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Sun Feb 19, 2017, 12:26 PM

The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

Was AI used to manipulate the election? Could something similar be used to undo the brainwashing?

https://medium.com/join-scout/the-rise-of-the-weaponized-ai-propaganda-machine-86dac61668b#.htk5dt3kf
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. Many of these technologies have been used individually to some effect before, but together they make up a nearly impenetrable voter manipulation machine that is quickly becoming the new deciding factor in elections around the world.

Most recently, Analytica helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, secured a win for the Brexit Leave campaign, and led Ted Cruzís 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. The Mercer family is both a major owner of Cambridge Analytica and one of Trumpís biggest donors. Steve Bannon, in addition to acting as Trumpís Chief Strategist and a member of the White House Security Council, is a Cambridge Analytica board member. Until recently, Analyticaís CTO was the acting CTO at the Republican National Convention.
...
In the past, political messaging and propaganda battles were arms races to weaponize narrative through new mediums ó waged in print, on the radio, and on TV. This new wave has brought the world something exponentially more insidious ó personalized, adaptive, and ultimately addictive propaganda. Silicon Valley spent the last ten years building platforms whose natural end state is digital addiction. In 2016, Trump and his allies hijacked them.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine (Original post)
drm604 Feb 2017 OP
flamingdem Feb 2017 #1
drm604 Feb 2017 #2
KittyWampus Feb 2017 #6
drm604 Feb 2017 #9
drm604 Feb 2017 #3
Tactical Peek Feb 2017 #4
drm604 Feb 2017 #5
dagnuguy Feb 2017 #7
drm604 Feb 2017 #8
eniwetok Feb 2017 #12
drm604 Feb 2017 #14
eniwetok Feb 2017 #16
eniwetok Feb 2017 #17
BruceWane Feb 2017 #10
drm604 Feb 2017 #13
KittyWampus Feb 2017 #15
eniwetok Feb 2017 #11
drm604 Feb 2017 #18
eniwetok Feb 2017 #19

Response to drm604 (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2017, 01:06 PM

1. Steve Bannon is on the board of Cambridge Analytics

This is scary stuff. Long read but worth it.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 19, 2017, 01:47 PM

2. Very scary.

Do Democrats need to do something similar? It goes against my grain, but do we have to fight fire with fire?

Could we win such a battle? Are the negative emotions the right preys on easier to manipulate than the positive things we advocate?

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 09:50 AM

6. Not that scary. It's a technique of disseminating messages. It's not going away. Democrats need

 

to do the same or it's the equivalent of unilaterally disarming.

It's more cost effective.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 10:34 AM

9. It is scary.

It's a way of manipulating people psychologically on an individual basis. The processing power now exists to do this.

We talk about Republicans living in a bubble, but this is even worse. This is giving every person their own personal psychologically fine tuned bubble.

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Response to drm604 (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2017, 02:10 PM

3. No interest in this?

Last edited Sun Feb 19, 2017, 11:36 PM - Edit history (1)

This may be vitally important.
Kick.

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Response to drm604 (Original post)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 12:18 AM

4. Damn.


Kick



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Response to drm604 (Original post)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 09:49 AM

5. Kick

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Response to drm604 (Original post)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 09:59 AM

7. If you think the DNC isn't also doing this then

 

you are either naive or or stupid.

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Response to dagnuguy (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 10:19 AM

8. Then why did they lose?

I'm neither naive nor stupid.

Of course Democrats do research and marketing. But did they really do it at the same level of individual psychological manipulation? What company did they use? Why didn't these researchers find evidence of it during their research?

It appears that Republicans got the jump on us technology wise this time around. The question is how do we counter it, and can we do so in a more ethical fashion?

Acting like this is business as usual will allow the Republicans to continue to manipulate people and will concede important races to them in the midterms.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 10:50 AM

12. They've lost because the system is antidemocratic....

Look at the numbers... Trump is president after LOSING the election by 3 million votes because of the EC.

In the Senate, Dems represent 33 million more Americans than the GOP... but the GOP controls it.

All parts of the system that are based on state suffrage have a clear GOP bias.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 11:30 AM

14. I understand all that, but those things just make this kind of manipulation easier.

Fixing things like the electoral college and gerrymandering, while important, won't stop this. The people using these techniques will just target their manipulation differently.

