Thursday, May 31, 2018

Need Propaganda on the Cheap? AI is the answer.

“Seeing is believing” is going the way of the dinosaur. The growth of technology to create or tamper with images has been nothing short of astounding. The accelerating pace of technology along with decreased costs have put image-faking capabilities in the hands of the general public.

An article in the May 26th Economist “Cinema, not verite” (see:, which is also a photo source) uses a fake video of Donald Trump to illustrate the point.

Today’s world thrives on communication – social media in particular. Propaganda is often crafted to appeal to people’s innate biases. Propaganda is constructed to appeal to what people want to hear because it confirms what they already believe.

By diligently using Artificial Intelligence and other automated tools not only can high quality fake images be created, but those images can be very broadly distributed in hopes of igniting even more viral distribution.

The Economist article concludes with “Technology could make the global village feel more like a fearful, distrusting swamp.

A complementary article was published by the Brookings Institute - The West is ill-prepared for AI-powered disinformation (see:, which is another photo source).

This is a far more in depth article that addresses many aspects of the disinformation challenge to include AI, the legal environment and more. It also touches on “A growing cottage industry of search engine optimization (SEO) manipulation provides services to clients looking to rise in the Google rankings.” Which, while relates to the business of Google searches, is an intelligence indicator that the tools to manipulate how people look for and find information are also readily available.

The PSYOP Community needs to insure that our counter-propaganda toolbox is as rich.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Social Media Control: Digital Whack A Mole!

The on-line news service “The Hill” ran an article that indicated “ISIS Propaganda Find Fertile Ground on Google+ Platform” (see:, which is also a photo source.).

The Article addressed how Google’s platform has been a home for ISIS propaganda while other channels have been shut down or at least reduced. This should not really come as much of a surprise to media watchers. Google + is sort of the ‘off Broadway’ of Social Media. Driven from the bright lights of FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter the bad guys had to go somewhere.

While Social Media in general is noisy and overcrowded, no one can argue that it reaches quite a large audience. Furthermore, at virtually no cost - - any type of social media exposure is a real price performer.

Terrorist groups like ISIS, don’t really need mass social markets. Rather than need a channel that can serve to attract some dedicated new followers and one that can be a quiet place for like-minded radicals to connect and perhaps further serve as a communications vehicle.

Once again, we confront the media or platform conundrum. Is Google merely a conduit of information placed there by anyone or do they have the social responsibility to act as an editor of prudence that removes the obvious threats and dangers.  

At the moment it would appear that the big guys such at Alphabet are too busy worrying about self-driving cars that cars that explode.

As always, reader comment invited.