Some of you may be a bit surprised at my repeated skepticism of the “global brain” concept, something you may never have heard about unless you’re really tuned in to certain segments of the “tech elite.”
After all, isn’t a totally decentralized network the ultimate answer to authoritarian, centralized control?
Indeed it is… as this article demonstrates, it’s the ultimate tool for getting rid of big hierarchies while still allowing a small, invisible few to exert influence and control… seamlessly, invisibly, and (done right) untraceably.
(“Welcome to fascism 2.0 — bigger, better, and with 80% less paper trail!”)
The author surveys the new field of “cognitive hacking” — using bots and even whole “fake” social networks (ZunZuneo, “Cuban Twitter”) to manipulate opinion on a mass scale.
From the perspective of the “manipulators,” this is ideal. You don’t have to play Edward Bernays, whispering suggestions into the ears of Mad Men or TV executives, where the orders then get transmitted down the chain to whoever makes the commercials or scripts the programs.
Instead, you can do your “cognitive hacking” while sitting on the proverbial beach sipping a proverbial Mai Tai.. from behind seven proxies (or Tor, in fact, Tor is perfectly suited to this)… and provided you know what you’re doing nobody is ever the wiser. (Except maybe the NSA.)
The problem of advertisers doing exactly this has gotten so bad (and enough of them have gotten caught) that OkCupid has been spurred into researching “defense bots” that will seek and destroy the manipulator bots.
The real solution? Quit your jobs, smash your televisions, and delete your “social networking” accounts.