Over at Mondo 2000, our old pal RU Sirius interviewed Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I about the "The Biology of Disinformation," a new research paper we wrote for Institute for the Future about how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. From Mondo 2000:
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R.U. Sirius: In a sense, you’re offering a different model than the one most of us usually think in, as regards memetics. Instead of fighting bad memes with good, or their memes with ours, are you suggesting that we look at memes themselves as viruses attacking us? Is that right?
Douglas Rushkoff: Yeah, that’s the simplest way of looking at it. That’s why I called memes in media “media viruses.” Even if they end up forcing important ideas into the cultural conversation, and even if they ultimately lead to good things, they do infect us from the outside. They attack our weak code, and continue to replicate until we repair it, or until we come to recognize the “shell” of the virus itself. I think what makes our analysis unique, compared with a lot of what’s out there, is that we’re not proposing yet another technosolutionist fix. Mark Zuckerberg wants to fight fake news with artificial intelligence. Great.
Pianist Lord Vinheteiro's latest tracks selections of meme music from the year 1500 AD to now. You'll hear "Greensleeves," Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9," The Village People's "YMCA," Rick Astley's rickroll hit "Never Gonna Give You Up," and lots more.
It's a fun playlist. Still, why must he stare into our souls?
My Institute for the Future colleagues Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I wrote a research paper on the "Biology of Disinformation" and how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. As Rushkoff says, "adding more AI's and algorithms to protect users from bad social media is counterproductive: how about increasing our cultural immune response to destructively virulent memes, instead?" From The Biology of Disinformation:
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The specter of widespread computational propaganda that leverages memetics through persuasive technologies looms large. Already, artificially intelligent software can evolve false political and social constructs highly targeted to sway specific audiences. Users find themselves in highly individualized, algorithmically determined news and information feeds, intentionally designed to: isolate them from conflicting evidence or opinions, create self-reinforcing feedback loops of confirmation, and untether them from fact-based reality. And these are just early days. If memes and disinformation have been weaponized on social media, it is still in the musket stage. Sam Woolley, director of the Institute for the Future’s (IFTF) Digital Intelligence Lab, has concluded that defenders of anything approaching “objective” truth are woefully behind in dealing with computational propaganda. This is the case in both technological responses and neuro-cultural defenses. Moreover, the 2018 and 2020 US election cycles are going to see this kind of cognitive warfare on an unprecedented scale and reach.
You've probably seen the Youtube Face; it's that extreme facial expression (disgust, ecstasy, hilarity, etc) depicted in the thumbnails of Youtubers' would-be-viral videos, especially reaction videos. Read the rest
If you want to express a uniquely compelling mix of superficial happiness and deep melancholy, there is nowhere better to go than Manchester, England. "Hide the Pain" Harold (AKA Hungarian model András Arató), internet-famous as the star of the meme by that name, seemed to have a nice time traipsing around the city, enjoying its legendary footballing culture: "I think the red side needs some help to hide the pain."
Also, wait, is that square video? Hell for every orientation. Read the rest
WHEN YOU REACH 6/6/6 YOU WIN
THE GAME IS FOR 2 PLAYERS OR MORE. PROBLY AS MUCH AS 8 PLAYERS.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A Z0NE HEAD OR READ MY SIGHT, IF YOUR COOL YOU WILL LIKE IT.
THE DEVIL'S LEVEL IS FOR AGES 18+ NO NUDITY BUT IT SAYS HORNY AND IT HAS SOME ADULT STUFF. SO NO KIDS BUY THIS PLEASE.