We need to find a way to counter these techniques.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 12:03 PM

16. Sure the GOP will use every trick in the book....

Leaving aside that gerrymandering is done by states, and the topic I'm raising are constitutional... it's undeniable that it's those antidemocratic aspects of the system that permit minority rule. For example the GOP can try national voter suppression should we have a popular vote... but it's MUCH easier to change the election under the current system if there's voter suppression in key states. Same with the amendment process where states with a mere 4% of the population can block any amendment. That's a convenient bottleneck to block reform.

The current system has a clear GOP bias in the EC, Senate, and amendment process... and this disenfranchises Dems... yet Dems refuse to critique the system. At the very least there needs to be a real discussion about civic inequality in the vote... where someone in WY gets a 350% bigger vote for president than someone in CA.... and a 70x bigger vote for the Senate. Every aspect of our system that relies on state suffrage is, by definition, antidemocratic.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 03:16 PM

17. I should add....

In our system we can have

100% public financing of elections
100% voter participation
100% vote count accuracy

and

The EC can still over turn the popular vote

States with 18% of the US population still gets 52% of the Seats in the Senate where they'll have a veto over anything coming out of the House

States with 4% of the US population can block any amendment yet states with 40% can ratify any amendment.

The system is not just antidemocratic but essentially reform proof... and no one wants to discuss these defects.

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Response to dagnuguy (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 10:37 AM

10. The DNC may want to........

.......but this is new technology, and Cambridge Analytica is under complete control of powerful conservative groups that are deeply entwined within the Trump administration. Steve Bannon's on the board of directors - you think they're providing services to the Democratic party?

Even if another company develops similar software, Cambridge Analytica is years ahead in terms of actual data - they already know how to find the "targets" that are most easily influenced towards the conservative agenda, and they've learned what is most effective in successfully influencing them.

Generally speaking, I also think that conservative "targets" are a lot easier to manipulate than progressive ones. Even if you had equivalent software and a similar data collection to analyze and find progressive "targets", I don't think this kind of technology would be as effective.

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Response to BruceWane (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 11:21 AM

13. It may be that conservative voters are easier to manipulate.

But maybe not. Could it be the other way around? Could it be instead that the most easily manipulated are conservative simply because they've been manipulated to be that way?

Could this same malleable group be educated as to what really are their best interests?

If they're driven by fear, could they be led to fear the real enemies; exploitive employers, job loss, poverty, lack of health care, loss of retirement support, loss of rights, pollution, etc.?

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Response to BruceWane (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 11:53 AM

15. except a piece on Cambridge Analytics pointed to data finding Haitian immigrants and targeting them

 

with the out-of-context Clinton quote about "predators".

My point is that no matter how much we like to think our selves rational beings, we all still respond emotionally.

Data can be used to get your constituents to the polls or to keep your opponents away from the polls.

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Response to dagnuguy (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 10:47 AM

11. The DNC has no long term goals... the Right does.

The Right created a long term, coordinated strategy back in the 70's for slowly re-shaping America into Amerika. The Dem never fully responded. The Dems have no long term vision of where to take the US in 10-20-50 years. They only seem to think ahead to the next presidential election.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 01:54 PM

18. Exactly.

Read George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 21, 2017, 08:55 PM

19. read it years ago...

I read it back in 04... and for a while I used to post at the Rockridge forum until they closed it in early 05. I wanted to push the meme that the income tax should be reframed as the Opportunity Tax... that a strongly progressive tax "taxed" opportunity.

Lakoff's right that Dems need to know their values... to which I'd add we can know one's values by what they pursue and we can determine a hierarchy of what's valued more. For example I'd argue even liberal Dems don't value democratic principles because if they did they'd take the simple step of defining them... simple values such as there must be civic equality in the vote where all votes weigh the same in terms of representation. But that conflicts with the Civic Religion that we have a federal system that we dare not criticize. So what do even liberal Dems really value between those choices?

So absent from ANY Democratic vision for the US certainly doesn't include finally making the US Democratic. They may not care about the moral legitimacy of government and the right of citizens to vote their conscience and get representation... but man, they certainly can get worked up about bathrooms!

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