TRUMP is taking our choice to give up privacy to a new level, the outcome yet uncertain

…For the most part in our exuberance to embrace the “newest, latest, best, fastest, tech-stuff” we long ago sign off … likely unintentionally, but sign off we did … giving up most if not all of our privacy…

…Following 9-11 we gifted pier piper … “W” Bush, then President of our nation, with near doctorial power with his Patriot Act … allowing ourselves to be searched, photographed, followed, interrogated ad-nausea…

…TRUMP is taking our choice to give up privacy to a new level, the outcome yet uncertain…

Artificial intelligence is transforming social media. Can American democracy survive?

 

By Clint Watts   September 5Clint Watts, a distinguished research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, is the author of “Messing With The Enemy: Surviving In A Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News.

 

Donald Trump’s allies on social media paved his way to the White House, and today the commander in chief’s Twitter tirades rally his base and set the country’s policy agenda and constitutional debates. His fans admire the alleged authenticity of the president’s direct, seemingly unfiltered communications.

But are the social media masses being duped? Mounting evidencesuggests that the president authors only some of his tweets. And those famous campaign phrases and hashtags of “drain the swamp” and “deep state”? According to Chris Wylie, a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Stephen K. Bannon directed the testing of these messages in 2014, long before Trump signed up for the presidential race.

 

Yes, the Kremlin’s manipulation of social media is a threat to U.S. democracy. But some of the most damaging efforts I’ve seen lately are American, not Russian, and they’re far more technically capable than those of the Internet Research Agency that was indicted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in February. It’s time we started paying attention to the political campaigns and public-relations firms exploiting social media to drive audiences apart online and constituencies against each other at the ballot box. Western opportunists will adopt the Kremlin’s information warfare art but will apply a more devastating power — that of artificial intelligence — to sway audiences through social media assaults.

Cambridge Analytica’s much-touted use of social media-generated psychographic voter targeting may have been more aspirational than factual, a touch of digital snake oil in the pursuit of clients. But Bannon and Cambridge Analytica were naturally and logically pursuing the next advance in political influence — campaigning that is more science than art, manufactured populism guided by hidden influencers who understand microscopic audience preferences and the psychological vulnerabilities of voters.

Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of Facebook accounts and pairing with voter profiles merely represents a small first step for social manipulation. Advanced public relations firms, propagandists and campaigns, now and in the future, seek a full digital pattern-of-life on each potential voter. Every like, retweet, share and post on all social media platforms will be merged and matched with purchase histories, credit reports, professional résumés and subscriptions. Fitness tracker data combined with social media activity provides a remarkable window into just when a targeted voter might be most vulnerable to influence, ripe for just the right message or a particular kind of messenge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: