BOTS At Work…Elevating Reputation Risk!

I am very hesitant – resistant to characterize the intangible product – outcome, i.e., sentiments, beliefs, dogmas, opinions, etc., influenced, shaped, and subjectively confirmed by purposefully destabilizing actions of BOT’s upon humans, as assets!

Imagine, if you will, a present day circumstance wherein…(internet) BOT’s, algorithmically designed and put in play by an economic – competitive advantage adversary. A primary purpose for developing and unleashing these particular BOT’s is that they are designed to target a specific individual, company, or product or service produced – delivered by that company.

Even though BOT’s can and routinely are developed – applied negatively…they frequently ‘pretend’ to be legitimate purveyors of information, or, at least lead the reader into believing they are.

BOT’s can fabricate and/or adversely embellish particular…acts, events, or behaviors, to, among other reasons – objectives, bring into question, i.e., cast dispersion, discredit,  embarrass, and/or challenge a business leaders’ reputation or the reputation of their company.

BOT’s may apply…revelations of and/or integrate influencing context to one’s previous statements, acts, behaviors, or events, etc., and mischaracterize same as being sanctioned or a belief held by the targeted individual or their company.

BOT’s may also be variously generic…that is, adversely embellish a purported series or cluster of acts, events, or behaviors which, in turn, are directed to an audience known to being receptive – believed without requiring objective substantiation, in other words, i.e., reader presumption of being factual as is.  which can be  ala ‘fake news’.

Again, the phenomena of dispensing – delivering BOT generated messaging…in mass, and at keystroke speeds, targeting individuals and/or entities in near real time with fabricated – altered events, acts, or behaviors and otherwise re-casting same in adverse contexts to a known and receptively marketable audience…

  • for which there is a presumptively high probability will exponentially re-direct that messaging to like-minded others, in virtually endless cycles of wash, rinse, repeat.

The sheer volume of regurgitated messaging and its favorable – unfavorable recyclable content…irrespective of its accuracy or truthfulness is on its way to influence readers’ perceptions about an issue or person and trigger an explosion of online commentary by drawing upon arrays of pre-determined words – sentences – language, etc., purposefully and artfully inserted to  inflame – exacerbate (descriptive) language known to  same into online social media conversations.

I suspect for some, BOT’s are presumed to be…imaginary phenomenon dreamt by philosophical opponents, ala ‘counterintelligence’. Interestingly, I have had respectful conversations with individuals who do not conceive it possible to influence their, or other’s perspectives – opinions about particular-issue(s) overtime by, among other ways, manufacturing and delivering simulated, embellished and/or exaggerated content, ala BOT’s.

Of course, some may argue there are striking similarities here to…business school 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.) a need exists, and (b.) ultimately create a demand where perhaps little or none previously existed.

To further explore the general functionality of BOT’s…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 enable 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 relevant joke, instead, Siri reaches into its vault of ‘banked jokes’ and communicates a topically relevant joke to the device from which the request originated. In this context, Siri could be described, technologically speaking, as a highly sophisticated BOT. But Siri, in this context, is not manufacturing (concocting, fabricating) responses which are fake.

Twitter could be described as another example – type of ‘intelligent’ device. however…it’s content is largely under the command of humans, at least initially.

As many Twitter aficionados recognize…far better than I, this medium is becoming increasingly challenging to distinguish the input – content of human users (to Tweets) from that which has been initiated – produced externally, by putting BOT’s 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.

imagine, if you will, how the following could – has already been applied to manufacture and exacerbate factors-variables to materialize as reputation risk(s) to adversely affect a person, business, or company at ‘keystroke speeds’…

(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 [email protected], the ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’, since May, 2006, 650+ published blog posts, ‘where one’s attention span, businesses intangible assets, and solutions converge’!

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