize data and present collaborative workflows.
Calling Thunder: The Unsung History of Manhattan
Calling Thunder: The Unsung History of Manhattan, a project that came out of a recent fellowship program with A+E Networks, re-imagines a time before industrialization, when the City we know now was lush with forests, freshwater ponds, and wildlife.