THE GAME HAS 132 CARDS I MADE MOST OF THE ART. I GOT SOME GUEST ARTISTS WHO MADE SOME OF THE ARTWORK'S:
Natalie Dee - @nataliedee Dril - @dril Evan Dorkin - @evandorkin Sarah Dyer - @colorkitten Ryan Cuggy - @frknbns KC Green - @kcgreenn Oliver Leach - @bakkooonn Will Laren - @larenwill Greg Pollock - @weedguy420boner Drew Toothpaste - @drewtoothpaste
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The $2,500+ Rewards
IF YOU ARE RICH AND WANT TOO GIVE ME A TON OF MONEY THEN GO FOR IT. YOU WERE JUST GOING TO BUY STOCKS WITH IT OR SOMETHING STUPPID ANYWAY
It seems like yesterday, but Trololo — the internet-fueled renaissance of a perfectly demented Soviet echo of midcentury western light-entertainment bullshit — is almost a decade old. And the savant behind it, Eduard Khil, was born this day in 1934 and died a little more than five (!) years ago, after too-briefly enjoying his sudden international fame. Google made an animated doodle in his honor:
I can't decide what was the last gasp of the web's aughts-era wonder: Trololo or Rammstein feat. Cookie Monster.
Ok, this year's Burning Man is going to be great. First of all, there's going to be that 40-foot tall pink flamingo. Now I'm hearing that a 20-foot long, LED-lit mutant vehicle --based on Chris Torres' popular 2011 meme Nyan Cat-- will be roving around the desert. It's a project of the Astro Cats camp who plan to serve up "toaster pastries" (I guess they can't say "Pop-Tarts") and pump out "Nyan-Cat inspired dance music" as they drive the giant space-cat around the event.
The name of the vehicle? Nyan Car, of course.
The Astro Cats are currently crowdfunding Nyan Car on GoFundMe. One of the pledge rewards is for a "special 'toaster pastry'" that can only be redeemed on-playa.
It got me thinking about all the promises that were made. Here's the earliest article in Google News to contain "Big browser" in its headline, published by Time Magazine on Nov. 18, 1994.
World Wide Web die-hard surfers -- many of whom tend to be privacy-rights absolutists -- have been horrified to learn that the software that guides them through the Internet could pose huge Orwellian problems. Over the last week or so, a growing number of heads-up E-mail dispatches have warned that some "browsers," including free and commercial copycats of the popular Mosaic program, quietly supply the Internet E-mail addresses of Net site visitors. These lists, critics argue, could soon be sold to the highest bidder --or even to government snoopers. "You'll go into a bulletin board that has an ad, and in a little bit of time, the manufacturer can start sending you junk mail," David Farber, a University of Pennsylvania computer science professor, told TIME Daily. The next step, Farber and others theorize, is a credit-card-like record of what you've bought over the Net and which political discussion groups you've perused. Web programmers, who never intended such consequences, are now talking about creating either "privacy buttons" or warning labels.
The concerns isolated:
• Browsers secretly collect and share personal data. • Aggregated data could be sold or shared to marketers and the government. Read the rest
In An Internet Language Built Around Love For The Puppers, Jessica Boddy traces the emergence of dog-flavored memetalk on the Internet.
Some dogs are doggos, some are puppers, and others may even be pupperinos. There are corgos and clouds, fluffers and floofs, woofers and boofers. The chunky ones are thicc, and the thin ones are long bois. When they stick out their tongues, they're doing a mlem, a blep, a blop. They bork. They boof. Once in a while they do each other a frighten. And whether they're 10/10 or 12/10, they're all h*ckin' good boys and girls.
Are you picking up what I'm putting down? If not, you're probably not fluent in DoggoLingo, a language trend that's been gaining steam on the Internet in the past few years
It's like the cats thing, but we do the talking instead of them. The key vectors seems to be Dogspotting, the biggest Facebook group for dog lovers, and Dog Rates on Twitter. I wondered a while back if DoggoLingo—and the sudden victory of heartwarming dogs over unpredictable cats in general—has something to do with Trump. As Boddy quotes one professor of Doggo studies: "How can the world be evil when dogs exist?"
Honestly, I could watch Careless Bork all day.
The only entry in the "it gets faster" genre worth watching; the ultimate substitution of actual content with an indicate tone makes it. Read the rest
The “confused math lady” meme has gotten a heavy workout during this election season. It turns out it comes from a Brazilian telenovela called Senhora do Destino. The meme features star Renata Sorrah and the original scene actually has to do with jail, not math: