Michael D. Moberly
The intangible products and outcomes of real, fake news. Imagine, if you will, how the following could – can – has been applied to manufacture – exacerbate the semblance reputation risk to adversely affect your business – company at ‘keystroke speed’!
Imagine, if you will, present day circumstances (globally) wherein bots have been algorithmically designed and engaged for-the-purpose of manufacturing and delivering ‘fake news’. The act of churning out, at keystroke speed, hundreds of thousands of Tweets, the sheer volume and content-context of which influence people’s perceptions and online discussions by drawing upon thousands of (banked) pre-determined words – sentences – language and artfully inserting same into online social media conversations.
Hardly anyone should be surprised today to learn that it is possible to influence people’s perspectives – opinions about particular-issue(s) and/or topic(s) overtime by, among other ways, manufacturing and delivering (fake, simulated, highly embellished and/or exaggerated) events or actions online and presenting same as legitimate news. Of course, some may argue there are striking similarities here to marketing and advertising initiatives designed – intended to achieve, on behalf of an employer or client, to influence (usually targeted or, already receptive) audiences, i.e., prospective consumers, to believe a need exists and ultimately create a demand where perhaps little or none previously existed.
To further address the general functionality of bots, let’s first look at Siri. According to Apple, Siri is an ‘intelligent assistant’ designed and built into (Apple) iPhone 4S and later and newer iPad and iPod Touch devices that enables users to execute natural language (voice) commands to operate Apple mobile devices and apps. For example, users may ask Siri to recite a joke on a specific topic. Siri doesn’t merely respond by reciting a joke ‘on the fly’ so to speak. Instead, Siri reaches into its vault of ‘banked jokes’ and communicates a topic relevant joke to the specific device from which the request originated. In this context, Siri could be described, technologically speaking, as a highly sophisticated bot. But Siri, is not manufacturing (concocting, fabricating) something that is fake.
Twitter could be described as another example – type of ‘intelligent’ device. Twitter, however, is largely under the command of humans, at least initially. As many Twitter aficionados recognize, it is becoming increasingly challenging to distinguish the input of human users (to Tweets) from that which has been initiated – produced externally, by putting bots in play. Previously, a common way to distinguish wholly human vs. bot generated-facilitated Tweets, was to monitor Tweet volume. For example, it is unlikely a human, operating alone, could execute Tweets with the speed and volume observed in some circumstances today, i.e., hundreds of thousands variously simultaneously. In other words, the combination of volume and speed (of developing, delivering, receiving Tweets) are factors – indicators insofar as assessing if-where-how bots may have been engaged to ‘robo’ the execution of Tweets.
Present day circumstances (globally) wherein bots have been algorithmically designed and engaged for-the-purpose of manufacturing and delivering ‘fake news’ by churning out hundreds of thousands of Tweets, the sheer volume of which may-can influence human perceptions, ala create fake new, by drawing upon thousands of (banked) pre-determined words – sentences – language and artfully insert same into online conversations and online media.
Often, one intent is to influence (manipulate) what and how certain issues-events are characterized and ultimately discussed. And, when – where feasible, favorably reflect the views of its human (algorithmic) originator, i.e., those in charge of its ‘command and control’ function by characterizing it as real news, which of course, may be fake, i.e., false, fraudulent, pretextual, etc.
Another purpose-intent for doing this of course, is to create a ‘fake-false’ narrative to favor a particular-agenda or divert attention away from an event or action regardless whether the discussion ‘tweet’ is subsequently (wholly) discredited and taken down. The originators (bad guys) in this instance, are likely to have served their purpose by likely commencing an ‘online-off-line mob’ with their injected narrative.
(This post was influenced by and adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the BBC Radio program ‘Click’ hosted by Gareth Mitchell, titled ‘Technology and Fake News’.)
Michael D. Moberly August 17, 2017 firstname.lastname@example.org ‘A business intangible asset blog where attention span really matters’. Part II